Stories about the end of the world are as old as literature itself. From the tale of Noah's Ark to the plague-ravaged landscapes of Mary Shelley's controversial 1826 novel The Last Man, writers have long held a morbid fascination with the possibility of a future apocalypse.
It was all fantasy, of course, until August 1945, when the world learned the threat of widespread destruction was much more real than anyone could have imagined. After the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, post-apocalyptic literature, and humanity itself, would never be the same. As Josef Horkai, the anti-hero of Brian Evenson's new novel Immobility, reflects: "We say no to sixty-six thousand dead in a single bomb blast over a defenseless foreign city, and then we do it again, a hundred thousand this time. ... Humans are poison. Perhaps it would be better if we did not exist at all."