The world is ending, but we already knew that. For many of us, the apocalypse has come already, in the shapes of imperialism, white supremacy, unaffordable healthcare, and anthropocene-induced climate catastrophe. For everyone else, it’s not a matter of if, but when. So it’s fitting that SFF is picking up post-post-apocalypse—less interested in the panicked chaos of the end of the world (we’ve got the news for that), and more focused on the challenging process of rebuilding. What comes after? What happens to the survivors? What will we bring with us into the future?
Mike Chen’s A Beginning At the End takes place six years after a devastating flu pandemic killed 70% of the human population. With the quarantines lifted, survivors tentatively try to cobble together a semblance of normalcy, though they collectively suffer from PASD: post-apocalyptic stress disorder, a combination of survivor’s guilt, PTSD, displacement, and profound grief.