Rated PG. Contains war, invasion, exodus, mass extinction, religious revival, and a lot of mud.
How The World Became Quiet: A Post-Human Creation Myth
By Rachel Swirsky
Humans laid the foundation for the sixth apocalypse in much the same way they’d triggered the previous ones. Having recovered their ambition after the Apocalypse of Serotonin and rebuilt their populations after the Apocalypse of Grease, they once again embarked on their species’ long term goal to wreak as much havoc as possible on the environment through carelessness and boredom. This time, the trees protested. They devoured buildings, whipped wind into hurricanes between their branches, tangled men into their roots and devoured them as mulch. In retaliation, men chopped down trees, fire-bombed jungles, and released genetically engineered insects to devour tender shoots.
The pitched battle decimated civilians on both sides, but eventually — though infested and rootless — the trees overwhelmed their opposition. Mankind was forced to send its battered representatives to a sacred grove in the middle of the world’s oldest forest and beg for a treaty.
About the Author
Rachel Swirsky was a founding editor of PodCastle, along with Ann Leckie.
Rachel’s short stories have appeared in Tor, Subterranean Magazine, and Clarkesworld, and been reprinted in year’s best anthologies edited by Strahan, Horton, Dozois, and the VanderMeers. She holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop, and graduated from Clarion West in 2005.
Her short fiction has been nominated for the Hugo Award, the Locus Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the Sturgeon Award. She’s twice won the Nebula Award, in 2010 for her novella, The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window and in 2014 for her short story, If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love.
About the Narrator
Frank Key was a British writer, blogger and broadcaster best known for his self-published short-story collections and his long-running radio series Hooting Yard on the Air, which was broadcast weekly on Resonance FM from April 2004 to September 2019, when he passed away. Frank co-founded the Malice Aforethought Press with Max Décharné and published the fiction of Ellis Sharp.