Post-Apocalyptic Fiction – All You Need to Know

post-apocalyptic fiction

A post-apocalypse is the period of time after a world-wide disaster. An apocalypse is an event which caused huge destruction and cleared a large portion of the world’s population. Post-apocalyptic surroundings seems to be hell on Earth and are so toxic that it is generally very hard to survive. It is also the time when cyber-punk comes out: becoming the golden age for this fashion and way of living. Post-Apocalyptic novels are stories that use these surrounding conditions as a main focal point of their narrative.

Main Features of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

Post-apocalyptic fiction can be set now or in the distant future. The story can happen immediately or years after the terrible event. In a post-apocalyptic novel, technology may be something we have never seen before, or it may be completely not present.

Characters in this type of writing may not remember what the world was like before it was destroyed. They may have even created myths about this pre-apocalyptic world.

Post-apocalyptic stories are often action, adventure, and/or survival stories. Main characters work either alone or in a group. Often, these ‘heroes’ have amazing survival skills and understand how to move through this new world. Like most novels written for teenagers, adults are often not present in apocalyptic novels. If they are present, it’s not unusual for adults to be evil villains or the person our hero is trying to find and keep safe.

This type of novel may contain elements of other types of writing in their story. The most common idea is the set up of a dystopian government.

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Other Features of Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction

Science and Technology

Science and technology are usually not at the heart of the apocalyptic story, in fact, the characters are often aware (and a little nervous) of technology.

Level of Violence

Communities collapse after the end of the world, and people often look to violence as a way to survive or maintain the order of a newly established society.

Social Effect

Characters must deal with the social effects of the terrifying end of the world as the event destroys or totally changes people’s way of life. The story follows these ideas and their effects either directly or indirectly (using the story and its characters).

Plot Details and Complex Difficulty

The plot is very much is a result of this post-apocalyptic world. Events and conflicts allow readers to see more details about this new world.


Well-developed character are part of post-apocalyptic fiction because it tends to focus on survivors. Thus, by following a character as they meet trouble/conflict, the reader can see the complex details of their personality and choices.

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Dystopian Science Fiction

These communities of people are often represented as being terrible and scary. As a result, the characters are often protected from the actual effects of the end of the world as well as the knowledge of life that existed before.

Different History

Not all science fiction stories happen a thousand years in the future; sometimes, they are different versions of our history.

Zombie Science Fiction

This type of writing follows what happens next as zombie outbreaks are terrible and destructive and can cause a disaster that ends the world. This story guesses how humankind will rebuild itself after this disaster.

End-of-the-World Science Fiction

It is closely related to the post-apocalyptic type of writing. End-of-the-world science fiction is about, you guessed it, end-of-world scenarios such as worldwide widespread diseases, rocks from space, alien invasions, nuclear wars, etc., and how they affect humans, especially survivors or possible survivors. These stories occur just before or shortly after the disaster. This is unlike post-apocalyptic fiction which usually happens a while after the world-ending event.

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About the Author

Lydia B.

Lydia B.

Lydia B. is a Marketing Coordinator and Music Club Coach for Gooroo, a tutoring membership that matches students to tutors perfect for them based on their unique learning needs. Gooroo offers Math, English, SAT, Coding, Spanish tutoring, and more.