Archive for Post-Apocalypse

Into the Forest – coming of age in the apocalypse

into the forest

Title: Into the Forest
Author: Jean Hegland
Year published: 1998
Genre: Post-apocalyptic, near, psychological.
Threat: Plague, crumbling society.
Two words: Feminist awakening.








A story of self-discovery first and apocalyptic themes later, Into the Forest could almost work without the disastrous setting. A début novel that charts the isolation, the conflict, and above all the drive for survival of two sisters, it is a piece of literary fiction, rather than conventional sci-fi – an exploration of psychology and a coming-of-age tale – and along that line it finds both appeal and alienation in the genre. Read more

Pilgrimage of the Damned: Part 1 (eBook)

online serial apocalyptic

Title: Pilgrimage of the Damned: Part 1
Author: Phil Williams
Year published: 2014
Genre: Post-apocalyptic, near.
Threat: Raging humans.
Two words: Holy quest.






There’s already an entry here for my online serial, exclusively available on JukePop Serials, but for those who haven’t been following the unfolding story as it happens, or those who want to revisit it in a binge, I’m happy to announce the entire first part of the serial will soon be available in eBook form. Following the unhinged, death-obsessed Burton as he traipses across desolate England, and his abrasive young companion Vita, it tells the tale of a man so thrown by the events of the apocalypse that he believes himself already dead – and interprets everything as a demonic afterlife challenge.

Mixing dark humour, tense violence and sharp dialogue, Pilgrimage of the Damned is an adventurous tale that moves quickly and benefits from many page-turning chapter endings, owing to its online serial origins. Originally available in weekly (or slower!) instalments, the first part will now be available as a complete eBook – absolutely free! The first part is a full 25 chapters of madness, charting our heroes journey from the devastated civilisations around London towards the coast, and hopes of escape from the British Isles.

Watch this space to be the first to lap it up on its release. If you can’t wait until then, though, the whole ongoing tale is available at JukePop, just click the link below. And if you like it, please vote it up.



Freeway Fighter – interactive fiction

Freeway Fighter

Title: Freeway Fighter
Author:Ian Livingstone
Year published: 1985
Genre: Post-apocalypse
Threat: Deadly plague
Two words: Interactive Apocalypse






If you grew up in the 1980s, and had any interest in sci-fi or fantasy fiction or gaming, you’d be no doubt familiar with the Fighting Fantasy books. Usually concerning Dungeons and Dragons territory, the series were ingenious single-player games continued in a short piece of literature. Freeway Fighter was a detour from the typical world into a future apocalyptic landscape. A rare post-apocalyptic book where you are the hero!

What’s Freeway Fighter all about?

Taking obvious overtones from Mad Max, Freeway Fighter follows the main character, you branching out across a desert wasteland to connect your tribe of survivors, New Hope, with another. It is a breakneck mission to re-establish civilisation – and, sadly for you, it seems everyone outside these two civilisations is less than a savoury egg. Making life or death choices with every chapter, you have to drive a load of supplies via motorbike gangs and seductive thieves, all the while continually running out of petrol…


What’s special about Freeway Fighter?

Freeway Fighter exudes the post-apocalyptic archetype laid out in Mad Max, from the motor-punk setting to the weird metal outfits the apocalyptic survivors start donning. It’s full of kitsch artwork celebrating this imagery. A work of deep, thoughtful literature it might not be – but it does have a unique place in our hearts as a gaming book, something where the narrative depends a little on your uninformed choices, and a little on luck. It’s more than a story, it’s an interactive experience, and something of a maze to get through.

Even as a Fighting Fantasy book, it should be noted, this entry was something special. Not only does it deviate from the usual fantasy realms, for the post-apocalyptic setting, but it also gives the player a more developed gaming mechanic, as you have a car to worry about (leading to both regular fights and vehicle combat – what!). For something a bit different, or even just for a bit of nostalgia, it’s well worth revisiting, even 30 years on.


Start reading Freeway Fighter


The Drowned World by JG Ballard

the drowned world JG ballard

Title: The Drowned World
Author: J.G. Ballard
Year published: 1962
Genre: Post-apocalyptic (near).
Threat: Solar radiation.
Two words: Desired destruction.






Unlike the usual set up for post-apocalyptic fiction, classic sci-fi writer J.G. Ballard took a different approach with the characters’ attitudes to the end of the world when he wrote The Drowned World. Here, catastrophe is welcomed, releasing dormant desires and a dreamlike regression of society. In Ballard’s uniquely surreal style, it is a world of dreamlike imagery, immersing the reader; an exercise in style over plot. Read more

Metro: Last Light game review –
creeping through the Moscow underground

Metro Last Light

Title: Metro Last Light
Developer: 4A Games
Year released: 2013
Genre: Post-apocalyptic game.
Threat: Nuclear holocaust, monsters.
Two words: Ambient Immersion.







