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Sci Fi Subgenres > Apocalyptic/Post-Apocalyptic

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message 1: by YoSafBridg (last edited May 19, 2014 01:58PM) (new)

YoSafBridg | 20 comments Apocalyptic fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction that is concerned with the end of civilization either through nuclear war, plague, or some other general disaster. Apocalyptic fiction focuses on the upcoming apocalyptic world-changing/ending event while Post-Apocalyptic fiction takes place after the event, sometimes immediately, sometimes after a long period of time.
Post-apocalyptic 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 Stand by Stephen King On the Beach by Nevil Shute The Last Man  by Mary Shelley
Post-apocalyptic stories often take place in an agrarian, non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of technology remain. There is a considerable degree of blurring between this form of science fiction and that which deals with dystopias.
World War Z An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank The Road by Cormac McCarthy


message 2: by YoSafBridg (last edited May 05, 2014 05:51PM) (new)

YoSafBridg | 20 comments Sometimes considered Apocalyptic Science Fiction, Dying Earth stories tend to take place at the end of the Earth's life or at the end of time and are thus occur far into the future. It is a sub-genre filled with themes of world-weariness, fatality, reflection, lost innocence, idealism, entropy, exhaustion of resources, and hope. It's a very melancholy sub-genre— understandably so because the landscapes are often barren, sterile and the sun is often fading. This sub-genre may sound a bit like apocalyptic science fiction, but its difference lies in the cause of the Earth's death. The focus is not a cataclysmic event, but rather the end of time.
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe The Dancers at the End of Time by Michael Moorcock
What do you think? Would you include these with Apocalyptic?


message 3: by Cara (new)

Cara | 49 comments So I have a question that is similar to the one before, Peirs Anthony wrote a book called But What of Earth? that is a very silly book in general but the main plot idea is that space colonization became possible and everyone wanted to go. But there were rules and qualifications for who could go and so all the best and the brightest went and Earth was left populated by the dregs of society. There was no cataclysmic event but the people left behind had to sort of reinvent society. Technology and everything else regresses. Is this post apocalyptic? or is the catastrophe an integral part of that genre?


message 4: by YoSafBridg (new)

YoSafBridg | 20 comments I think that their needs to be some kind of cataclysmic event to consider it Post-Apocalyptic, this might be considered part of a related Science Fiction Genre--Dying Earth
"The Earth is doomed, but it's going to take awhile to die so let's sit back and watch what happens. These stories tend to take place at the end of the Earth's life or at the end of time and are thus occur far into the future. It is a sub-genre filled with themes of world-weariness, fatality, reflection, lost innocence, idealism, entropy, exhaustion of resources, and hope. It's a very melancholy sub-genre— understandably so because the landscapes are often barren, sterile and the sun is often fading. This sub-genre may sound a bit like apocalyptic science fiction, but its difference lies in the cause of the Earth's death. The focus is not a cataclysmic event, but rather the end of time. As such this sub-genre has lots of overlap with fantasy in that it postulates fantastical versions of Earth's future." (http://bestsciencefictionbooks.com/dying-earth-science-fiction.php)
What does everyone else think?


message 5: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Hinkle (neutronflow) | 31 comments Also from Best Science Fiction Books (http://bestsciencefictionbooks.com/apocalyptic-science-fiction.php):
"There are a number of related/tie in subgenres such as Dying Earth, which is set way into the future on a world (or Earth) that has changed so much as to be unrecognizable from its current form and the world is doomed because of some final apocalyptic catastrophe. Zombie fiction which if the tale revolves around a viral infection ending the world, is apocalyptic; or if the tale shows a world in which is mostly destroyed by Zombies/mutated creatures and which survivors eke out an existence, it's Post Apocalyptic."

