Fuse #8

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Whilst listening to the audiobook of Life As We Knew It, Jen Robinson recently speculated aloud as to why it is that post-apocalyptic children's books are so doggone compelling. I see eye-to-eye with Jen on this one. I went through an interesting let's-read-all-the-post-apocalypse kidlit-we-can-get-our-hands-on phase three years ago. I was wolfing down Z for Zachariah, Eva (oh, it totally counts), Tomorrow When the War Began, Hole In the Sky, Noah's Castle (oh yeah, I got obscure), and more. Couldn't get enough.

Now it looks as if there is an answer to Jen's question in the L.A. Times piece, Boom times for the end of the world. Apparently 9/11 and fear mongering play a hand in the current upsurge. I recently met with the delightful Sue Stauffacher, and Sue happened to mention that her beautiful book Donuthead (one of those omigodyouhaven'treadthisyet? titles) was inspired in some small part by the fear surrounding the attack on the World Trade towers. How better to address such a concern than with a character afraid of absolutely everything? And if it comes down to deciding between a child named Franklin Delano Donuthead and a book where everyone's either died of a dread disease or been turned into bald deaf zombies, I know which one I'll pick.

Thanks to Bookninja for the link.

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At 1:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What good timing for this article. Thanks for the link! It sounds reasonable to me (a delayed reaction to 9/11 and other events). Although personally, I've always been fascinated with such stories, so I do think that there's something deeper at work in terms of why people like post-apocalypse stories. But I can certainly buy that current events are driving the upsurge in new books and movies and TV shows.

At 9:05 AM , Blogger david elzey said...

In high school pretty much everyone read Stephen King's The Stand when it came out (which dates me) but my preference was for Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's Lucifer's Hammer about a newly discovered comet that hits Earth and all the post-apocalyptic hysteria that ensues.

The Jimmy Carter era found a post-Watergate Cold War America feeling very cynical about the future. Movies of that decade (Soylent Green, Logan's Run, &c) though campy by today's standards are just as much mirrored in today's entertainment.

Honestly, I think that post-apocalyptic media serves as a thought-provoking framework for teens (and adults) to seriously examine their world and reason out their own viewpoints in their non-apocalyptic lives.

At 6:07 PM , Blogger RM1(SS) (ret) said...

Thanks for the list, Betsy. Like my Amazon wish list wasn't big enough already....

At 1:57 PM , Blogger Sarah Stevenson said...

Great follow-up to Jen's post. Now I totally have to read about Donuthead.


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