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Comparative Opinions: End of the World Stories – Episode 19

Welcome to the Comparative Opinions podcast! It’s the end of the world as we know it, or at least, it might be with the election this week! In honor of that, hosts David and Holly – along with submissions from fans – lay out examples of End of the World stories, including some of our favorites. Spoilers abound for various apocalypses and post-apocalypses (and especially for the Final Fantasy XIII series)! Hopefully, we’ll all still be here to have an episode next week…

Comparative Opinions is a weekly half-hour-ish podcast hosted on ComparativeGeeks.com. Subscribe for new episodes every Sunday!

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Music is by Scott Gratton: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Gratton/Intros_and_Outros

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Cycles of Movie Ideas

Something that is interesting to notice is that it seems that movie ideas can come in cycles. Some cycles last longer than others, but they do not last forever. This concept stems from the fact that it seems that over certain time periods you will see almost the exact same concept show up in a bunch of different movies from different studios. Often you will see one or two that stand out and then the others will have fallen flat. Depending on how well the good ones do the cycle might last years or just a year.

Part of what happens during these cycles is that after watching the trailers it feels like it is all various levels of the same movie. Why do some of these cycles last longer than others? Why do the cycles seem to happen in the first place?

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Science Fiction and Religion – The Apocalypse

Is there just an apocalypse waiting?

From Avengers #3 by Jonathan Hickman.

I love Hickman’s Avengers. I’ve written about that fact before, and especially one of the things I love about his Marvel work – and his other comics – is how he works with both science and mythology. In Avengers, especially, he works on larger, over-arching mythology for the whole Marvel Universe. Its origins… and its ending.

That ending was last summer’s big crossover event, Secret Wars. I reviewed that recently. But it was a lot of time and comics leading into it, not just one crossover and everything is over. The apocalypse did not happen suddenly, although it may have felt that way if you were reading other titles… or just reading about the whole thing in the press about it.

No, in reading the whole thing, the buildup and then the collapse, I got to thinking of two things. One is the obvious, I suppose: other apocalyptic literature. Religious especially, the sort that seeps out into shows like Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We were reading a lot of the book of Daniel recently at church, and it’s also just chock full of apocalyptic dreams and visions. So the end of the world: symbolism, signs, and things that are either super literal or completely metaphorical…

The second thing I was thinking of, however, was the Final Fantasy XIII series, wherein the world ends between Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns. In particular, at the end of XIII-2, time itself ends, and the power of death along with it… but as Mr. Fantastic might say, everything dies, and ever so slowly that world does too.

Taken all together, you get what I considered as the alternate title to this blog post: how to end the universe.

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Science Fiction Today – The World of Monsters

It’s probably playing Fallout 4, but I’ve been thinking about how many visions of the future, and fantasy stories for that matter, are full of monsters. Monsters in the wild, monsters in space, monsters we become.

Maybe the classic is the Final Fantasy series, with people living in their defended settlements, or just towns, and the countryside, forests, oceans, and everywhere else crawling with monsters. It’s a fact of life.

My first Final Fantasy game was VIII, which is particularly science fictiony. In it, the monsters amass on the moon and actually are brought over spilling into the world in an extreme way. But even before that, you have characters working as monster hunters, protection mercenary forces, and standing armies. All for fighting monsters.

In other stories, you see things like aliens, zombies, and even mutated humans. Heck, we just finished Jessica Jones the other day… Kilgrave is a monster!

But some of my thought is… why? Why do we so expect monsters in the future? Monster aliens, from Ender’s Game  to Doom. Conflicted misunderstood aliens to evil demonspawn. And transformations from mutants to zombies. Monsters in the environment from ones we might expect like wolves, to dragons and more. And that’s before you think of all the Lovecraftian stuff out there…

Is it that monsters make sense to us, that they’re an obvious evil? That they can avoid moral relativism? And then, if you want to make it a complicated story, you just add some moral relativism back in? Black and white, gray, where do monsters fall?

They can also represent our fear of the unknown, our fear of ourselves, our fear of the future. But there are oh, so many of them, when you start thinking of it. Are we that afraid?

Like I said, new way of looking at things. I ran into Super Mutants in Fallout 4, and it got me thinking. That’s after the giant mosquitos, giant scorpions, giant crabs…

Why monsters? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

You Should Watch This Video

If you’ve been traveling recently, or will be traveling soon over the holidays, or generally take vacations, you should watch this video. It was our mantra that kept us going on vacation. Thank you, Rhett & Link.