best post-apocalyptic film/book?

anyone have any candidates for best film/book set in post-nuclear war/ other global catastrophe scenario?

My favourite book in this “genré” is A Canticle for Liebowitz but I have a morbid fascination with films/books with this sort of background so please recommend your best/favourite etc.


I really liked “Alas Babylon” by Pat Frank. As far as plausability goes anyway.

For sheer entertainment: “Road Warrior”

Steel Beach - John Varley

One of single most importan books written in English in the last fifty years–let alone most important postapocolyptic books–is Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban. It’s a book, essentially, about humanity’s inability to live without violence, and without art, and it’s a book that everyone should read at least three times.

Davy by Edgar Pangborn comes to mind. There are also a few stories set in the same world.

Swan Song By Robert Mcammon(sp?)

For the book category, I’ll second A Canticle for Leibowitz. Excellent read.

For the film category, I’ll nominate Testament, a fairly quiet movie about a neighborhood coping with the aftermath of a nuclear exchange. Haunted me more than The Day After ever did.

I just finished Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood and I quite enjoyed it.

A Boy and His Dog

Both the book and the movie.
Actually, Alas, Babylon is the best. But, it was taken already.

My very favorite is Earth Abides by George Stewart. It deals with the aftermath of a deadly virus eliminating most, but not all, of humans. It was originally written in 1949, so many of the technical details are quite dated now, but the underlying theme of one man who survived, and the rebuilding of society, including mythology, is fascinating and a great read.

For fun and exciting but not necessarily deep and meaningful reads, I recommend The Stand by Stephen King and Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

When the Wind Blows - Raymond Briggs

‘Kids’ book. Depressed the heck out of me in the eighties - we all thought it was gonna happen.

They made a movie out of that. Saw it in 8th grade. I got in trouble for laughing.

(Well, I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help it. When I saw those cars being bounced down the street by the blast, I thought they were supposed to be sheep.)

Alas Babylon takes it for, IMO, a realistic portrayal of life for the survivors. Everything from the die-off of diabetics to the longong for coffee and sewing needles was spot on. Too many such yarns get i.e. Lucifer’s Hammer get all wrapped up in shooting it out w/ the post-apocalypse bad guys. Though looters and scavengers would be a factor, they would be only one of many challenges the survivors would face.

Alas Babylon–book

The Day After–made for TV movie.

I second The Stand - I’ve read it about 4 times now, and watched the 8 hour miniseries twice. It is, in my opinion, a departure for Stephen King from what he usually writes, and I think he did an excellent job with it. (The ending, as with most Stephen King novels, is weak, but up to the last bit, it is an outstanding read.)

After the last thread like this, I ordered Swan Song and Lucifer’s Hammer, and read them both, and I would recommend both of them as well. Earth Abides is another perennial favourite in this category. A Canticle For Liebiwitz is also recommended, but it didn’t suit me very well. I found it to be a very dry, tough read, and just didn’t entertain me very much.

I read a post-apocalyptic novel with a black robot who looks after the city after most of the people died, but I can’t remember the name of it. It might be Mockingbird - I’m not sure.

I’ll posit one I only finally managed to track down earlier this year, Threads. Makes The Day After feel like a walk in the park.

It was originally comissioned by the BBC, but ended up getting only a limited theatrical release, initially, for various reasons. From what I recall, the biggest problem was that the producers/director refused to toe the official line, in regard to the ability of the goverment to function in the aftermath of a large scale nuclear war.

It doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

Please, please, please…


I hate it when someone starts a “recomendation” thread and it ends up being just a list of name that people spit out without giving any reason or description.

I’ll third The Earth Abides in the book category.

For film I’ll go for*** The Quiet Earth***, an obscure NewZealand film. The user comments say:

“This film is a lost gem. Not many have seen it and those who have mostly love it … if you like ‘last man on earth’ type movies than this is the one for you. It has one of those ending that will leave you dazzled and puzzled. It doesn’t try and tie up all the loose ends and questions like a lot of films do. Its much like a Kubrick film in that respect.”

Ah, I thought I’d bookmarked a couple similar threads. Some further suggestions for those like mogiaw (and m’self) with a morbid fascination for the subject at hand:

Post-apocalyptic novel recommendations?

Recommend some post-apocalypse tales
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Fair 'nuff, Muad’Dib.

The film Threads is, basically, the story of a young woman living in, IIRC, Sheffield, who survives a large nuclear exchange between the USSR and the US (which dates the film, but in no way detracts from it, IMO) including direct strikes on the nearby chemical plant and US airbase.

It follows her, in large jumps, through ten years after the apocalypse, showing the breakdown of society in a fairly realistic (and exceedingly grim) manner.

Better? :stuck_out_tongue:

[sub]In all fairness, I agree that long lists of book/movie titles with no discussion at all is pretty counterproductive, in these types o’ threads.[/sub]