MARS II is a poetic account of the impact of catastrophes on our thinking. These days ecological disasters, economic crises and terrorist attacks seem to be constantly hanging over our heads. In its obsession with risk, modern-day Western society has sometimes been described as a ‘risk society’, largely organized around preventing risk. Does perhaps the human race have a need for stories of catastrophes in rather the same way as a child enjoys a gruesome fairy story? After all, our focus on a specific threat also activates us: the fear of a possible disaster makes us determined to avert it with every possible means. In that respect every apocalyptic scenario, however likely or unlikely, is a sort of secular memento mori – a reminder of our mortality.