Resource Archive

posted on 12 Feb 2018

Omega: The Last Days of the World (1894)

This article has been published on the Public Domain website. It begins:

A great green comet made of lethal carbon monoxide is hurtling towards the Earth. Cue apocalyptic panic. So far so Hollywood disaster movie. But the similarity between Camille Flammarion’s novel Omega (1894) and the film Armageddon (1998) — in which Bruce Willis destroys himself to destroy a comet before it destroys the Earth — ends at comets. The one in Omega misses the Earth by itself, albeit by a narrow, spectacular margin. It’s only then that the narrative heart of the novel begins to pump in earnest. Suddenly we shoot forward to the 100th century AD, when evolution has refined the human senses and supplied two new ones, an electric and a psychic, “by which communication at a distance is possible”. Several more million years pass, and as the Sun cools the Earth begins to freeze over. The last surviving humans, Omegar and Eva, accept that they are soon to die. But before they do so a spirit whisks them off to Jupiter, where they find the rest of humanity living in cleansed and purified form. This might seem like a natural end to a novel centrally concerned with the transmigration and final destination of human souls. Yet Flammarion refuses to stop there. In the last pages of the book the whole solar system dies, followed by the cosmos itself, making way for new universes: “And these universes passed away in their turn. But infinite space remained, peopled with worlds, and stars, and souls, and suns; and time went on forever. For there can be neither end nor beginning.”

Read the full article on this link to the Public Domain website