The world has ended.
The lurking threat of nuclear war finally came to a head, a global chain reaction of button-pushing blew the entire planet up seven times over.
Above: still frames from the final seven minutes of Sidney Lumet’s 1964 Cold War drama, Fail-Safe. A failure in communications technology causes one American bomber plane to believe nuclear war is at hand: they move past the fail-safe point, into Russia. As their orders dictate in such a situation, they drop a bomb on Moscow. These images show the American president in telephone negotiations with the Russian Premier. They decide that since the Americans’ mistake obliterated Moscow, American bombers should intentionally destroy New York City. The images in the bottom row depict the last moments of life in the city, before the screen goes blank.
Biological warfare raged out of control. A floating death sentence— a lethal germ-cloud—enveloped all of humanity within a matter of weeks. Nitric-acid rain poisoned one third of the globe’s already diminishing potable water supply, due to a collision with Planet X, the mysterious, roving 12th planet in our solar system. A solar storm (like the one observed in 1859) obliterated the electrical system and power grids that we now depend upon, and the ensuing havoc decimated most of the population, leaving the remainder to fight for survival in a world-wide dystopian landscape:
Six Flags New Orleans, March 2010//2012.
I took this, a la Christoph Morlinghaus
Or, an even more powerful solar flare, like the one NASA observed in 2006 (135 light years away at the time) , wiped Earth clean of life with the force of 50 million trillion atomic bombs. It might have been a massive pole shift, a global tsunami, or perhaps a super volcano.
In the end, the details are not important: the world as we know it is gone...