This is the Darkest Timeline

January 20, 2017 | Andrea

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Just when you thought we've played all the hunger games, run through all the mazes and mapped all divergent paths, dystopian and apocalyptic futures are trendy again! But they never really go out of style – in 1826, Mary Shelley wrote The Last Man, envisioning the end of the 21st century as a world ravaged by plague and divided into warring factions. The popularity of the genre has waxed and waned throughout history, since periods of social strife see an accompanying rise in reader interest. With upcoming film and television adaptations of The Handmaid's Tale, The Dark Tower and Ready Player One, it's time to venture into brave new worlds!

Prepare for the journey with these older, still relevant and possibly prescient titles:

Collapse - How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond  Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett   The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer  Odds Against Tomorrow by Nathaniel Rich

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond

Embark on a sobering tour of Easter Island, Greenland and other collapsed societies in this engaging exploration of past civilizations and the factors that destroyed them. Diamond, a geography professor, focuses on environmental and infrastructural issues and relates them to the fate of vanished cultures. He also examines the crises faced by the modern world. His book is worth reading to find out how he proposes we can ensure humanity’s survival and avert bringing apocalypse down on ourselves.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

An angel and a demon team up to save the world. As the respective representatives of God and Satan, Aziraphale and Crowley have been living on the mortal plane and keeping an eye out for the appearance of the Antichrist. However, the two have become unlikely friends... and also rather fond of humanity. Finding comedy in a subject as grave as the end of days may sound like a difficult feat, but this collaboration between two of speculative fiction's wittiest writers offers a hilarious take on the apocalypse – and its postponement. In a timely announcement, Amazon Studios revealed yesterday that a limited TV series is a go.

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

A Newbery Honour book about a future nation that springs up between Mexico and the United States, and the clone of the drug lord who rules it.

Odds Against Tomorrow by Nathaniel Rich

A mathematician is hired by a mysterious company called FutureWorld to calculate worst-case scenarios: ecological collapse, global war and all that jazz!

Related posts:

Apocalypse Now?
The Future is Scary: Dystopian Reading 
The Bleaker, The Better: More Dystopian Reads
Cli-Fi: A Fiction Genre for Climate Change
We Recommend: Dystopian Fiction