After the End

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
The book of humanity closes and the words "The End" are given upon us all, yet the story continues in a new location: Hell on Earth.

"It was not, as some had predicted, the end of the world. Instead, the apocalypse was simply the prologue to another bloody chapter in human history."

Ron Perlman, Fallout 3 intro monologue.

Something hugely nasty has happened to humanity. Be it nuclear war (which was once very popular but has gone out of vogue, in part due to The Great Politics Mess-Up), plague (which currently[when?] seems to be the most popular), natural disaster (which seems the most likely to happen in the near future in Real Life), supernatural disaster (usually the case with a Sealed Evil in a Can or missing Cosmic Keystone), devastating environmental changes (which are happening in Real Life right now, debatably) or Alien Invasion (God help us if that one happens)-- most of humanity is gone.

The result is generally that you have the remnants of humanity fighting to survive in a crapsacked Scavenger World full of Ghost Cities and Scenery Gorn, or at least plenty of Schizo-Tech and Lost Technology (or even Weird Science). People inevitably degrade down to Disaster Scavengers and Crazy Survivalists, for whom staying alive may well mean being Reduced to Ratburgers or worse. If enough time has passed, those born after the end may hear stories of The Beforetimes from those few who survived the catastrophe, trying to impress upon the children what humanity was and still is capable of. Expect a Fish Out of Temporal Water who Slept Through the Apocalypse to wake up to see their world changed.

Large civilizations that were able to recover or at least preserved can include a Divided States of America and other interwarring states split up from a former empire, a Dystopia struggling to survive, or a Days of Future Past with a Future Imperfect attempt to recreate happier times.

In any post-apocalyptic story created after the release of Mad Max, it is almost assured that the obvious and natural way for the world to look after a civilization-destroying cataclysm is "the Australian Outback". There is no need to explain this. Global catastrophe causes gang-filled anarchy and turns the world into Australia. It just follows logically. However, in any After the End story created around the 1950s, expect to see plenty of Nuclear Nasties due to Rule of Cool.

Related, if not quite the same, is the period immediately after the fall of Rome; most Film and TV set in this time tend to depict it as a time of post-apocalyptic savagery. Thus, expect parallels with humanity's decay into Medieval Morons wallowing in filth. In fact, while there was a significant increase in banditry and piracy, most areas were peaceful most of the time.

If you're really lucky, you may get a Cozy Catastrophe, in which case it's best to be friendly and humane, but also adaptable and brave. Of course, that's not a bad personality in Real Life. If you're really unlucky, the only ones left to mourn at Humanity's Wake will be robots, mutants and aliens.

Compare Just Before the End, End of an Age, And Man Grew Proud.

Examples of After the End include:

Anime and Manga

  • Violence Jack by Go Nagai is perhaps the first anime/manga example.
  • Akira
  • Appleseed
  • Blue Gender
  • Blue Submarine No. 6
  • Now and Then, Here and There
  • Neo-Human Casshern takes place in a time when Androids have taken over and a man who placed his mind in a superior android fight back against the androids with the help of his dog, Friender.
    • The Series Casshern Sins that aired well over thirty years after the original is after the end -- of the end, as now the androids society that conquered humanity is crumbling because of a disaster caused by this version of Casshern, who lost his memories and wanders the ruined Earth searching for answers to questions he doesn't know.
    • And the 2004 live action movie adaption: Casshern.
  • Desert Punk
  • Ergo Proxy takes place after a "detonation of the methyl hydrate layer", and as a consequence, the humanity lives in giant domes protecting them from the outside world. Said calamity may or may not have been the direct result of nuclear war. Rapture looks suspiciously like those pillars of flame showing during end of the world flashbacks.
    • Luckily the original human inhabitants saw it coming or at least responded in time they fled into space and left the Proxies behind to rebuild civilization. It didn't turn out very well.
  • Fist of the North Star

In 199X, the Earth was devastated by nuclear war. Almost all living things went extinct. However, mankind has survived. Also there's a goddamn oil tanker through a skyscraper holy shit what the fuck kinda nuclear war was this.

