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Episode 5: The Wasteland (Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic Literature) - Hardcover

WARNING: This episode contains dystopian and post-apocalyptic spoilers. Nothing too earth- shattering, though, we promise.


Dystopia: “a not good place”

Post-Apocalyptic: after a cataclysmic event.


An example of a 1950s PSA:



by T.S. Eliot

We asked you about your experience with this modernist text on our Facebook page. Here’s some of the responses:

“Fun, actually.”

“Dense. I read it for class, and I knew I’d never be able to read it just for “funzies””

“first reading: confusing. second reading: a struggle (plus you think Eliot is just showing off) third reading: you are hit with the realization that you are an uninformed “academic” fourth reading (married with discussion): the best thing. coincidentally you will start informing your peers that we are in fact, “living in the waste land””

“Confusing. I can’t ever figure out why it is considered such a great poem. It has some good imagery, and Eliot is good with his words, but the overall effect is that of a collage. And I hate collages.”

“Like walking around in Edmonton.”

“Like wandering/being pulled through an apocalypse while inebriated”

“”how f**king brilliant!” I think I might’ve cried when I first read it? Maybe because I might’ve been responding (without knowing it at the time) to Pound’s indelible influence on the text? who knows? who knows?”

Like if the fairies lost and died in Fern Gully”


Here’s the entirety of The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot read by Jeremy Irons. Scar, reading this pseudo-post-apocalyptic poem. Seems fitting:




Also known as “Teenage Wasteland”:




Have you seen this poster around Windsor? Literature influencing the way we interpret the world. Nice.


The climactic discussion at the end of Brave New World was influenced by The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Here’s a page of Dostoyevsky’s notes from Chapter 5 of his manuscript:

ch 5 of The Bro K


Orwell and Huxley on the future:



Fahrenheit 451 banned in the States: IRONY!



An artist’s imagining of the post-apocalyptic landscape in Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood:

Oryx and Crake setting


Iron Maiden’s full album:




What three things would you want to have after the apocalypse? Tweet them to us @hardcoverradio


Thanks for listening!

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5 comments on “Episode 5: The Wasteland (Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic Literature)

  1. I will take Wilmott my bicycle because Elliot said there are no bicycles in the post apocalyptic world and since I have baskets on my bike I will have somewhere to store stuff I find.

    I will take the stories and music [is that two things?] inside my head because, well, because!

    I will take big sketchbook hoping I find a pencil shortly after the end begins.

  2. P.S. I have never, that is never, been a Metal fan but considering the bands you’ve mentioned that have been into this great genre I may just have to give some of these bands a listen – with plenty of classical, jazz, world waiting in the wings to rinse my ears after 😉

  3. Brett Fawcett Apr 28, 2015

    “We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn’t, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

    But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell’s dark vision, there was another – slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

    What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.

    This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.”
    ― Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

    • Peter Jun 3, 2015

      I’ve read this over more than a few times and I love this comment more every time.