Imagining the End
The Apocalypse in American Popular Culture
by James Craig Holte, Editor
November 2019, 308pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-6101-7
$97, £72, 81€, A139
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-6102-4
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

When it comes to the end of the world—whether by disease, flood, fire, earthquake, war, asteroid impact, or outer space invasion—cultural depictions of the apocalypse have always been popular.

Imagining the End provides students and general readers with contextualized examples of how the apocalypse has been imagined across all mediums of American popular culture. Detailed entries analyze the development, influence, and enjoyment of end-times narratives.

Imagining the End provides a contextual overview and individual description and analysis of the wide range of depictions of the end of the world that have appeared in American popular culture. American writers, filmmakers, television producers, and game developers inundated the culture with hundreds of imagined apocalyptic scenarios, influenced by the Biblical Book of Revelation, the advent of the end of the second millennium (2000 CE), or predictions of catastrophic events such as nuclear war, climate change, and the spread of AIDS. From being “raptured” to surviving the zombie apocalypse, readers and viewers have been left with an almost endless sequence of disasters to experience.

Imagining the End examines this phenomenon and provides a context for understanding, and perhaps appreciating, the end of the world. This title is composed of alphabetized entries covering all topics related to the end times, covering popular culture mediums such as comic books, literature, films, and music.


  • Provides readers with comprehensive and contextual essays on major apocalyptic themes and subjects
  • Examines the source of most Western apocalyptic thought, The Book of Revelation and other Biblical apocalypses, in detail
  • Includes descriptions, analysis, and context for apocalyptic films, novels, television programs, and video games
  • Features a reader-friendly A–Z organization, with accessibly written entries
James Craig Holte is emeritus professor of English and film studies at East Carolina University. He is author of Dracula in the Dark, The Fantastic Vampire, and The Conversion Experience in America.


"Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates; general readers."—Choice, September 1, 2020
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