"It's all over and I'm standin' pretty
In this dust that was a city
If I could find a souvenir
Just to prove the world was here"
—Nena, "99 Red Balloons"
"Oh we're so tired
Watching the world expire
Time that we retire
Up in cathedral spires"
"The once green earth
Is scattered with horror and gray
No winners, just losers
Who die with a few months delay"
"The war is over
The crypt we now taste
In the late 1900's, there is no human race
We split the planet with atomic birth
Man has died
We seal the urn"
"Not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would care, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly.
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone"
— Sara Teasdale, "There Will Come Soft Rains"
Cancellation (cancellation): Human Race
Population (population) laid to waste
See our mother
Put to death
See our mother die
Take her breath away
Millions of our years
In moments dissapear"
"Learn by heart this poem of mine
so, dead, I still will share the time
when you cannot endure a house
deprived of water, light, or gas,
and, stumbling out to find a cave,
roots, berries, nuts to stay alive,
get you a cudgel, find a well,
a bit of land, and, if it's held,
kill the owner, eat the corpse.
I'll trudge beside your faltering steps
between the ruins' broken stones,
whispering 'You are dead; you're done!
Where would you go? That soul you own
froze solid when you left your town.'
Learn by heart this poem of mine."
— György Faludy, Learn by Heart This Poem of Mine
They called it The Last War. Not because it was the last war that was fought, but because it was the last one that would ever BE fought. It began over the usual shit, but this time the men in the fancy hats didn't know when to put their toys away. When it was over, it was over for good. The lakes were sand, the fields were ash and the cities were all cemeteries. Humanity was a cloud of dust blowing over everything it had built. Senators and their speeches, priests and their bibles... all they were now was soot that floated in the air and clogged in your nostrils. Cockroaches inherited the earth and mankind's survivors learned their ways. No law, faith, or creed would ever unite men again. There was nothing left to come together over, nothing left worth having. Of course, there was still plenty left to fight about.
Four hundred centuries have passes since man stepped out into the cold depths of space. Forty thousand years. An age so long that that its history lies shrouded in legend. Who knows how Mankind came to be scattered across a million disparate worlds? Who remembers the wars that tore ancient Earth asunder and dragged man down to the level of brute beasts? Who could recognize the names of Earth's ancient ruins, of nations destroyed and peoples long since crumbled to dust? To these questions, there can be no answers. From these times there come only whispers of horror and death.
"A long, long time ago, there weren't any monsters. People used to live in one place and never move. They worked in small rooms and slept in small rooms and only went outside to move between the rooms. We know this because sometimes we find books and papers in the ruins."
The explosion that destroyed our city
Razed our home, transformed our fields into wasteland
Was nothing compare to what was now happening
To those who survived
— 65 Days of Static, "Another Code Against the Gone"
Oh, Gamesverse. So many collapses. They're standing on the shoulders of so many giants that their heads are brushing the upper atmosphere. Or would be, had most of the giants not tripped one another up, stabbed each other in the kidney and generally fallen over in various different ways, in ages past. So what they're really standing on is a pile of giants' skeletons, some of which have still-spiky bits of ribcage and femur sticking out to gore whoever's currently on top in the ankle.
"There's a certain liberty in hopelessness, isn't there? 'Cause things can't get 101% fucked."
Cathy: Does the future always have to be post-apocalyptic?
The desert was the apotheosis of all deserts, huge, standing to the sky for what might have been parsecs in all directions. White; blinding; waterless; without feature save for the faint, cloudy haze of the mountains which sketched themselves on the horizon and the devil-grass which brought sweet dreams, nightmares, death. An occasional tombstone sign pointed the way, for once the drifted track that cut its way through the thick crust of alkali had been a highway and coaches had followed it. The world had moved on since then. The world had emptied.