I think there's always been a traditionally apocalyptic side to British science fiction, from H.G. Wells onwards. I mean, most of Wells' stories are potentially apocalyptic in some sense or another.
Culture is just a shambling zombie that repeats what it did in life; bits of it drop off, and it doesn't appear to notice.
Do I believe, for example, that by using magic I could fly? No. How would you get around gravity? Impossible. Do I believe that I might be able to project my consciousness into a very, very vivid simulation of flying? Yeah. Yes, I've done that. Yes, that works.
A lot of people have found the idea of living your life over and over again absolutely terrifying; there's some people that find it very comforting. There are others that are appalled by it.