Guest Post: Defying Doomsday’s Tsana Dolichva on Why the Apocalypse?

City overlooking desolate desert landscape with cracked earthLast week I posted about the Defying Doomsday Pozible campaign and why I think you should back it. I also contacted the editors of Defying Doomsday, Holly Kench and Tsana Dolichva, to ask whether they’d write me a guest post on why they chose to have stories about the apocalypse specifically and not say space opera or epic fantasy. Tsana kindly provided me with following post. I hope you enjoy it and check out the Pozible campaign

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Why the apocalypse?

The idea for Defying Doomsday came to me when I was reading a World War II novel: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. In that book, a group of women who were subjected to medical experimentation by the Nazis largely survived their concentration camp experience thanks to help from other inmates (read more here).

My first thought was that I wanted to show through fiction that disabled and chronically ill people are capable of surviving hardship just like those women had in real life. I’m primarily a reader (and writer) of speculative fiction, so it made sense for me to try and think of a theme that was both speculative and could showcase disabled and chronically ill characters overcoming extreme adversity. And it had to be a situation that able-bodied/healthy people would also have difficulty surviving, or the message would be lost.

At that point, the apocalypse made perfect sense.

Not only are there a very wide variety of possible end-of-the-world (-as-we-know-it) scenarios, but what apocalyptic fiction there is already out there very rarely includes any disabled or chronically ill characters. When it does, they are usually presented as burdens for the real main characters to deal with, if they even survive the initial disaster. Those are some of the tropes we want to subvert with Defying Doomsday. Apocalypse survival fiction so frequently relies on the idea of “survival of the fittest” we want to show that there are different ways to survive and different measurements of “fitness” and “worth” than are often applied.

Basically, the apocalypse lets us and our authors play with all the ideas we want to include. When it comes to adversity, how much more adverse can you get than the end of the world?

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Bio: Tsana Dolichva is a Ditmar Award-nominated book blogger and Holly Kench is the managing editor of Visibility Fiction. As editors and readers of science fiction who also live with disability and chronic illness, Tsana and Holly have often noticed the particular lack of disabled or chronically ill characters in apocalypse fiction. They are excited to share Defying Doomsday, an anthology showing that people with disability and chronic illness also have stories to tell, even when the world is ending.

About the campaign: Defying Doomsday will be funded via a Pozible campaign, with the assistance of a Crowbar grant from Arts Tasmania. The campaign will run from April 1 2015 to May 1 2015, with a funding goal of $13,000 to cover production costs, reward items, and the funds to pay authors a professional market rate. You can support the campaign here:  http://www.pozible.com/project/188146

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2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Defying Doomsday’s Tsana Dolichva on Why the Apocalypse?”

  1. I think there is a number of things going on, one people feel a sense of impending doom. After 9/11 there was a sense the world had changed and not a good way, safety could no longer be assured. After the crisis of 2008 many peoples saw their lives or the lives of friends and family changed after the loss of a good paying job and most have not recovered to pre 2008 levels.
    Me I like PA media because I think bad things are on the horizon. What shape they’ll take I really don’t know. I believe there is always a reckoning, with debt here a abroad, political correctness and a sense the world is on it’s head I think things have been to easy for to long and it’s time for a reset. I wonder what shape that reset will take.

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