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2012 or Bust

Everyone loves a good apocalypse. Environmental disaster, nuclear war, alien invasion, asteroid strike, deadly pandemic, biblical Armageddon complete with equestrians—you name the threat, and somebody has engineered a doomsday scenario around it. Now the clock is ticking on a new form of cataclysm—new to Hollywood anyway: the end of time as measured by the Mayan Long Count calendar. (Save the date: December 21, 2012.) In the movie version, it’s solar radiation that does us in, though other 2012 prophecies have warned of a collision with Planet X or the reversal of Earth’s magnetic poles. Why this preoccupation with the End of Days? Did the Mayans know something we don’t know? And if 2012 is poppycock, what will the end of the world really be like? Read on.

— The Editors

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