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date: 21 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines apocalypticism in popular culture, based on a new understanding of apocalypticism as a historical and global worldview. The first sections describe apocalypticism, define popular culture, and discuss the role of fiction as the primary conduit through which the worldview is expressed today. The next section explores how apocalypticism can be identified and assessed in popular culture. The chapter then presents nine cases that illustrate the wide range of apocalyptic expression in contemporary popular culture: Neon Genesis Evangelion; The Matrix; Neuromancer; Promethea; The Stand; A Canticle for Leibowitz; the Left Behind series; new religious movements; and, finally, the 2012 “Mayan Apocalypse,” the Internet, and “superflat” apocalypticism. The chapter concludes with a section on the ever-increasing appeal of apocalyptic speculation in popular culture today.

Keywords: apocalypticism, popular culture, fiction, films, anime, novels, manga, Neon Genesis Evangelion, The Matrix, Neuromancer, Left Behind, Superflat apocalypticism, Mayan Apocalypse

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