What's the origin of this Sci-Fi work type of ending?

I’ve read 3 different books in the last couple of months that had this exact same style of ending.

Basically a supernatural/alien threat comes to Earth. Humanity tries to fight it off but fails and the book ends with humanity now almost extinct except for small pockets of humanity who actually worship the things that wiped out humanity as Gods.

Since it popped up so often I’m just curious if some classic Sci-Fi book had this and now everything is stealing from that, or if I somehow found a brief Sci-Fi trend.

What are those three books?

The Tripod novels by John Christopher immediately sprung to mind when I read the OP, and those are over 50 years old, so I suspect that this is a common condescendence in sci-fi.

This happened in the original*** Planet of the Apes*** series, though the threat wasn’t from the outside. The mutants were worshipping the H-bombs that destroyed human civilization. At the end of that movie (the second one, IIRC), they blew themselves up for good (with a cobalt bomb, I think).

That was what, 1969-ish?

That’s not how the tripod novels end…

Anyway, classic SF didn’t make that kind of point about religion. The few examples were outliers. And the idea that our gods are/were aliens is a pop-culture idea, not really interesting to the SF community.

Without knowing a single source for the idea, I’d say it reflects a modern idea of the inconsequence of human kind, politics, religion and the future. When Wells wrote about aliens conquering the world, the people won in the end. Because that’s the kind of idea he had about the future.

Maybe one of the books was Childhood’s end by Arthur C. Clarke? That is similar to the plot you described.

Also a running theme in H.P. Lovecraft, although those are fantasy, not really sci-fi. Humanity is insignificant, so we end up worshiping the destructive force. I really only bring it up if you want to know how far back the trope goes.

The short story “Heresies of the Huge God” by Brian Aldiss fits this description.

I’m also curious about the three novels. I’m looking over the Hugo nominees since 2010, and I’ve read at least 28 of them, as well as a ton of other recent SF novels, and I can’t recall this pattern. If it’s a trend, I think it may be a pretty small one.

The trope is vaguely reminiscent of “By the Waters of Babylon”, 1937, by Stephen Vincent Benét. https://www.fadedpage.com/books/20110103/html.php

In Benét’s story, however, it is not an alien invasion, but an apocalyptic war. The post-apocalypse survivors believe that the ruined cities were built by gods.

It’s also similar to the backstory of William Tenn’s Of Men and Monsters from 1968. I think it’s more of an older trend that you don’t see much any more.

Well…They didn’t. The only actor on Earth who is manly enough to say ‘fuck this world’ did it.

“It’s doomsdaaaaaaayyyy”

Well, one thing’s for sure: The bomb was detonated. And somebody’s responsible! :dubious:

Bombs don’t kill people.

Mutants do. :frowning: