Sunday, April 5, 2020

Changing Up the Apocalypse

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is "Resurrections: What trope/theme did you think (or wished) had "died" only to be recently resurrected?"

I don't often have it in for tropes. After all, they're simply story constructs and are neither good nor bad, any more than paragraphs and sentences are good or bad. Everything entirely depends on the writer and what they do with the trope. As we often talk about, there are no new story ideas - the feeling of freshness comes from the author and their voice. I recently saw a review of one of my books where the reader said I revitalized a tired trope. A nice compliment, but tropes can't get tired - they just get handled in tired ways.

Anyway, since the pandemic and apocalyptic themes are on our minds, I can talk about an apocalyptic trope I've never cared for. That's the one where civilization collapses and the people who rise ascendant are the brutal men. Women automatically become rape-imperiled property and Tough Men with Big Guns battle constantly. We see this all the time and it drives me nuts. As if women are simply perched on an unsteady tech platform that can at any time tip them into a lawless world where they're dragged by the hair into caves.

Spare me. As if they educated, capable, tough women of the modern world can't figure out how not to be helpless.

What's been interesting about the COVID-19 pandemic is that the skills emerging as critical to our lives and well-being aren't prancing around in leather and shooting big guns, but the simple hearth skills like baking and sewing. We've been baking our own bread, sewing masks we can't buy, adopting home-healing remedies since we can't hit the urgent care centers.

It makes sense, too, that when we lose access to the instant gratification of civilization, we are left to create our own. I think that, in a post-apocalyptic world, the people who can create stability and safety, with decent food and the comforts of a warm home, will be the true heroes.

Doesn't make for an exciting action flick, but... well, aren't we all discovering we prefer normal life? And baked goods. :-)


  1. I think right now I would find a post-apocalyptic book about a culture of pacifist bakers and herbalists deeply comforting. Possibly even sexy.

    1. Ha! It would be, wouldn't it?? Tempting to write that!