Author Topic: Abe Books: End of the World Literature – Post-Apocalyptic Fiction  (Read 1323 times)

Offline Special K

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Abe Books is a reputable sales hub for used book dealers much like a used book only version of Amazon.

http://www.abebooks.com/books/apocalypse-end-world-armageddon/post-apocalyptic-fiction.shtml?cm_mmc=nl-_-nl-_-CPrpt16-h00-eowlitAM-_-01cta&abersp=1

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Things can always be worse and you can rely on novelists to put that phrase into cold, hard words on the page. Noah’s ark and the flood that wiped Earth clean of wicked mankind is an early example of post-apocalyptic writing but the modern genre of end of the world literature can be traced back two centuries to Mary Shelley’s The Last Man published in 1826.

Even though Shelley, famous for Frankenstein, and a few other writers were able to imagine doomsday scenarios in Victorian times, the genre blossomed - if that’s the right word and it probably isn’t - after World War II. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed humanity had the tools for global self-destruction. The 1950s was a decade where the end of world could be found on the end of our bookshelves.

The enduring Cold War tensions ensured these novels kept on coming but the last 10 years has also seen notable novels like The Road by Cormac McCarthy, which won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the popular City of Ember young adult series by Jeanne DuPrau. Even Oprah Winfrey turned her legion of followers on to post-apocalyptic fiction when she named The Road as a book club pick in 2007. An odd match indeed.

The method of worldwide destruction varies. Readers could encounter a plague, global nuclear war, biological weaponry, a comet collision, or a blinding meteor shower followed by flesh-eating plants. Many authors don’t explain in detail the nature of their book’s catastrophe but, in many ways, it’s unimportant – the thoughts and actions of the survivors are what counts. How do they survive? Do they attempt to hold civilization together? Do they adopt new values? What do they reject and what do they retain?