Thrillerfest 2012: Is The Apocalypse Imminent?

A panel on the apocalypse in the year 2012? That sounds about right. What better time to discuss the world’s foretold demise than in the very year that Mayan prophecy predicts the end of civilization? That may have been the intention of this year’s Thrillerfest organizers when they scheduled a talk between top thriller writers about the explosive subject. For readers looking for more than just a mystery, these authors ratchet up the suspense by adding not just a few murders or missing persons, but destruction of the entire population. That’s right, we are talking the apocalypse and authors that write about the most terrifying disasters that can befall humanity.

Panelists Robert Gleason, Joshua Graham, Michael Koryta, Daniel Levin and Dustin Thomason

Led by Panel Master Daniel Palmer, five authors discussed the use of the apocalypse — in its many forms — in their fiction. So is the apocalypse imminent? Well, for this panel it depended on how you defined the word. But they all agreed it’s unavoidable. RT was there to record their interesting takes on a theme that has us all just a bit worried … and fascinated:

Although Daniel Palmer hasn’t written about the apocalypse, the panel master guided the discussion on the topic like a pro. While most people think of exploding volcanoes and cataclysmic events when they hear the word, he reminded the panel that it comes from the Greek language and means the “revelation of the hidden.”

Then he tossed the question up for discussion to the others: Did they believe in the idea of an apocalypse?

Robert Gleason, author of End of Days, a fiction book that explores the possibility of a nuclear Armageddon, says that he can see “all kinds of apocalyptic things coming.” He points out that Americans are now staring down the barrel of a financial apocalypse.

Michael Koryta acknowledges that he’s never written a true “apocalyptic” book — his most recent release, The Prophet, does address one man’s personal end of days. His main character, Adam Austin, saw his family life ripped after the abduction and murder of his sister. For Koryta, his fiction allows for the “wrapping of readers and characters heads around the existence of evil.”

Joshua Graham uses this compelling theme in his novel, Darkroom, to reveal the truth of the human condition. His characters work to reveal a 40-year-old war crime that had taken place in Vietnam. “The truth,” said Joshua, “shall set you free.” Apocalypses of this nature, in his opinion, are not only inevitable, but they are necessary.

Daniel Levin, author of The Last Ember, a novel that plunges its hero into the shady world of antiquities dealers, sees apocalyptic events as a way to “define and redefine history.” In his view, there have been and there will be new events that reshape the world as we now know it. He asked the panel to consider Ancient Rome — their world did end. Ours will as well.

For one writer on the panel, the question of the end of the world isn’t just about inevitability. Dustin Thomason’s next book, 12.21, which will be released this August, deals specifically with the 2012 doomsday predictions. According to Dustin, “Humans are captivated by the idea of the apocalypse...we are all wondering what comes for us tomorrow.” If we yearn for change; change is what we’ll inevitably get.

If you want to learn more about the apocalypses that these writers envision be sure to check out their books. And for more genre news, be sure to stop by RT’s Everything Mystery/Suspense/Thriller Page.