Most contemporary representations of the apocalypse imagine the end of the world occurring in a flash. Not so in The Last Man, an obscure novel from the dusty corners of the Romanticist library written by Mary Shelley in 1826. In a recent essay, I shared the similarities of narrative pace that I see between Shelley’s book and a popular genre:
Decline’s easy pace in The Last Man, despite being written nearly two centuries prior, prefigures a semi-apocalyptic genre with contemporary salience: climate fiction. These are speculative stories of individuals and communities whose lives are threatened by the effects of global warming and climate change. Many of the novels in this genre end not in the shadow of a killer wave, but in the murk below a rising tide. Alternately, the characters of these stories may toil under a sweltering sun, whispering sand dune, or encroaching glacier.
Read the whole thing at The Millions.