Apocalyptic/Post Apocalyptic Literature

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After London by Richard Jeffries.
Just checked to see if it's the first (1885), and saw that
wikipedia has an entry for the whole genre.

woofwoofwoof, Friday, 8 February 2008 14:22 (6 years ago) Permalink

Posted this on another thread which I now can't find, but here's my list...

The really good ones marked with an *, the really depressing with an #

*#Ian Macpherson: Wild Harbour – a married couple try to stay alive and unnoticed in Highland Scotland as the world falls to pieces through war

*Russell Hoban: Riddley Walker – life in post-holocaust UK, wonderfully written in its own invented pidgin English

*#John Christopher: Death of Grass / No Blade of Grass – global crop failure, society collapses

John Christopher: The World in Winter – sudden new ice age, society collapses

*John Christopher: A Wrinkle in the Skin – sudden global tectonic disaster, society annihilated overnight

Jack London: The Scarlet Plague – travels of a boy and his grandfather in plague-obliterated America

*Walter M Miller Jr: A Canticle for Liebowitz – post-nuclear-war Catholic Church tries to save civilisation, among their holy relics a shopping list belonging to one St Liebowitz

#Neville Shute: On the Beach – military and civilian survivors of nuclear war wait in Australia for the inevitable deadly fallout that will kill everyone else

*Graham Greene: ‘A Discovery in the Woods’ (short story in ‘A Sense of Reality’) – explorations of a group of children born several generations after nuclear war

*John Wyndham: Day of the Triffids – sudden global blindness plus genetically engineered killer plants, society collapses

*John Wyndham: The Chrysalids – post-nuclear-war puritan village society in Canada, kids with special telepathic powers living in hiding

*George R Stewart: Earth Abides – life of a survivor of plague which kills almost everyone else

Mary Shelley: The Last Man – also the life of a survivor of plague which kills almost everyone else (see also the excellent poem of the same name by Thomas Hood at http://www.rc.umd.edu/editions/mws/lastman/hood.htm)

*#William Golding: Lord of the Flies – isolated society of children goes berserk after crashing on isolated island fleeing nuclear war

Jean Hegland: Into the Forest – non-specific societal collapse, two sisters living alone in a house in the forest try to survive

#Aldous Huxley: Ape and Essence – New Zealand documentary crew investigates the nuclear war that ended most of civilisation

*#Cormac McCarthy: The Road – father and son try to survive in aftermath of total nuclear war

*#Wilson Tucker: The Long, Loud Silence – a man living in biowarfare-ruined America tries to get to the “normal”, uncontaminated part of the country

*#Robert O’Brien: Z for Zachariah – excellent YA novel about young girl living alone in isolated valley after a nuclear war, until a stranger arrives…

*#Robert Swindells: Brother in the Land – another fine YA novel, this one from the point of view of a boy who survives the war and tries to survive the aftermath
HRF Keating: A Long Walk to Wimbledon – a man travels through ruined London to find his ex-wife

Richard Jefferies: After London – pastoral-ish novel of life in post-collapse UK (available at www.gutenberg.org/etext/13944)

Luke Rhinehart: Long Voyage Back – people who survived a nuclear war by being in an offshore boat desperately search for safe place to land

*JG Ballard: The Drowned World – early disastrous global warming novel – a few survivors surrender to their reptile brains in tropical, submerged London

JG Ballard: The Drought – massive fresh water shortage, society collapses

Doris Lessing: Memoirs of a Survivor – general societal collapse, annoyingly pretentious

#Mordecai Roshwald: Level 7 – increasingly insane existence of the only survivors of a nuclear war, the people living in bunkers in charge of the remaining weapons

*Nadine Gordimer: July’s People – (written pre the collapse of Apartheid) general collapse of South African “society”, white family sheltered by their ex-housekeeper’s black family in the bush

*Stephen Vincent Benet: ‘By the Waters of Babylon’ (short story) – the son of a priest explores the Great Dead Place (ie New York)

Pat Frank: Alas, Babylon – Floridians try to survive nuclear war, story undermined by not taking the effects of fallout, etc, seriously enough

*#Maggie Gee: The Burning Book – seemingly “normal” literary novel interrupted partway through by nuclear war

RC Sherriff: The Hopkins Manuscript – a man’s life story before, during and after the total collapse of society because of the Moon dropping out of orbit (good, but scientifically daft)

Carolyn See: Golden Days – seeming satire of Californian New Age/inspiration industry types interrupted partway through by nuclear war

Dick Morland : Albion! Albion! – so-so adventure story set in post-collapse London, by a pseudonym of Reginald Hill (Dalziel & Pascoe)

Jim Crace: The Pesthouse – disappointing story of two people living in post-collapse America

Grant Allen: The Thames Valley Catastrophe (short story) – London destroyed by volcanoes

Edmund Cooper: All Fool’s Day – weird sunspot activity makes most people commit suicide; only malcontents and the mentally ill survive – misogynistic and nasty, but with effective moments

Not yet read…
Tatyana Tolstaya: Life in post-holocaust Russia, a new translation from NYRB Classics

James Morrison, Sunday, 10 February 2008 00:50 (6 years ago) Permalink

It's in the thread for The Road!

I will probably be reading the Hoban from the list next...

Jeff LeVine, Sunday, 10 February 2008 06:10 (6 years ago) Permalink

Haven't read the Niven/Pournelle/Barnes book mentioned above, but when I was a kid, I LOVED Niven & Pournelle's Lucifer's Hammer, about an apocalyptic metor strike and its after-effects. Used to fantasize about surviving some kind of holocaust and having a cool Mad Max car.

Also, Dinner at Deviant's Palace, by Tim Powers is awful good. Not quite Anubis Gates good, but getting there.

Jonathan Lethem's Amnesia Moon is kinda postapocalyptic.

contenderizer, Tuesday, 12 February 2008 01:10 (6 years ago) Permalink

Agree that Ridley Walker is good, though I found it slow going. Loved The Road.

contenderizer, Tuesday, 12 February 2008 01:11 (6 years ago) Permalink

The Children's Hospital by Chris Adrian is about the Apocalypse, complete with angels.

badg, Tuesday, 12 February 2008 22:29 (6 years ago) Permalink

Does Greg Bear's Blood Music count? It's more apocalyptic than post, but at the end you get a taste of thereafteryness.

And is The Children's Hospital any good? I loved the HC packaging (much less the paperback), but had become wary of the McSweeny's imprint at that point.

contenderizer, Tuesday, 12 February 2008 23:24 (6 years ago) Permalink

I'm a bit leery of McSweeny's too, but I think The Children's Hospital is a fantastic book, all zillion pages of it.

badg, Wednesday, 13 February 2008 04:53 (6 years ago) Permalink

It does look groovy. I think I will have to take the plunge.

James Morrison, Wednesday, 13 February 2008 22:48 (6 years ago) Permalink


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