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Gnoman
2011-11-28, 10:23 PM
I've been in an apocalyptic fiction mood lately, and figured I'd look for some recommendations for good ones. For convienice in discussion, I've developed a scale to categorize them.

-1: Apocalypse is always possible, but not really pressing.
0: Apocalypse is a critical, pressing threat and very well may happen at the end of the story.
1: Apocalypse happens during the story, with parts before, during, and after.
2: Apocalypse either happens at the beginning of the story, or within a few decades in the backstory. Generally, the current generation will remember the before-times.
3: Near-past apocalypse. Three or four generations have passed.
4: Distant past apocalypse, but still history, not legend.
5: The time before the apocalypse is forgotten or mythical.

Examples:

0 Terminator 3, Sum of all Fears
1 The Stand Warday
2 Wingman Mad Max
3 Fallout Endworld
4
5 Wheel of Time Dark Tower

J-H
2011-11-28, 10:31 PM
From my bookshelf (non-fantasy, realistic and/or educational fiction for the most part):

0: Apocalypse is a critical, pressing threat and very well may happen at the end of the story.
Lord of the Flies *societal*

1: Apocalypse happens during the story, with parts before, during, and after.
One Second After, by William R Forster (scary and well researched) *EMP*
Patriots, by James Wesley Rawles (ok, not so realistic, and pretty dry) *economic*
Emergence, by David R Palmer (fiction about a 12 year old post-war) *nukes*
Farnam's Freehold, by Robert Heinlein (warning for adult content IIRC) *nukes*

2: Apocalypse either happens at the beginning of the story, or within a few decades in the backstory. Generally, the current generation will remember the before-times.
The Postman, by David Brin (ignore the movie) *NBC*
Systemic Shock, Single Combat, and Wild Country, by Dean Ing (he has other books with similar themes) *NBC*
Earth Abides *bio*

I have a few others, but they weren't as good so I won't recommend them.

Gnoman
2011-11-28, 10:42 PM
Forgot about The Postman, a really excellent book. What were the others in question? The examples I gave included Wingman, so my definition of good might not jibe with yours.

J-H
2011-11-29, 08:16 PM
Level 7 (depressing, post-nuke war shelter)
Airship Nine
Status Quotient: The Carrier (barely remember what this one is about)
Warday (already listed)
The Stars Must Wait (Keith Laumer, astronaut in coldsleep wakes up)- this one is good, but in a different area of my bookshelf, so I had forgotten about it.

In a similar (but different) vein, Robert Heinlein's Tunnel In The Sky is good. Survival school, taken to a new level.

In a number of the books by both RAH and Keith Laumer, the US and/or western civilization is posited to have gone through "the crazy years" in the first half of the 21st century. That is a (brief) part of the backdrop for Starship Troopers (the movie is just a nasty rumor). Several of the Bolo anthologies (based on Laumer) have stories set in Central America during this timeframe. Nasty neo-Aztec cult vs a lost company (?) of soldiers and a semi-autonomous Bolo.

Now that we're here, it does look like we may live in "interesting times."

There are also a number of Revelation-based books on my bookshelf that are of varying quality, including Third Millenium and Fourth Reich (Hitler clone as antichrist), plus the excessively long Left Behind series. Sequels exist in some of these cases, but a good sequel to the literal Apocalypse (revealing) is not something that's easy to produce.

Eldan
2011-11-29, 08:18 PM
Level 5, kind off:

Terminal World, Alastair Reynolds. It's weird.

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2011-11-29, 08:52 PM
I've always considered the A Song of Ice and Fire series to be level 0.

Tavar
2011-11-29, 10:21 PM
The following series travels down the list as it goes on, but Dies the Fire starts off at level 2.

Das Platyvark
2011-11-29, 10:36 PM
Oryx and Crake/ The year of the Flood: 1

Weezer
2011-11-29, 10:50 PM
The Road by Cormac McCarthy is solidly in level two. Father and son, who were both born before the apocalypse, wandering the post-apocalyptic landscape. Very good book, incredibly powerful. Though he refuses to ever use quotation marks, which gets irksome after a while.

A classic level one story is the Stand by Stephen King. Not his best work, it has some serious flaws, especially in the last quarter or so, but still quite good.

H Birchgrove
2011-11-29, 11:00 PM
-1. The RoboCop Trilogy, The Shooting Star (Hergé), The John Carter of Mars series (Edgar Rice Burroughs), Soylent Green; based on Make Room! Make Room! (Harry Harrison)

0. Terminator 3, The Last Battle (C.S. Lewis), Metropolis (Thea von Harbou), Robots and Empire (Isaac Asimov), Flash Gordon (sci-fi strip by Alex Raymond, but more so in the 1980 live action film and in Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All, the 1982 animated film)

1. War of the Worlds (H.G. Wells), The Kraken Wakes (John Wyndham), Sixth Column (Robert A. Heinlein), The Puppet Masters (Robert A. Heinlein), Secret Service Operator #5 pulp magazine including "The Purple Invasion", "Yellow Vulture" etc ("Curtis Steele")

