This guest post is from Danny Stevenson, the founder of the Post Apoc Wargames Forum, a post apocalyptic model maker and wargamer. Danny posted a comment on Twitter in response to Evan T Pickering’s guest post, describing how he related to the notion of rebirth and rebuilding after the apocalypse. The idea of post apocalyptic rebirth resonated with Danny, so I asked him if he would write a guest post to carry on that theme. He has created some really awesome post apocalyptic models that he displays on his blog here and I’ve posted some images below. Thank you to Danny for sharing his thoughts and insights!
Rebirth after the Apocalypse? This is a question a few people have asked me when they see or read my work.
Chatting to many people down the years, many people associate the Apocalypse with whole scale death and destruction. That this is it. Nothing more. Any remaining humans are reduced to scavenging savages. They seem surprised that in the world I created humanity is slowly trying to rebuild. Looking to recover. Rebuilding from the ashes and anarchy.
For me, one of the joys of the Post Apocalyptic genre is the ability to explore and create new societies with freedom. The destruction of what was removes the existing rules. Some of the societies that I have created are realistic in nature, others are real life in a satirical way and some are purely for fun.
In the Tarot, the death card doesn’t mean just death and destruction. It can mean change or a new way of looking at things. From this death, change follows rebirth and growth. It happens again and again around us every day in every aspect of our lives. The Apocalypse is in many ways the death card for the whole planet.
Looking at the past, it is clear that our dear old planet has survived many apocalyptic events in one form or another. Mother Nature springs back. Life clings on and becomes abundant once again. Often these apocalyptic events remove one dominate life form and allows other (often weaker) life forms to flourish and survive.
Recovery of nature is essential for rebirth after an apocalyptic event. The process could take anything from a few years to centuries. Once the recovery of nature starts it will help support plant and animal life. These in turn will help any human societies starting to form.
What about the plant and animal life? Would an apocalyptic event destroy them all? Have any of the other apocalyptic events in history? Massive amounts of species were wiped out but many survived. When you look at our world, animal life is everywhere, even places that appear barren and dead. Once the spark of life is there it will fight to hang on. Look at the area around Chernobyl. The area was evacuated when the disaster happened. It was heavily contaminated. In less than twenty years plant and animal life has returned to all but the most contaminated areas.
The last piece of our jigsaw puzzle is humanity. When you view a single human and compare them to similar sized animals, humans have no natural weapons, armour or fur. We often have poorer vision, no night vision, poorer hearing, slower movement and little sense of smell. Our success lies in our adaptability, ability to work together and use tools. We instinctively come together as groups and work together. We can build things to help our survival. These instincts won’t go away in times of adversity but often are strengthened.
History provides us with plenty of clues about how humanity can come back from the brink. The main difference is that now some humans would have access to knowledge, weapons and tools from the modern age. These may give our survivors more of a edge.
One thing that takes people aback is in my settings the new societies are often rebuilding. I find it odd that people wouldn’t consider it. After all mankind is a builder. Maybe my real life job as an Engineer has coloured my view. In my experience there will always be someone who can fix, repair and build things. I have met many amazing individuals who despite no formal education can fix anything and build amazing looking vehicles. Not all knowledge would be lost. There will be people with things rattling around in their heads. Things that may help your group of survivors rebuild.
The Apocalypse brings death and destruction. It brings great change which in turn triggers rebirth of the post apocalyptic world . Of course the Apocalypse may allow a new rival to evolve to claim the top of the pile and push humanity into history.