Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
End of the World

Most stories of the EOTW are reckoned Science Fiction; the main group of exceptions deal with the Christian Apocalypse. There remains, however, a significant subcategory of rather dreamlike accounts of the world's end (or cataclysmic interruption) – some satirical, others selfconsciously exotic or grotesque – which comfortably fit neither of these categories. Examples include Byron's poem "Darkness" (1816), The Night Land (1912) by William Hope Hodgson, The End of all Men (1922) by C F Ramuz, "The End of the World" (1948) by Dino Buzzati (1906-1972), "Up and Out" (1957) and "Cataclysm" (written 1960; 1985) by John Cowper Powys, "Wednesday, Noon" (1968) by Ted White (1938-    ) and God's Grace (1982) by Bernard Malamud (1914-1986). The notion that Earth's senility might be attended by a return of the Magic eroded by Thinning provides an underlying logic for many fantasies of the Dying Earth. [BS]

see also: Eschatology.

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.