January 28th, 2010, 08:12 AM
The World After the Post-Apocalypse
There's plenty of stories out there with post-apocalypse scenarios, but what about when humanity reclaims what it has lost? Eventually, the roving motorcylce gangs and cannibal cults would disappear and mankind would rebuild society, right?
Think of Europe and it's transition after the Rome collapsed to the Dark Ages, to the Middle Ages, and then to the Renaissance.
Are there any sci-fi novels that explore a future where the collapse of modern society is a distant memory? Where our current top secret military sites are major archeological finds?
I can think of so many ways this could be explored. If civilization were to suddenly descend into chaos, the world would rapidly depopulate. Once the world's population plummeted below 1 billion people, alternative energy sources could reasonably sustain us, farmland wouldn't be as scarce, and the environment would slowly heal.
I can see humanity rebuilding after a major global meltdown. The chaos wouldn't last forever and we probably won't revert back to cavemen. So can anyone think of any stories that represent the "Renaissance" period of the post-Apocalypse?
January 28th, 2010, 11:26 AM
I like stories
Coldfire trilogy does in a way. Also Anathem I think would semi-qualify as well.
January 28th, 2010, 12:00 PM
I haven't read it, but you might want to look at Motel of the Mysteries by David Macauley.
January 28th, 2010, 12:15 PM
Damn fool idealist
Saberhagen's Empire of the East does this pretty well.
January 28th, 2010, 06:39 PM
Webmaster, Great SF&F
Keith Roberts had rather a specialty in the field. His two best-known works are Pavanne and The Chalk Giants, each of which, though in quite different ways, traces humankind's re-ascent after a holocaust; they thus each partake of both post-apocalypse and post-post-apocalypse tales.
Less well-known but (I think) equally good is Kiteworld, which again is set at the threshold of transition from post-apocalypse to post-post.
And I am probably missing out some similar other works by Roberts--a sadly underesteemed writer, not all of whose works I have yet gotten to.
January 29th, 2010, 02:25 AM
An essential answer:
Walter M. Miller Jr. - A Canticle for Leibowitz
Starts with a monk living in a Middle-Ages like environment in Texas, and then finds a tomb that turns out to be a radiation shelter. The rest of the story I won't spoil.
January 29th, 2010, 07:07 AM
Vernor Vinge is an author that might have what you're looking for. His post-apocalyptic future is an optimist one, where humanity rebuids itself in an "anarcho-capitalist" sort of way. You'll find them all in The Collected Short Stories of Vernor Vinge
There is, also, The Book of The New Sun, by Gene Wolfe, but that's in a very very far future.
Hope that helps
January 29th, 2010, 09:46 AM
Davy by Edgar Pangborn -- a pastoral future after the collapse; the reasons for the collapse, as I recall, are never fully explained
January 29th, 2010, 12:52 PM
Live Long & Suffer
Rite of Passage by Alexi Panshin might qualify but the apocalypse was so bad there is no habitable Earth. Most of the story takes place on an FTL space ship.
January 29th, 2010, 08:52 PM
There's a Jack McDevitt book whose title currently escapes me which is set a couple centuries after a collapse and concerns a quest to find a large depository of books. Also the recent book by Robert Charles Wilson, Julian Comstock, is a semi- post-post apocalypse book. It's not quite a distant memory but there is a new society that has emerged.
For a somewhat different take, but quite good, there is Iain Banks' Against a Dark Background which takes place on an Earthlike world which has a long history of collapses and rising up to high tech and then falling back in another collapse.
February 6th, 2010, 03:20 AM
M. John Harrison's Viriconium series is, I think, post-post-apocalyptic; although it can be a fine line between "post" and "post-post"
February 17th, 2010, 11:09 PM
The Sunrise Lands by S.M. Sirling take place pretty recently after the apocalypse, but the premise makes it seem like it's much further in the future... basically, one day all powered technology stops working, forcing those who survive to revert back to more primitive technology.
The next generation, never having seen anything with any kind of motor, etc, and far removed from the dangerous collapsing cities, live as if the technological past is just a folk tale.
Also, Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard is a lengthy and enjoyable read (so much better than the movie), where there are lots of scenes of men in loin cloths rooting around in skyscrapers.
Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks is good... and it has some mystical elements (demons roam the earth to serve the needs of "the void")
The Stand by Stephen King takes place really soon after the apocalypse, so that may not be what you're looking for - but it's damn good, and really long (I like long novels). It's similar to Armageddon's Children in that there are hints of mystical elements, but much more toned down.
March 5th, 2010, 09:45 PM
Y: The Last Man does this.
March 6th, 2010, 12:23 AM
The problem I see with "humans will come back and rebuild to a high civilization" is both social and ecological. Social: Two hundred years ago, many more people thoroughly understood the technology of their time--they could make the tools that made the machines and knew how to use them--they knew how to grow food (and they knew how to maintain soil fertility), how to build and maintain transport (albeit slower and shorter-range transport except for the sailing ships.) Although the global economy was in its infancy, most people did not expect access to worldwide production, so even small towns had craftspersons who could grow food, convert fibers into cloth and clothing, make shoes, etc. That's not true now. Most people in developed countries are consumers--they buy their food, clothing, and housing ready-made. Their employment is shuffling paper and numbers and words, not using (let alone making) tools. Most people who use computers, cars, dishwashers, cellphones do not fully understand how they work (they "have an idea"), do not make them, cannot repair them. This wouldn't matter as much if they knew what people one to two-hundred years ago knew--the loss of modern tech would be bad, but they could hold the line at, say, 1850s to 1900. But they don't. And without knowing, in enough detail to use it, the knowledge of prior centuries, loss of modern tech would force them to reinvent everything from the get-go. And they could be worse off than the cave men in no time...look at what happens in modern societies (even in less-developed countries) when a big disaster or civil war knocks out modern tech completely.
And that's where the ecology side comes in. Early humans were surrounded by an intact ecology that provided varying but obviously generous-enough-to-survive resources before they ever developed technology. Sure, they had to learn what plants were edible...and they had to evade predators...and if they ate all the bananas here, they had to hike over there and find some more. But food resources were sufficient to give them time to fiddle about with materials and discover what could make life easier,from gathering and carrying food to making those first stone tools. There was a margin for non-fatal error, and the resource-to-user ratio was a lot higher. More fresh water was unpolluted and safe to drink. More soil was suitable for planting.
Some resource use is sustainable--with a tiny population, even slash-and-burn agriculture will recycle in some areas. But some is not, and the kind of exploitation humans have indulged for the past 150 years has caused irreparable, permanent damage to a good chunk of our support system, an expanding chunk as some strive to maximize their profit before the resource disappears. Thousands of years ago, writers in both China and Greece railed against deforestation of mountains...as ecologists do now...and yet it still goes on.
So our poor Apocalypse survivors don't have the resources that early humans had--or the resources that early Europeans had when the Rome fell...they will have the degraded landscapes, the barren hills, the polluted rivers and wells, the miles of useless concrete and asphalt. And they don't have the skills to catch society partway down the long fall from here to the naked savage shivering in every wind.
We better not teeter over the edge...there's no safety net anymore.
March 7th, 2010, 02:16 PM
Originally Posted by Omphalos
Hell yes, I was gonna suggest this but I was flipping through the post to make sure no one already did. If comics are involved now, not so much society rebuidling(although there are contained cases of it in the series) The Walking Dead is a brilliant zombie comic. To date they haven't explained what cause the zombies, but it is single handedly the best realistic portrait of peoples reactions to a situation where all of a sudden society is gone, and the only thing keeping you alive is you.