Using that paragraph as my guide to differentiate between the three related subgenres, I'd pick Post Apocalyptic for But What of Earth? (unless I was calling it a memoir or publishing advice for aspiring authors). It doesn't seem like Dying Earth, because while the Earth has a few problems, with all the people gone it may well bounce back. Dying Civilization? Not really even that. Civilization goes elsewhere and Earth gets on with things. The reader may or may not feel that anything apocalyptic has occurred, but the characters probably do.


message 6: by YoSafBridg (new)

YoSafBridg | 20 comments Atwood has resisted the suggestion that The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake (and, by extension, The Year of the Flood) are science fiction, suggesting to The Guardian that they are speculative fiction instead: "Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen." She told the Book of the Month Club: "Oryx and Crake is a speculative fiction, not a science fiction proper. It contains no intergalactic space travel, no teleportation, no Martians." On BBC Breakfast she explained that science fiction, as opposed to what she herself wrote, was "talking squids in outer space." The latter phrase particularly rankled advocates of science fiction and frequently recurs when her writing is discussed."

Our system shelves her with general fiction, but she has won several Science Fiction awards. The Handmaid's Tale seems like obvious dystopian fiction, while Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood both seem to be set in the same Post-Apocalyptic world.

What do you think?
Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam Trilogy, #1) by Margaret Atwood The Year of the Flood (MaddAddam Trilogy, #2) by Margaret Atwood


message 7: by YoSafBridg (new)

YoSafBridg | 20 comments Perhaps you are right about the characters feeling that some kind of apocalypse has occurred, usually for Apocalyptic fiction some kind of cataclysmic event such as meteorites, nuclear war, plague, or alien evasion has taken place making this designation tricky.


message 8: by YoSafBridg (new)

YoSafBridg | 20 comments Atwood has resisted the suggestion that The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake (and, by extension, The Year of the Flood) are science fiction, suggesting to The Guardian that they are speculative fiction instead: "Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen." She told the Book of the Month Club: "Oryx and Crake is a speculative fiction, not a science fiction proper. It contains no intergalactic space travel, no teleportation, no Martians." On BBC Breakfast she explained that science fiction, as opposed to what she herself wrote, was "talking squids in outer space." The latter phrase particularly rankled advocates of science fiction and frequently recurs when her writing is discussed."

Our system shelves her with general fiction, but she has won several Science Fiction awards. The Handmaid's Tale seems like obvious dystopian fiction, while Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood both seem to be set in the same Post-Apocalyptic world.

What do you think? Does Atwood just believe Science Fiction is a "lesser" genre and not want to be lumped into it?
Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood Oryx and Crake (MaddAddam Trilogy, #1) by Margaret Atwood The Year of the Flood (MaddAddam Trilogy, #2) by Margaret Atwood


message 9: by Cara (new)

Cara | 49 comments Based on these few comments and quotes, I think Atwood probably does think of it as a lesser genre. I think that a lot of people do. A lot of critics do as well. I think that one reason for that is there are quite a lot of science fiction novels that could be considered "pulp fiction". Even some of the classic, famous ones (e.g. John Carter) Also there are quite a lot of books based on movies, role playing games, and video games in the scifi area. I think that the amount of books of this nature blind people to the fact that for many authors scifi is the means to expose societal problems and discuss deep issues.


message 10: by Sarah (new)

Sarah  (sarcare) | 58 comments I really enjoy apocalyptic novels, which is funny because I usually like upbeat books. I really enjoy reading about people overcoming obstacles, adjusting to new realities and figuring out ways to survive when everything is kind of crazy. Life as We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone were two of my favorites--though I thought the third one stretched beyond credibility. Another old one that I enjoyed was Alas Babylon.

I think that a lot of apocalyptic fiction is speculative--as in the author tries to figure out a huge disaster that MIGHT happen and then writes about how we all would react. Ashfall was one about what would happen if the volcano/caldera under Yellowstone were to erupt--it could happen. That isn't to say it isn't science fiction, just that there isn't a lot of other genre elements. I read Age of Miracles and it is part of the Dying Earth genre, but really could be about coming of age as the world (which is basically our own) is dying.


message 11: by Marinda (new)

Marinda (marindak) | 39 comments I read The Alliance by Gerald N. Lund quite a few years ago and liking it very much. It is about a post-apocalyptic world where everyone has chips in their brain but the protag has a brain defect that prevents him from getting the chip implant. He is the one able to see that the chips are destructive. I don't remember the plot specifics anymore, so maybe its time for me to enjoy it again :)


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