But, what would it take for things to go really, really wrong? Like end-o’-the-world wrong. Over the past few years, experts (and the media) have compiled all sorts of happy lists.
- Last Days of Earth on ABC and the History Channel.
- 10 Ways the Earth Could End on the Discovery Science Channel
- "10 ways the world could end", a TED Talk by Stephen Petranek, former editor-in-chief of Discovery magazine.
- “20 Ways the World Could End” in Discover Magazine
- “How will the World Really End?” at BigThink.com
Most of these lists share at least these causes of mass destruction in common (in no particular order):
- Killer asteroid
- Rogue black hole
- Global pandemic
- Nanotechnology/biotechnology disaster
- Nuclear war
- Super volcano
- Climate change
- Robots taking over
- Solar flare
Some of the experts throw in potential causes like alien invasion, killer mutants, and mass depression/insanity—with some sincerity.
Looking at this list, I can see that Earth getting swallowed by a rogue black hole or getting hit by a big enough asteroid (or flare) would bring the world to an abrupt halt. We’d go out with a bang. However, we could probably limp along as a species after a global pandemic or robot uprising and go forth and rebuild our civilization in some form or another. It ain’t going to be pretty, but that’s the stuff of good dystopian fiction. (Of course, dystopias don't need a world meltdown to happen.)
Here's one of my favorite doomsday scenarios. (It may have more to do with the goofy edge to this Science Channel video than the actual method of world destruction.)
And what kind of dystopia might this disaster create (if we indeed survive)? How 'bout this little cult-classic?
What’s your “favorite” way to go? What kind of dystopia might it produce? Discuss.