Disaster fiction is a British staple. There’s probably some kind of deep-rooted psychological reason for it. Maybe deep down we feel we need to be punished for the slave trade or something. Or, possibly, we react to the fact that we’re an almost completely earthquake-free, monsoon-free, hurricane-free, Ebola-free and rabies-free chunk of rock in a temperate zone. We imagine great natural (or unnatural) disasters because we’ll never actually experience them. Literary survivors’ guilt.
And so it is that we get the novels of John Wyndham and JG Ballard (including, naturally, THE DROWNED WORLD), and TV shows like THE SURVIVORS and THE LAST TRAIN, a rich skein of fiction that runs all the way back to Richard Jeffries’ AFTER LONDON and 1825, when Mary Shelley wrote THE LAST MAN.
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And FREAKANGELS. My personal drowned London, built off speculative floodmaps and a lifetime of looking at the river and wondering when it’s going to try and kill us, peopled with refugees from British disaster stories trying to build a life to the soundtrack of the Clash’s “London Calling.” You remember that song? “London is drowning, and I… I live by the river.”
See you next week.