I seem to stumble on books that have an apocalyptic theme everywhere I look (even when what I was looking for was an 'ordinary' book). Now just take what happened Friday. Perfect example. I was back in a classroom that I had subbed in several months ago ... last year maybe even. Anyhow, on that day I had left the book I was reading behind. To compensate for this I dug through the class library and found a book that looked 'sort' of interesting. It was The Eyes of Kid Midas by Neal Shusterman. It was decent. A kid's book and not apocalyptic. I read about a chapter of it and was interested. I was going to 'borrow' it and finish it at my leisure but then left it there on the desk. Upon returning (once more having forgotten to bring something to read) I found it again waiting for me. I picked it up and continued. At at the end of the day it 'fell' into my open backpack and went home with me.
At first glance the book has a couple of well worn and trusted themes. The first one is simple bullying. Our hero Kevin is a mere wisp of a boy and as such is the object of torment from the school bully Bertram. The other is wish fulfillment. At a camping trip Keven and the rest of the class (Bertram included) hear a very convincing campfire story about magic at the top of a mountain at the exact instant the sun rises at the equinox. So Kevin convinces his best buddy to make the climb with him. He finds, at the top of this mountain, a pair of glasses that will grant him his every wish. Even those that break the laws of the natural world.
This is where the books takes a drastic turn to the apocalypse. The Aborigines of Australia believe in Dream Time. They believe that our dreams have just as much impact on the world as our waking lives do. They believe that the end will come when the world of waking and the world of dreams mix to such an extent that the difference is unnoticeable. When that happens nothing will make sense any longer and as such the world will be over. This is bound to be the case when you give a bullied middle school geek glasses that will grant his every whim. His wishes bring about a world that no longer makes any sense and in doing so risks the end for everyone. When he stops with the wishing he's the last person on earth.
Before they had climbed the mountain, Josh had always prided himself on never giving in to fear - but now it seemed he was afraid of everything; shadows, noises - and worst of all, he was afraid of that awful feeling that he would have when he woke up , of not really waking up at all - of waking up in what Mr. Kirkpatrick had called "The Dream Time"
Reminded me of an old Twilight Zone episode called 'Wordplay' where the a man is desperately attempting to learn all the names of the products that his company sells. In attempting to learn all the new names he forgets the meanings of all the words that he's known his entire life. This man enters both The Twilight Zone and Dream Time.