Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic science fiction

From Academic Kids

Apocalyptic science fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction that is concerned with the end of civilization, through nuclear war, plague, or some other general disaster.

Post-apocalyptic science fiction is set in a world or civilization after such a disaster. The time frame may be immediately after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, or considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten or mythologized. The fall of civilization may also be the fall of a space based civilization. This plot device allows writers to write soft science fiction while accounting for the lack of technological advancement and thus remain relevant to the present day no matter how far in the future the events are set.

There is a considerable degree of blurring between this form of science fiction and that which deals with false utopias or dystopic societies.

Contents

Criticism

The use of post-apocalyptic contexts in movies and the typical accompanying imagery, such as endless deserts or damaged cityscapes, clothing made of leather and animal skins, and marauding gangs of bandits, is now common and the subject of frequent parody.

The number of apocalyptic-themed B-movies in the 1980s and 1990s has been attributed to film producers on post-apocalyptic films working around their low production budgets by renting scrapyards, unused factories, and abandoned buildings, saving them the cost of constructing sets. As a result, many films that would have been rejected by major studios on the basis of script or concept ended up being made, while others had their settings and stories converted to a post-apocalyptic setting following the success of the Mad Max series.

Examples (listed by nature of the catastrophe)

World War III

Pandemic

Astronomic impact (meteorites)

Alien invasion

Ecological catastrophe

The computers take over

The decline and fall of the human race

After the fall of space-based civilization

The Sun's expansion

Various

  • Much of the work of J. G. Ballard, in which the current era is sometimes described as the pre-Third, referring to World War III.
  • Much of John Wyndham's work, e.g. The Day of the Triffids, The Chrysalids, later reprinted in the US as Re-Birth which contain elements of ecological disaster (Web, The Crysalids and The Kraken Wakes), nuclear war (The Crysalids), decline of man as a dominant species (Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos) and alien invasion (The Kraken Wakes and possibly The Midwich Cuckoos)
  • After London by Richard Jefferies; the nature of the catastrophe is never stated, except that apparently most of the human race quickly dies out, leaving England to revert to nature.
  • The Purple Cloud by M.P. Shiel (A volcanic eruption floods the earth with cyanide gas, leaving only two survivors)
  • The manga and movie Dragon Head, by Mochizuki Minetaro
  • The 1961 film The Day The Earth Caught Fire, directed by Val Guest

To be categorized

See also

External links

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