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Friday, April 6, 2012

Who by "Fire" #atozchallenge

Way back when cavemen were trying to figure out how to make the mammoth they'd just killed edible, they probably didn't think, "Fire bad". But if there is one thing most apocalypse scenarios have in common, it's fire!

Volcano? Fire. Lightning storm? Fire. Asteroid collision? Fire. Bombing? Fire? Plague? Fire. Human-killing plants? Fire.

Now, I'm not an expert on fire or anything, but I do know that:

1. It's hot.
2. It burns.
3. It makes awesome s'mores.
4. People like it.
5. People like to sing about it.

If you've ever seen a riot (or been to a redneck party), you've probably noticed that something is always on fire. The same can be said of any apocalypse book, movie, dream, etc. If the world is ending, chances are there will be a fire at some point.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that it's such a popular theme because:

1. Fire is quickly and easily made - which is why you don't throw cigarettes out the window of the car.
2. It's destructive (see 1 and 2, and 3 if your marshmallow falls off the stick).
3. It's scary (trust me, I know. I accidentally set my balcony on fire once).
4. It's also free (if you know how to rub two sticks together, otherwise, you'll need a match or a lighter, or a stove, or... you get the picture)
5. And can rage, unchecked, for days (or weeks) in the right environment.

175 million acres of forests and grasslands are lost to fire every year. As are countless homes, livelihoods, and lives. In 1923, a large earthquake hit Japan, and an estimated 30,000 people were incinerated in the resultant fires almost instantly. That's heartbreaking, not to mention downright frightening!

Those kind of numbers, coupled with our love of fire, makes it relatively easy to understand why fire is such a popular end-of-the-world item. The scene of a fire is notoriously chaotic. It's hot, it's big, it's smoky, and we all associate large fires with death and destruction so we're naturally trying to be anywhere but in the line of, well, fire. That's a pretty good reason, in and of itself, for fire to be associated with armageddon or the apocalypse.

The other reason is because people are idiots. I say that with love, but it's true. People are idiots. When bad things are happening, we're stealing TV from appliance stores, beating people up in the streets, throwing molotov cocktails at buildings, or tipping cars over and then dancing on them. Zombies? Fire. Demons? Fire. Volcano? Fire. Superflu? Fire. Robot cop from the future? Fire.

That about sums it up.

I could give you a list of reasons as to why people grab the nearest fire making item when things get rough, but I'm just going to say this: Fire bad. Planet good.

Have you ever read an apocalypse book (seen an apocalypse movie/show) that didn't have a fire?

Have a "G"ood Friday, and I will see you Saturday!

Want more A to Z Challenge? You can read other Letter F posts here.

Don't forget to check back here later today for my Hoppy Easter Blog Hop post! You could win a copy of Fade, my debut novel (you know, the one that sparked this whole Armageddon Alphabet idea)!

*Title Reference: Leonard Cohen's Who by Fire.


  1. Yet another great apocalypse-themed post. Fire is indeed simultaneously fascinating and frightening.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Michael! As a species, we really do have a love/hate relationship with fire. That in and of itself is fascinating and frightening in turns! :)


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