Answering the question of just why the apocalypse is so popular in modern culture…
In both fiction and film, the post-apocalypse has always been a popular subject, and with numerous recent releases for both it’s here to stay. The burgeoning communities of fans, and different interpretations of the genre, are evidence of that. This is not a mere modern fascination, though – it’s been a theme in literature for centuries. Why? Because there are many universal themes of heroism and the ordinary becoming extraordinary in these survival settings. Read more
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Title: Riddley Walker
Author: Rusell Hoban
Year published: 1980
Genre: Post-apocalypse (far), literary.
Threat: Distant nuclear holocaust
Two words: Immense immersion.
Guaranteed, Riddley Walker is like nothing else you have ever read. Rusell Hoban has created something truly unique, by placing himself, and us as the reader, fully in the place of a reformed society, centuries after the devastation of a nuclear bomb. Unlike most works of post-apocalyptic fiction, or of any fiction that looks to a different era of time, Hoban gives us a story from the perspective of people completely removed from our society. They don’t have our norms: they don’t even use our language. It makes it a difficult read, but a massively rewarding experience, placing you in a completely different world. Read more
Title: The Day of the Triffids
Year published: 1951
Genre: Post-apocalypse (immediate), sci-fi/drama.
Threat: Blindness and carnivorous plants.
Two words: Timeless classic.
The Day of the Triffids is not just an archetype post-apocalyptic story but also an all time great sci-fi books, and a classic work of literature. Many of the themes have been re-used since (28 Days Later, Danny Boyle says, was partly inspired by this novel), to the point of seeming cliché, but even if you’re familiar with the story the novel remains immediately gripping and unique. Coming fresh into the tale, you’re led to believe it’s a disaster story about giant plants. It’s not: it’s about Cold War paranoia, and the frailty of modern civilisation. The titular triffids, in fact, play only a small role in this story of survival. Read more