In one, a thick layer of ash covers everything as a nameless man and his son push their cart through a land of absolute silence and darkness without end....
In another, the world inexplicably floods, sending a watertight hospital full of sleep-deprived doctors and their young patients bobbing on the waves like a new Noah's Ark.
And in a third, the Manhattan Company dispatches a team of rogues from a devastated Northeast to settle an untouched part of tidewater Virginia inhabited by a 21st Century Pocahontas.
The notion of apocalypse -- the word is from the Greek for "the lifting of the veil" -- has been with us, in various forms, for a long time. But it's still worth asking: What does it mean that the dream life of the richest, most scientifically advanced nation in history is troubled by nightmares of the end?
Being the cynic that I generally am, I have to believe that those producing the bulk of the books and movies on the end-days topics are cashing in on a trend rather than expressing any real concerns that they may have. Some are cashing in at the bank, some are making political points to be used later, and some are doing both. Oh well, I suppose this beats movies about out-of-control monsters from Japan.