I love Post Apocalyptic Genre books and movies. Can you recommend some?
April 13, 2006 10:56 AM   Subscribe

I love Post Apocalyptic Genre books and movies. Can you recommend some?

Alas Babylon is one of my favorites. I prefer the ones that are based in “reality” or shall I say somewhat believable terms, but I could get into any story were a group of people are struggling to survive after a major event has caused the elimination of a large portion of the population (I.E Nuclear war, Alien Attack, Plague, Etc etc) The movies that I have seen in the genre are The Post Man, Mad Max Series, Water World, 28 Days Later, an old movie I believe was called Omega Man, Can you suggest any other movies? And in terms of books I have read Alas Babylon, Plague and one other I can’t remember the name… I would love more recommendations on both sides, film and literature! I’ve try Amazon but they do not really get this specific with their book categories, nor does my public library.

Thanks guys!
posted by crewshell to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (55 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
See previous askme.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:03 AM on April 13, 2006

Riddley Walker is awesome in many ways.
posted by everichon at 11:04 AM on April 13, 2006

Best answer: Earth Abides.
posted by Skot at 11:05 AM on April 13, 2006

Yeah, the thread CL links to pretty much nails it.
posted by everichon at 11:05 AM on April 13, 2006

The Stand - Stephen King, pops immediately to mind.
posted by MasonDixon at 11:07 AM on April 13, 2006

How I Live Now, by Meg Rosoff.
posted by fuzzbean at 11:10 AM on April 13, 2006

Some of Joe R. Landsdale's mojo storytelling fits in this category.
posted by Staggering Jack at 11:11 AM on April 13, 2006

The old thread missed Dinner at Deviant's Palace.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:13 AM on April 13, 2006

Omega Man! That's a hilarious movie. Check out the Post Apocalyptic Media website. They have a whole host of resources. As for books, here are a few specific recommendations:
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz - very smart and well imagined alternative future.
  • On the Beach - really interesting and well written, also made into a movie (haven't seen it tho)
  • The Long Tomorrow - also very good, a little dated in assumptions
  • Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald - subterranean response
And, of course, about 80% of Philip K Dick's novels and short stories, including 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep'. His tend to be dystopian future but some are post-apocalyptic.
posted by jdfan at 11:15 AM on April 13, 2006

The genocides

Not Post-Apocalyptic in a nuclear sense but pretty great!
posted by darkpony at 11:15 AM on April 13, 2006

Another previous thread, tagged apocalyptic.

Jonathan Lethem's Amnesia Moon takes place after an apocalypse. Philip K. Dick's The Penultimate Truth might be up your ally as well.

The new Battlestar Galactica series is quite good, although it's an outer space apocalypse, not earth-based.
posted by BackwardsCity at 11:22 AM on April 13, 2006

Response by poster: wow, I dont think any of my previous questions have every gotten such a quick response!

Thanks All
posted by crewshell at 11:22 AM on April 13, 2006

The On The Beach movie is pretty good, to echo jdfan, here are two other movies that explore post-apocalypse in a comic vein.

Six String Samurai

Then there are artsy entrys:

Godard's Weekend turns the apocalypse into a metaphor for the Bourgeoisie (in the last 15 minutes at lesat)
Luc Besson's Le Dernier Combat

Oh, Chris Marker's La Jetee is the film that 12 Monkeys was based on, and it's fantastic.

Then there's Peter Greenaway's first feature The Falls

I've only seen clips of Lars Von Trier's Epidemic, but I believe it heads into post-apocalypse territory.

And as a sidenote, Amnesia Moon is definitely my favorite Jonathan Lethem book, I recommend it to all my friends who hopped on the Lethem bandwagon post-Motherless Brooklyn.
posted by jrb223 at 11:31 AM on April 13, 2006

One that wasn't mentioned in either thread linked: Fiskadoro by Denis Johnson. Extremely surreal and there's lots of stories going on at once (with some flashbacks!). And definitely some of the most disturbing images of the world after an apocalypse.
posted by bibbit at 11:32 AM on April 13, 2006

Blindness by Jose Saramago.
posted by fire&wings at 11:33 AM on April 13, 2006

If you're into reading plays at all, Samuel Beckett's Endgame is wonderful (or see a production, if you've got an Existentialism-soaked college theater troupe near you!).

A number of his monologues also seem to take place in post-apocalyptic locales, though it's not as defined or sci-fi as what you may be looking for.
posted by occhiblu at 11:34 AM on April 13, 2006

A Boy and His Dog - 1975 stars Don Johnson - from the imdb plot summary,
A post-apocalyptic tale based on a novella by Harlan Ellison. A boy communicates telepathically with his dog as they scavenge for food and sex...


