SCI-FI SUBLIME: Viewing Our Annihilation in Movies

Barry during his book launch presentation at the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art.Multmedia presentation by Barry Vacker to launch his new book.

• Click to view/download a PDF of Barry's powerpoint presentation.

Media: Click on these links for media coverage. WHYY (NPR-Philadelphia), Philly Weekly

Location: Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art, 531 North 12th St. Philadelphia, PA, 19123

Date: December 19, 2012. The opening night of: "It's the End of the World (Again!)"

Time: Doors open at 6:00; presentation begins at 7:00.

Admission Price: $10. The price also includes admission to the "Apocalyptic Art" exhibit and a screening of the 1951 film, The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Refreshments: Provided by Philadelphia Brewing Company and Commonwealth Ciders

Barry offers much thanks to Eric Bresler, director of PhilaMOCA, for his support of the book launch. 

Click on cover to purchase in Amazon.Barry Vacker's presentation will discuss key ideas from his new book: The End of the World — Again: Why the Apocalypse Meme Replicates in Media, Science, and Culture.

• Barry will also be selling and signing copies of his book ($20, cash or credit card). All profits from sales of the book go to the Center for Media and Destiny.


Humans have long been fascinated with their demise in "the end of the world." This apocalyptic fascination reaches back centuries before the Bible's book of "Revelation" — to Plato's Atlantis (300 BCE) and the Epic of Gilgamesh (1000 BCE or earlier) — and continues in the new millennium with hit films like The Day After Tomorrow, WALL-E, I Am Legend, 2012, Melancholia, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and many others. So why the fascination? 

To conclude that these films exist to sell tickets and popcorn merely begs the question. Why is the apocalypse so popular? You will be surprised at the reasons, which involve not merely movies, but also several deep-seated human needs — including the need to experience the "awe and terror" of the sublime. 

Drawing from Barry's book, this presentation will summarize why humans are fascinated with the apoclaypse and their annihilation. You will find yourself surprised at this mind-bending summary of our culture in the new millennium. 

It's abook sure to make you happy. Jarice Hanson and Genevieve Gillespie, both of the Center for Media and Destiny.