As long as there have been stories, there have been stories of what terrible things MIGHT have happened, if only somebody hadn’t been there to save the day/fix the flaw/take care of Marty’s kids.  It’s a great way to get around the problems with the status quo, as in the Bad Future, the Decepticons can gain and edge and brutally murder all our favorite Autobots, Tim Hunter can turn into a magical dictator and Peter Petrelli can destroy the world and/or abandon his girlfriend in a dystopian hellhole.  Heck, even Disney has played with this trope (and ‘Meet The Robinsons’ future world of dead-eyed zombies controlled by hats is frankly terrifying), proving that it’s truly universal, and so narratively powerful that it’s at the root of most of the fifty years worth of Doctor Who plots, leading to today’s foreboding query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) thinks that it’s somewhat telling that the X-Men have half a dozen alternate futures, each one more apocalyptic than the next, asking: Which bad future is the worst of all the bad futures in fiction?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Douglas Romshe on

    It might sound cliched or pretentious, but I think the worst possible future is in Orwell’s 1984. The scariest part about it is how prophetic it has been, predicting many things that actually came true despite Orwell’s satirical intent. But my favorite alternate future story is Marvel’s Earth X. When I was a kid I loved Age of Apocalypse, but Earth X taught me that these characters and continuities could be written much more seriously and with a depth Marvel had, in my opinion, not reached previously.

  2. The creepy one from the Powerpuff Girls where the sickly sweet Him too over and everyone in town was left a hollow shell of their former selves, tortured by vague horribleness we never actually got to see, emotionless and broken but for their obsession with the fact that the Powerpuff Girls abandoned them.
    Perhaps there are worse futures out there, that is not really the type of thing you’re quite ready for when you sit down to watch The Powerpuff GIrls.

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