Worst (Best) Century to Have Lived In?

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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3 thoughts on “Worst (Best) Century to Have Lived In?

  1. I have relatives that live in the rebel held region of Eastern Ukraine. I believe from their point of view now is the worst century to live in. For me, the best century to live in has not happened yet. That day will arrive when we get off this rock and start exploring the universe. Humanity really needs an extensive system of offsite backups! On earth we seem to recycle the past – what’s old is new again. I look forward to the unique century of space travel and exploration of the universe. That will be the best century ever.

    Liked by 1 person

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