    • A tsunami, that's what!
  • Future Boy Conan by Miyazaki who was well familiar with this trope.
  • In Gundam, both Gundam X and Turn a Gundam are examples.
  • Gun X Sword takes place on the prison planet of Endless Illusion after Earth has been destroyed.
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
  • To a lesser degree (in that only about half of humanity is gone), Neon Genesis Evangelion. The goal of the protagonists is ostensibly to stop various people and things from finishing the job. Ostensibly.
    • In a meta-example, Hideaki Anno actually made a parody radio drama after The End of Evangelion. It was literally called "After the End", and in it the characters discussed what they would do for a sequel now that everything had pretty much gone to hell. It was kind of Anno's own version of the now-famous Spike Spencer "Shinji Rant". Of course, all of that joking about a sequel isn't so funny now, is it?
  • Robotech, Super Dimension Fortress Macross, and Genesis Climber Mospeada - In Macross especially, where the remnants of humanity and Zentradi eventually manage to rebuild civilization after the planet suffered nuking. Macross City is the capital, built around the SDF-1, with homes, shops, schools and offices, and situated in a barren Alaska, with other cities miles away (possibly around Canada and some of the USA, although it's not specified where each city is located). The creators of the franchise eventually wanted to show a much cheerier image of the post-apocalypse after the big victory, however, the capture of a Zentradi satellite factory helps humanity to colonize the stars, meaning of course that there is a happy ending for most.
  • Scrapped Princess
  • Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou - whether or not humanity gets better is up for debate, but it puts a very comfy, delicious blanket on what would in lesser hands be a Downer Ending.
  • Simoun (After the End on a different planet)
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann takes place After the End (in fact, some people think it happens centuries after the conclusion of Neon Genesis Evangelion). Humanity gets better.
  • ICE
  • Trinity Blood
  • Vampire Hunter D. After two ends, no less. First a nuclear war late in the 20th century or early in the 21st that reduced humanity back to the Medieval era, and the slow hubris of the vampire super civilization that followed five thousand years later, and lasted another five thousand years before the humans were truly back in charge, yet still underdogs in the distant frontiers.
  • Gilgamesh
  • Part of Kurozuka takes place after the world has been devastated by unintentional nuclear holocaust (the nuclear powers were trying to destroy an asteroid, but accidentally targeted each other instead) and the resulting nuclear winter.
  • Hyper Police—the apocalypse brought most fantasy creatures to Earth (gods, oni, beastpeople including werewolves), and left humanity as a protected, endangered species.
  • Overman King Gainer has the cast believing that the Earth has healed from mankind's presence, and trying to reach Yapan, the home of their ancestors, from Siberia where a good portion of humanity went to live in Domes.
  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, in Acid Tokyo, a Tokyo destroyed by acid rain where the survivors protect the eponymous reservoir, and, consequentially, Clow.
    • Played with when it's revealed that Acid Tokyo is the ancient past of Clow Country. Those ruins Syaoran was investigating at the beginning are the remains of the city's buildings.
  • Getter Robo Armageddon as well as the Hien and Ä€ḥ installments of the manga.
  • The manga Seven Seeds takes place after an devastating asteroid impact event destroyed human civilization and dramatically altered the environment. The only remaining humans on Earth are selected teenagers (and adult guides) who were frozen shortly before the apocalypse.
  • Trigun: An interesting variation. Turns out the current state of affairs came to be after humans ruined earth and then escaped into the universe. Then some drama happens among the crew, resulting in millions of people dying and the remainder being haphazardly dumped on the planet where the story is set.
  • Rave Master. Technically, the world the story is set in is a parallel world created by the last surviving human after famine drought and plague destroyed the original world. The main villain, the only descendant of that sole survivor and, therefore, the only 'real' person, wants to go back to that world.
  • Utawarerumono Due to Gaia's Vengeance (kinda), humans can no longer live on the surface. In fact, at the beginning of the story, ALL humans are dead. (They are seen in flashbacks, just to prove that Humans Are the Real Monsters)
  • Possibly Naruto. Between the severe levels of schizo tech, the bizarre structures in Rain country, and the wreckage that the Uchiha weapons stash appears to be located below, it's never been explicitly stated but it would explain a lot. The probable source of said apocalyptic event is most likely the Juubi. The wreckage in particular has an after the end feel to it.
  • In EL, the Megaro Earth Project is implied to be the last remaining city populated by humans after nuclear war devastated the Earth. At the end of the second OVA, it is revealed that the situation is far worse as only El and a single human male have survived, kept in a coma-like state by sentient AI hoping to find a way to breed them.
  • Wolf's Rain, though it is not initially clear, it is shown that the world is in the middle of a nuclear winter, and the few cities and towns huddled in domes that we see are one of the only bastions of humanity left.
  • In the backstory of The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Mu and Atlantis fought a nuclear war that wiped out both empires (as well as most of the rest of humanity) and almost all of their uber technology.
  • Tide-Line Blue
  • Sky Girls Although everything LOOKS nice and neet and clean it takes place after an alien invasion that has killed off nearly every man on Earth leaving girls to defend Earth should there be a second invasion. Possibly only 1 out of every 100 people left is male.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Future Trunks' timeline is this thanks to a pair of rampaging androids and why he comes to the main timeline to prevent it from happening there.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog The Movie the strange fantasy world in this movie appears to be this, but its never really explained. The creatures of this world appear to have rebuilt society and moved on... or they just don't mind abandoning tall infrastructures and New York City sized settlements.
  • Psyren is about a group of people that are being sent back and forth to what remained of Earth after the cataclysm that wiped out most of the existing lifeforms and transformed the surviving ones itno dangerous mutants.
  • The world of Toriko was ravaged by war in the past. Then the legendary chef Acacia invited the world leaders to a full-course meal consisting of ingredients from the Gourmet World. After eating the main course called "GOD", the world leaders experienced enlightenment and worked together to bring about peace.
  • In The World God Only Knows, the civil war between the good demons and their former rulers rendered Hell a desolate wasteland, forcing the New Devils to live in floating cities. As a result, Vintage plans to resurrect Old Hell in the bountiful human world.

