I'm not one to be controversial. I'll give some of you a moment to quiet down. However, I want to talk about something near and dear to my heart--the apocalypse. I recently had a discussion with another writer. I believe we were gnawing on the concept of zombie novels and apocalyptic fiction. I said: "You know, I have this thing about not killing everyone off. I mean, if we're going to create a character, endow him or her with all these marvelous qualities, and then torture them for the length of a novel. After dragging the character and the reader through all that, don't you think the hero has a right to live?"
The other writer chuckled in a terrifying manner. "Oh no. Kill 'em all."
Well, it is the apocalypse after all. But what does it say when we kill off everyone. If we create a hopeless environment, populated with hopeless people, then where is the tension? And where is the catharsis? How many times can you have Charleton Heston kneeling in the sand and screaming in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty? How many times can you rescue a heroine only to have her claimed in the last second of the film by an unkillable Freddie Kruger? How many times can you paint yourself into a corner, such as Stephen King does in "The Stand" and resolve it with a literal "deus ex machina"? Let's face it, the ending of "The Stand" remains one of the most disappointing and ludicrous resolutions in the history of modern literature.
As a writer of Lovecraftian fiction, I know that no one is going to be able to take down Cthulhu or Azatoth. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to give my character some victory, or my reader some catharsis.
Call me a pushover, but I want my audience to cheer and when they leave the theater or close the book, I want a satisfied smile on their faces.