The genre of stories known widely as Apocalyptic, including such standouts as PARABLE OF THE SOWER and FURY ROAD, is not so much a cynical look at what will occur in the future as much as it is a story about the way we feel about the future. It is a place that will be strange and uncertain and dangerous. As we age, we will see the collapse of our known systems and ideas. THe society around us will change and become strange. Our purpose in life will shift from building the world, to merely declining slowly without pain. Sudden emergencies will come, the eventual horror of death and disease strikes us all in our circles of friends and families and in our own bodies. There is no escape from the end of times.
When we read or watch or otherwise consume post-apocalyptic stories, we are imagining a sublimated version of our own future, where regardless of politics and environment, we are guaranteed the experience of physical collapse, and death in what we hope is a clean, well-lit room, where smiling men and women come to sit with us a while and hold our hands and tell us that we are loved. Too many die alone in squalor, on the streets, in horrible, painful accidents, lingering on after the collapse, dependent on pills and hope and daytime television just to survive another moment.
The Apocalypse stories are sublimations of our own desperate attempts to push for meaning and purpose and hope. They are the heroes that keep pushing into the wasteland of decline, keep fighting, keep their structure and society going beyond the evidence of the end of the world. These heroes are our role models against our own aging selves.
Roland Deschain is an old man, after many hard years. His knees struggle. His body aches. Across the desert sands, the man in black moves, and he pursues, pursues, pursues.