Scientific American put together a list of their favorite apocalyptic plots from fiction and film. The grouped them by category, like astronomical catastrophes, biological calamities, war, geophysical disasters, and machine-driven takeovers. Of course, this is far from a comprehensive list of the greatest tales of the end times. Check out their selections and then add your favorites in the comments below! From SciAm:
Earth Abides (novel 1949)
After humanity is wiped out by a deadly airborne illness, a small band of survivors set about rebuilding civilization.
A Sound of Thunder (short story 1952, film 2005)
A time-traveling hunter inadvertently crushes a butterfly during an excursion to the Jurassic period. It causes a succession of "time waves" to batter present-day Earth–and its embattled human occupants–and wrenches reality onto a different evolutionary path. Think baboon-dinosaurs besieging your local gas-mart.
I Am Legend (novel 1954, films 1964 (The Last Man on Earth), 1971 (Omega Man), 2007 (I Am Legend))
One lone man is immune to a pandemic virus that ravages humanity. He struggles to develop a treatment to save the infected.
The Andromeda Strain (novel 1969, film 1971, TV miniseries 2008)
A satellite returns to Earth with a deadly microbe that wipes out an entire town except for a baby and an old man.
The article quoted above is part of the new special print issue of SciAm about "The End." It also references two new nonfiction books about the end of time that sound terrific: How It Ends: From You to the Universe and Armageddon Science: The Science of Mass Destruction. Once again, nihilism is the new black! Yay!