Why are we so fascinated by end-of-the-world stories? It’s personal.
Sci-fi is filled with apocalyptic stories, from asteroid flicks like Armageddon to zombie/plague movies such as 28 Days Later. And this end-of-world obsession is nothing new. Think back 2000 years ago to a book in the bible titled Revelation. What’s it about? Basically, the end of the world.
And now sci-fi themed website io9.com has a list of the most plausible ways that the world, as we know it (meaning human civilization) might end.
2) asteroid/comet impact
3) large igneous province (not a volcano, but a crack in the earth that oozes lava and toxic gases
4) climate change
5) radiation disaster, either nuclear war or a gamma ray burst from space
6) an invasive species that upsets the natural ecosystem and ruins our food supply
7) a black swan, or, something we have no way of accounting for (think The Terminator movies)
The point is we love to think about the world’s end. But why? I believe it’s because our world will truly end one day (at least on Earth). We will all die. That fact is inescapable, and it’s burdensome to think about it every day. Still, it’s there, and it seeps out into mass culture through armageddon stories.
We can’t change this fact, but at least we can have fun along the way.