Work in Progress Wednesday: My fetish for the apocalypse
I’ve always liked stories about the apocalypse and what comes after it. I mean, I think I read Alas, Babylon when I was still in elementary school or junior high; I read A Canticle for Leibowitz maybe in high school. So it goes without saying that I’m completely obsessed with the Walking Dead, which — you can roll your eyes all you want — I think is one of the best shows of all time. And my initial attraction to The 100 had less to do with Clexa and more to do with the storyline.
In particular, the time after the apocalypse that interests me the most is not the immediate aftermath, which is what TWD and FTWD focus on, but years and years later. What happens in thirty years, forty years, after the dust has settled but before the world has righted itself again? What are people like, what is the world like, when an entire generation of people grows up having never known the world of the Before? How do people’s psyches change? How do ethics change?
I’m also really interested in apocalypse as metaphor, because I think that we live through our own apocalypses through the course of our life once, twice, or several times. We go through these situations or relationships which draw lines in the sand, which create a “Before” and an “After” and totally change the course of our lives. In that sense, I think the apocalypse has something interesting to say to all of us that has very little to do with speculating about survival after a nuclear winter, a super flu, or an EMP blast.
This isn’t a fanfic, but I guess you can call it that for now.
Anyway, I’ve been working / not-really-working on a post-apocalypse story that I started as a token of appreciation to the fanfic site Archive of Our Own. Frankly, I didn’t want to write it as a fanfic, I wanted to write it as a “real story” or “regular story,” but I feel a sense of obligation to the AO3 community that might be hard to understand and even harder to explain. So I’m not going to try. The point is that while I’m using some elements to make it a fanfic, in the back of my mind I already know that the fandom characters / elements are just stand-ins for the actual story I want to write.
For me, the larger point of writing this tale is this: I really want to write a sci-fi / post-apocalypse story, but with queer women for protagonists. This story isn’t a romance. It’s got a romance sub-plot to it, but mainly, I’ve always wanted to write a post-apocalypse story, and I’ve finally conceded the point that it feels more natural to write [ in general ] from a queer perspective.
And after all that preamble, here’s the actual work in progress:
As a fanfic, this story is a mash-up of the only two fandoms I really belong to — TWD and The 100. Basically, the set up is like this (pulling this from the description I wrote for the piece at AO3):
It’s been a hundred years since the virus that transformed most of the world’s population into flesh-eating “walkers.” Between the zombies and the waves of famine, disease, and war that followed, all that remains of humanity now are isolated pockets of survivors.
Clarke’s people had been some of the lucky ones. Living peacefully at a place they called “the Station,” they lived the quiet lives of farmers. Rarely did they have to fight. Rarely did they interact with others except to trade. But that changed when the Mountain Men invaded and destroyed their home, leaving Clarke and a ragtag group of children and teens as the only survivors.
Lexa has had a markedly different life than Clarke. Her people have been warriors for as long as anyone can remember, and Lexa has risen through their ranks to the level of “Commander” at a relatively young age.
When Clarke arrives on Lexa’s doorstep, she doesn’t know what to make of her. Just like she doesn’t know whether she should believe her or kill her when Clarke warns, “The Mountain is coming.”
A Clexa tale set in the world of The Walking Dead / Fear the Walking Dead, a century later.
You can read the first seven chapters here. No promises on when I will actually finish; I’ve come to realize over the last few months that I’m still a serial monogamist. I can only give my attention to one story at a time.