Some of my favourite books were written after the world ended.
That is to say, I’m a huge fan Dystopic sci-fi, written about planets (often Earth) disfigured by some sort of calamity (usually the result of stupid, stupid humans) & struggling to regain some sort of balance.
This particular stream of Science Fiction has gained a whole pile of popularity with the recent phenomenal success of The Hunger Games, in which North America has been torn apart by a colossal and unidentified apocalyptic event. Similarly, Paolo Bacigalupi’s books Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities cast woefully young characters into an anarchic world created by massive global warming and resource depletion.
Canada’s Carrie Mac (who I’ve mentioned before) has her own fantastic postapocalyptic series called The Droughtlanders, in which the hyper-rich have invented technology that controls the climate and rain. They sit in massively fortified cities in pockets of excess while the vast majority of the world slowly starves to death (and ferments plots of retribution).
The Future Dystopic novel is not a new genre by any means however. Margaret Atwood has written a whole pile of excellent "oh no, the world's all messed up" books including Oryx and Crake, about genetic engineering gone haywire. To go a little further back, the Cold War and the fear of Nuclear destruction produced such gems as A Canticle For Leibowitz, in which Monks in the future try to piece together our past society from the remnants left over by colossal nuclear war.
All this to say that humanoid science fiction fans have long been able to read about their own demise. H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, about an alien attack on earth was written over a century ago, after all. As one of the first Science Fiction novels, it also serves as an important influence on the books about the world getting massively fracked to follow.
The Science Fiction genre is at its heart attuned to describing the potentials of intellectual and technological progress. As human’s scientific capacity has increased exponentially, so has our ability to destroy ourselves in new and novel ways. So I guess the twisted upside to our own self-destructive tendencies is that we get to read a whole pile of great books about the world ending!
Are you a fan of Postapocalyptic Science Fiction? Write a comment to share some of your favourites!