For those of you unfamiliar with the acronym in the title, it stands for The End Of The World As We Know It. This is one of the core subjects in the Senses Novels series. What happens when the entire world around us suddenly and dramatically changes?
There are several ways in which the planet could be altered beyond recognition, not all of them dependent on mankind’s actions. An asteroid strike, a massive coronal ejection (solar flare), or an enormous blast of gamma rays from a nearby star going nova could all change the globe irrevocably for all time.
Mankind has a few limited ways, currently, in which we can make these same kinds of world shattering alterations. A thermonuclear war, the destruction of a major country’s electrical grid and an engineered pandemic are a few ways that humans could not only destroy massive amounts of life but physically change the landscape as well.
The Senses Novels deal with a couple of these while purposely avoiding some of the known side effects. For instance, in the event of a total breakdown of civilization, it is unlikely that anyone would be left to tend the multiple nuclear reactors around the world. At some point, these would go into meltdown releasing radioactive dust and gas into the atmosphere, poisoning it for centuries. Not a pretty scenario, but one that was pointed out by an author friend of mine in one of her series of books.