Maybe not. But it is time for the Apocalypse Panel’s next question.
What is the most important element in an apocalyptic story?
The obvious answer to this is—character. At the heart of any great story is a protagonist with passions, principles, and a problem. We experience the story through the characters. But since this applies to stories of any type I will pick something else.
Another important element in any story is—setting. It provides the peculiar flavor for the tale being told. Some days I might be in the mood for a good zombie apocalypse, full of dark city streets clogged with the animated husks of humanity. Or I might crave a journey among the mutated remnants of mankind a thousand years after the world is ravaged by atomic war. Setting is the main selling point for a novel since it will determine what differentiates this story from all the others in the genre.
I think that the key element of an apocalyptic tale is how the disastrous event has molded the society in which the story takes place. A good author will reflect on the nature of the apocalypse and infuse its very essence into the plot, into the characters, and even into the voice of the story itself. As weird as this might sound, each disaster has a unique personality of its own and affect all the other elements of the story.
Next week we will see what the other authors on the panel have to say.