- Apocalypse (radio)
“Apocalypse” is a radio program from the American radio anthology series
Radio Tales. The anthology series adapted classic works of American and world literature for the radio. The series was a recipient of numerous awards, including four Gracie Allen Awards from the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television (in 2004, [ [http://www.awrt.org/press-releases/2004/Press_Release_%20Announce_Winners.pdf "AWRT Press Release"] AWRT.org. Accessed March 21, 2008.] 2003, [ [http://www.npr.org/about/press/030402.gracie.html "NPR Productions Win Gracie Allen Awards"] NPR.org. Accessed March 21, 2008.] 2001, [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20011126020253/www.awrt.org/awards/2000GracieWinners.html "2001 Gracie Allen Award Winners"] AWRT.org, as indexed by the Internet Archive at Archive.org. Accessed March 21, 2008.] and 1998), a New York Festivals WorldMedal, [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20050207122048/http://www.newyorkfestivals.com/res/pdf/2004RPwinners.pdf "2004 Winners, Radio Programming and Promotion, New York Festivals"] NewYorkFestivals.com, as indexed by the Internet Archive at Archive.org. Accessed March 21, 2008.] and a Golden Reel Merit Award. [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20010802161539/www.nfcb.org/2001reelsinfo.html "NFCB Announces 2001 Golden Reel Award Winners"] NFCB.org, as indexed by the Internet Archive at Archive.org. Accessed March 21, 2008.] The "Apocalypse" program from the Radio Tales series was an adaptation of the science fiction short story “ Finis” written by Frank L. Pollack.
The Radio Tales production of “Apocalypse” was first broadcast via
National Public Radioon October 30, 2001 [National Public Radio: "NPR Quarterly Edition Fall 2001". NPR Marketing, Vol. VII, No. IV] . The program encompassed one half-hour installment that was distributed to NPR member stations as part of the NPR Playhousecultural series. Since November 28th, 2002, the entire Radio Tales series has aired in reruns on the Sonic Theater channel (163) of the XM Satellite Radioservice [ [http://www.xmradio.com/onxm/features/sonictheater.xmc "Sonic Theater"] XMRadio.com. Accessed May 22, 2008.] . The “Apocalypse” program debuted on XM Satellite Radio on May 24, 2003.
The program was produced and script edited by series producer
Winnie Waldron, who also served as the on-air host [ [http://www.winifredphillips.com/wp_bio.html "Winifred Phillips Official Site: Biography"] Winifredphillips.com. Accessed May 19, 2008.] . Composer Winifred Phillipscreated over twenty-eight minutes of music for the program, and also performed as the featured actress [ [http://www.mninter.net/~jstearns/nprPH.html#top "NPR Playhouse - January - March, 2001"] MNinter.net. Accessed March 21, 2008.] . “Apocalypse” was part of the sixth year of Radio Tales on NPR Playhouse [National Public Radio: "NPR Quarterly Edition Fall 2001". NPR Marketing, Vol. VII, No. IV] .
The Radio Tales production of “Apocalypse” has been available in numerous formats and venues, including burn-on-demand CDs manufactured and distributed by MP3.com [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20031129193548/artists.mp3s.com/artists/33/npr_radio_tales.html "MP3.com: Radio Tales"] MP3.com, as indexed by the Internet Archive at Archive.org. Accessed
July 15, 2008.] and Ampcast.com [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20060212003627/http://www.ampcast.com/music/25229/artist.php "Ampcast.com: Radio Tales"] Ampcast.com, as indexed by the Internet Archive at Archive.org. Accessed July 15, 2008.] . Beginning in 2005, programs from the series, including the “Apocalypse” program, have been available for download via the Audioville.co.uk web site [ [http://www.audioville.co.uk/store/view.php?Id=550&ProductCategoryId=59 "audioVille | Stor>>Fiction | Radio Tales | Download Audio Books, Podcasts and more in MP3. Comedy, Fiction, sport, news, science, drama."] Audioville.co.uk. Accessed [September 26] , 2008.] .
The story is set in New York City in the near future. The narrator, a science professor at Columbia University, begins the story by describing the ‘theory of a limited universe’, which proposes that an enormous object at the exact center of the universe forms the center of its rotation, and is both immense and extremely hot. This theory, proposed 26 years previously, had thereafter inspired mathematicians to calculate when the light of the ‘central star’ might eventually reach the earth. Now, 26 years later, the narrator watches the night skies with a telescope pointed from the window of a laboratory in the new Physics Building at Columbia, while below in the streets a throng of festive stargazers awaits the predicted appearance of the new star.
The moon rises with unusual brightness, and at midnight a fiery red light touches the east, bringing with it a wave of heat that melts the winter ice. As the light grows, flags begin bursting into flame, and other fires break out across the city. The crowd panics, trampling each other to get out of the blistering-hot sunlight – the stampede leaves in its wake countless bodies littering the street. The narrator, watching all this in horror, now hurries down the stairs, intending to reach storage vaults in the basement of the building where some protection from the heat might be found. Stopping on a landing to look out a window there, the narrator witnesses the approach of a tremendous cyclone formed by the sudden violent evaporation of water from the harbor. The cyclone slams into the city, hitting the Physics Building like a wrecking ball and causing it to twist and crumple. The narrator is thrown to the tilting floor of the landing but miraculously survives, regaining consciousness to see that tangled steel and exposed girders have formed an impenetrable cage. The narrator won’t be going anywhere, but at least the huge gaps in the walls in all directions have now afforded a perfect view of the destruction occurring outside.
The storm continues, flooding the streets below and filling the air with hot mist. When it finally ceases, the heat beats down again on the city and rapidly evaporates the water. Smoke rises, and fires ignite in all directions. The narrator lies in the cage of twisted steel throughout the day, shielded from the light of the two suns but in an agonized delirium from the heat. When the suns finally set, the narrator recovers enough to think about the meaning of what has occurred. Clearly, the human race is at an end. The heat of the two suns will quickly circle the globe, and what few survivors remained would not survive the roasting that the following day would bring. Yet, life might continue – some microorganisms might withstand the high temperatures and the process of evolution might begin anew. The narrator imagines a race of intelligent beings on a far-future earth, discovering the remains of an ancient human lying in a cage of twisted steel, and perhaps learning some clue to the origin of their own species. In calm resignation, the narrator watches the growing light of dawn.
* [http://www.audioville.co.uk/store/view.php?Id=550&ProductCategoryId=59 Apocalypse Streaming Audio Excerpts on Audioville.co.uk]
* [http://www.radiotales.com/ The Official Radio Tales® Web Site]
* [http://www.audioville.co.uk/store/view_productcategory.php?Id=59 Radio Tales® Full Series - Streaming Audio Excerpts]
* [http://www.xmradio.com/onxm/channelpage.xmc?ch=163 XM Satellite Radio – Information on the Sonic Theater Channel]
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