Daydreaming of Apocalypse

Why do we crave dystopia?

Despite claims that readers would turn away from post-apocalyptic fiction during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the genre has continued to thrive. The popularity of post-apocalyptic narratives raises questions about why people are fascinated by fictional narratives of doom in times of trouble, and whether it is a form of escapism or a desire to come to terms with an unpredictable, dangerous world. The current climate crisis has made it difficult to imagine that our familiar world will continue, and the universal relevance of apocalypse creates the conditions for two antithetical forms of cultural engagement: utopian impulse and fantasy-as-wish-fulfillment, writes Florian Mussgnug.


With daily news of war, atrocity, earthquakes, cyclones, and record-breaking temperatures, who needs fictional narratives of apocalypse? During the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, a version of this question enjoyed unexpected popularity. Cultural pundits claimed t

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