Are there any post-apocalyptic stories focused on minorities?
March 15, 2015 12:09 PM   Subscribe

Are there any "civilization is ruined, zombies/marauders/robots are killing the survivors, we must rebuild/get to the final refuge" stories in any medium where the main characters are not mainly caucasian people?
posted by Apocryphon to Writing & Language (34 answers total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
 
Octavia Butler wrote a number of books about these kinds of scenarios.
posted by kalessin at 12:16 PM on March 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis trilogy is sort of post-apocalyptic-with-alien-helpers and is full of nonwhite humans.
posted by tchemgrrl at 12:17 PM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yes, Octavia Butler's Lilith's Brood and Parable novels (Parables being more straightforward in terms of your criteria, Lilith's Brood more complicated).
posted by jammy at 12:17 PM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


oops - jinx
posted by jammy at 12:17 PM on March 15, 2015


Vampire Hunter D?

Post-Apocalypse is a popular theme in contemporary Japanese literature, manga, and film. And most of them tend to just treat Japanese as the default race in much the same way that Western media treats White as the default race.
posted by 256 at 12:22 PM on March 15, 2015


Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson is dystopian, though not explicitly post-apocalyptic--Toronto has become a slum run by organized crime, and Lake Ontario has dried up.
posted by pullayup at 12:23 PM on March 15, 2015


Actually it looks like we're on out way to recapitulating this list.
posted by pullayup at 12:26 PM on March 15, 2015


Tropic of Orange by Karen Tei Yamashita. Kirkus Reviews called it "an ambitious but cluttered, apocalyptic riff on immigration, the homeless, and NAFTA as the Tropic of Cancer moves north."
posted by elisse at 12:27 PM on March 15, 2015


Here are some more links:
- People of Color DO Survive the Apocalypse: 5 Books You Should Read - Article by Olivia Cole (looks like pullayup already linked to this one)
- 9 DYSTOPIAN/POST-APOCALYPTIC BOOKS STARRING POC - Article by Audry
- Bitch Magazine's Girls of Color in Dystopia series from 2013
- The Yellow Plague: Asian Americans in Zombie and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction - Article by Bao Phi, on an online magazine new to me: Nerds of Color
posted by kalessin at 12:29 PM on March 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


The protagonist of Colson Whitehead's Zone One is black.
posted by UncleBoomee at 12:30 PM on March 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


From a friend:
- NK Jemison's Valedictorian
- Carolyn Dunn's Before
- Nalo Hopkinson's The Easthound
posted by kalessin at 12:37 PM on March 15, 2015


The Divided by Katie Waitman probably qualifies.
posted by gudrun at 1:06 PM on March 15, 2015


I'm several chapters into Panther in the Hive and so far it qualifies beautifully. And it's also just really good.
posted by Stacey at 1:11 PM on March 15, 2015


The original Night of the Living Dead deals heavily with race.
posted by munchingzombie at 1:11 PM on March 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


The protagonist of Colson Whitehead's Zone One is black.

The guy's race isn't revealed until near the end of the book. Whitehead withholds that detail and then drops it in a slyly deliberate way. It's a bit of a spoiler to know that up front.
posted by fuse theorem at 2:02 PM on March 15, 2015


Janelle Monáe has a series of conceptual albums dealing with a dystopian future populated by androids and a severely socially stratified society. The protagonist, Cindi Mayweather, is a messianic figure to the Others in society and ends up leading the resistance. There is also time travel.
posted by chainsofreedom at 2:08 PM on March 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


Jeremiah has non-whites in strong roles, but it only survived two seasons. It also has Luke Perry though and I don't think you can get much whiter.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:16 PM on March 15, 2015


Very different from your usual post-apocalyptic story, but The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus.
posted by Behemoth at 2:39 PM on March 15, 2015


The very recently released The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman fits this exactly. The majority of people who survive the apocalypse are children/teenagers of colour. I've read it, and I thought it was quite good, but you have to be OK with the book being written entirely in a dialect/creole:
My mother and my grands and my great-grands been Sengle pure. Our people be a tarry night sort, and we skinny and long. My brother Driver climb a tree with only hands, because our bones so light, our muscles fortey strong. We flee like a dragonfly over water, we fight like ten guns, and we be bell to see. Other children go deranged and unpredictable for our love.
(From Chapter 1)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:43 PM on March 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Partials. The author makes it a point to detail everyone's race; I'm pretty sure most of the characters are POC.
posted by Enchanting Grasshopper at 2:51 PM on March 15, 2015


Also from friends:
- Crumbs
Apparently Ethiopia's first post-apocalyptic sci-fi film.
- Nnedi Okorafor
posted by kalessin at 3:03 PM on March 15, 2015


Ooh, and:
- Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson
posted by kalessin at 3:05 PM on March 15, 2015


(Too late to Octavia Butler this question to all possible extremes, but not for lack of trying!)

So since that card's been played, I'd just like to mention that I made it to the end of Night of the LIving Dead and thought for just a moment that I'd found a zombie movie from the 1960s where The Black Guy survived the tale. For some reason in my head I remembered the ending as "racist cop just shrugs and takes a pot shot at him" but rewatching shows that was partly my own projection.

So yeah, Night of the Living Dead: ultimately a black protagonist/survivor, but that ending needs a quick edit. Alas, it seems the copyright situation for that film was retconned to protect Maximalism. This is why we can't have good 1960s zombie movies, people.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:08 PM on March 15, 2015


Not a major work, but Ray Bradbury's "The Other Foot".
posted by doctor tough love at 3:58 PM on March 15, 2015


Not precisely post-apocalyptic, but several of Tobias Buckell's books have non-white peoples from Earth on other planets who have largely or entirely lost touch with interstellar civilization.
posted by Bruce H. at 5:26 PM on March 15, 2015


Along with all these other excellent suggestions, I wanted to give a shout-out to Kate Diamond's "All Our Worlds" database, which allows you to search 841 science fiction and fantasy titles according to the particular kind of diversity you're interested in - "race" is one of those diversity categories.

Here is Kate Diamond's description of the project.
posted by Hellgirl at 5:34 PM on March 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


World War Z is decidedly global in scope, with characters from just about every corner of the earth. I'd go so far as to say there are no "main characters," beyond the unseen narrator.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 7:39 PM on March 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I Am Legend, with Will Smith as the only remaining living person - along with a bunch of zombie-vampire like monsters.
posted by kbar1 at 8:08 PM on March 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Several of Jack Womack's Ambient series (Terraplane and Elvissy) star a black female antagonist; in one, she undergoes a procedure to "pass" in an alternative 1950s America where black people were subjected to a genocide. The Ambient series is set in a post-apocalyptic world that has recovered sufficiently to be dystopian.
posted by digitalprimate at 12:53 AM on March 16, 2015


Resident Evil 5 (video game) place in Africa. It's not post-apocalyptic, however.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 4:01 AM on March 16, 2015


Key and Peele did a nice little alien invasion sketch.
posted by matildaben at 6:52 AM on March 16, 2015


Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, kind of.

A fair stretch of Akira, though more the comic than the film.
posted by Artw at 10:40 AM on March 18, 2015


(There's a fair few more traditionally Mad-Maxy anime, but the examples I can think of there are mostly kind of dumb)
posted by Artw at 10:41 AM on March 18, 2015


Not post-apocalyptic, but I will pass this on.
posted by stumblingthroughitall at 1:11 AM on April 14, 2015


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