Monday, 6 July 2015

Apoemalypse. Armversegeddon. Three Poems About the Apocalypse.

Today we've got another taster in the run up to the Apocalypse track at Nine Worlds Geekfest. This time, a series of apocalyptic poems by Matt Wieteska. Matt is one of the writers behind, among other things, Zombies, Run!, an app that takes your regular morning jog and turns into a harrowing dash for survival. Matt is going to be at Nine Worlds this year talking to us about zombies and apocalypse survival. Come see him at our Zombie Breakfast and Ragnarok sessions!

we were in the library
when the warning came,
push notifications
and staccatto vibrations
crying out table to table

it took us a moment to believe it
still whispering, despite our panic, because
there are some rules you just can't break
and by the time we'd donned our coats
and made our way outside
we only had
five minutes left

and you asked me what I wanted to do
with the last five minutes of daylight
and though other couples did;
madly against trees and walls and even on the swing-set;
that wasn't how we were anymore

so we walked up the hill a little way
to the bench we used to sit on,
always keeping our eyes to the heavens
so as not to squander anything

and we stood there
our dirty feet on the wood

at the last minute you took my hand

the past didn't matter any more

we were watching the last of it pass towards us
through boundless space
and all we had left was the absolution of the future
which waited in the coming cold


it's probably more than most new couples get.
the shared knowledge of an unique experience.

so I suppose we're lucky
to know these subterranean walls
the time-locked doors
these panels of controls
which we hope to never use:
the furniture of our days

and the phone
which never rings

until it does
and we share that moment of disbelief
at what we're told to do

but we're well trained
and our reflexes take over.

yes, we're a perfect pair
we who have know
the wait and the authorisation codes
the recycled air and the fact that
This Is Not A Drill

except for the language barrier.
I never could read cyrillic,
and I suppose you made the first move.
but that's ok, I'm a modern guy.

the etiquette is different now
and we don't need to share an alphabet
to understand the messages we've launched
across continents
which will be known only by their effects.


the problem with it is
that by the time you recognise the signs
it's already fatal

increased body temperature
heightened pulse
a certain nervousness

there's been no cure yet found,
and the number of cases rises every second
the contagion requires barely a touch to spread

sometimes even a glance will do it
or a word out of place
you know how it is - once these things get under your skin
there's no getting rid of them

the second stage is characterised by a kind of delirium
words fail to be processed properly
and the tiniest symbols acquire supernatural importance

experts from the C.D.C estimate that in two weeks
the infection rate will be 90%
at that point it's just a matter of time

there's little that can be done now
except wait for the end
mercifully it's a quiet death

the mind fills with one object
physical needs are ignored
in favour of

the flashing of your eyes
the quiet moments before dawn

and the silence in your smile

Friday, 3 July 2015


It’s hot. Skin meltingly, eye-searingly, hot. While all sane people are moaning about this and complaining that they have to do anything except lie naked in a bath full of ice, there’s always a few smug people who say “It’s nice to get a bit of sun! It’s no big deal! It’s not the end of the world!” These people somehow think that being soaked in the radiation of a gigantic ball of nuclear fire is somehow okay just because it’s there every day. Well those sun drenched fools are wrong, and these stories prove it!
This story about a mad missionary walking a post-apocalyptic Earth takes place in a world where the sun has expanded and the planet has been singed to a crisp. Cities have burned and the seas have boiled away, while survivors scrabble about on the dusty ocean floor. The only greenery to be found here is at the bottom of the Marianas Trench.
The Midnight Sun
One of the bleakest episodes of The Twilight Zone (a series not afraid of going extremely bleak when it’s in the mood). The Earth has come off its axis and is drifting closer and closer towards the sun, resulting in a deadly heat for the people that live there.
There’s no adventure here, no hope, just a woman alone in a flat while the world melts around her. You can probably relate.
Doctor Who
The world has ended twice in Doctor Who, and both times it was for the same reason. The first time is in The Ark, in which the TARDIS lands on a generation ship fleeing an Earth that is falling into the sun, and the second time is in The End of the World, when the sun finally expands and blows the Earth to smithereens.
Even before then though, the sun has had it in for the planet. The Ark in Space (not to be confused with The Ark), The Sontaran Experiment and much later, The Beast Below, all depict a future where mankind has had to flee the planet to avoid solar flares.
In this 1961 movie it’s a nuclear blast that sends us hurtling towards the fun, with orange infused footage going somewhere to make the film feel as hot and sweaty as, y’know, reality is right now. It being the sixties they decide that the solution to the problems created by all these nuclear bombs is more nuclear bombs, but by the end of the film we never find out if the Earth is saved or doomed (although it has to be said, very few storytellers leave the ending ambiguous when they intended for something really good to have happened).
A film I originally only knew about thanks to a trailer on the Super Mario Bros. VHS that I owned, because I liked the film. There, I said it. The plan is pretty much identical to that of Sunshine (which doesn’t make the list because the sun is going cold in that one) – go to the sun and drop enough nukes on it that a solar flare will point away from the planet.
I’ve not seen this yet, but one day I plan to make it part of a Nicholas Cage apocalyptic double bill with Left Behind. A kid can predict the future. The future is a solar flare going to roast the planet. That’s all I know about this one. I bet Nicholas Cage is great in it though.

Chris Farnell is the author of Dirty Work and Mark II. He is writing this blog as a terribly exploitative way of drawing your attention to the newly released timetable for the Apocalypse track at this year’s Nine Worlds Geekfest, where there will be panels discussing post-apocalyptic survival, zombies, and how useful our stories are going to be when an actual apocalypse hits. Come along and bring plenty of sun cream.