quotes of the day...apocolypse


Avoid A Void
The more I think of a people calmly developing, in regions excluded from
our sight and deemed uninhabitable by our sages, powers surpassing our
most disciplined modes of force, and virtues to which our life, social and
political, becomes antagonistic in proportion as our civilisation advances—
the more devoutly I pray that ages may yet elapse before there emerge into
sunlight our inevitable destroyers.
—Edward Bulwer-Lytton, The Coming Race (1871)

The darkness grew apace; a cold wind began to blow in freshening gusts
from the east, and the showering white flakes in the air increased in number.
From the edge of the sea came a ripple and whisper. Beyond these lifeless
sounds the world was silent. Silent? It would be hard to convey the stillness of
it. All the sounds of man, the bleating of sheep, the cries of birds, the hum of
insects, the stir that makes the background of our lives—all that was over.
—H. G.Wells, The Time Machine: An Invention (1895)

How small the vastest of human catastrophes may seem, at a distance of a few million miles.
—H. G.Wells, ‘‘The Star’’ (1897)

I felt the first inkling of a thing that presently grew quite clear in my mind,
that oppressed me for many days, a sense of dethronement, a persuasion
that I was no longer a master, but an animal among the animals, under the
Martian heel.With us it would be as with them, to lurk and watch, to run
and hide; the fear and empire of man had passed away.
—H. G.Wells, TheWar of theWorlds (1898)

By millions of years, time winged onward through eternity, to the end—the
end, of which, in the old-earth days, I had thought remotely, and in hazily
speculative fashion. And now, it was approaching in a manner of which none
had ever dreamed.
—William Hope Hodgson, The House on the Borderland (1908)

The world was held in a savage gloom—cold and intolerable. Outside, all
was quiet—quiet! From the dark room behind me, came the occasional, soft
thud of falling matter—fragments of rotting stone. So time passed, and night
grasped the world, wrapping it in wrappings of impenetrable blackness.
—William Hope Hodgson, The House on the Borderland (1908)

Every time we mention the world, we must remember it is going to end.
—Edwin Balmer and PhilipWylie, WhenWorlds Collide (1932)

It is a new intoxication—annihilation. It multiplies every emotion.
—Edwin Balmer and PhilipWylie, WhenWorlds Collide (1932)

‘‘This storm you talk of . . .’’
‘‘It will be such a one, my son, as the world has not seen before. There will
be no safety by arms, no help from authority, no answer in science. It will
rage till every flower of culture is trampled, and all human things are leveled
in a vast chaos.’’
—James Hilton, Lost Horizon (1933)

This is written in the elder days as the Earth rides close to the rim of eternity,
edging nearer to the dying Sun, into which her two inner companions of the
solar system have already plunged to a fiery death. The Twilight of the Gods
is history; and our planet drifts on and on into that oblivion from which
nothing escapes, to which time itself may be dedicated in the final cosmic
—Clifford D. Simak, ‘‘The Creator’’ (1935)

Even if this is the end of humankind, we dare not take away the chances
some other life-form might have to succeed where we failed. If we retaliate,
there will not be a dog, a deer, an ape, a bird or fish or lizard to carry the
evolutionary torch. In the name of justice, if we must condemn and destroy
ourselves, let us not condemn all life along with us! We are heavy enough
with sins. If we must destroy, let us stop with destroying ourselves!
—Theodore Sturgeon, ‘‘Thunder and Roses’’ (1947)

‘‘Look,’’ whispered Chuck, and George lifted his eyes to heaven. (There is
always a last time for everything.)
Overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out.
—Arthur C. Clarke, ‘‘The Nine Billion Names of God’’ (1952)

They are so confident that they will run on forever. But they won’t run on.
They don’t know that this is all one huge big blazing meteor that makes a
pretty fire in space, but that some day it’ll have to hit.
—Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (1954)

The intense heat is turning Metaluna into a radio-active sun. The temperature
must be thousands of degrees by now. A lifeless planet. And still, its existence
is useful to someone. As a sun, its heat is, I hope, warming the surface of
some other world, giving light and warmth to those who may need it.
—Franklin Coen and Edward G. O’Callaghan, This Island Earth
(film, 1955)

The world had gone darker and grimmer and heavier in this moment while
history turned around me in the silence and the night. A new world lay
ahead. All I could be sure of was that it would be a harsh world, full of sweat
and bloodshed and uncertainty. But a real world, breathing and alive.
—C. L. Moore, Doomsday Morning (1957)

The Planet drifts to random insect doom.
—William S. Burroughs, Naked Lunch (1959)

So he left the lagoon and entered the jungle again, within a few days was
completely lost, following the lagoons southward through the increasing rain
and heat, attacked by alligators and giant bats, a second Adam searching for
the forgotten paradises of the reborn Sun.
—J. G. Ballard, The Drowned World (1962)

I, uh, don’t think it’s quite fair to condemn a whole program because of a
single slip-up, sir.
—Stanley Kubrick, Terry Southern, and Peter George, Dr. Strangelove,
or, How I Learned to StopWorrying and Love the Bomb (film, 1963)

