Hello, if this is your first time here, Login with Facebook or create a free account to get started. This month sees the release of two post-apocalyptic films: the thriller World War Z and the comedy This is the End, proving that audiences still have an appetite for end-of-the-world fare. As a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, I’m happy to see it endure, especially as the flavor I grew up with (the post-nuclear war variety) almost went out of style with the Cold War. Sure, it’s a game series, but Fallout helped define the post-apocalyptic world for many people.
Stephen King’s epic post-apocalyptic novel has all of the classic hallmarks of the genre. I don’t think I could create a list of post-apocalyptic fiction without The Road Warrior. Perhaps an unconventional pick, but Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite authors, science fiction or otherwise, and Galapagos is his entry into the post-apocalyptic genre, detailing how the world changes after an economic crisis causes the collapse of modern society. The subject of a few movie adaptations, Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend remains the authoritative text. If you like short stories (and you should, they’re awesome) then this is the anthology for you. Just a short note: the writing the Fallout series that made it so beloved is probably not best represented by Fallout 3, which fans have pretty heavily agreed is the worst-written of the series.
This has to be the strangest and ultimately one ofthe most terrifying post-apoc novels ever written. The movies didn't live up to the book, but after a nuclear war ostensibly between the US and China, Australia is left wondering what happened. Unintentionally campy, this book focuses on the eponymous hero, Hiero Desteen and his journey from the wilds of what used to be Northern Canada into the rest of the world. As far as the original list resembling one that you'd find on Amazon or some such place: you have to start somewhere right?
Great call on The Passage, though I'd like to see how all three books play out before I give it the thumbs up.
Some sites that just pump-and-dump lists solely because the SEO team says 'LISTS ARE GREAT!
But this one drives me nuts because frankly it just seems like the author isn't the best person to write it. So when someone makes a list of books in probably the only genre of books I have any knowledge about, I thought it was worth mentioning that there are far, far better starting points and a much wider range of books than what is in this list. Wool is proof positive that bottling the zeitgeist and putting together something coherent and modestly compelling can have a tremendous impact in the world of self-publishing. I knocked out Wool and it's prequels in less than a week of train rides to and from work. However, if you want the best post-apoc comic book story ever written, look no further than Old Man Logan.


The sequel may have emerged suspiciously quickly, but just as quickly those suspicious dissipate like day-trippers before the Purge Night klaxon. The message at the heart of the movie is equally inflated and after the effective thriller of the first two thirds, The Purge: Anarchy swerves headlong into its own subtext and everything takes a turn for the downright daft. Suddenly, our heroes are right in the middle of a class war with tweed-clad upper crust debutantes hunting them across a walled garden.
But post-apocalyptic fiction to me has never been about the apocalypse, about the collapse of society as we know it.
The first game came out in 1997, so it’s firmly in the post-nuclear wasteland category of post-apocalyptia, which seems to just make it more classic.
The images from this movie essentially defined what the post-apocalyptic world was like when I was growing up. Unlike many post-apocalyptic stories that seem to pin their hopes on human virtues overcoming human flaws, Vonnegut pins all the mistakes and catastrophes of the book on the human brain. While it influenced the zombie apocalypse genre, the monsters in the novel more closely resemble vampires created by a pandemic.
Editor John Joseph Adams has collected 22 post-apocalyptic stories from authors such as Stephen King, George R.
It centers on a tenuous Christian order in a post-apocalyptic America where books have been burned and science has been purged. His first novel, Falling Sky, a post-apocalyptic adventure with airships, is due to be released in October 2014. Beautiful prose, a great story which many have borrowed aspects from (disease wiping out mankind, a crazed preacher leading a cult rebellion, etc.), and it was the first ever of its kind. Unlike anything I've ever read and it is shocking that the book is nearly 200 years old. And he did say that this was his personal list, not an exhaustively researched best-of-all-time sort of list. I loved it in the comics and also enjoyed the animated series version, and with the recent excellence of the Marvel movie franchise, I even have some hopes that the film adaptation won't suck.
Drawing closer to his John Carpenter influences, DeMonaco drops the horror altogether for a more classically inclined action thriller against the backdrop of a poisoned utopia. Then Carmelo’s rebels burst in with the simple message of opposing Purge Night by, er, using the impunity offered by Purge Night to shoot the rich. I’ve played most of the games and what I love about them, in addition to their stories, is the retro-future flavor to the world as well as the humor. Hazel’s band of rabbits may seem like little harmless fuzzy creatures, but when their warren is destroyed, they must travel their own road to find a new home while facing impossible dangers, relying on their cultural mythology for guidance, and avoiding the survivors who seek their destruction.
Ballard, which depicts a future earth where the temperature has increased and the polar ice caps have melted, is all the more chilling because it offers a glimpse at our own future.
If post-apocalyptic fiction mirrors back the strengths and flaws of our own society then this is something of a warning, drawing inspiration from the Dark Ages.


His short fiction has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and several anthologies.
Personally, I'm cool with anything that adds a few titles to my seemingly neverending list of books to read. But I draw inspiration, if not monetary compensation, from the idea of the internet as a great democratizer, which Wool is an example of.
In the midst of terrible things, the dismantling of everything we’ve come to know and depend upon, post-apocalyptic fiction focuses on not only the struggle to survive, but often the attempt to preserve or rebuild the best parts of humanity. Also, I omitted any zombie fiction from this list, not because I don’t think it qualifies, but because I recently covered it in a separate column and wanted to avoid repeats. The recent Bethesda additions to the series, Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, immerse you even more fully into the world and let you determine the future of the American wasteland. Call me crazy, but a lot of The Walking Dead (the comic at least) owes a debt to Watership Down. As the Earth returns to something resembling an ancient era, so too do humans seem to be regressing, having strange dreams of primeval swamps.
But where some stories focus on the world and the struggle, A Canticle for Leibowitz keeps humanity firmly in view, focusing on learning and society, religion and politics in this future world that aims to tell us something about ourselves.
His words stretch out the land around the titular road while never losing sight of the two main characters. Also, even though it's on archive-dot-org, it may not actually be public domain (just so you know).
This site alone is responsible for adding several dozen (and that's a conservative estimate). And ironically, another example that self-publishing is not the end of the world for writers or readers (haha).
It allows us to hold up a mirror to ourselves and see both the heights and depths of what we’re capable of. Adams is a big post-apocalyptic fan and has put together what might be the definitive collection of the genre. Not the typical landscape of the post-apocalypse, but perhaps more disturbing because of it. It’s essentially the story of a father and son, and what that means in the post-apocalypse, but the world itself colors every part of the story.
Criterion Collection released an edition of it recently, so you know it's at least watchable.



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