Comic Books

  • Y: The Last Man is a comic series that takes place in a world where a biological event has wiped out half the mammals on Earth; specifically, the males. The main character and his monkey, plus a few exceptions, are the last living Y-chromosome carriers, and since our protagonist's fiance was in Australia at that time and he's still loyal to her, things are nowhere near as rosy as that scenario might suggest. The civilization of the world falls into chaos as infrastructure and industry collapse (not so much because women can't run things, but because there aren't enough of them, and even fewer with the necessary training) but, a few years into the series' real-time run, the all-female society has more-or-less started to function again.
    • The DC comic miniseries Me and Joe Priest postulated a lower-key version of Y, with all human males (save the eponymous cleric) and most human females losing the ability to sire children. Much like Children of Men, the population largely gets older and older and waits to die.
  • In the Sonic The Hedgehog series by Archie, the world of Mobius is actually Earth ten-thousand years later, and Mobians the result of the alien Xorda's gene bombs - which wiped out most humans, mutated most of the surviving humans into Overlanders, and created the Chaos Emeralds - mixing human DNA with animals.
    • And then there's the time Silver comes from (200 years in the series' future), where an unexplained disaster has completely destroyed the world, except for a few isolated pockets of civilization.
  • Kamandi, The Last Boy On Earth. This Jack Kirby series had Schizo-Tech run rampant and Funny Animals ruling feudal nations. Done by DC Comics, although it didn't originally tie into The DCU.
    • Kamandi's world later became the setting for a bevy of other post-apocalyptic DC comics that got lumped in with it when they were incorporated into The DCU, including the Atomic Knights, Hercules Unbound, and Hex.
  • The End League Post apocalyptic superheros who suck really hard at what they do.
  • Killraven was set in a world where the Martians from The War of the Worlds came back in the '90s and won this time. It focused on one of the few free human rebels and his attempts to overthrow the alien scourge.
  • The Esperanto comic book 10 Jarojn Poste ("10 Years After") is set after a devastating nuclear war; the subsequent plague of male sterility, from which only a few men are immune, threatens humanity with extinction.
  • Judge Dredd is set After the End where outside of a few giant city-states (and a Lunar colony, for some reason), the entire world is a barren radioactive desert filled with bizarre mutants.
  • Before The Flash merged timelines at the end of Flashpoint, the entire Wildstorm universe was experiencing this. Just what happened and how many are dead is still up in the air.
  • Strontium Dog is set on Earth after a nuclear war.
  • Kingdom takes place after most of humanity has been wiped out by a race of Big Creepy-Crawlies known only as Them, and the majority of the survivors are in Suspended Animation in Antarctica (and possibly New Zealand).
  • Wasteland, by Oni Press, takes place after some unspecified disaster called "The Big Wet".
  • In the French Comic Les eaux de Mortelune (The waters of Deadmoon), most of humanity is wiped out or has degenerated into grotesque mutants hunted for their meat. Pockets of humanity remain in places (such as Paris, renamed "Mortelune") where they have both the technology and the fuel to purify the toxic water, and buildings that can resist to acid rains, but it is later revealed that Lyon is now inhabited by giant flies, Avignon by giant termites and Les-Baux-de-Provence by giant telepathic praying mantis. All three races are actually more advanced and way more prone to long-term thinking than what's left of humanity.
  • Old Man Logan Is a Marvel story that takes plac in an alternate timeline where all the Supervillains banded together and took over, turning the world into a wasteland.
  • Pretty much every Superman story, perhaps especially those dealing with other survivors, such as the floating city of Argo, the bottle city of Kandor, etc., is set After the End of Krypton.
  • "Scud the Disposable Assassin": Not until late in the series that we learn the rapture began not long after the release of Ghost Busters 2 and has been going on ever since because the Devil was usurped by a mechanical stuff-collector named System. There weren't any raging wars or apocalyptic scenarios, but there was an influx of supernatural creatures, black magic, random mutations, and intergalactic alien businesses opening up on earth. Basically society is the same but a little more messed up.
  • Just a Pilgrim is set in a world where the sun went nova billions of years early. The Earth's a barren desert waiting for the sun to burst.
  • V for Vendetta is set in a world that was almost completely destroyed by a nuclear war, presumably only the British Islands are still intact; it's mentioned at one point that "there is no Africa any more".
  • The Walking Dead, and the TV series based off of it.

