In 1974, the board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday clock, using the imagery of apocalypse (symbolised by midnight) and a nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to demonstrate how close we are to destroying our civilization with dangerous technologies of our own making. The closer to midnight we are, the more danger we face. In 2019, according to the Doomsday Clock, it’s two minutes to midnight. Now, in the Anthropocene, the Age of the Human, we have a significant impact on ecosystems and the Earth. From the perspective of the early twenty-first century, the future of civilization looks grim due to an ecological, geopolitical and economic crisis. The aim of this study is to describe and analyse the contribution of dystopian and post-apocalyptic literature to this debate. Can the post-apocalyptic novels be used as mediums to warn and educate society about climate changes, ecological dangers, risks of technology or social issues? How does post-apocalyptic fiction help people to realize their position and impact in the epoch of the Anthropocene? How does fiction reflect the threats to humanity from the nineteenth century to the present? These are the questions discussed in the present study.
Kateřina Houfková is a PhD student of Czech Literature at the Masaryk University in Brno, the Czech Republic. Her research interest involves science fiction and, particularly, post-apocalyptic fiction. She obtained BA in Journalism and Media Studies, and MA in Czech Language and Literature at the Masaryk University. During her studies, she also focused on Czech postmodern literature and gender in literary criticism.