A terrible cold world of ice and death had replaced the living world we had
always known. Outside there was only the deadly cold, the frozen vacuum of
an ice age, life reduced to mineral crystals. [. . .] I drove at great speed, as if escaping, pretending we could escape. Although I knew there was no escape from the ice, from the ever-diminishing remnant of time that encapsuled us.
—Anna Kavan, Ice (1967)

She thinks of the Heat Death of the Universe. A logarithmic of those late
summer days, endless as the Irish serpent twisting through jewelled manuscripts
forever, tail in mouth, the heat pressing, bloating, doing violence.
The Los Angeles sky becomes so filled and bleached with detritus that it
loses all colour and silvers like a mirror, reflecting back the fricasseeing
earth. Everything becomes warmer and warmer, each particle of matter
becoming more agitated, more excited until the bonds shatter, the glues fail,
the deodorants lose their seals. She imagines the whole of New York City
melting like a Dali into a great chocolate mass, a great soup, the Great Soup
of New York.
—Pamela Zoline, ‘‘The Heat Death of the Universe’’ (1967)

Silence. It flashed from the woodwork and the walls; it smote him with an
awful, total power, as if generated by a vast mill. It rose from the floor, up out
of the tattered gray wall-to-wall carpeting. It unleashed itself from the broken
and semi-broken appliances in the kitchen, the dead machines which hadn’t
worked in all the time Isidore had lived here. From the useless pole lamp in
the living room it oozed out, meshing with the empty and wordless descent
of itself from the fly-specked ceiling. It managed in fact to emerge from every
object within his range of vision, as if it—the silence—meant to supplant all
things tangible. Hence it assailed not only his ears but his eyes; as he stood by the inert TV set he experienced the silence as visible and, in its own way, alive. Alive! He had often felt its austere approach before; when it came it burst in without subtlety, evidently unable to wait. The silence of the world could not rein back its greed. Not any longer. Not when it had virtually won.
—Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)

Various Horsemen are abroad, doing their various Apocalyptic things.
—George Alec Effinger, ‘‘Wednesday, November 15, 1967’’ (1971)

The line between inner and outer landscapes is breaking down. Earthquakes
can result from seismic upheavals within the human mind. The whole
random universe of the industrial age is breaking down into cryptic
—William S. Burroughs, preface to Love and Napalm: Export U.S.A.
by J. G. Ballard (1972)

In his mind Vaughan saw the whole world dying in a simultaneous automobile
disaster, millions of vehicles hurled together in a terminal congress of
spurting loins and engine coolant.
—J. G. Ballard, Crash (1973)

The past seems like a long horror story of grinding toil, men and women
teeming like rodents—and, of course, the final self-inflicted end as the world
went up in flames, roasting the men and women in it like the corpses of
animals over one of their own spits.
—Hilary Bailey, ‘‘The Ramparts’’ (1974)

Let me tell you about the end of the world. It happened fifty years ago. Maybe
a hundred. And since then it’s been lovely. I mean it. Nobody tries to bother
you. You can relax. You know what? I like the end of the world.
—Thomas M. Disch, 334 (1974)

The day came. The wrath descended. Sin, guilt, and retribution? The manic
psychoses of those entities we referred to as states, institutions, systems—the
powers, the thrones, the dominations—the things which perpetually merge
with men and emerge from them? Our darkness, externalized and visible?
However you look upon these matters, the critical point was reached. The
wrath descended.
—Philip K. Dick and Roger Zelazny, Deus Irae (1976)

The catastrophe story, whoever may tell it, represents a constructive and
positive act by the imagination rather than a negative one, an attempt to
confront the terrifying void of a patently meaningless universe by challenging
it at its own game. [. . .] Each one of these fantasies represents an arraignment
of the finite, an attempt to dismantle the formal structure of time and
space which the universe wraps around us at the moment we first achieve
—J. G. Ballard, ‘‘Cataclysms and Dooms’’ (1977)

Nothing like a little cosmic cataclysm to take my mind off jammed sinuses.
—Edward Bryant, ‘‘Particle Theory’’ (1977)

I can see we’re in for a fabulous evening’s apocalypse.
—Douglas Adams, ‘‘Fit the Fifth,’’ episode of The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide
to the Galaxy (radio series, 1978)

Apocalypse is the eye of a needle, through which we pass into a different
—George Zebrowski, Macrolife (1979)

Kids! Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous. Do not attempt it in
your own home.
—Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate
Prophecies of Agnes Nutter,Witch (1990)

Some people dote on contemplating disasters.
—William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, The Difference Engine (1991)

Chaos is found in greatest abundance wherever order is being sought. It
always defeats order, because it is better organized.
—Terry Pratchett, Interesting Times (1995)

Night is falling. The gods have left us for those who please them better. Our
time in the world is passed, and we are as wasted as the wind against the
mountains. Shadows are falling, the gods have left us.
—Jim Grimsley, ‘‘Free in Asveroth’’ (1998)

If you look at the whole life of the planet, we—you know, Man—has only
been around for a few blinks of an eye. So if the infection wipes us all out,
that is a return to normality.
—Alex Garland, 28 Days Later (film, 2002)