Fan Works



  • In John Carter of Mars, Martian civilization peaked millennia before the events of the novels - the Barsoom that Carter finds himself on is a Scavenger World.
  • James Herbert has played with this one a time or two. In '48, most of the population has been decimated by the Blood Death, a virus borne by rockets sent out by Hitler towards the end of the war.
  • Cormac McCarthy's The Road is a delightful tale of a father and his son exploring the world after an unknown apocalypse. Oh, wait: Cormac McCarthy wrote this. Most notable for being dark, brutal and, at its core, optimistic.
  • Robert Wingrove's Chung Kuo presents a world-spanning empire built after a devastating war ended the world as we know it
  • The Giver / Gathering Blue / The Messenger: All three books are set after an event known as The Ruin. Not much detail is given about it, but it is said to been an combination of both man-made and natural disasters.
  • World War Z
  • The Last Survivors series, very few humans, moon out of whack, early winters, seething hot summers, people moving around in packs like animals and stealing from their former neighbours just to live another day.
  • The Survivalist is a 1980s series of adventure novels by Jerry Ahern about a Crazy Prepared ex-CIA man searching for his family in a post-World War III United States occupied by the Soviet military. Unfortunately the series jumps the shark somewhat after the hero and his family are frozen for 500 years and wake up in a future world to battle neo-Nazis, and neo-Communists led by his old enemy.
  • Hothouse by Brian Aldiss.
  • R. Scott Bakker's Second Apocalypse takes place two thousand years after the First Apocalypse. Large parts of the continent are still wasteland.
  • By the Waters of Babylon by S. V. Benet. Remarkable because it depicts what feels like a world post-atomic-war, complete with ideas of what would and would not be safe to handle after the end—only it was written in the 1930s.
  • The Tripods series by John Christopher deals with a post-alien invasion future where the only humans not turned into zombie-like slaves are young children.
  • The Passage by Justin Cronin has this in spades, due to a Depopulation Bomb resulting in rampant vampires wiping out most of the American Continent.
  • Neil Cross' Christendom takes place some time after a massive series of global conflicts during which, among other things, America fragmented, the entire population of Japan was wiped out by a Chinese bioweapon, and crashing nuclear satellites bathed large chunks of the planet in radiation.
  • Zoology of the Future series by Dougal Dixon.
  • In the Fantasy genre, Stephen R. Donaldson's Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever take place in The Land after it's been changed in many apocalyptic ways.
    • Even in the First Chronicles the Land is recovering from the effects of Kevin's Desecration which apparently wiped out all life at the time.
  • William R. Forstchen's One Second After is a Cozy Catastrophe that begins with an EMP attack on the US and tells what happens in the following year.
  • Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank opens just before World War III.
  • David Gemmell's Jon Shannow trilogy is a postapocalyptic series, with elements of The Wild West.
  • Mark S. Geston's first two novels are set in decaying future worlds, some thousands of years after an unspecified catastrophe. In Lords of the Starship a scheme is devised to revitalize the economy of a dying country by using its resources to build a seven-mile long spaceship. Once the ship is built a huge battle is fought over it, then the ship turns on its engines and fries the armies who are fighting over it - and then destroys itself. It has all been a hoax by a Mordor-like country, aimed at depopulating and demilitarizing the rest of the world. Out of the Mouth of the Dragon takes places some centuries later when the world's ecology is in its death throes. A young man sets off to prove himself as a soldier, only to realize that there are no noble causes left to fight for. By the end of the book he seems to be the last man alive, sustained by prosthetic body parts, and as the world slowly dies and the sun goes out he realizes that his prosthetics may keep him alive forever in a dead world.
    • Or he may be an Unreliable Narrator, due to going mad.
      • The novel is written in the third person, which would suggest that he isn't.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Farnham's Freehold starts off with World War III, and the rest takes place After.
  • Stephen King has played with this trope several times.
    • The The Dark Tower novels, in which the world has been devastated so many times in so many different eras that reality itself is starting to break down. This trope is largely present in the final book, when Roland ventures into the tower, and King tells the reader they can finish there, or continue on. The "after-ending" involves Roland going all the way back to near the beginning of his quest, but this time, he has the knowledge (and a certain item) to finally complete his quest.
      • A more on interpretation is that Roland didn't quite get it right. He just got it MORE right, and will get it more right the next time, and the next, and eventually the entire ka-tet might make it to the Tower with him, meaning he finally did get it right.
    • Cell opens right before a mysterious cell-phone-transmitted brainwipe brings about The End of the World as We Know It.
    • The Stand opens right before a viral bioweapon brings about The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Sterling Lanier's Hiero's Journey and The Unforsaken Hiero are set mainly in what used to be Canada, prior to World War III (now long past). The protagonist's mission in the first book is to rediscover computer technology, because his people are running into information management problems and have enough historical knowledge to realize that computer information retrieval could solve them.
  • World Made By Hand, by James Howard Kunstler, is set in a future where industrial civilization has collapsed simply from petroleum depletion and resultant stresses on socioeconomic systems .(Terrorists also destroyed Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles with nuclear bombs, but there was never any all-out nuclear war.) This is one of a fairly new genre of post-oil novels.
  • In CS Lewis's The Magician's Nephew, Charn is absolutely dead except for Jadis herself.
  • Robert McCammon's Swan Song is a post-apocalyptic novel with fantasy/horror underpinnings.
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter Miller, is an interesting version of this trope. The storyline spans over a thousand years, beginning in a post-nuclear war Dark Age. The second part is set in a second Renaissance, with the re-flourishing of scientific knowledge, and the third and final part is set in the equivalent of the contemporary age. The novel concludes with a second nuclear war. One assumes the cycle is due to start again, though, as human beings are by now capable of interstellar travel and at least some of them get off Earth before the bombs land.
  • Andre Norton examples:
    • Breed to Come is set in a post-human world in which the disease that wiped out the humans led to the rise of several other intelligent species, among them the protagonist's. His eldest surviving relative has spent his life studying the remains of human civilization and acquiring any technological advances that might benefit his people.
    • The short story "The Gifts of Asti" opens just as Memphir, the protagonist's homeland, is falling to a barbarian invasion. She - the last priestess of a mostly-forsaken religion - follows a standing order about what to do After the End (which was mentioned in prophecy), and takes a prepared escape route. She ends up on the far side of a mountain range to find a vast plain that was glassed in a now-forgotten war.
    • No Night Without Stars opens several generations after The End of the World as We Know It, which appears to have been due to a Colony Drop.
    • Sea Siege opens on a small Caribbean island that is having trouble with mutant sea creatures - just before World War III.
    • Star Man's Son (a.k.a. Daybreak - 2250 A.D.) opens generations after World War III. The protagonist is suffering from his culture's prejudice against Mutants.
  • In H. Beam Piper's short story "The Answer", the protagonists - an American and a Russian - managed to survive the destruction of their respective nations, and are now working in South America. The titular answer is to the question, why was Auburn, New York, the first casualty of World War III - particularly since the Soviets then threw away the advantage of a first strike and didn't follow it up? The town wasn't destroyed by the Soviets, but by a Colony Drop - specifically, of an antimatter meteor - and nobody recognized it for what it was until after one of the protagonists, who witnessed the destruction of Auburn and investigated it, witnessed the results of a similar, artificial antimatter experiment in South America.
  • Reeves' Mortal Engines takes place after not only the Sixty Minute War, a conflict so devastating it caused centuries of geological instability and fundamentally changed the geography of the Earth[1], but at least two other wars. And, there is a third nearly-apocalyptic war going on in the last two books. The human race is forced into gigantic mobile cities... which then consume all surface resources and have to eat each other.
