In 1974, editors John Tierney ’75, Christopher Buckley ’75, and Eric Goodman ’75 celebrated the second anniversary of the Yale Daily News Magazine by commissioning short musings on the theme of the Apocalypse from some of the country’s most distinguished writers — so distinguished, in fact, that the college kids were willing to fork out a dollar for each of their words. Here’s our third installment of “The End of the World, In 20 Words or Less”:


Re: Your question about the end of the world.

You will find my answer in Atlas Shrugged. Judge for yourselves whether it’s coming true.

– Ayn Rand

P.S. At your rate of a dollar a word, that answer would cost you some $700,000. But you owe me only $15.00 for the fifteen words above — in cash or by check, as you prefer — plus a copy of the issue carrying your symposium.


I’m only interested in the beginning of the world.

The world ended long ago — name any number of billions of years and that will be precisely right.

The human race (just in case) absolutely cannot end the world, so relax or regret it.

Something like the world begins every instant, in a kind of irrelevance and vacuum — it is all we really need, and certainly is no undeserved

– William Saroyan


Thanks, for your invitation, but I have no thoughts about the end of the world.

– John Barth


VN thanks you for your charming letter. He says he is ‘trying to finish writing a novel before the end of the world.’ He regrets he must decline your kind offer.”

– Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov