I find it painful to look at a flower broken by wind, but even more so to watch one slowly wither, knowing I can do nothing about it.
For as long as I remember, I’ve never been particularly scared by apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic plots. Whatever disaster sweeps through the world in those stories, I find solace in the thought that the worst is over when it’s done with its destruction, that afterwards it’s time to roll up your sleeves and rebuild. I always try to extrapolate these ruined worlds into the future, imagine them restored, healed, and life and civilization going on.
What really scares me to the marrow of my bone is plots that describe not apocalyptic mayhem that runs for a short time and then stops, but things slowly, steadily getting worse. Gradual disintegration, loss of any structure, erosion, decay. And knowing that it will only get worse from that point on.
Or, in other words, entropy. The only true, ever-present enemy of life itself. And the only one that cannot be defeated, its victory merely delayed — ideally, to a time mind-bogglingly far into the future.