Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The End of the World Measured in Values of N, by Adam-Troy Castro


(Apocalypse) The world just came to an end N seconds ago. We discuss that for different values of N. (1,959 words; Time: 06m)

"The End of the World Measured in Values of N," by (edited by John Joseph Adams), appeared in issue 122, published on .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Review: 2020.366 (A Word for Authors)

Pro: It’s a fair summary of how most end-of-the-world stories play out.

Con: The scenarios only work if the end of the world is coming and everyone believes it. But, based on recent history, half the population will flatly deny it, and most of the rest will have their doubts. The 10% that’s absolutely sure might do some of the things described here, but the 5% that already believe the world is ending don’t do them now, so I’m skeptical.

History shows that when people in a city know that an army is coming that will destroy everything and there’s nowhere to run, they just keep doing their jobs more or less like normal. Read Tolstoy’s account of the last day of Moscow before Napoleon arrived. Or accounts of Atlanta before Sherman burned it. On that basis, On the Beach, by Nevil Shute is more realistic.

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