A lot of writers try to dream up post-apocalyptic scenarios that hit home, and few succeed the way Rick Yancey has with his young adult trilogy, The 5th Wave. The first film adapted from the books just hit theaters (see below), and the movie is drawing comparisons to the The Hunger Games and the Twilight franchise — both of which struck deep notes in the popular culture. What kind of background do you need to richly imagine scenarios as terrifying an dire as The 5th Wave?
Well for Yancey, some of the fuel came from the horrors he saw during the 12 years he spent as a tax collector for the IRS. In Confessions of a Tax Collector, Yancey tells how he “became the man who got in his car, drove to your house, knocked on your door, and made you pay.” That book was published in 2004, and its characters were described as “too-strange-for-fiction.” By the time The 5th Wave was published in 2013, Yancey had put so many more strange characters into his books that they make movies about them. Apparently if you want to see some truly scary worlds, knock on doors for the IRS.