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ROAD 10 & Beyond: End of the world fiction

Famine. Death. War. Pestilence. These are the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse, of the End of the World. In science fiction, the end is triggered by less figurative means: nuclear holocaust, biological warfare/pandemic, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm.

But before any catastrophe, there are people who see it coming. During, there are heroes who fight against it. And after, there are the survivors who persevere and try to rebuild.

From "The End is Nigh" 

annihilation: an act or instance of annihilating,  or of completely destroying or defeating someone or something

armageddon: the place where the final battle will be fought between the forces of good and evil (probably socalled in reference to the battlefield of Megiddo. Rev. 16:16)

apocalypse: a prophetic revelation, especially concerning a cataclysm in which the forces of good permanently triumph over the forces of evil

cataclysm: any violent upheaval, especially one of a social or political nature

decimation: to destroy a great number or proportion of

holocaust: any mass slaughter or reckless destruction of life


Featured books (Contemporary fiction)

From Utopia to Apocalypse

"a set of narratives belonging predominantly to the genres of science fiction and fantasy, this study undertakes to examine the hypothetical transformations and imaginary upheavals overtaking fictitious individuals and societies. Yet the underlying contention of this work is that science fiction and fantasy, in particular narratives drawn from media often dismissed as unserious and trivial, such as the comic book and the science fiction film, are capable of achieving profound and probing insights into the principal dilemmas of political life"

From "From Utopia to Apocalypse"

Classics (over 50 years old) and modern classics

Some classics can be found as audiobooks on LibriVox. For example:

50 Best 'End of the World' Movies

History’s deadliest outbreak – History’s deadliest pandemics

Projected water scarcity in 2025

Short story suggestions

Short stories are a great option to keep you reading. Full of wild imagination and designed to be completed in a single sitting. Suggested digital short stories include:

Exploring the popularity in teen fiction

...young adults... really enjoy reading about the actual end of the world--and what comes after. Dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction has become the new (and not-so-new) young adult publishing phenomenon, a happy respite from sparkly vampires and save-it-for-the-honeymoon moralizing. No point clutching to your purity ring if the powers that be might have you killed by tomorrow, right?

There's... something appealing about examining the fear of the unknown--thinking of a worst case scenario and then facing it in book form.

Read more from "Youth revolt: the refreshing literary world of post-apocalyptic nightmares"

The Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation was written sometime around 96 CE in Asia Minor. The author was probably a Christian from Ephesus known as "John the Elder." According to the Book, this John was on the island of Patmos, not far from the coast of Asia Minor, "because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus" (Rev. 1.10). 

Because of intricate and unusual symbolic language, the Book of Revelation is hard for modern people to read. They are not used to this kind of literature. Not so for people in the ancient world who would have been more accustomed to the complex nature of apocalyptic literature. The very fact that an apocalypse was a common type of literature meant that if followed certain conventions of style, and people knew more what to expect from it. Because there were many other examples of apocalyptic writing, these conventions would have seemed less strange and cryptic.

Read more from "Understanding the Book of Revelation"

Suggested websites

The Doomsday Clock is a symbol which represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe. Maintained since 1947 by the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, The Clock is a metaphor for threats to humanity from unchecked scientific and technical advances. The Clock represents the hypothetical global catastrophe as "midnight" and the Bulletin's opinion on how close the world is to a global catastrophe as a number of "minutes" to midnight.

Post-Apocalyptic Golden Age

We’re in a Post-apocalyptic Golden Age. Not even during the Cold War were science fiction books about the apocalypse and life afterward so popular. Here’s a chart of the top Post-apocalyptic science fiction books, and when they were published.

There are three distinct groupings when post-apocalyptic books are popular (note that this excludes all zombie and young adult books):

  • the 1950s
  • around 1980
  • 2004 – present (current Golden Age)

In the 1950s, people worried about communism and nuclear war, and science fiction reflected those concerns. Around 1980, it was plague and danger from space, and science fiction reflected those concerns. Now, we’re worried about everything. War, viruses, natural global disasters, genetically modified humans, computers run amok, you name it. Young adult apocalypse (not on this list) is especially popular.

From "21 Best Post-apocalyptic Science Fiction Books"

Countdown: One Day Until the End of the World

Suggested trailers

Reference Generator

It is important to provide evidence of using a variety of reliable resources. Use the online Reference Generator available through the Portal to create your citations. Make sure you alphabetically sort them afterwards.

A sample bibliography for 3 resources suggested on this page would look like:

Datlow, E (ed.) 2013, After : nineteen stories of apocalypse and dystopia, Hyperion Books, New York.

O'Connell, G 2012, ‘Youth revolt: the refreshing literary world of post-apocalyptic nightmares’, This Magazine, May-June, pp. 43-43, accessed 4 April 2019, Student resources in context, Gale Infotrac.

Paik, P Y 2010, From Utopia to Apocalypse: Science Fiction and the Politics of Catastrophe, University of Minnesota Press, Minnesota.