  • M.P. Shiel's 1901 novel The Purple Cloud finds a man returning from a Polar expedition to discover that seemingly all other humans and animals on the planet have been killed by the purple cloud of the title.
  • In Olaf Stapleton's Last and First Men, 99% of humanity is wiped out in a huge geological upheaval, with humanity thrown back to the stone Age and forced to crawl back to dominance over several million years, and evolving into the 2nd, 3rd, etc Men. Eventually Earth must be abandoned when the Moon comes crashing down, and later Venus, Man's new home, is threatened and must be abandoned for a final home on Neptune. The book ends with the 17th (Last) Men awaiting the end as the Sun threatens to go nova.
  • Earth Abides, by George Stewart, depicts life in California after a pandemic wipes out most of humanity.
  • In John Calvin Batchelor's novel THE BIRTH OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF ANTARCTICA, a convincingly-portrayed international social breakdown is summed up by one character as "There's been no war. Just a bloody shuffle." It is implied that by the narrator's "present", new global social patterns have developed, without detailing them.
  • Horseclans series by Robert Adams.
  • S.M. Stirling's Dies the Fire series begins with a mysterious "Change" in the laws of physics that abruptly makes all powered machinery (even steam engines) inoperable and explosives inert. (Eventually it's revealed that this was caused by what might be called the Universal Mind attempting to stave off an even worse fate for humanity.) Before long most of humanity dies of starvation and the survivors have to rebuild society on a low-tech basis. "Ethnogenesis", the emergence of new cultures, ensues. One state, founded by SCAdians, is modeled on Medieval Normandy; another, founded by Wiccans or neopagans, consciously imitates a Medieval Scottish clan; etc. Large areas are inhabited only by cannibals who have forgotten about civilized culture entirely. The new states are often at war with each other, using armor, swords and bows.
  • In The Peshawar Lancers, also by S.M. Stirling, the End came in the Victorian era in the form of a Big Rock From The Sky and so much effort went into survival the technology and culture has more or less frozen at the time period (at least in the dominant culture).
  • Harry Turtledove's Valley-Westside War is set in a fairly typical post-nuclear world. The twist is that it's set in an Alternate History (this is a Turtledove story after all) where the war happened in 1967 and the protagonists are scientists from a future history where travel across alternates has been discovered who are studying the world to see how and why things went wrong.
  • There is an entire subgenre of Speculative Fiction referred to as Dying Earth, named after the Jack Vance work, Dying Earth. Often, these works have a sword and sorcery feel, but with clear hints that this is the future. The above show Thundarr is definitely of this mold.
  • The Uglies Series, by Scott Westerfield, features a world where nothing using gas works and apparently humanity's population is reduced and controlled, and segregated into the eponymous Uglies, and Pretties ( And Specials.)
  • The Pelbar heptalogy by Paul O. Williams is set in North America 1,000 years after a nuclear war, describing how the communities along the Heart River (formerly the Mississippi) are trying to reforge anything resembling a nation.
  • The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, who liked this sort of thing, is about a society recovering after a catastrophe, which the hyper-Christian characters call "The Tribulation" and is implied to be a nuclear war/disaster. In the protagonist's community, any living thing showing signs of genetic abnormality is considered a Satanic abomination, including human beings. His having telepathy is therefore something of a concern.
  • Roger Zelazny's This Immortal (which was originally serialized as ...And Call Me Conrad), which is better than his book Damnation Alley (which the movie of the same name is based on In Name Only).
  • In the Pendragon novel, The Pilgrims of Rayne, Bobby discovers that the tropical island paradise of Ibara is actually part of Veelox, after three hundred years have passed since Aja Killian's time. The rest of Veelox is a crumbling wasteland and the people not living in Ibara aren't much better than animals. In Raven Rise, Third Earth could probably also fit this trope well.
  • The Gold Eagle adventure series Deathlands takes place in a post-WW 3 United States plagued by crazed mutants and power-hungry barons.
  • The Shattered World and The Burning Realm are fantasy novels set a thousand years After the End of a world that literally got broken into fragments. Desperate damage-control by the resident mages has preserved the fragments in a vast envelope of air, and equipped all the pieces big enough for settlements with Runestones that provide gravity and a regular orbit. Unfortunately, the Runestones' magic is almost exhausted, making these both After the End novels and Just Before the End novels.
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, earth was nuked, a lot, the few remaining survivors wear clothes made of lead when going outside.
  • Patrick Tilley's Amtrack Wars takes place about a thousand years after a nuclear war and revolves around the conflict between the surface dwelling Mutes and the underground based Amtrack Federation.
  • Parts of The Book of Dave by Will Self take place in a flooded out England five hundred years after the titular book is discovered and a religion is founded on it.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy starts with the Earth being destroyed.
  • Russel Hoban's Riddley Walker is an example of this, as it takes place roughly 3,000 years after an apocalyptic event which left England in an Iron Age existence. Civilization as it is has been reduced to a mere shadow of what it once was: common religion is based on Punch-and-Judy shows, what metal supplies remain have to be salvaged from ancient ruins, years marked AD are said to stand for "All Done", and the English language is, if the narrator is to be relied upon, now written phonetically (making the book incredibly difficult to read without speaking it out loud).
  • This is why things are the way they are in I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream.
  • Edgar Pangborn's novels Davy and The Company of Glory, together with related short stories in Still I Persist in Wondering and others uncollected, take place in the decades and centuries following a devastating "limited" nuclear and biological war. As civilization slowly and painfully rebuilds itself in what used to be New England the stories focus on individual struggles, triumphs and tragedies. The rigid, mutant-fearing feudal societies depicted therein seem to owe something to The Chrysalids.
  • Ashes, ashes, one of Rene Barjavel's novels, takes place in a world where electricity has completely disappeared, of course causing the end of civilization. Humanity gets better in Future Times Three though, thanks to telekinesis and eusociality.
  • Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale takes place in the Republic of Gilead, a theocratic country heavily implied to be the US in the near future, in which the majority of people have been rendered infertile. However, because of the religious fundamentalist styled patriarchy instated by the regime, it is women who are blamed, the concept that men might be equally infertile tantamount to treason. The handful of remaining fertile women are rounded up and forced to act as broodmares for high-status men, and executed or exiled if they fail to conceive.
    • Margaret Atwood apparently likes the trope. Oryx and Crake and its companion novel The Year of the Flood both take place after The Plague wipes out all but a tiny handful of humans. Via flashbacks, they both also tell of the events in the years before The End of the World as We Know It from various characters' perspectives.
  • In David Weber's Safehold series, the planet Safehold is humanity's last desparate attempt to evade genocide at the hands of the Gbaba. It's pretty much a foregone conclusion that every human world except for Safehold itself has been wiped out.
  • Z for Zachariah, a young adult novel by Robert C. O'Brien, takes place after a nuclear war that seems to have left only two people alive.
  • There Will Come Soft Rains, in the aftermath of a nuclear war, there remains only an automated house and a dying dog.
  • Saturn's Children by Charles Stross explores a Solar System inhabited only by robots centuries after the mysterious extinction of humanity
  • In the Kate Daniels universe, the world is plagued by magic waves. Most of the human population was destroyed during the first magic flare, when monsters flooded back into the world and magic reduced skyscrapers to rubble. The rest of the humans survive by keeping one hand on their weapons or banding together in tightly knit neighborhoods.
  • Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey takes place five hundred years after "The Something That Happened" which wiped out the Previous civilization. What that Something was is a mystery.
  • Terry Brooks' Shannara series is set after the Great Wars have dramatically altered the landscape and reduced civilization to medieval levels. Gnomes, dwarves, and trolls are mutant humans. Elves are real elves, having come out of hiding after the war.
  • The German pulp series Maddrax takes place after a comet hits the Earth, moving the axis of rotation, and causing all sorts of mutations and retardations. Intelligent rats, vampires, primitive people, world conspiracies and more arise out of the ashes.
