Post-Apocalyptic Inspiration Resources

There are tons of things that are set in post-apocalypse environments. These include fictional novels, comics, movies and other media, actual photos and documentaries about ruined cities, as well as documentaries and speculative fiction explicitly covering the topic of life after humans. Assembled on this page is a collection of such resources to help you imagine the 'Souls universe.

1.  Images

2.  Books and Novels

2.1  Fiction

Novels

  • A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. Set in a Roman Catholic monastery in the desert of the Southwestern United States after a devastating nuclear war, the story spans thousands of years as civilization rebuilds itself.
  • Earth Abides by George R. Stewart tells the story of the fall of civilization from deadly disease and its rebirth.
  • I am Legend by Richard Matheson, written in 1954 popularized the notion of an apocalypse wrought through disease. It also spawned three films, including the 2007 I am Legend.
  • Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon deals with the aftermath of a nuclear war and humanity's subsequent evolution.
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is set in a controlling world where children are a valued commodity and women are kept as baby machines.
  • The Day of the Triffids and The Chrysalids by John Wyndham. These are two "cozy catastrophes" which deal with apocalyptic settings.
  • The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins is set in futuristic North America. The capital city punishes the satellite districts by forcing children to participate in the "Hunger Games."
  • The Last Survivors series by Susan Beth Pfeffer follows one family's struggle for survival after an asteroid hits the moon and forces it closer to Earth.
  • The Scarlet Plague by Jack London. Set long after the apocalypse, an elder tells of how the world was swept away. This book is public domain: download the audiobook or grab the e-book.
  • The Stand and Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Dark Tower mentions its post-apocalyptic setting, but features magic more prominently.
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy follows a father and son's journey through a wasteland.
  • Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams is an anthology of 22 short stories about the apocalypse.
  • World War Z by Max Brooks is a collection of personal accounts from the Zombie War.
  • Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O'Brien follows a sixteen-year-old girl who survives a nuclear war in a small American town.

2.2  Speculative Fiction

There are a number of books (which have also been adapted as television series, documentaries or movies) that consider the scientific aspects of the apocalypse. What really happens after humans disappear?

  • The World Without Us by Alan Weisman considers the consequences of an abrupt human disappearance on the natural and built environment.
  • The Earth After Us by Jan Zalasiewicz examines the geological legacy that humans might one day leave behind them.

3.  Comics & Graphical Novels

Comics, graphic novels and video games are great for the visualization that accompanies the storytelling.

  • Akira is set in Neo-Tokyo with a distinct cyperpunk influence. Tokyo has been rebuilt on an artificial island after it was destroyed in the 1980s. Although many characters grapple with psychokinetic abilities, the focus is on the societal pressures and consequences of the time.
  • Appleseed, a Japanese manga later adapted into an anime and movie. Has many science fiction overtones.
  • Battle Angel Alita, another Japanese manga set in a highly futuristic dystopian world with obvious science fiction overtones. Has a very readable story and likable protagonist.
  • Dogs/ DOGS: Bullets & Carnage is set in a world where violence, crime, genetic manipulation, and scientific experimentation are commonplace.
  • Samurai-7 gives a sci-fi twist to the 1954 film, Seven Samurai. A village hires seven samurai to protect them from mechanized enemies and a power-hungry Emperor.
  • X/1999, a classic Japanese manga focusing on the impending Armageddon.

3.1  Webcomics

  • Post-Nuke Comic shows a barren wasteland. The uploads are slow-going, but the setting is superb.
  • Romantically Apocalyptic features humorous storytelling and beautiful designs. The backgrounds are stunning.

4.  Video Games

  • The Fallout Series takes place 80 to 200 years after the collapse of civilization. Nuclear war has destroyed most of the landscape; the series is generally renowned for its third installment, which centers around the Washington, D.C. area. The fourth installment focuses around the Mojave Wasteland, the areas around Las Vegas, New Mexico.
  • Half Life 2 takes place after a hostile alien takeover of earth; humanity has been enslaved almost entirely.
  • The Gears of War series also deals with a hostile alien invasion. This game contains boatloads of decimated scenery and so forth.
  • Metro 2113 takes place after a devastating nuclear fallout. With poisoned air above ground, humanity has been forced to flee underground to survive.
  • Borderlands is another video-game, set on a distant and earth-like planet. Attempts to colonize the planet were met with hostile alien wildlife, driving most of the settlers out. Those who remained went rogue or died, and the game is filled with vast wastelands as well as the ruins of humanity.

5.  Film

Quiet Earth has many movie recommendations and reviews in the post-apocalyptic genre. It's definitely worth a look!

5.1  Movies

  • 28 Days Later shows the breakdown of society following the accidental release of a highly contagious "rage" virus and focuses upon the struggle of four survivors.
  • 9 (Nine), an animated film featuring a sentient rag doll who appears to be the last of his kind, living in the ruins of a decaying, post-apocalyptic Earth.
  • The Book of Eli, which features a man who must deliver the last King James version of the Bible to a safe location.
  • Children of Men, a dystopian sci-fi where humanity is nearly extinct due to chronic infertility.
  • Doomsday, set in quarantined Scotland. Cheesy, but enjoyable!
  • Resident Evil: Apocalypse is set in Raccoon City and follows the protagonist as she tries to escape.
  • Sunshine is a sci-fi film set in 2057. The Earth in peril from the dying Sun and a crew is sent to reignite the Sun with a massive stellar bomb.
  • The Day After Tomorrow is a speculative science-fiction film that considers the consequences of global warming. Spoiler: Canada doesn't survive.
  • The Mad Max Franchise, a series of action films set in dystopic Australia.
  • The Matrix Franchise, a dystopic cyberpunk story set in a world ruled by sentient machines which harvest humans.
  • The Terminator Franchise, especially Terminator: Salvation, which has more apocalyptic overtones.

5.2  TV Shows

  • Jericho deals with the survival of one town in Kansas after a nuclear bomb explodes in Denver, CO.
  • Supernatural, particularly season 5 which deals with the protagonists' attempts to stop Lucifer and save the world from an apocalypse.
  • Survivors, and its 2008 remake of the same name follows a group of people that survive an accidentally released plague that kills nearly the entire population of the planet.
  • The Colony is an experimental reality TV show where ten volunteers try to survive in a simulated post-apocalyptic environment.
  • The Tribe is set in a hypothetical near-future in which all adults have been wiped out by a deadly virus, leaving the children of the world to fend for themselves.

5.3  Documentaries

  • Aftermath: Population Zero speculates what the earth, animal life, and plant life might be like if humanity no longer existed. It also looks at the effect that humanity's disappearance would have on the artifacts of civilization.
  • Life After People examines the consequences of a sudden human disappearance. You can watch the series on the History Channel if you live in the US or Canada!

5.4  Anime (Movies and TV)

  • Appleseed Film and its original manga are set in the 22nd century after the Third World War decimated earth.
  • Casshern Sins deals with the events of the murder of a prophecy, which doomed the earth. A decade later, humanity is on the brink of extinction in a poisonous world.
  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within follows scientists who attempt to free Earth from an alien race known as "Phantoms."
  • Metropolis is set in a futuristic city-state where humans and robots uneasily co-exist.
  • Trigun is a space Western set in Earth after a failed attempt to relocate humanity.
  • Wolf's Rain is set in a world where wolves were hunted nearly to extinction, but survived by assuming human forms.
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