I laughed all the way through although it was not intended as a comedy.
posted by dmushrush at 11:37 AM on April 13, 2006

whoops. Week End is actually at this link.
posted by jrb223 at 11:37 AM on April 13, 2006

I found "The Genocides" and "Blindness" to me very similar. Both very great.
posted by darkpony at 12:20 PM on April 13, 2006

I'm not sure if it's out on DVD in the US -- I saw it at a French film festival -- but I loved Cedric Klapisch's Peut-être. Post-apocalyptic Paris, as comedy.
posted by occhiblu at 12:20 PM on April 13, 2006

Dhalgren by Sam Delaney.

^^Requisite suggestion
posted by lyam at 12:21 PM on April 13, 2006

Dhalgren by Samuel Delany.
posted by substrate at 12:22 PM on April 13, 2006

Never, EVER watch The Last Warrior.

It looks like it'll be good. I mean, it has Dolph Lundgren.


UGH! I only made it thru 25 minutes, and I never turn off a movie, EVER!!!
posted by kevin_2864212 at 12:30 PM on April 13, 2006

This is so weird, I was just thinking of Into the Forest by Jean Hegland this morning. I read it last year and really enjoyed it.
posted by witchstone at 12:33 PM on April 13, 2006

Omega Man was based on a book, I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson, where all survivors of a plague (except one!) are vampires.

Also the graphic novel V For Vendetta has more similarities with books like 1984 than with most post-apocalyptic stuff, but it does start from the assumption of large bits of the world being nuked. The movie has no nukes, just a devastating disease in England and vague references to the United States being in an intractble state of a war.

Unshelved recently had this cartoon review about a book set in the far future where the only survivors are some time travellers.
posted by dagnyscott at 12:33 PM on April 13, 2006

Movie: The Ultimate Warrior. Book: Damnation Alley (also a movie, but contains large amounts of Jan-Michael Vincent).
posted by steef at 12:34 PM on April 13, 2006

A Boy and His Dog
Quiet Earth
Second Delicatessen, and I think Boy and His Dog IS intended as humorous.
posted by johngumbo at 12:47 PM on April 13, 2006

Two amazing books: Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler
posted by medusa at 12:52 PM on April 13, 2006

Stephen King's latest 'Cell'
posted by banshee at 12:54 PM on April 13, 2006

There were some great suggestions for Post Zompocalyptic books in this thread, the best of which was Monster Island because I read it for free online. Embrace the Zompocalypse!
posted by ND¢ at 1:08 PM on April 13, 2006

You might also enjoy Urban Dead, "a massively multi-player web-based zombie apocalypse" (they've embraced the zompocalypse, but not the term).
posted by ND¢ at 1:11 PM on April 13, 2006

Seconding the previous AskMe threat, On the Beach and The Stand. Both books are good. The (really long) mini-series of the stand was enjoyable, but not art by any means.

Beware of the Saramago recommendation if you have a hard time getting through literature with particularly heavy ... writing style. (I couldn't deal with History of the Siege of Lisbon, but recently read As Intermitências da Morte and found it much more enjoyable than History... .)
posted by whatzit at 1:28 PM on April 13, 2006

Dr Bloodmoney by Philip K. Dick
posted by davehat at 1:32 PM on April 13, 2006

Can't believe no one's mentioned The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Orson Scott Card's The Folk of the Fringe
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:51 PM on April 13, 2006

Also, beware the everichon recommendation -- Riddley Walker is one of those books written in a future dialect but unlike A Clockwork Orange, no glossary is provided. I had to give up after just a couple chapters, even though I really wanted to read it.

"The Postman" was mentioned. Didn't bother with the film since it was supposed to be awful, but the book by David Brin was pretty good. Also, regarding Earth Abides, if you liked that you'd also enjoy The Scarlet Plague by Jack London. (Link's to the actual story, written pre-Disney so now public domain.)

Radix by A.A. Attanasio is far future but also post-apocalypse. "They liked football."
posted by Rash at 1:59 PM on April 13, 2006

Riddley Walker is one of those books written in a future dialect but unlike A Clockwork Orange, no glossary is provided.

Haven't read it, but the most recent edition includes notes and a glossary according to the cover shot on Amazon.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:03 PM on April 13, 2006

Lucifer's Hammer - Despite it being a Niven/Pournelle vehicle, it has no 'future technology' whatsoever.
posted by Chuckles at 2:04 PM on April 13, 2006

A Boy and his Dog is a good movie of this genre.
posted by Neiltupper at 2:31 PM on April 13, 2006

Oops, I'm third in line to recommend A Boy and his Dog - shoulda read the replies more closely - and johngumbo is right: the comedy is intentional. A biting satire!
posted by Neiltupper at 2:37 PM on April 13, 2006

The Death of Grass
posted by pompomtom at 3:35 PM on April 13, 2006

Then there's Peter Greenaway's first feature The Falls

The Falls, though I do like it, deserves a caveat. According to Greenaway himself (quote is about 2/3 of the way down):
"It's an ambulatory journey to be taken a little at a time, perhaps to be fast-forwarded through if and when the viewer chooses. Certainly, there's no insistence on my behalf that people should feel the obligation to watch it all the way through at a single sitting."

