Newman, Kim. Apocalypse Movies: End of the World Cinema. New York: St. Martin’s, 2000.
UK edition: Millennium Movies: End of the World Cinema. London: Titan,1999.
The more complicated a civilization becomes, the more fun it is to imagine the whole works going up in flames.
What if the world we know were destroyed, but you alone (or suitably partnered) survived? The commonest recurring image of the Apocalypse, in literature and film, is the dilapidated and depopulated city. As the survivors tour corpse-littered streets, we are allowed to peer at a world caught unaware by the moment of its extinction. To be the inheritor of worthless riches and an inexhaustible supply of canned food is not perhaps such an unattractive prospect.
…a half-wished for descent into the dog-eat-dog barbarity and the extermination of all the boring people in the world.
Review of Five in The New Republic
“To suppose that the atom will bring quick death for millions and a bright, clean world for a bright, clean boy and girl to repopulate is to tell a fairy story to the soft-minded.”
On The World, The Flesh, and The Devil
Buildings are left intact, but people are instantly vaporized—one wonders if the inventors of the neutron bomb were trying to mimic the effect.