Worldbuilding

222 – Post-Apocalyptic Stories

The Mythcreant Podcast
Whoops, the world ended while we weren’t looking. Guess that means it’s time to don leather and recycled sports equipment, then cruise the sands looking for easy targets to raid. But is that really how it would go down? Join us for a discussion of the post-apocalyptic genre. We discuss the genre’s strengths, its weaknesses, and how it’s been used in the past. Plus, is anyone out there not tired of zombies yet?

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Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

Black Summer (not in the Walking Dead Universe, but in the Z Nation universe)

Shannara Chronicles

Adventure Time

The Dark Crystal

Into the Badlands

Fallout

The Walking Dead

How the Stress of Disasters Brings People Together

Fury Road

Road Warrior

The 100

Children of Men

Young People Lead to Economic Booms

The Strain

Snowpiercer

9 (Movie) 

9 (Short film)

 

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Comments

  1. Innes

    Greatly enjoyed this episode! Although Chris and Oren’s remarks at the beginning of the episode made me think of a number of fantasy stories that feature post-apocalyptic settings or at least apocalypse as a trope. N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth and Joanne Harris’s ya series Runemarks came to my mind, as well as video games like Dark Souls and Dragon Age, which are both generally apocalyptic. It would be interesting to look at fantasy stories that use sci fi tropes and vice versa

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      Broken Earth is definitely post apocalyptic fantasy, or maybe a mid-apocalypse, since the world ends right when the story starts.

  2. Matt

    I still like zombies, but I feel like I’m the exception.

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      That’s good cause you have plenty of options to choose from!

    • BeardedLizard

      You’re not the only one, I like zombies too. They are a great tool to bring an apocalyptic event and give a good physical obstacle for the protagonist to overcome. There also have been a couple of great movies featuring zombies that came in the last couples of years (Cargo, The girl with all the gifts and train to Busan are among my favorites of the genre). In books, World War Z is also a great zombie story with an interesting style (that was completely wasted and forgot in the movie )

      The problem I see with the “zombie genre” is that many writers seem to remake the exact same story over and over again with the same nihilistic messages and uselessly dark tones. But there is so much more that can be done with it, and I’m glad that zombies exist in fiction because they are a great storytelling tool if you use them right.

  3. Anon

    You all hit the nail on the head with the needed carrying capacity for a modern population size without efficient production and distribution. The decisions made to decide who eats and who does not. Who is “us” and who is “them.” Such “hard choices” become the central issue in maintaining civil justice.

  4. Adam Reynolds

    Another example of post apocalyptic worlds I find interesting is those in which the apocalypse is long ago, and the world left behind is effectively a fantasy one. My favorite example of this is Horizon Zero Dawn, though several Ghibli films are also excellent examples. The thing I love about HZD is the way in which it is effectively a fantasy world, one that could essentially feature characters from a story like ATLA or Lord of the Rings with little changes quite easily. Ghibli films likewise are essentially fantasy worlds, often with a bit of a steampunk vibe and generally a green aesop thrown in.

    A less excellent example is the Mortal Engines series, in which the world just doesn’t quite feel real because it is so inherently implausible, something I suspect was a fatal flaw in the film because the lack of physical reality was more obvious, while it was able to fade away in the book. It was also an overstuffed film in literally every way as well.

    For an example in which there is something to care about, The Quiet Place is also a solid example because the family dynamic makes it much less dark than it would otherwise be, while the quiet nature of things eliminates the characters being at each others throats.

  5. Deimos

    It would be awesome if you guys wrote an article based on this subject, or even just a transcription for this podcast. (I assume the podcast is very informative and interesting because the articles here always are, but since podcasts are an audio medium so I can only assume).

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