2. The Day of the Triffids (John Wyndham), Terminator 4, I Am Legend (Richard Matheson), The Omega Man

3. The Mad Max Trilogy, Armageddon 2419 A.D. (Philip Francis Nowlan), Buck Rogers (sci-fi strip, films, TV-series, etc based on the former)

4. The Lord of the Ring Trilogy (J.R.R. Tolkien), The Empire Trilogy (Isaac Asimov), Farnham's Freehold (Robert A. Heinlein), The Lovers (Philip José Farmer), Planet of the Apes (film, though based on a novel that wasn't apocalyptic)

5. The Conan the Cimmerian series (Robert E. Howard), The Foundation series (Isaac Asimov), Thundarr the Barbarian (sci-fi cartoon series)

Feytalist
2011-11-30, 01:51 AM
The Myst trilogy of books (tie-ins to the video game series) also handle as a sort of a post-apocalyptic story, specifically in the "real" world. I suppose if forced to catagorise, it would be in 3/4. Quite a good series.

Icewalker
2011-11-30, 03:02 AM
A Canticle for Liebowitz. Classic stories, really fantastic. The book consists of three separate stories, and actually as a result it falls into more than one of your categories. Really fantastic read. The first story is category 3, but I won't explain the others.

Dr.Epic
2011-11-30, 08:42 AM
Examples:

0 Terminator 3, Sum of all Fears
1 The Stand Warday
2 Wingman Mad Max
3 Fallout Endworld
4
5 Wheel of Time Dark Tower

Four should be "???" and Five should be "profit.":smallwink:

As for me, how much more awesome can you get than Adventure Time?:smallwink:

pita
2011-11-30, 09:18 AM
5. The Second Apocalypse series by R. Scott Bakker, and Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

H Birchgrove
2011-11-30, 02:07 PM
More examples:

2. Final Blackout (L. Ron Hubbard), 1984 (George Orwell)

3. Thundercats (sci-fi cartoon series) :smallwink:

4. Empire of the Atom & The Wizard of Linn (A.E. van Vogt)

5. The Book of Ptath (A.E. van Vogt)

Dr.Epic
2011-11-30, 05:45 PM
Ralph Bakshi's Wizards

Bastian Weaver
2011-12-04, 04:28 PM
F. Paul Wilson's Nightworld. Apocalypse happens during the story, and boy, does it hurt...

GolemsVoice
2011-12-04, 04:34 PM
1: Apocalypse happens during the story, with parts before, during, and after.

Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb

J-H
2011-12-04, 11:11 PM
Nightfall, by Isaac Asimov (novel length version by Asimov + Robert Silverberg).

The apocalypse is predicted, happens, and people try to get over the terrible, horrible darkness and its effects on the human psyche.

Iskandar
2011-12-05, 12:02 AM
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank is a 1 on that scale, and a REALLY good read, even if it has aged a bit.

hamishspence
2011-12-05, 03:24 PM
David Gemmell's Jon Shannow series (thanks to time travel) occupies more than one point on that scale- showing the apocalypse in progress, and long after it, sometimes in the same book.

Ashtar
2011-12-05, 03:43 PM
2: Metro 2033, in a russian Post-apocalyptic metro where the last survivors live, the darkness can hold many secrets...

Feytalist
2011-12-06, 03:24 AM
At Winter's End by Robert Silverberg. Set 700 000 years after an apocalypse. Long enough for the remaining humans to have evolved back into monkey-like things. Not very well-known, but pretty good.

TheArsenal
2011-12-06, 04:11 AM
Four should be "???" and Five should be "profit.":smallwink:

As for me, how much more awesome can you get than Adventure Time?:smallwink:

None. An apocalypse people remember but don't know.

Serpentine
2011-12-06, 04:28 AM
Hmmm... Don't think I've read many, but lets see what I've got.

-1: Apocalypse is always possible, but not really pressing.
Isn't that most "hero saves the world" stories? :smallconfused:

0: Apocalypse is a critical, pressing threat and very well may happen at the end of the story.
See above.

1: Apocalypse happens during the story, with parts before, during, and after.
I haven't read it yet, but I think I have one that covers this, or else #2. A bunch of kids go on a horse ride/camping trip and don't hear about the comet that comes down and messes up the world. Then they have to deal with the ice age that follows. I can't remember the name and I've packed my books away, so sucked in I guess?

2: Apocalypse either happens at the beginning of the story, or within a few decades in the backstory. Generally, the current generation will remember the before-times.
I think Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien fits under this. A girl lives on a self-contained farm in a valley, possibly the last living place on Earth after an unknown catastrophe (you find out what it was later). Then someone else turns up...

Taronga: A nuclear catastrophe collapsed world society. A boy (who I think has memories from before the disaster) with the ability (mutation?) to interact empathetically with animals finds refuge in Taronga Zoo amid the decaying ruins of Sydney.

Day of the Triffids has already been mentioned.

3: Near-past apocalypse. Three or four generations have passed.
Nothing comes immediately to mind... Some zombie books/movies, perhaps?

