Category Archives: catastrophe

“After a Judgment Day,” Edmond Hamilton, 1963

“After a Judgment Day,” Edmond Hamilton, 1963 — Fallout has mutated harmless bacteria into the A-Plague, which wipes out humanity.  Five men on a lunar outpost have been engaged in sending out “cyborgs” to explore various planets.  Three return home … Continue reading

Posted in 1960-1969, astronauts, catastrophe, cyborgs/posthumans, death/immortality, disease/plague, museums/artifacts, suicide | Leave a comment

“Plenitude,” Will Worthington (Will Mohler), 1959

“Plenitude,” Will Worthington (Will Mohler), 1959 —  A family ekes out a hard life on the mountainside.  Opens with a young boy, Mike, asking his father “why, why,” as the father works on his garden. The child’s curiosity is deceptively … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, catastrophe, class/labor/"work", consumerism, gender, identity/authenticity, love/family/children, male anxiety, masculinity, museums/artifacts, natural/artificial, progress/obsolescence, reality/VR/surreal, senses/space, television, Uncategorized, violence | Leave a comment

“As Simple As That,” Zenna Henderson, 1971

“As Simple As That,” Zenna Henderson, 1971 — Children use class essays to retell the story of “What Happened?” to cause the “Torn Time.” Comments: Read in the Norton Anthology of Science Fiction.  Themes of catastrophe, history, education, children.  Geology … Continue reading

Posted in 1970-1979, catastrophe, education, geology, love/family/children, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“The First Canticle,” Walter M. Miller, Jr, 1955

“The First Canticle,” Walter M. Miller, Jr, 1955 — Wikipedia: “Set in a Catholic monastery in the desert of the southwestern United States after a devastating nuclear war, the story spans thousands of years as civilization rebuilds itself. The monks … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, catastrophe, favorites, knowledge/truth/epistemology, language/libraries, memory, museums/artifacts, primitive/civilized, religion/soul/spirituality, scientific ethics, the scientist, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“The Star,” Arthur C. Clarke, 1955

“The Star,” Arthur C. Clarke, 1955 — Three thousand light-years away from the Vatican, a Jesuit astrophysicist comments on the depression of the crew, now that they have learned a disturbing truth which is initially concealed from the reader.  He … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, agency/will/freedom, astronauts, catastrophe, hubris/pride, mourning/grief, religion/soul/spirituality, space exploration, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“The Last Night of Summer,” Alfred Coppel, 1954

“The Last Night of Summer,” Alfred Coppel, 1954 — In Henderson’s reality, the Earth is about to be hit by a supernova or solar flare.  Henderson gives up his passes to the underground safehouse (and takes his ex-wife’s pass) to … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, catastrophe, love/family/children | Leave a comment

“A Bad Day for Sales,” Fritz Leiber, 1953

“A Bad Day for Sales,” Fritz Leiber, 1953 – Robie the robot, the first robotic vending machine, mindlessly tries to peddle his wares to the dead and dying in a city destroyed by a nuclear explosion. Comments: Read in Great … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, automata/robots, catastrophe, consumerism, favorites, media/advertising, satire | Leave a comment

“The Morning of the Day They Did It,” E. B. White, 1950

“The Morning of the Day They Did It,” E. B. White, 1950 – Technology has progressed to the point where food has become toxic, everyone must take Anti-Tri-D shots, euthanasia is advertised on television, culture has been “debased,” and visual … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, american culture, catastrophe, death/immortality, drugs/pharma, ecology/the environment, media/advertising, progress/obsolescence, space exploration, suicide, television, war/soldiers | Leave a comment

“Not With a Bang,” Damon Knight, 1950

“Not with a Bang,” Damon Knight, 1950 – A man and woman are all that remains of humanity.  The man, a misogynist, cajoles the traumatized young woman into “marrying” him so that they might repopulate the earth.  As he fantasizes … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, catastrophe, disease/plague, gender, masculinity, race/civil rights, satire, the body, violence | Leave a comment

“N Day,” Philip Latham, 1946

“N Day,” Philip Latham, 1946 – (Robert Shirley Richardson) A timid astronomer discovers that the sun will go nova soon.  Suddenly, nothing matters, and he’s able to stand up to the university president.  He gives an interview to the papers, … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, catastrophe, hubris/pride, psych/mind/madness | Leave a comment

“Vintage Season,” C. L. Moore, 1946

“Vintage Season,” Moore and Kuttner, 1946 – Time travelers who consume “catastrophe” as an aesthetic experience visit a city about to be destroyed by an asteroid.  With them is a composer who will memorialize the event through a 3D “operatic” … Continue reading

Posted in 1946-1959, aesthetics/beauty, artists/creativity, atomic bomb/Hiroshima, catastrophe, distance, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, knowledge/truth/epistemology, music, photo/film/image, spectatorship/voyeurism, the body, the gaze, the Other, time/history/causality, tourists | Leave a comment

“Minus Planet,” John D. Clark, 1937

“Minus Planet,” John D. Clark, 1937 – A planet made of negative neutrons is headed toward the sun, which its (anti?) matter will consume. An international or intra-solar (?) council of scientists is convened.  They suggest that the moon should … Continue reading

Posted in 1926-1939, catastrophe, religion/soul/spirituality, the scientist | Leave a comment

“Finis,” Frank Lillie Pollack, 1906

“Finis,” Frank Lillie Pollack, 1906 — A curious public waits through the night to catch a glimpse of a new star that has been predicted to appear.  However, when the light from the star reaches earth its heat destroys the … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, catastrophe, genrecraft, hubris/pride, international, love/family/children, memory | Leave a comment

“The Machine Stops,” E. M. Forster, 1909

“The Machine Stops,” E. M. Forster, first publ. 1909 (re-printed 1928) – A “rational” society becomes completely dependent on the machine that cares for them in their underground pods. A young man–whose mother spends her day in a “hexagonal” room, … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, catastrophe, cities/architecture/habitats, emotions/intimacy/empathy, favorites, genrecraft, international, knowledge/truth/epistemology, love/family/children, masculinity, mechanization, natural/artificial, photo/film/image, progress/obsolescence, religion/soul/spirituality, senses/space, the body, the scientist | Leave a comment

“The Star,” H. G. Wells, 1897

“The Star,” H G Wells, 1897 – (first published in the Christmas issue of Graphic).  A comet disrupts the orbit of Jupiter and veers close to Earth, causing environmental catastrophes and leaving few human survivors. The inhabitants of Earth respond … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, catastrophe, hubris/pride, international | Leave a comment