Post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction love to imagine dark times.
In 2004, Channel 4 in the UK ran a three-part programme on the world’s worst century, which the makers selected as the 14th century, largely due to the Black Death.
Ten years on, let’s re-assess. The Black Death must have been horrible, but are there other candidates for the post-apocalyptic award (first prize a large book decorated with seven seals: don’t open them all at once…)?
Our very own twentieth century will surely look bad from the point of view of future people: the two greatest wars up till then, the greatest ever epidemic by number of dead, the atom bomb, the Cold War, Vietnam, etc.
The 6th century AD must have been terrible. It had a plague that went on for decades, social breakdown following the fall of the Western Roman Empire, natural catastrophes.
What about future centuries from science fiction? In the Doctor Who universe, for example, the 22nd century AD will be bad with the Dalek invasion.
The above examples are eurocentric. From the point of view of South Americans, the 16th century AD must have terrible due to the arrival of the Conquistadors.
So, what’s the worst (or best, depending on your point of view)?
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