Is Zom-poc/post-apoc the genre for misanthropes?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Ian Keldon, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    TEOTWAWKI books, films, etc have never been more popular, and I think I know why. I see a LOT of crossover between Poc fans and "preppers". I've visited a few prepper sites, and listened to preppers talk. I know a few preppers, even.

    One of the themes that comes up over and over and over in a lot of prepper circles is a certain barely hidden sense of anticipation over the idea that our civilization could collaspe either from within or without, resulting in the deaths of the overwhelming majority of the population...except for those virtuous souls of course who are "prepared". Everyone else? The world is better off w/o them.

    Are any of your "preppers"? Are you also Poc fans? Do you know any? Would they, if they were honest, agree with what I said?
     
  2. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Except... the key feature in a lot of those works is that the protagonist is completely unprepared because they miss (via plot device) the start of the end of the world - 28 days later and the walking dead are maybe the most popular of the current way and they both start like this (in turn borrowing from day of the triffids and other cosy catastrophe works).
     
  3. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Precisely. Zombie apocalypse and/or apocalypse stories tend not to be about people who have been waiting for the inevitable, but ordinary people who have risen to the occasion. Walking Dead's protagonist was a cop, Falling Skies' a history professor.

    And sometimes they make the point that misanthropic behaviour, though couched in language of being the 'right' thing to do, can just be the self-justifying ranting of a disturbed mind.
    This is essentially Shane's role.

    There is a whole fandom built around the question of 'what if' there was a zombie apocalypse and 'being ready' for it, which is just an odd hobby, I guess.
     
  4. Derishton

    Derishton Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Wouldn't narratives about people who are unprepared but who succeed through a sharp learning curve be exactly the kind of narratives preppers would like? We don't always seek out stories that are exactly what we expect, but stories that are sideways to them: cautionary tales, stories that paradoxically confirm the need to prepare by showing someone who is not prepared (but who has secret reserves of strength and resourcefulness which allow him or her to prosper against the odds, while everyone else dies around them).
     
  5. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I never did much care for all this zombie crap. It's all the same - zombie apocalypse breaks out, everyone either dies or becomes a zombie (or both), end of show or film. By definition, zombie shows and films can never end well, so I don't like 'em.

    The only exception is Philip Nutman's novel Wet Work. I would love to see this filmed. The difference in this one is, there are different 'stages' of dead, if that makes any sense. Some of the zombies are slow (and dumb), some are fast (and still dumb), and some even retain their full intelligence, consciousness and personality - they are, basically, just like living people; except, well, they eat brainz and all that. These smart zombies even take over the government, which they rename the 'United States of Hell'.
     
  6. Robert D. Robot

    Robert D. Robot Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^Are these smart zombies available any time soon to take over from the slow, dumb zombies that we have in office now who are currently holding up government from functioning?
     
  7. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh absolutely. It's pretty obvious that zombie survivalists enjoy zombie fiction. But I don't think necesarily that kind of fiction validates misanthropic behaviour - it can, but it need not.

    So basically Matheson's I Am Legend.
     
  8. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    I'm not saying that it "validates" misanthropy. I'm just reporting that I see what appears to be a correlation between a love of Poc fiction and a general shall we say "jaundiced" view of civilization.
     
  9. Yminale

    Yminale Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    1. Yes
    2. NO
    3. Yeah too many
    4. I would say the Christians/Racists are the worse but they are the minority. One of the thing about prepping is you find out you are not alone and that forming a group/community is essential for survival. What I find weird is that there aren't many generalist. It's either they are prepping for some extreme natural disaster (flood, mega quake, mega volcano) or plague or nuclear war or the economic collapse of society. Honestly your chance of surviving something that big is close to ZERO even if you are prepared. I know some "zombie" preppers. Real nice people with a good attitude and always open to suggestion.

    Me I prepp for the small things, blizzards, power outages, epidemics stuff that require you to survive for less than 3 weeks.
     
  10. Yminale

    Yminale Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There was an essay I think on IO9 that discussed this topic. It's strange but apocalyptic fiction is popular with both liberals and conservatives. Probably because both groups think that society is completely screwed up and they are both moral absolutists. Plus as a bonus, in the post-apoc world they can established society as it should be.