There are reviews of Metro: Last Light that praise it for its unique take on the post-apocalypse, pitting the user into the Moscow Metro and showing after-the-disaster survival from the Russian perspective. It’s hardly unique in this respect, however, as neither a story nor a computer game. Last Light is merely the latest in a slew of post-apocalyptic adventures that have rolled out of Russia in the last decade or so, and it cannot really hold a candle to the accomplishments of the vast Stalker series. It is, however, an enjoyable and immersive game in its own right. Read more

Coming soon: The Rest of the World

apocalypse pulp rest of the world

It’s been two days since they stopped waking up. The whole world has changed.

Coming soon, Post-Apocalypse Pulp Volume 1: The Rest of the World treads the border between apocalypse and post-apocalypse. Picking up a few days after the majority of the world’s population started dying, it looks at insomnia in the extreme: as something’s changed, and those who go to sleep will never wake up again. Read more

Pilgrimage of the Damned: an online serial saga

post apocalyptic serial fiction

Title: Pilgrimage of the Damned
Author: Phil Williams
Year published: 2012 onwards
Genre: Post-apocalyptic, serial, religious/dark comedy.
Threat: Unexplained insanity.
Two words: Serial saga.







The online serial, Pilgrimage of the Damned, has been recommended as an Editor’s Pick on online serial fiction site JukePop Serials. This free website is a great source of ongoing fiction accessible to all, covering a number of genres, so it’s great to see my post-apocalyptic saga being so well received there. The serial follows the union of two wayward survivors in a British wasteland: one a no-nonsense young lady doing what she has to to survive, the other a man who is convinced he is already dead. Read more

Shift: Hugh Howey’s worthy continuation to Wool

shift hugh howey

Title: Shift
Author:Hugh Howey
Year published: 2013
Genre: Post-apocalyptic, near and far, sci-fi.
Threat: Nano-technology.
Two words: Bleak centuries.







The sequel to the incredible Wool omnibus, Shift had a lot to live up to. Hugh Howey has changed the landscape of publishing with his ongoing silo series, and with all eyes on the regularly released shorter component stories, this has been something akin to the Dickensian serials of centuries ago. Consumed eagerly by readers in small chunks before being combined in this collection of three stories, like Wool before it, Shift is a compendium of tales designed to keep bringing readers back to the bleak world it explores. It piles on the claustrophobic underground confinement, destructive apocalyptic conspiracies and a general overwhelming sense of misery. And you still can’t get enough of it.

What Hugh Howey’s Shift is all about

Where Wool revelled in the desperately narrow vision of Silo 18’s isolated existence, Shift flips the story around to show us the people in charge of the project. Split over three parts, divided by centuries, we are given an insight into the other silos in the time leading up to Jules’ escape in the first novel. There’s Silo 1, where the overseers keep an eye on the ongoing project, Silo 17, where a chaotic uprising leads to decades of isolation for a sole survivor, and Silo 18 itself (much earlier), where a lowly porter finds himself at the heart of a civil war. These tales all share one through-line, as the characters managing the whole affair take centuries long naps in cryogenic pods.

Alongside all this action, we get an insight into the ugly truths of where the silos came from, why they were built and what drove people into them.

Why you should read this book

If you’ve read Wool, you’ll already be familiar with this unique world of Hugh Howey’s, and his ability to capture its brutally lonely atmosphere in an eminently readable way. Like the first book, Shift is so engaging it’s difficult to put down. By expanding the scope of the tale, it loses a little of the claustrophobic grimness of Wool, but it’s a worthy continuation of the tale, and is sure to leave you wanting for more. And you’re in luck there, as the final book in the trilogy, Dust is already available.

If you haven’t read Wool…it’s best to go here and correct that now.



Hypocentre: French filmmakers’ haunting vision of abandoned Paris

paris post apocalyptic short film Empty streets and a city abandoned: these are the images presented in Hypocentre, a harrowing short film from French filmmakers Menilmonde (the pairing of Claire and Maxime). At just under five minutes long, this video shows all the popular views of Paris, including the Champ Elysees, the streets of Montaparnasse and the Eiffel tower all empty of people and traffic. Scroll down to watch it now!

The filmmakers took video footage of the City of Light and edited out all the people in thousands of individual frames, to give a devastatingly empty location, akin to the starts of such apocalyptic films as 28 Days Later or I Am Legend. Read more

A Canticle for Leibowitz: how history can repeat itself

a canticle for leibowitz

Title: A Canticle for Leibowitz
Author: Walter M. Miller
Year published: 1960
Genre: Post-apocalyptic, far
Threat: Nuclear holocaust.
Two words: Epic cycle.






Winner of the 1961 Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction novel, this is vast and scope and profound in its message. Spanning centuries of story, it is a literary tome that has been compared with many of the greats (such as Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene) for its insights into the human condition. The only novel published by Miller, it remains in print half a century after publication, and is as true now as ever.  Read more