  • Alfred Bester's seriocomic novella They Don't Make Life Like They Used To features the last man and woman on earth—at least, they think they might be—trying to carry on with their daily lives in a decimated midtown Manhattan.
  • In Jeanne DuPrau's series The City of Ember, human society was destroyed by a combination of war, radiation, and disease. However, the titular city was built underground as a safehold for human culture and survives for 200-odd years after the war ended... and then the lights start going out.
  • Mike McQuay's Pure Blood and Mother Earth, which involved North American culture devolving into feudalism and the use of giant dogs (inexplicably renamed "woofers") as mounts.
  • Ardath Mayhar and Ron Fortier's cheesy Trail of the Seahawks. Also involved North American culture devolving into feudalism and the use of giant dogs (quite explicably called "riding dogs") as mounts.
  • John Maddox Roberts's Stormlands series. The ancients left a few new craters on the moon, and ferrous metals are a rare commodity. Also, there are four-horned horses, blue-skinned mutant babes, and at least one Historical Domain Captain Ersatz.
  • The Newsflesh trilogy, set 20 years after the Zombie Apocalypse. Humanity's survival is credited to George Romero (for making lots of people Genre Savvy) and bloggers (who immediately reported the apocalypse at face value, while traditional media initially wrote it off as an elaborate prank or something).
  • The Indigo series.
  • The Hunger Games, which is set sometime several hundred years after a gigantic, presumably nuclear, apocalypse that leaves North America as mostly ash. The nation of Panem is set up after this, and a few hundred years later District 13 is wiped out in ANOTHER nuclear apocalypse. After this event the Capitol sets up the Hunger Games, and the book picks up 74 years later. District 13 is revealed at the end of book 2 to have survived the ass-kicking it received by the Capitol, and the reason it hasn't been destroyed since is because its dedicated industry is nuclear materials. Not something to provoke.
  • Maddigan's Quest, by Margaret Mahy, is set some time 'after the Great Chaos changed the shape of the world'. The Chaos itself is never described or hinted at, but the entire series is spent trying to ensure that the existing state of things doesn't get any worse- which, according to time-travellers Timon and Eden, it's about to.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Rand gets to see the history of the Aiel during the Breaking of the World, when humanity went from Crystal Spires and Togas to near-extinction.
  • Manuel de Pedrolo's Mecanoscrito del segundo origen (Second origin typescript) deals with two young survivors of an alien attack on earth trying to repopulate it and preserve human culture, with the few other survivors they come across no longer being quite as sound of mind as they may once have been.
  • Nevil Shute's On The Beach follows the short lives of people living in southern Victoria, Australia, after the rest of the world has blown each other to bits with nuclear bombs. Everybody dies, All of them. Yes even the baby. And the dog. They all die. Incredibly depressing, but still a brilliant book.
  • In John Birmingham's Without Warning in 2003, just before the Iraq War a mysterious energy field called "the Wave" wipes out all higher primates (and about half of an apparently random selection of any species with a spine) in the greater part of North America (about half of Canada, 95% of the Lower 48 states, and about 80% of Mexico as well as about 75% of Cuba). Things get worse when, feeling threatened by jihad, Israel nukes all its neighbors. Four years later (and three after the Wave disappears) the re-formed US government, based in Seattle and attempting to recolonize its former territory, is threatened by a breakaway Republic of Texas. There's also an increasingly organized coalition of pirates and jihadis trying to take over the East Coast to create an Islamic homeland for refugees displaced by the aforementioned Israeli nuking, the French Intifada, and the United Kingdom deporting most of its Muslims.
  • Most of the Dragonlance novels and adventure modules are set after the Cataclysm, an event in which a fiery mountain (i.e., meteor) fell on the city of Istar and destroyed it and much of civilization with it.
  • Fred Saberhagen's Empire of the East and its sequels series The Books of Swords and The Books of Lost Swords are set on earth thousands of years after civilization was not destroyed in a nuclear war. Instead, the United States activated a device that actually changed the laws of nature to prevent the destruction of humanity by making nuclear fission so much less likely that the nuclear bombs wouldn't work. The good news is that it worked. The bad news is that changing the laws of nature also caused advanced technology to stop functioning, and caused magic to start working. As a result, civilization collapsed anyway, but it did eventually rebuild, albeit along rather different lines.
  • It turns out the future the kids of In the Keep of Time visit is this scenario, albeit one which takes place after global warming and the energy crisis instead of nuclear war.
  • The Ursula K. Le Guin short story "Solitude" takes place on the planet Eleven-Soro, well after The End of the World as We Know It, the cause of which is never exactly spelled out but which is implied to have been due largely to massive overpopulation.
  • From Brandon Sanderson:
    • In Elantris, the magic has gone away, leaving the eponymous city a crumbling ruin inhabited by zombies when it had been a boderline-utopia before. The kingdom it was originally capital of is rapidly crumbling as a result, but the rest of the world is fine (if "being slowly conquered by a theocratic empire" counts as "fine").
    • In Mistborn, something happened a thousand years ago that turned the world into a barren, ash-choked wasteland ruled by an Evil Overlord. Much of the trilogy involves piecing together what actually caused this and in the end, fixing it.
    • The Stormlight Archive has some elements of this as well, but with only one book of a projected ten released, exactly how far it goes and how much is just part of the world's dominant religion is unclear.
  • The short story "Fields" by Desmond Warzel takes place in Cleveland after the world has been taken over by mutant wheat and most of humanity has vanished.
  • The French Sci Fi novel Malevil takes place after a nuclear war on Easter Sunday, 1977. The characters are struggling to survive after the apocalypse but they have a key advantage: the titular Malevil is a stone castle and returns to its original purpose as a fortified stronghold.
  • The (chronologically) final segment in Cloud Atlas takes place after "the flashbangin' and the Fall".
  • This is the primary setting of Men. The world population is reduced to ONE, then back up to eleven, before the main plot takes place. Unfortunately for the human race, all eleven of those people are men. Fortunately for the human race, they don't age and are Made of Iron.
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four is set sometime after an unspecified cataclysm (hinted to be nuclear war) caused the collapse of the democratic governments and prepared the way for the rise of the three world powers. Much of the story's creepiness derives from the fact that we can't be sure if anything the Party says is correct, or even if the other enemy states exist at all.
  • The Girl Who Owned A City takes place in a Pre-Teen Wasteland after a disease kills everyone over the age of puberty.
  • Ayn Rand's Anthem takes place after collectivisation has destroyed civilization and reduced the city that is the books setting to a medieval level. Some of Rand's critics posit that even though it was written before Atlas Shrugged that it's a sequel and that the abandoned house the hero finds is all that remains of Galt's Gulch.
  • Most of The Passage is set after a Vampire Apocalypse.
  • Much of Lucifer's Hammer takes place after a massive comet destroys most of civilization, with only a few enclaves left.
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth takes place generations after a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • This is one of the few details revealed about the third Erin Hunter series, Survivors.
  • The setting of Who Fears Death is implied to be this. There is technology, but it's mostly decayed and in disrepair. According to the Great Book, the Okeke created a great technological society, but were crushed when Ani woke up to discover what her creations had done and created the Nuru to punish them.
  • Robert Silverberg's At Winter's End and The New Springtime. Humans as we know them are extinct, and the viewpoint characters are mutant baboons.
  • Wool takes place after something devastated the entire planet and people must live in underground silos to stay safe from the incredibly toxic atmosphere.
  • Julianna Baggott's Pure is set after a nuclear event that leaves many people fused to whatever they were near before the blast, be it objects,animals or other people. The titular 'pures', who are unharmed, live inside domed cities, while the others struggle to survive outside.
  • The Zombie Autopsies is set after an intentionally released zombie virus.
  • Aftertime and its two sequels are set after a worldwide disaster.
  • Comet Dis'aster is set after a destructive comet hits the Earth.
  • The Last Ship is last because of a nuclear war that left most of earth uninhabitable.
  • Summer Of The Apocalypse, a YA novel set after a deadly flu pandemic.