Also, some of the stuff going on is likely to go over your head on first viewing; he's littered it with obscure references, misattributed quotes from real sources and at least one secret message spelt out in the initial character of names of birds recited in song.
posted by juv3nal at 4:55 PM on April 13, 2006

If you are interested in the coldwar/soviet union apocalyptic scenario then the movies Red Dawn and The Day After are a couple of good 80s gems.
posted by Mr Mister at 4:56 PM on April 13, 2006

Hmm, some people are posting as if "post-apocalypse" means "after the earth has been destroyed", and some as if it means "the earth is still here but totally fucked up".

The Mad Max trilogy is post-apocalypse (latter sense), at least two and three are.

Z For Zachariah is a good one too.

As an example of the former sense, I've always been a sucker for Titan A.E. Screenplay by Joss Whedon you know.

Is John Wyndham's "The Chrysalids" technically post-apocalyptic?

Martin Amis wrote a very bizarre and disturbing short story in "Time's Arrow" called something like "The Little Puppy Who Could" set in a post-nuclear-war wasteland.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 4:58 PM on April 13, 2006

Oh and, "On The Beach" was made into a movie in 1959 but a mini-series a lot more recently. The mini-series is probably a lot easier to find on DVD.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 5:57 PM on April 13, 2006

Response by poster: wow lots of responses! thanks guys!

The Memory Giver just recently came to mind as a sligth deviation of my own question.

I cant wait to sign up for netflixs and get as many of these as possible! and to go check out some of these from the library, I think I'll make a spread sheet and check them off as I go!


Thanks again
posted by crewshell at 6:23 PM on April 13, 2006

THE TIME...Five Years After The Nuclear War. THE SURVIVORS...Post-Nuke Thrill Seekers Lookin' For A Kick.

... and a sequel, natch.
In the semi-distant future, after the world is ravaged by nuclear war, 99.9% of the population is rendered incapable of having sex. These are the "Sex Negatives" ("Neggies" for short), forever cursed to derive their only pleasure from watching the rare Sex Positives (or "Pozzies") have sex on the #1 TV show in the world, CAFE FLESH. Unfortunately, these Pozzies are an endangered species -- and when the last one spontaneously combusts, it's time to take a blast to the past in an unpredictable time machine to acquire some fresh meat - er, talent.
Join Sunset Thomas and an all-star cast as they stretch the limits of the imagination -- as well as a few tight orifices -- in this sex soaked sci-fi sequel from award-winning director Antonio Passolini."

posted by Rumple at 6:36 PM on April 13, 2006

A little more sci-fi, but fantastic, the British miniseries The Day of the Triffids. Based on a novel, but I'm not familiar with it.
posted by Chuckles at 6:43 PM on April 13, 2006

Long time reader, first-time poster. I was going to recommend A Canticle for Leibowitz, but jdfan beat me to it. So, consider it seconded?

Greg Bear wrote two novels, The Forge of God and Anvil of Stars dealing with the aftermath of a devastating attack that literally destroys Earth. I read them when I was younger so I can't honestly say how much I'd enjoy them today, but they were an interesting thought-experiment, if nothing else. Links are to Amazon detail pages.
posted by Alterscape at 6:53 PM on April 13, 2006

Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke. Not exactly what you're looking for, but very close.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 5:53 AM on April 14, 2006

Recently read, and really enjoyed, "A Gift Upon the Shore" by M.K. Wren. The cover makes it look like something for young adults. The novel is anything but.
posted by CMichaelCook at 7:23 AM on April 14, 2006

And oh yeah, a heart second for Jean Heglund's "Into the Forest." One of my favorite books of all time.
posted by CMichaelCook at 7:24 AM on April 14, 2006

Make that hearty second... :|
posted by CMichaelCook at 7:25 AM on April 14, 2006

Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood
posted by dead_ at 7:43 AM on April 14, 2006

Didn't read comments, apologies if this is a repeat. But I find these lists good.
From Wikipedia: 1, 2.
From Amazon: 1, 2.
posted by ruff at 8:17 AM on April 14, 2006

Dies the Fire - I'm almost done with it. Love it love it love it. Can't wait for the next one.

I also recommend On the Beach. Wow. Just wow.
posted by deborah at 10:09 PM on April 15, 2006

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