Tag Archives: apocalypse

The One Thing I’d Get During an Apocalypse

I’m writing this on Saturday, when the Super Moon is getting eclipsed, and all I can think about is the end of the world. Namely, the one thing I’d want to have with me in the event of a serious, bad apocalypse. In addition to the sensible running shoes and outdoor clothes I’d of course already be equipped with, I’d run back into the burning city for one thing.

There are a lot of good contenders: a fire starter would be clever, some kind of water-cleaning device, perhaps a camping tent. A can opener would have its uses for a long time. A good knife, always handy. But as a female apocalypse-survivor, there is one luxury that would really make survival 100 times better.

Hair ties.

hair ties for the apocalypse

Yup, those things (and preferably on a convenient clip just like this)! Absolutely essential. My day is practically over if I lose mine. You always see women in adventure shows with their hair down and flowing, and let me tell you, that’s a surefire way to get your hair tangled as heck, caught in some twigs, or at the very least annoyingly frizzy. And I’ve tried those complicated faux-Greek hairstyles where they “don’t use a tie” or just a leather thong or whatever, but I assure you, there’s really nothing as good as a nice elastic hair tie. I wouldn’t want to be in an apocalypse without it.

Besides, this comic by Kevin Warren has it about right:

Kevin Warren wonder woman scrunchie

Wonder Woman art by Kevin Warren

What one thing would make the apocalypse almost survivable for you? Share your best ideas!

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What Will You Miss After the Apocalypse?

I recently read Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam, the final in her post-apocalyptic trilogy of the same name. It’s set about a year after 99.9% of humanity died off, and the remaining survivors are just trying to get by. They are mostly safe and have the basics down, but the narrator of this third book periodically pines for some of the comforts lost–probably forever (things do look pretty bleak).

One sort-of funny moment comes when the women of the camp get excited about the arrival of a bunch of scavenged “feminine products.” They’re practically giddy and collected far more than they can use in a years’ time.
Which made me think: What small pleasure would I miss the most?
For me, without question, it is going to be my hair loops. Those little rings of elastic are sanity-savers for me. It isn’t even end-times and I already fight with my cat for possession of each one! I keep a spare in my purse at all times, and another is probably either on my hair or around my wrist, just in case. Since I probably wouldn’t be able to get regular haircuts in the dystopian future, those hair loops are going to take on additional importance.
But considering their tendency to snap at the worst possible times, they won’t be around for long after the Age of Man is over. …I’d better start storing up, actually…
So what will you miss, beyond the obvious stuff, like food and running water?


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Review: The Year of the Flood

The Year of the Flood (MaddAddam Trilogy, #2)The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Once again, Atwood demonstrates her incredible command of language as well as her abilities with speculative fiction with The Year of the Flood, a not-quite-sequel to Oryx and Crake (and presumably a not-quite-prequel to MaddAddam, which comes out in September). They’re all based in the same destroyed Earth, and some characters overlap, but the stories could potentially be read as stand-alone pieces.

The Year of the Flood follows two survivors of “The Waterless Flood,” a global pandemic that has wiped out most, if not all, of humanity. The two women, Ren and Toby, independently survive with luck, flexibility to circumstance, and their shared background in God’s Gardeners, an environmentalist cult that had predicted some kind of human-ending “flood” and preached that their believers would be the ones to populate and tend the “new Eden” to come.

Not only is The Year of the Flood an intriguing story, it also is a warning: about caring for our environment, treating our food sources with respect, the dangers of the growth of megacorps and the privatization of public entities, genetic modification, experimentation divorcing from ethics, and the divide between rich and poor. (All that, and probably a bit more, really is in this book. If you are a huge fan of processed chicken and cutting down trees, this really isn’t the book for you–or is, if you don’t mind changing your habits.)

Atwood’s extensive research shines when it comes to God’s Gardeners. Rather than traditional saints, the Gardeners have environmentalists, famous and lesser-known, as their totems. Atwood, through Gardener leader Adam One, creates sermons dedicated to some of these environmentalist saints, weaving the events of the novel in with the history of the real-world environmentalists. She even includes hymns written for these holy days–and you can buy the CD on her website.

She has also clearly done research on plant-based remedies, beekeeping (I wonder if she and Neil Gaiman bond over that?), general plant care, and endangered species. (Side note: I sort of hope the twisted-but-awesome “Extinctathon” game she included in the book becomes real some day, though I hope far fewer real animals get added to the list).

Her world-building is nothing short of epic…but that made the problems I saw all the more jarring.

(Spoilers below)

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