Review of ‘Everything Must Go’ by Dorian Lynskey

Doomsday cults, the rapture, asteroid impact, zombie apocalypse, nuclear winter, robot uprising, plague and more! This unusual book takes a depressing, devastating topic – how might the world end? – with a strangely uplifting result. Every generation, since ancient times, has thought itself unique in facing the end times, but humanity has continued.

Book cover shows mushroom cloud.

The title of the book is not named after the Manic Street Preachers song, but the song went around in my head. Other songs which circled my head included ‘It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by REM, ‘Apocalypse Please’ by Muse and ‘Two Minute Warning’ by Depeche Mode. One could make a whole playlist of songs. The author did reference some songs but the content was more about books and films. First, we learn about the apocalyptic beliefs held by many religions and how this influenced history. We then go into the main part of the book, rather excitingly described as ‘secular eschatology’. Each chapter is devoted to a way in which we believe, or have believed, that the world could end, including evidence from both fiction and non-fiction sources. I was familiar with some of the books referred to, such as The Last Man, The Time Machine (and other Wells works), The Day of the Triffids, I Am Legend and short stories by Arthur C Clarke and Ray Bradbury. Others I either hadn’t read or were a little obscure. Films included Deep Impact, Armageddon, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Melancholia. I would have liked the pop culture to be more prominent, as I felt that sometimes the philosophy and science were heavy going, particularly the section about nuclear war.

In summary, if you’re in the mood for eschatology and you like science fiction, give this book a read.

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