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The Boston Globe

Arts

The apocalypse as a plotline

If the world ends today, as some insist the Mayan calendar has predicted, no one can say we weren’t psychologically prepared. Our pop culture has been schooling us in the end of the world for eons, rehearsing doomsday scenarios in everything from Mary Shelley’s “The Last Man” and H.G. Wells’s “The War of the Worlds” to “The Road” and “The Hunger Games.” Even New England’s TV weathermen have done their part, regularly promising catastrophic snowstorms that convert ordinary viewers into “doomsday preppers” clogging supermarket aisles.

At this point, many of us are quite fond of the buzz that comes with fictional catastrophes and their ensuing drama and romance. Envisioning the end of the world as we know it — on TV’s “The Walking Dead,” say, or in any number of video games, movies, and books — we feel fine. Every week, we can find more than enough decimated urban landscapes, heroic survivors, and warnings about humankind’s hubris to feed our addictions. Coming to theaters in 2013: “Warm Bodies,” Brad Pitt’s “World War Z,” and Seth Rogen’s “The End of the World.”

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