Clearly, I find “the apocalypse” attractive on some level. After all, I’ve written about it in my The Dying of the Light trilogy. Of course, that was a zombie apocalypse, but the point is the same: We’re fascinated by the end of the world. Except, that’s not necessarily what the word “apocalypse” actually means:
An apocalypse (Ancient Greek: ἀποκάλυψιςapocálypsis, from ἀπό and καλύπτω meaning ‘un-covering’), translated literally from Greek, is a disclosure of knowledge, i.e., a lifting of the veil or revelation, although this sense did not enter English until the 14th century. In religious contexts it is usually a disclosure of something hidden. In the Revelation of John (Greek Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰωάννου, Apocalypsis Ioannou), the last book of the New Testament, the revelation which John receives is that of the ultimate victory of good over evil and the end of the present age, and that is the primary meaning of the term, one that dates to 1175. Today, it is commonly used in reference to any prophetic revelation or so-called End Time scenario, or to the end of the world in general.
As you can see, for a singularly long period of time, the word didn’t mean ‘the end of the world’ – it just meant a revelation, an ‘uncovering of knowledge.’ And yet, when you ask someone what’s the first thing they think of when they hear the word, it’s inevitably the end of the world… and for a large portion of those respondents, it’ll have something to do with zombies.
Which is great for us zombie authors.
I think there’s more to be told in the “apocalypse genre” that has more to do with the original meaning, though. I’m not saying I’m the one to write it, but I believe there are lots more stories to be told. And who’s to say the end of the world has to be a bad thing? Maybe we’ll all evolve into non-corporeal beings, leaving our useless flesh behind, not to mention our sidewalks, our buildings, our monuments to progress and civilization…
…and maybe that’s what happened in this short film called “Hypocentre” by Claire & Maxime. It’s haunting, beautiful, and makes me want to write the story. Does it inspire you? If so, how? Let us all know in the comments.