Monday, April 27, 2009


The swine virus is here. And it’s frightening. In apocalyptic stories this is probably the number one thing that causes the world to come to the end. I know this because in my research for my upcoming novel The End Is Now I tried to read as many apocalyptic stories as I could. I’m not an expert, I just wanted to know the structure. So, I read The Stand, Alas Babylon, Good Omens, Left Behind, The Postman, as well as watched quite a few movies with apocalyptic story lines. What I discovered was there are about five primary things that bring on the apocalypse. 

In no particular order:

1) The Rapture (Left Behind series, A Thief In The Night)

2) A Superflu Virus (I Am Legend, The Stand, Outbreak, 12 Monkeys)

3) Aliens (The Day The Earth Stood Still, Independence Day

4) Nuclear War (Alas Babylon, Terminator Series

5) Uncontrollable Force Of Nature (The Day After Tomorrow, Armageddon)  

These fears can and have caused panic and predictions of "The End Of The World." This panic is one of the themes that I explore when in my new novel. Once you read the novel I’d love to hear what you think about this.

Still, this morning, I was getting a cup of coffee from Starbucks and I saw the USA Today headline about the virus. I thought this is how it begins. And my guess is I thought this only because this is how the end would begin in a movie or a novel. But are things really coming to an end? When something like this happens do you fear the end or just keep on doing what you’re doing? 

I’m just curious.  


Kendal Franks said...

Rob, if the swine virus is the super-virus that's going to kill everyone off and/or turn everyone into zom-pires, the next sign for me would be a Randall Flagg-type figure, maybe Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Hillary Clinton? Miley Cyrus?

Rob Stennett said...

See, Kendal, there are so many to choose from. Antichrists galore. That's why it's easy for some folk to think the world is coming to an end.

Gwen said...

I think those who lived through the Black Plague would probably say the world was coming to an end. And those in 1918 with one of the last greatest epidemics. The problem with viruses is that we can't control them, even though the US has tried and done its best to. I don't think it is the "real" end of the world, but I do think we are gearing up for it! Now is a great time to get "religious" and take care of orphans and widows and keep proclaiming the name of Jesus! I can't wait to read your book!

Lisa said...

If you recently watched I am Legend, then you might enjoy some grins revisiting The Omega Man with Charlton Heston.
The only thing I am sure of is that the Swine Flu was the end of the world for some Mexicans, who left behind family it was NOT the end of the world for, and they are grieving today. The flu is hitting harder those closer to poverty than us richer with healthcare and sanitation, which suggests who is in a better position to live out practical compassion.
Every day is a version of the end of the world for about 1/4 of a million people.

Ash said...

Lisa. Your last statement is very true.

Rob. I think it's been "the end times" since Jesus took off above the clouds.

Ironically, I saw an article in the Telegraph that said "scientists believe we're overdue for a pandemic." So Gwen I agree, every generation thinks the world gets to end w/ them....good thing they weren't right, I kinda like the fact that I'm here....besides, Rob needs to write more books about people causing world havoc.

Tic tac anyone?

Amy said...

I hate rapture movies--mostly because they've got lame acting and thin plot lines. And because there was a LEFT BEHIND board game--I mean, what happens if you lose that one?

We've had other scares in the past like anthrax, the bird flu, meningitis outbreaks (ha,I was even one of the "suspected" cases!), and the like.

I really like what Lisa said because it puts the whole thing into perspective in the larger context of humanity. The sad part is how many people die every day, but it's only news if maybe, just maybe, their deaths could affect us, too.

Multiswitch said...

Hey, Rob! First of all, bag Starbucks and head over to Mountain Perks instead. Have Cassi make your coffee for you, and tell her I said that if you didn't like it you could infect her with the swine flu!

I'm stoked about your new book! Can't wait to read it. Well, can't wait 'til I can read! That's just as exciting!

Though I'm no expert on the end times, I remember one of the things that drove me to look into it was hearing/reading about Nostradamus. The interesting thing about prophecies, predictions, etc (whether from Jesus believers or believers in other things), the one common thread is that nobody had any predictions past 2012.

2012... my credit card expires then. So, that may work out. My car loan won't be paid off yet, but if I can go to heaven instead... I think I can handle that!

Later, Bro!

Obarwan Kenobar said...

Oops. Sorry. My codename is Multiswitch.

Lydia said...

The media is about controling the public. There will always be this kind of thing being cited as "the most deadly virus in the history of mankind," and you will always have some politician standing on a box and shouting that this can only be fixed if we give the government totalitarian power. Like the G'mork says, "...People who have no hopes are easy to control; and whoever has the control has the power."

(Personally, I'm hoping for something like the Bliss narcotic from Doctor Who that just kills everyone in three minutes flat.)

DG719 said...

I'm not sure that these are the end times, but I do know that we've got to take action. Whether or not these are our last days, maybe this is a wake up call from God. I think that we've been dragging our feet for too long. I admit to being worried when I first heard about this, but then I realized something: When it's our time to die, then that is out of our control. However, I personally don't believe that this virus is really going to hit us as hard as the media keeps telling us. I agree with some of the other comments, we have had so many other cases where everyone was certain the world was going to end from a previous virus or disease. This just shows that it's time to pick up our feet.

Chris said...


Good post, I am looking forward to your next read.

But, what's this "swine virus" that you speak of? I'm not familiar.

Living in Texas, North Fort Worth specifically, you would think that the sky is falling. Schools are shutting down. Annual celebrations of Mexican holidays are being canceled, and people are freaking out...seriously. I think looting, burning houses and mass panic and hysteria are next. I heard two gunshots out my back door last night. However, I did not investigate this suspicious noise, because as you know... this is how the actor cast as "camper #3" always meets his end.

In any event, I am definitely leaning towards the side that says, it's not the end of the world. The media is just reaaaaallllly bored.