From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

How the World Will End

One of the many things science fiction does well is envision the end of the world. Usually, it is a splodey ending.

Recent movies like Knowing, and the forthcoming 2012, are all about the end of the world, for example.

December 21, 2012 is the date that the calendar used by the Mayans comes to an end, leading some to believe it is the end of human time. 2012 is also a year of rare astronomical events – I think my luck star will be in the seventh house of my love planet or something. Oh, and all the planets will align, and our earth and sun will align with the galactic center. It’s a very aligny year.

So if 2012 is to be the end, I just wanted to offer what I see as 9 of the more likely doomsday scenarios (in no particular order). I left off scenario 10, because it is just too scary to contemplate.

1. Alien Invasion

It is inevitable folks, not because they crave our resources, not because they want our women, not because they are a locust species or fear our blend of technology and aggression. No, they will be forced to invade because we keep beaming crappy reality television programs and SCI FI Original Movies out into space. The torture must end, for the sake of all truly intelligent life in the Universe.

2. Zombie Apocalypse

Whether it is due to monkeys infected with rage, or a government experiment gone awry, or a mysterious rain after the Earth passes through a comet’s tail, don’t dismiss the very real possibility of a zombie apocalypse. It could happen. You can prepare by playing Left 4 Dead, or reading the Zombie Survival Guide. Mostly, however, I think you are going to regret having donated your record and CD collections to the local Thrifty.

3. Fashion Zombie Apocalypse

Monkeys infected with “all the rage” might escape their lab and start a fashion zombie plague. Yes, true, this has happened before. Spandex. Leg warmers. The Macarena. Baggy pants with boxers showing. Suspender shorts. Half-Shirts. Mullets. Muffin tops. Basically, all the worst trends of the past few decades were due to trend monkey escapes. But this time it could really get out of control. And when everyone realizes how silly they look, the human race will die of embarrassment.

4. Super Hadron Collider

In 2012, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is due to be upgraded! Oh noes! The LHC is that big ring thingy that those guys in labcoats shoot photos or articles or something around really fast to smack into each other, causing a change in the fundamental laws of nature and creating a black hole that will suck up the whole wide world!

Well, okay, that won’t really happen. Even if a black hole were created (which is unlikely), it would not exist long enough or be substantial enough to do any damage.

However, I have heard that there’s plans to stick Uwe Boll, director of such craptacular classics as “Bloodrayne,” “Alone in the Dark,” and “Far Cry,” into the collider and send an ounce of talent and a particle of taste flying around the ring to penetrate his head. Now that scares me. This would be like matter and anti-matter meeting. Clearly it is an impossible goal, and the resulting explosion may well destroy us all.

5. Super Actor Collider

Sean Connery and Patrick Stewart star in the same epic fantasy movie, playing opposing kings who wage war on each other. The collision of awesomeness causes a chain reaction of geek head explosions that kicks the Earth in the axis and sends it wobbling out of its regular orbit (with the sound effect of the Bionic Man leaping over a fence), leading to apocalyptic results. In fact, for the safety of the planet, I can’t even show you the secret trailer.

By the way, even if all us geeks exhaust our willpower and manage NOT to download or watch that movie in the interest of world safety, it is doubtful we could then resist seeing the scifi space epic starring Laurence Fishburne versus Samuel L. Jackson which releases the following week.

K-BOOM, Mutha —

6. Biological Plague

Even if no secret lab in Virginia or Afghanistan (or, ironically, some 2012 doomsday cult, ala Quarantine) creates a bio-weapon that gets out of control and wipes us all out, nature is constantly creating new threats. No, I don’t mean trans-fats. I mean disease. AIDs, SARs, and Ebola are all believed to have been animal diseases that jumped the species barrier to infect humans, for example. And of course we just had a Swine Flu scare. I mean, what if Mad Cow disease jumps to humans and actually turns us all into mad cows?

“What, like Ann Coulter” you ask? To which I say, close, but not exactly what I’m talking about. A mad cow plague would be nothing to sneeze at. It would be udderly devastating. It – okay, I’ll stop.

7. Asteroid Strike

Actually, this is avoidable if we detect it in time. We could, for example, send up Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck to stop it. Bruce could use his singing to break apart the asteroid. And we could deploy expandable Mylar solar sails behind Affleck to reflect the light from his smile, creating a solar wind that would divert the resulting debris away from the Earth. Okay, I haven’t seen Armageddon in a while, but I’m pretty sure that’s what happened in the movie, wasn’t it?

8. Nuclear Armageddon

Luckily, we are unlikely to get into an all-out nuclear war with Russia right now, and nobody else has a big enough arsenal to help America wipe out the world. So until China or some other superpower matches our level of phallic compensation and goes to war with us, we’re probably just looking more at localized destruction. That means mutants, post-apocalyptic wastelands, and Tina Turner looking super-smokin in a Mohawk. Boo-YAH! So train by playing your Fallout 3, stock up on leather outfits, and save those bottle caps folks.

9. Life is a Dream

While this is one of the worst scapegoat endings for any story, that doesn’t eliminate it as a possibility for reality. There are entire religions based on that theory. And I didn’t say it was necessarily a good dream. It could be a nightmare. Or a work dream. Or that dream where you dance nekkid with sock monkeys while in the background Winnie the Pooh rolls in Green Eggs and Piglet-ham and laughs hysterically as a bearded Selma Hayek shakes her head at you and puffs her cigar, and — oh, don’t pretend like you don’t have that dream.

Anyway, point is, there are all kinds of freaky quantum physics stuff and philosophical mind-twisters that make it entirely possible that everything you experience is an illusion, or an elaborate video game of an advanced entity, or even the dream of a unicorn. And that means it could simply end.

But when it does, I promise to remember you all fondly, and write all your names in the pixie-stick sugar sand with my rainbow horn. Well, most of your names.

In the End

Meteor strikes, solar flares, pandemics — one thing most of these dangers have in common is that there is really not a lot you can do to prevent them. So there’s not much sense stressing about it.

However, there are also many dangers that can be mitigated, if not prevented altogether — global warming, rising infertility rates, Genetically Modified foods or bio-homogenization wiping out our food supply, and of course AI Robot rebellions.

For a frighteningly plausible look at the future of our planet, and a rather depressing look at the unlikelihood we’ll get our heads out of our arses in time to save ourselves, I recommend Earth 2100.

I suppose to be fair I should also mention there are some folks who believe that, rather than a doomsday, the human race will transcend into a higher plane of existence in 2012, like in the Celestine Prophecy. But I mean, come on, is our species really going to go from Project Runway and Paris Hilton to a higher plane of existence in three years? I think not.

So if I may, I would like to recommend you put on “Do You Realize” by the Flaming Lips, sip your favorite beverage, and write that list of things you want to do before 2012.

You know, just in case.

Randy Henderson stays crunchy in milk. His fiction has appeared in Alienskin Magazine, The Harrow, and From the Asylum. He likes milkshakes. He recently graduated from Clarion West. He has a robot monkey army. And most importantly he has won the prestigious “Fantasy Friday Blog for a Beer” award five times (to date). For his genre-related musings, go to his blog.

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