Post-apocalyptic stories were never for me, nor were the movies or even the thought of it. I used to sit and think as an 8th Grader about “how stupid” an idea like this even is, because we would never see this. I remember getting tired of movies dealing with the end of the world, as it was overdone and done horribly. Of course, what did a fourteen year-old know? For an entire year, I would think this. The funny thing is, I had no idea what post-apocalyptic even meant.
In a precursor sort-of-way, all that changed with the release of I Am Legend. Leading up to its release, I figured, “Hey, plot looks decent and it has Will Smith.” Something just looked different from what I was used to. (I blame the shot of the life-ridden shot of Times Square.)
So, me and my Mom went to see it one December night and I went in thinking it was going to be the scariest thing I had seen thus far. (I was right, after all. Not a big horror fan.) Immediately afterwards, I could not even look at the world without thinking of it being empty and … dead. I was stunned that a movie made me feel like that. (This, I believe, is when something was birthed into me, that I would end up falling in love with this genre.) Literally, I could not view buildings, humanity, or even my own thoughts the same after I saw it.
Especially, though, I could not look at the sky the same. My eyes were fixated on the universe surrounding us, but with a much different outlook. With a seven-billion-and-counting population, I don’t think my mind could wrap around the idea of a barren, empty planet. It was almost as if I was attached to the idea of a barren planet, and in a morbid, strange way, I am. (I just didn’t know it yet.)
Fast-forward past the time I begin to write Dreaming Wide Awake and skip to April 2010. I am at a friend’s house and my friend begins to read an article of the most creepy places in the world. The number one spot went to Chernobyl.
Oh, Chernobyl. If I only knew how infatuated I would become.
Before this night, I, unfortunately, had never heard of the disaster, but oh man, was I missing out. My friend tells me a bit about it and, I kid you not, I instantaneously fall in love with the place. To this day, I am planning a trip to visit the exclusion zone and all that jazz.
(It’s funny, because most his information was not close to what really happened, but I both didn’t know and didn’t care. There is an entirely empty, modern city sitting in 1986. That is incredible.)
Fast-forward three months later, and I begin to fall in love with the zombie genre, as well as the glorious movie 28 Days Later and the somewhat-decent sequel, 28 Weeks Later. The effect of having such an empty world just intrigues me. I cannot necessarily explain it, but the loneliness and the new emotions it would bring is simply striking.
28 Days Later is, undoubtedly, the main reason I created For Those Who Don’t Learn From History, and I am very much modeling certain aspects and plots after this cinematic classic. Not so much the plot, but the atmosphere. I’ll end it here, because I could write an entirely different post solely about the movie.
I originally got the idea for what would become FTWDLFH sometime around this October 2010. I was thinking of walking down a long stretch of road, with the world around me dead and quiet, and just what exactly might happen. Fr0m there, I imagined the rest as a story, rather than me, and after a few weeks, I sat down and wrote my first draft of the idea. (Ironically, I pulled an all-nighter the day of my first job to write this.) By the time my Senior Year began, I had the details all worked out, characters, location and all, but a title was still missing, all until sometime in October.
For Those Who Don’t Learn From History came from my friend Marshall Rankin, or at least some really awesome ideas. We were discussing Dreaming Wide Awake and my then-unnamed post-apocalyptic novel. He mentions the quote by George Santayana, in which my novel is named after, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” and goes on to suggest something – in which I cannot reveal just yet – that just made me go nuts for the title and instantly fell in love with it.
As it stands now, For Those Who Don’t Learn From History will be quite a while from release, but I can honestly say this will a piece of art from me. I am putting every ounce of dedication into this sucker and I promise to not disappoint.