A question to Sci-Fi fans...is a post-apocalyptic scenario a necessity for every major sci-fi book that is written? Why does there have to be a world war, or a war of the worlds for life to change so drastically that things get scarily out of our control and in the hands of the Thought Police or the robots?
This fact was driven home when I was reading Philip K Dick's The Minority Report and Other Stories a few months back. Dick is one of the most well-known and respected authors in this genre, and I have been fairly impressed with what I've read so far. However, in many of his stories (The Minority Report being a notable exception) , it is inevitably some apocalyptic incident, a world war of sorts which brings things to a head, causing major issues with authority over-reaching itself, and some sort of sinister, all-pervasive government/corporate body taking over. Mercifully, Mr. Dick uses this premise sparingly.
But he is influential. Influential enough to have a major science fiction writing prize named after him. Which doesn't help aspiring wannabes any. All of whom seem to looove the idea of a apocalyptic war ending Life As We Know It.
An interesting thought I read somewhere was that Japanese culture (especially anime) is obsessed with this, because it is the only true post-apocalyptic society in the world today. Interesting thought to chew on, but it doesn't explain the rest of the world being obsessed with this.
IM(Very H)O, nuclear weaponry has made it difficult for countried to go to war easily. The détente produced between countries possessing nuclear weapons makes it impossible for them to go head-to-head. The real danger is going to come from the so-called Clashes of Civilization. This rise of terrorism has been unexpected (at least to the general junta), and it is something that may affect how we see life over the next 50 years unless something drastic happens (unlikely).