Live-Action TV

  • Battlestar Galactica -- both versions.
    • The 2000s version takes place "after the end" of the Colonial civilization but "before the beginning" of ours.
  • Jeremiah
  • Jericho
  • Survivors
  • Whoops was an actual Sit Com based on a small group of survivors living in a barn after a nuclear war, and the hijinks they got into.
  • Ark II
  • Red Dwarf, though it diverges wildly, being, not after the end of Earth, but after everyone on the spaceship Red Dwarf died, except Lister, who was in stasis. Since it's 3 million years after, the characters assume that all other humans are deceased.
    • The first episode was actually titled "The End". Take that as you will.
  • As Sliders was premised on travelers going to different dimensions of Earth, they encountered examples of this trope quite often, starting with their first slide together.
  • The Starlost takes place on a generation ship launched from an Earth that was destroyed by some unspecified disaster shortly afterward.
  • Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry made together three separate pilot movies for essentially the same series premise: Genesis II, Planet Earth, and Strange New World.
  • Star Trek itself could be considered an "After The After The End" story - centuries before the show, humans almost destroyed themselves in a nuclear war, but then climbed their way back up to become greater than they were before. The After the End stage, known as the Postatomic Horror, is seen in "Encounter at Farpoint" and Star Trek: First Contact, although the latter is set in one of the less-wrecked areas, rural Montana.
    • Likewise, it is stated that the Vulcans fought a similar world war which left their planet in ruins (and may explain the desert-like state of the planet). However, they learned to embrace logic and became a major power in the Galaxy.
    • More than one episode involved the Enterprise or Voyager discovering a planet or civilization in this trope.
  • The Twilight Zone: Many episodes dealt with survivors of nuclear war. One of the most famous of the lot is "Time Enough at Last," where a neurotic bookworm (Burgess Meredith) survives an apocalyptic nuclear war (only by his sheer luck of being inside a bank vault at the time a totally random nuclear war breaks out). The man stumbles among the ruins of his hometown, finding he is the lone survivor and then comes upon a huge library of books. (Of course, it's all for naught, as he breaks his glasses, and the man—blind without the specs—is unable to engage in a lifestyle of uninterrupted reading.
  • Two American TV movies made in the early 80s, Testament and The Day After, both attempted to dramatize the horrors of a nuclear war and its aftermath in as realistic a fashion as possible.
    • Thankfully, the only channel likely to show them nowadays is the Syfy.
  • The UK equivalents are The War Game (1965, broadcast 1985) and Threads (1984). Both build up to and feature a full-scale thermonuclear holocaust, then - Threads in particular - keep going and get worse. Threads continues to scare those who watched it almost 25 years ago.
    • These films mentioned here probably take as their basic inspiration the Khrushchev quote about nuclear war that "The living will envy the dead."
      • And yet, neither of the American movies will fuck with your head like "Threads". I saw it in my freshman year of high school and haven't been the same since. Additionally, my sophomore AP Bio teacher had graduated from my school (and was only eight years older than us); when one student mistakenly mentioned that the teacher in question showed her students The Day After, Bio teach(having gone through this himself) replied, "No, she shows Threads and that's a million times worse."
        • Just in case you need more convincing, the second half of "Threads" takes place in a nuclear wasteland - post-apocalypse England, which is populated mostly by ill and dying people, people scared to the point of total paranoia, and corrupt military and government officials. The narrator implies that things are MUCH worse in the US and Russia. Eventually the film fast-forwards to 10 years after the nuclear war, where the new generation is made up of thuggish, possibly retarded teenagers and sickly, often insane adults. And it's implied there may not be a generation after that as a girl's reaction to the baby she's just delivered suggests that it's horribly deformed.
        • Not to mention the fact that the girl herself seems to be so educationally and mentally deprived that she seems almost not to understand what is happening to her as she gives birth and probably has no skills or understanding to enable her to care for a child even if it was healthy. And it's implied she's not unique in this.
  • Cleopatra 2525.
  • The fourth season finale of Babylon 5 shows Earth being bombed back into the Dark Ages about 500 years after the end of the series only to emerge as Vorlon-like creatures a million years later.
  • In the Doctor Who special "Planet of the Dead", the Doctor arrives on a once-inhabited world which has been turned into a wasteland by an alien invasion.
    • Also, the entire finale episode of season three explores the Earth a year after the Master has taken control of it.
  • Andromeda is set 300 years after the collapse of the Federation the Commonwealth so it's After the End on a galactic scale.
  • The Discovery Channel has a pseudo reality series based on this trope called The Colony, where a group of ten people with varying skills, professions, and backgrounds band together to try and eke out a living in a simulated post-apocalyptic environment. It's filmed in Los Angeles, so you conclude the joke.
  • The Dollhouse episodes "Epitaph One" and "Epitaph Two" take place after massive remote wiping and imprinting is used as a weapon, resulting in the fall of civilization.
  • A recurring sketch in the third season of That Mitchell and Webb Look parodied the concept through an After the End Game Show, "The Quiz Broadcast"; turns out, having a quiz show after 'The Event' is quite difficult when almost all human knowledge has been eradicated.
  • The Australian TV series Spellbinder is partly set in an alternate, rustic universe where a reasonably-sized pre-industrial society exists in the midst of an incalculably-large wasteland. It's eventually determined that the Wasteland was created by the Darkness, a nuclear winter created by the Spellbinders' failed attempt at increasing power. As a result, though the Spellbinders have electromagnetic capability in the "Power Stones", they've forgotten how it works, and only really know how to use the stones to power the flying ships and powersuits.
  • The Tribe has a selective Depopulation Bomb called The Virus, which has wiped out all the adults, leaving kids and teenagers in a Cozy Catastrophe world.
  • Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future is set after the invention of robotic soldiers has resulted in decades of unending war. And that's how things were before the Big Bad Lord Dredd came to power and started digitizing humanity en masse.
  • Power Rangers RPM takes place in the third and final year of a Robot War which had, in the earlier years, gone nuclear. The city the series takes place in is explicitly stated to be the only one left on Earth due to its protective shield.
  • Jericho takes place in an America which has had most of it's major cities wiped out by terrorist nukes. However, the rest of the world is uneffected making it a pocket example of a Cozy Catastrophe.
  • The Walking Dead is an Zombie Apocalypse example.
  • Obligitory Buffy the Vampire Slayer mention: The Wish causes Cordila to be transported to an After the End world, because she wished Buffy never moved to Sunnydale
  • The History Channel's Speculative Documentary After Armageddon.
  • In Community epsiode Modern Warfare invokes this trope (and related tropes) For Laughs. After Dean Pelton announced the prize to the school's paintball competition (priority scheduling), almost all of the students destroy each other and their school almost immediately.
  • Happens in Aftermath. Population Zero deals with the aftermath of humanity's sudden disappearance. Every other episode, in one way or another, always involves an apocalyptic scenario, but World Without Oil and Population Overload have optimistic outcomes. Despite the hypothetical scenarios in those two involving The End of the World as We Know It, the world is still half full, as shown by humanity getting back on its feet by the end. However, the narrator is quick to point out that the scenario resulted in destruction and death in each of said episodes.