4: Distant past apocalypse, but still history, not legend.
I have a vague inkling that I should know something, but I can't think of it.

5: The time before the apocalypse is forgotten or mythical.
CBD, can't remember the author. Unknown millenia in the future, Sydney is a ruin inhabited by mutant barbarians with one core of civilisation - one ruled by an iron-fisted theocracy. A historian-in-training (iirc) comes across a stash of hidden, and deeply blasphemous, texts from the time before the great disaster, including a diary of a girl who lived then. I like to think this one is set in the same universe but hundreds or thousands of years after Taronga.

Chrysalids by John Wyndham. Thousands of years after some sort of world-wide disaster (think it's nuclear too), what societies survive are insular, xenophobic and incredibly unforgiving of anything they consider to be imperfection - webbed toes, an extra finger, whatever - out of fear of mutations caused by the disaster. A few children discover their psychic powers, but must hide them lest they be sent out into the wastelands.
My favourite bits (not plot spoilers, really, but setting ones):
1. Although the main community appears to be pretty much humans-as-we-know-them, one of the few people who have travelled anywhere found communities elsewhere with the exact same xenophobic, eugenic ideologies but with completely different concepts of what "people" should look like - blue skin, fur, multiple eyes, that sort of thing.
2. They end up in New Zealand. The forgotten country.


What about movies, or are you just after books?

Ravens_cry
2011-12-06, 06:01 AM
A Canticle for Liebowitz. Classic stories, really fantastic. The book consists of three separate stories, and actually as a result it falls into more than one of your categories. Really fantastic read. The first story is category 3, but I won't explain the others.
That novel made me cry.I am glad humanity survived, but it makes me very sad that life on Earth was pretty much destroyed in the end.

I bought it, devoured it and couldn't read it again for over three years.
It was like a gut-ache in my soul.

H Birchgrove
2011-12-06, 03:31 PM
0. The Hammer of God, 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010: Odyssey Two (all three by Arthur C. Clarke), The Illustrated Man (some stories), The Martian Chronicles (both by Ray Bradbury)

1. Lucifer's Hammer, Footfall (both by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle)

2. American Flagg! (comic book series by Howard Chaykin)

4. Rendezvous with Rama (Arthur C. Clarke)

Gnoman
2011-12-06, 05:46 PM
Hmmm... Don't think I've read many, but lets see what I've got.

-1: Apocalypse is always possible, but not really pressing.
Isn't that most "hero saves the world" stories? :smallconfused:

0: Apocalypse is a critical, pressing threat and very well may happen at the end of the story.
See above.


That's why they are -1 and 0 on the scale. I included those to support edge cases, stories involving time travel, stories that shift tones between sequels (for example, the Terminator started out as a solid type 0 for the first two films, shifted to a 1 in the third, and moved into 2 territory in the fourth.)

There's a ton of good suggestions here.

J-H
2011-12-06, 10:31 PM
Lucifer's Hammer is good.

That reminds me of 2 other Niven collaborations:

Footfall. (aliens)
Fallen Angels (global warming was the only thing holding off the next ice age)

Serpentine
2011-12-06, 11:00 PM
If you're including movies and stuff, there's a bunch of good Twilight Zone episodes that cover various levels of this - "Two", "It's a Good Life", "I Am The Night, Colour Me Black", "Probe 7, Over and Out", "Time Enough At Last" and "The Midnight Sun" come most immediately to mind.
...man, there's a lot of them. And most of them are really good (I Am The Night is kinda preachy).

Oh, has anyone mentioned I Have No Mouth But I Must Scream yet?

I think at least one of the stories from World Zero Minus works, too, in a different sort of way.

Gnoman
2011-12-06, 11:04 PM
There were a number of good Outer Limits episodes as well. One, (I can't remember the title, it must be 15 years since I saw it) involved the last human survivours in an alien concentration camp.

Weezer
2011-12-06, 11:37 PM
Oh, has anyone mentioned I Have No Mouth But I Must Scream yet?


Fair warning about this one, it's horror. Really good horror, but if you're not into scary short stories avoid it.

Ashtar
2011-12-07, 06:10 PM
0: Morlock Night is a science fiction novel by K. W. Jeter.


It was published in 1979. In a letter to Locus Magazine in April 1987, Jeter coined the word "steampunk" to describe it and other novels by James Blaylock and Tim Powers.

"Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term . . . like "steampunks", perhaps..."
—K.W. Jeter

And if that doesn't make you read the book, nothing will.

Present apocalypse, all might be lost but for the actions a few.

Dr.Epic
2011-12-07, 06:14 PM
Something I'm very looking forward to. (http://www.worldofmunchkin.com/apocalypse/):smallwink: Because Steve Jackson Games don't have enough of my cash.

H Birchgrove
2011-12-07, 08:32 PM
0: Morlock Night is a science fiction novel by K. W. Jeter.



And if that doesn't make you read the book, nothing will.

Present apocalypse, all might be lost but for the actions a few.

I own a copy; haven't read it yet.

He also wrote cyberpunk, and sequels to Bladerunner.