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Are apocalypse stories trying to "out-nasty" each other?

posted by Robert Morgan on - last edited - Viewed by 477 users

I just finished the first nine issues of Garth Ennis's CROSSED, and - without going into detail - it's a pretty grim read.

All the same, I can't help wondering if writers currently working in the industry are in some sort of weird competition to see whose version of the apocalypse is more grisly and "badass" than the other's. If one guy's writing a post-apocalyptic story about cannibalism, the next guy tries to top that by adding rape. The next guy then tries to top rape by adding pedophilia, then bestiality, and so on and so forth.

Normally this wouldn't be that big of a deal for me, but considering we're playing a game about a young girl struggling to survive in the same kind of environment, I sure hope the WD staff hasn't picked up a copy of CROSSED and said to themselves, "Holy shit, we gotta really crank it up if we're going to stay one step ahead of geniuses like Ennis! Let's have Rebecca's child forcibly removed from her womb and eaten by rabid weasels while Alvin is forced to watch!"

I don't think this is about 'good storytelling' so much, as trying to fit in with a more nihilistic-minded zeitgeist.

16 Comments
  • Hey, this actually makes sense and sounds smart. What is this? WHERE AM I!?

  • It is required that the story is "nasty" to at least some degree in order to demonstrate how fucked up the universe is. I would prefer the approach of the first season, though. We definitely don't need pedophilia, necrophilia, or any of that shit. It might add something to the story in rare cases, but mostly it is just distasteful.

  • Nolan started that in movies to see all fairytale and hero movies going dark but like few moments in games where something goes over the line then realize in this game anything can happen at anytime but saying that writing for shock value is not way to go and telltale really make games to suit all people over most platforms so doubt go that far and risk losing section of there fanbase

  • OR it could just be that there are a lot of different writers confronting different disturbing aspects of real life using apocalyptic settings.

    Apocalyptic settings are really good for believably exploring darker themes for some strange reason.

  • To be fair, Ennis' Crossed (and Suprier's) are great reads. They get that the gore is there for a reason: namely challenging our perception of humanity, and giving us a barometer to judge the protagonists by. It's everyone else's Crossed (looking at you Lapham) that are gorefests for gross outs and the guro lovers.

    And I have no problems with super dark apocalyptic worlds so long as they have a point, other than being grim for grimness sake or to appear ''mature''.

    Hell, Harlan Ellison's I Have No Mouth; And I Must Scream was grim, bleak and depressing, and there was only one instance of ''gore'' (and I wouldn't even call it that'', but it wasn't what made the story depressing or horrifying - it just added to the atmos of horror. ANd that's what a good post-apo story needs really, to have the gore be the punctuation, rather than the entire sentence.

  • I do wonder sometimes whether everything would fall apart in quite as dystopian a way as it does. I like the dark feeling of the post apocalypse, but sometimes it feels that after a year of it almost everyone in the world seems to have turned into a rapist/cannibal/pedophile/psychopath or all of the above. I'm not saying that everything should be fine and it's happy rainbow time or anything, but I don't think everyone would end up like that, which is how it comes across sometimes.

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