    Reality is going to be like the "The Road" except a million times worse. Modern humans are not capable of surviving without civilization. So called survialist don't the have skills or the experience the ancient hunter-gathers had.
     
  11. doubleohfive

    doubleohfive Fleet Admiral

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    Yeah, but you're coming at it from an extremely closed-minded and two-valued perspective. To you, it has to be either one thing or the other, without any room for compromise, and that's disingenuous and hardly fair to assume.

    I'm honestly not saying that to be insulting; its just been my experience thus far that you make up your mind about something and then can't be swayed no matter how reasonable, plausible or just obvious the evidence/argument may be.

    I myself was completely nonplussed by the idea of The Walking Dead until this past summer when I finally sat down to watch it; it's now one of my favorite shows. Not because it's about zombies (which I don't really care for, to be honest) or because its a post-apocalypse show, but because of the characters themselves and how they handle their predicament each week. Rick, Carl, Daryl, Merle, Michonne and Andrea are endlessly interesting to me in therms of what drives them while people like Shane, the Governor, Dale, Lori et al each have their own agendas or motivations and whether or not they coincide with everyone's primary goal - survival - is fun to watch.

    I do not believe at all zombie fiction or "end of the world" stories are indicative or a leaning toward misanthropy at all. As we have seen it (this subgenre) is not for everyone, and that's ok. If you don't like it, that's not a bad thing nor does it mean that I'm a misanthrope because I enjoy it.
     
  12. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    That last sentence is I think the key. Maybe I've just encountered the "fringes" of the Prepper movement, but I really do get the sense that they really want some sort of apocalypse to happen so that they can do exactly that.

    This I think is true. I know I won't be there to find out (being an insulin-dependent diabetic with physical problems means I'll be among the first to die should the SHTF).
     
  13. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    I enjoy apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic fiction (books, TV shows, movies, video games, etc.) but I am not a survivalist, I don't want to see civilization destroyed, and I'm not a misanthrope. It's just fantasy. It's a way to take characters out of a typical contemporary setting without stretching one's suspension of disbelief as much as, say, a space opera or high fantasy.
     
  14. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Quite.

    The thing about a zombie apocalypse in particular is it's very low on the fantasy spectrum. It's not alien races and new worlds or elves and dragons, it's the world we know having collapsed on itself. Suspension of disbelief is required but the characters are much closer to us than they would be in many other SF&F settings. I think that's an enormous part of the appeal.

    Yeah, they're not the original hunter gatherers, even if fate requires them to live not much better than those. But neither are we.
     
  15. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    Exactly. It's much more relatable. "That could be me, out of my depth, trying to fend off zombies!"

    I do think the OP is taking his premise a bit too far, in thinking that enjoying a particular kind of fiction means you'd actually like to see it come to fruition. As a counterexample, a lot of people enjoy high fantasy, with kings, magic, dragons, powerful guilds, and all that jazz. Does that mean people who enjoy it really do support monarchy and mysticism, and wish giant lizards would rain fire upon us all? Of course not.
     
  16. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    ^Hey, like I said, I'm not implying "causality". I'm just asking if there is a connection between the mindsets. I've also noticed a tendency among Trek fans to be technophiles. (That being ironic since one of the prime lessons Trek imparts is to be wary of technology and to hold on to one's humanity.)
     
  17. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    It took me half the thread to figure out what "prepper" meant. I was picturing a bunch of stuck-up preppy hipsters standing in line for the zombie apocalypse at the Apple store.
     
  18. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Star Trek is very pro-technology as a rule. It's just not pro-technology at the expense of one's humanity. Kirk might freak out at Roger Korby's android-replacing-humanity nonsense, but in the same episode he's all for phasers, communicators, teleportation and starships.
     
  19. Yminale

    Yminale Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You can explore many of the same themes presented in the "Walking dead" with a show about colonizing a new planet or being stranded on an uncharted island (*cough* Lost) except for one. The bleak reality of eventuality succumbing to the zombie horde.

    That's what I find interesting about post apocalyptic fiction. There is no hope so why is that so compelling.
     
  20. Locutus of Bored

    Locutus of Bored The Norf Remembers Moderator

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    Pro-Tip: You should stop associating your inability to separate reality from fiction with the behavior of normal adults.