Title: Disaster




Location: Arthur Hailey, Airport Michael Crichton, The Andromeda Strain Logan Robinson, Evil Star

Pagination: 0

Illustrations: - threatened destruction - pressure of time - isolation

Document Type: Graffiti


Disaster novels, which comprise elements of both the adventure and the thriller, feature a small group of people fighting to prevent the destruction of their society at large. In plots revloving around a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, a hurricane, a volcanic eruption, an asteroid shower etc., the diaster either precedes the action of the story, or occurs very early on. In this case, the main issue is one of survival. However, plots featuring a man-made disaster, such as a nuclear meltdown, a burst dam, or a collapsing building, usually withhold the disaster event itself until the climax of the story. The central concern is one of preventing or evading the disaster. The disaster narrative is built on a strongly linear plot, deriving tension from the threat of impending death and the pressure of time, and builds towards a climax of either reunion or ultimate destruction. As well, the disaster narrative plays on anxieties regarding the fall/ preservation of society and the isolation of the central characters. The disaster can be symbolic of corruption within society as much as a physical threat. Disaster novels tend to be conservative, reaffirming society's values and structures by preventing the disaster, or re-creating society in its own image.