Want to Know When the World Will End? Apocalypse Ow, by James Dashner


Editor’s Note: James Dashner was born and raised in Georgia but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains. He is the author of The 13th Reality as well as the Maze Runner trilogy as well as the prequel to that trilogy, The Kill Order. Here Dashner waxes realistic about the apocalypse and the likelihood that you’ll die at the jaws of a zombie.

I have very mixed feelings about something, and I think only fellow supernatural nerds like myself will truly understand my dilemma. Do I want the ability to foretell the future, or not? Most of my nerdy side, which is roughly ninety-eight percent, screams, YES! I mean, seriously. How cool would that be? Things like getting rich off the stock market aside, it would just be amazing to close your eyes, lie back in bed, and see visions of what the world will be like 10, 20, 50, 500 years from now. Especially if those visions were in 1080p.

However, here comes the part that might not be so grand: What if you fluffed up your pillows, leaned in and got comfortable, closed your eyes, and then saw, in all its stark, HD, horrific color, an Apocalypse about to ravage the Earth? Say, in two years. Sun flares, earthquakes, virus, flooding, all topped off by a lovely nuclear holocaust. You, personally, were eaten by a zombie. Only one person survives, some lady in Chicago, but then she trips and falls off a cliff, ending human civilization.

So, the dilemma: Would we really want to know this is coming? Even if things didn’t go quite as poorly as I just described — even if there were a possibility we might survive and live in a post-apocalyptic world, fighting for every scrap of food — would we want to know ahead of time? Much less see it in crystal clear picture and surround sound?

Part of me still says yes. Only because you can’t discount the coolness factor, no matter how bad it gets. We’re talking a superpower, here. You have just seen the future, the Nostradamus of your time. Your friends will be envious and you’ll be on all the news shows. That, or thrown into an insane asylum, I guess.

But then how would it be, every day for the rest of your life, until the Apocalypse ravages the Earth and that zombie licks its fingers after having you for dinner? There are some pros: You could prepare, move to a place where you might survive the longest, warn those closest to you. (Sorry, you can’t prevent it. You’re not Michael J. Fox in “Back to the Future.”) You may learn to appreciate life more and relish each and every day you have left.

But then the cons are heavy and hard: Every morning when you wake up, you’ll know what’s coming. The horrific vision of the Apocalypse will be implanted in your mind. You’ll see it in your coffee, your kids’ eyes, the sky as you drive to work or school. Speaking of which, what would be the point anymore? Why go to school all day if the world is going to end? Why suck up to your boss? How do you enjoy a movie or a book if the impending doom of the universe weighs on your shoulders? Life would lose its savor. Possibly.

Wow, that is really, really depressing. I hope I haven’t ruined anyone’s day!

So, now I’m interested in what you all think. You won’t know if there’s an Apocalypse until you actually take a look into the future. Maybe there’s not. Maybe the world will just get better and better. But . . . once you know, you know. I give you the chance to see the future, anytime you want, in full color and HD. Do you accept?

I’m in.