Nuclear war, zombies, alien attack, impact event. These are what we think about when we think about literary apocalypses (or any fictional apocalypses, for that matter). But don’t get too comfortable, folks: there are many more — and many stranger — ways that our planet could be destroyed. Case in point: Karen Thompson Walker’s debut novel The Age of Miracles hits shelves tomorrow, and while the book itself will probably do more to advance society than destroy it, the story is one of the most inventive and unusual ideas for the end of the world that we’ve ever read. Inspired, we’ve collected a few more of the strangest catalysts for apocalypses in literature — click through to check them out, and do let us know if we’ve missed your favorite in the comments.
The Age of Miracles, Karen Thompson Walker
Walker’s spectacular debut begins thusly: “We didn’t notice right away. We couldn’t feel it. We did not sense, at first, the extra time, bulging from the smooth edge of each day like a tumor blooming beneath skin… On the sixth of October, the experts went public. This, of course, is the day we all remember. There’d been a change, they said, a slowing, and that’s what we called it from then on: the slowing.” Of course, as the earth’s rotation grows slower still, heading towards an uncertain apocalypse, 11-year-old Julia still has to deal with all the equally world-ending mundanities of adolescence.