Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apocalypse and post-apocalyptic fiction

Dystopias, Apocalypses, and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

It seems that every so often, our collective conscious turns to focus on the distressing topics of our own annihilation. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, understandably, many of our fears dealt with nuclear war, but there has been a resurgence in publishing of books about nuclear war, bio-warfare, asymmetrical warfare, and EMP bombs knocking out telecommunications.

Other key themes in this genre are plagues and pandemics, natural and manmade, and their impact on society. With the recent media frenzies over the last few years of flu strains, and SARS, etc, it is not surprising that speculative fiction pitting human spirit against human flesh and its frailties is on the rise again.
Climate change, and its impacts, too, are a daily news topic, and offer cinematic settings for any story, whether set in the melted tundra or sweltering Bangkok, and the guilt that characters often feel.

Most common though, is speculative looks at our own doom that involve combinations of factors- climate change leading to warfare, bio-warfare leading to pandemic, pandemics leading to migrations and migrations leading to war, in a terrible loop of lost hope and despair. Many (but certainly not all) of these titles do offer hints of possible redemption, of hope that it can all be fixed, that we will not be responsible for the loss of humanity, but they also take the reader to dark places where human responsibility for these possible grim fates must be accepted.

Adult Fiction

War

One Second After, by William Forstchen (2009)
Alas, Babylon, by Pat Frank (1959)
The Execution Channel, by Ken MacLeod (2007)
A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter Miller (1960)
The War After Armageddon, by Ralph Peters (2009)
On The Beach, by Nevil Shute (1957)
A Gift Upon The Shore, by M.K. Wren (1990)


Plagues and Pandemics

Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood (2003)
Clay's Ark, by Octavia Butler (1984)
The White Plague, by Frank Herbert (1982)
The Children of Men, by P.D. James (1992)
In a Perfect World, by Laura Kasischke (2009)
The Stand, by Stephen King (1978)
The Scarlet Plague, by Jack London (1912)
I Am Legend, by Richard Mattheson (1954)
Blindness, by Jose Saramago (1997)
Earth Abides, by George Stewart (1949)
Summer of the Apocalypse, by James Van Pelt (2006)


Climate Change/Environmental Disasters

The Year of the Flood, by Margaret Atwood (2009)
The Drowned World, by J.G. Ballard (1965)
Flood, by Stephen Baxter (2009)
A Friend of the Earth, by T.C. Boyle (2000)
Ultimatum, By Matthew Glass (2009)
The Rapture, by Liz Jensen (2009)
The Book of Dave, by Will Self (2006)


Unspecified or Combination of Factors

Wastelands : stories of the Apocalypse , edited by John Joseph Adams (2008)
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood (1985)
In the Country of Last Things, by Paul Auster (1987)
The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi (2009)
The Birth of the People's Republic of Antarctica, by John Calvin Batchelor (1983)
The Pesthouse, by Jim Crace (2007)
Pop Apocalypse, by Lee Konstantinou (2009)
World Made By Hand, by James Howard Kunstler (2008)
The Memoirs of a Survivor, by Doris Lessing (1974)
The Road, by Cormac McCarthy (2006)
Far North, by Marcel Theroux (2009)
But Not for Long, by Michelle Wildgren (2009)
Julian Comstock : a story of 22nd-century America, by Robert Charles Wilson (2009)
Random Acts of Senseless Violence, by Jack Womack (1994)


Rapture/Faith Based Apocalypse

Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days, by Tim LeHaye (1995)
The End is Now, by Rob Stennett (2009)


YA

Climate Change/Environmental Disasters

Remembering Green, by Lesley Beake (2010)
Exodus, by Julie Bertagna (2008)
The Other Side of the Island, by Allegra Goodman (2008)
Carbon Diaries 2015, by Saci Lloyd (2009)
Life as We Knew It, by Susan Beth Pfeiffer (2006)


War

City of Ember series, by Jeanne DuPrau (2003)
How I Live Now, by Meg Rosoff (2004)
Wolf of Shadows, by Whitley Streiber (1986)
Uglies series, by Scott Westerfeld (2005)

2 comments:

  1. I would like to ask the author of this blog and other interested readers to consider, take a look at, a novel I've recently published. It's entitled, simply, 2034, a new kind of post-apocalyptic story, replete with boys' adventure, action, and intrigue. It's available at Amazon and Barnes&Noble. More details at my blog: http://robertrenfield.blogspot.com

    Thank you for your consideration of this book.

    R. Renfield

    ReplyDelete