After the End: Meditations on Post-Apocalyptic Media

Upon reading Dallas Hunt’s very compelling interpretation of the totemic transfer narrative in Mad Max: Fury Road, I remembered that I had not yet written about the myth-making and existentialism that run through that film—or, for that matter, more general thoughts on what it might mean that the post-apocalyptic has become a pervasive and powerful myth for our time. What does the wasteland, the world in ruin, do for us? What part of the imagination might the wrecks of civilizations and planets capture?

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Revisiting: The Great Silence

Every third Saturday of the month I intend to re-post something I wrote for one of my assorted old blogs or tumblogs. I want to continue thinking about Fermi’s Paradox and Pascal’s firmament which does not speak, which I did in “The Great Silence” at Dreamtigers and Silent Skies.


Image source: Diana Robinson at

The Great Silence

One of the projects I’m working on is the Weekly Wonder, through which I post a brief entry on something I find interesting according to a five-week schedule of categories: prehistoric animals on Mondays, plants and fungi on Wednesdays, and so on. On Tuesdays I post ideas, and a while ago I posted about Fermi’s paradox; you can see the entry here.

Fermi’s paradox is the strange fact that, on the one hand, the chances that extraterrestrial life exists and is capable of communicating with us are objectively pretty high but, on the other hand, there is no concrete evidence that extraterrestrial life is out there, let alone has come here. Or, as the physicist Enrico Fermi reportedly put it, “Where is everybody?” This is a serious question, or at least a question which is seriously asked and which many people have tried to seriously answer. Some attempted explanations are quite interesting; you can go to the Weekly Wonder to learn about them. That’s not why I’m bringing it up, though.
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Lifting the Comment Ban and Imposing a Ration

At around the same time that I started Accidental Shelf-Browsing, I banned myself from commenting on any blogs or articles except my own.


Source: Rico S at

I did this for two reasons: first, I did not trust myself to represent myself in public to a standard high enough for my tastes (especially as I’m coming into the job market looking for a career); second, I could tell that worrying about discussions in comment spaces had a negative impact on my productivity and mental health. Of course, I have replied to comments here and in specific social media venues, but those were not part of the problem.

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My laptop’s adapter has been broken since Christmas and I did not get it replaced until today. Unfortunately, this means that I not only couldn’t post my Most Interesting Books of 2015, but I also could not finish writing it. I hope to have it, and other non-scheduled content, up soon.


Source: David Goerhing at


Monthly Marvel: Fermi’s Paradox

On the first Saturday of each month for at least the next little while I intend to share here one of the Weekly Wonders from that previous project. This time I am sharing Fermi’s Paradox, which has to do with aliens and their unexpected absence.


This week’s idea is Fermi’s paradox.

Image source: Gerhald Uhlhorn at, originally

Image source: Gerhald Uhlhorn at, originally

Derived from the arguments of Enrico Fermi and Michael H. Hart, physicists, Fermi’s paradox refers to the seeming contradiction between the high probability that extraterrestrial civilizations exist on other planets and the utter lack of evidence for those civilizations. It seems incredibly likely that aliens exist, but we’ve never seen them and we don’t know why we haven’t. Fermi’s shortest formulation of the paradox is this: “Where is everybody?” Continue reading