What does your apocalypse look like?

I have no idea how I missed this, but apparently, the biblical Judgment Day (a.k.a. The Rapture) will occur on May 21, 2011. That’s right. The Rapture will happen THIS SATURDAY. The world will end (by fire) five months later, on October 21.

Well, according to some people. But that’s not the point.

The point is, everyone has their own idea of what will cause the apocalypse and when it will happen. Here we’ve got something biblical in nature (events from the Book of Revelation) and a 2011 date. And don’t forget about December 21, 2012, the last day of the Mayan long count calendar. (Though, if the Rapture happens on Saturday, we won’t have to worry about 2012.)

So I started thinking about different possible causes of the apocalypse. Here are some of the possibilities I came up with:

  • Biblical. The world ends according to the biblical apocalypticists, with the Rapture on May 21, 2011 and the end of the world by fire on October 21, 2011.
  • Mayan. The world ends with the end of the Mayan long count calendar, on December 21, 2012.
  • Other religious. Every religion has its own views about how and when the world will end. Any of them could be right.
  • Virus. A mutating supervirus is intentionally or unintentionally unleashed on the world, turning everyone into a zombie. Or something else monster-like.
  • Biological warfare. The intentional unleashing of a mutating supervirus or some other sort of mutating biological…something.
  • The end of WWIII. Because, let’s face it, WWIII will probably end with a nuclear explosion of some sort.
  • Nuclear explosion. Maybe a nuclear weapon (or cache of nuclear weapons) explodes accidentally, or a nuclear reactor has a meltdown. Either way, the result is a nuclear wasteland.
  • Asteroid impact. Asteroid Apophis, a large asteroid about 1000 feet in diameter, is expected to pass close to Earth in April of 2029. There’s a slight chance it might hit Earth when it comes back for a second visit in April of 2036. And if Apophis doesn’t hit us, there’s an asteroid somewhere out there that might.
  • Alien invasion. Finally! First contact! Only the other guys are here to initiate a hostile takeover of the planet.

Personally, I like the alien invasion idea. But that could be because I’m a geek who likes the idea of the existence of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. I’d like this idea even more if it involved evil space monkeys. Ahem.

However, I think it’s more likely that we’ll blow ourselves up. Maybe it’ll be the end of World War 3, or maybe it’ll be an accident. Who knows? But, you know, people are fighting all the time, all over the world. And I’m sure weapons that can destroy the planet already exist. More are being researched, designed, and built. So I’d say this one is very possible.

I think the virus idea is also possible. There are a lot of undiscovered viruses and bacteria out there. Who’s to say that one of them doesn’t have the power to turn us all into brain-eating zombies? And if it’s out there, someone will find it. If that someone happens to be evil or out for world domination, well, they might just unleash it on the world. (That plan could backfire pretty quickly, though, if he/she is the first one eaten.)

What about you? What do you think the most likely cause of the apocalypse will be?

24 thoughts on “What does your apocalypse look like?

  1. I vote zombie apocalypse! :))
    Maybe because we just finished season 1 of The walking dead last night, or maybe because we just got a new smith and wesson, and I can finally run more then 5 miles without my feet falling off, either way I’m hoping it all ends with the flesh eating zombie kind!

  2. I’m pretty certain global war or hyper-evolved disease will be the starting point. Possibly enviromental catastrophe.

  3. I think it’ll come about while we’re all lined up at Starbucks!
    A big comet will come down, land in the middle of the Pacific and send tsunamis to inundate every coastline, even going around to the Atlantic.

    1. Oddly, despite the fact that meteorite strike is the most likely one we know of, I am less worried about it then I am about other things. My brain is a strange place.

  4. I think it’ll be something we haven’t even considered, something completely out of left field. Maybe a certain species of grass or other plant snuffing out all edible vegetation. Not The Happening Style, more like the Dothraki in A Song of Ice and Fire believe.
    Basically, which is worse: A massive catastrophe some are prepared for, or a somewhat smaller catastrophe nobody is prepared for?

    That, or meteor. The meteor thing has happened what, six times now?

  5. Interesting, David. So like if there was a massive plant die off and everyone had to figure out how to go all meat. Which would mean many people would just go hungry, not because they’re hippy vegans but because they can’t afford meat. there will be less food to go around and serious competition, way more starvation and hunger, and violence….

    i think the meteor is supposed to come in about 37 years. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/99942_Apophis)

    1. Not to mention the prevalanet cannibalism, as predicted by Cormac McCarthy in The Road. Which, I believe, the apocalypse in that book was meteor-induced, but it doesn’t say for sure.

  6. I think war will be the end of us. Whether that be a nuclear war or some sort of bio-threat.

    I like (hypothetically, of course) the idea of some super virus that just swoops down and takes over the planet. It might even be something a simple as a really strong strain of the flu that just can’t be contained.

  7. Yep, the meteor/near Earth object is Asteroid Apophis, set to make its first visit in 2029.

    I was thinking about this the other day–what about global economic collapse? Collapse to the point that everything just…stops. Not nearly as cool as Apophis or a super virus, but possible?

    1. Possible, and something I’ve considered. The apocalyptic results would be very different there, I think. Hmmm.

      Plot idea.

      1. Yep, I think an economic collapse would lead to a very different kind of post-apocalyptic world. It would be interesting to explore.

        Do I sense a possible story coming…?

  8. I don’t think a global economic collapse would lead to a sort of apocalypse. There’d be no money, but that doesn’t spell the end of the world. It’s happened a ton of times throughout history. Pretty much every time the world-leading country falls, really.

  9. Meh….call me a skeptic. I’m not worrying about the dead walking the earth or an asteroid crashing into the planet or nuclear winter.

    I’m more worried some twit like Sarah Palin will by some horrible cosmic joke is elected Presdent of the United States and in response the dead walk the earth, the cosmos flicks an asteroid toward Earth like a lethal loogy or President Palin mistakes the ICBM launch codes for the password to her Facebook account and brings about nuclear winter.

        1. Neither am I, but with America being a major world power (and The UK’s politicians being obsessed with brown-nosing America) the thought of her or someone of her ilk being in charge is genuinely frightening.

          1. Yes, yes it is. US presidential elections actually terrify me because of that very possibility.

  10. I think our undoing will be environmental, whether caused by ourselves or something natural. I like this idea (as a writer) as it adds to the helpless inevitability of the situation. You can fight back against aliens invaders and zombie hordes, but not nature.Throw into the mix more ‘environmentally aware’ religion, like Shintoism (everything has a spirit) and it makes for an interesting ‘end of the world’…

    1. You’ve got a point; I think environmental causes are a huge potential apocalypse-causer. Though I’m still secretly hoping for evil space monkey pirates.

  11. However our world ends you can be sure humans are the beging middle and end of all living things on this earth

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