  • The last verse of 99 Red Balloons describes the city the song took place in, only after the nuclear holocaust, from the viewpoint of the girl remembering what had happened.
  • The Postal Service song "We Will Become Silhouettes" seems to be set in the aftermath of nuclear destruction. The titular silhouettes are a reference to the ghostly images of people that were left behind on walls after the nuclear bomb drops on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In a classic example of Lyrical Dissonance, the song sounds like a normal peppy, Postal Service electro-pop love song.
  • Black Sabbath's song "Electric Funeral" from "Paranoid" portrays a struggle for survival on a post-nuclear Earth.
  • Edge of Sanity's song "Crimson" takes place in a post-apocalyptic Earth where humans can no longer breed.
  • Electric Wizard has a song called "The Sun has Turned to Black" which describes the very end of humanity by unknown means.
  • Running Wild's song "Straight to Hell" is about bunch of survivors trying survive in post-apocalyptic world and "Land of Ice" is about Time Travel to a future where the world is caught on nuclear winter.
  • Judas Priest's "Cathedral Spires" from Jugulator is about mankind in post-apocalyptic world waiting to die in the titular structure.
  • Steely Dan's King of the World, not very clear, but can be interpreted as such.
  • The second and third verse of Neil Young's song After The Gold Rush describes the physical world and humanity's attempt to rebuild respectively after the end.
  • Stereolab's "One Small Step"

From the sky would fall an incessant rain of bombs
We had nowhere to go but retreat underground
Our ground had been peppered with loads of mines
Growing our food was a risk at any time


Smouldering decay
Take her breath away
Millions of our years
In minutes disappears

  • Moby said his "South Side" song is about a post-apoc world:

Here we are now going to the south side
I pick up my friends and we hope we won't die
Ride at night, ride through heaven and hell
Come back and feel so well

  • Jimi Hendrix's "1983...A Merman I Should Turn To Be" has the protagonist and his lover turn into mermaids and dive to the bottom of the ocean to escape a nuclear holocaust.
  • The video for Tom Petty's "You Got Lucky."
  • Deltron 3030's self-titled concept album focuses on a post-apocalyptic world.
  • Klaus Nomi's music follows a plot: "Total Eclipse" warns of nuclear annihilation, and the aptly titled "After the Fall" is this.
  • Hawkwind: "Who's Gonna Win the War" and "Damnation Alley" (the latter based on the Roger Zelazny novel.
  • Michael Moorcock's album The New World's Fair (featuring members of Hawkwind) seems to be based on this trope. Its cover depicts a funfair in the distance with a "Danger - Radiation" sign in the foreground.
  • Then there's Hawkwind soundalikes Underground Zero, whose song "Atomchild" seems to be set in a post-apocalyptic future (though it's really hard to make out the words and there's no lyric sheet).
  • The Talking Heads song "(Nothing But) Flowers" takes place years after humanity has given up technology and now lives as hunter-gatherers while the surrounding architecture rots away. The singer becomes increasingly irritated by the lack of modern conveniences and reminisces about life before the end.
  • Neil Young's After The Gold Rush is a very saddening description of the world after the end. This end being the collapse of nature

Look at mother nature on the run in the 20th century
We got Mother Nature on the run in the 20th century.

  • "Come Away Melinda", perhaps this trope's most understated yet touching example.
  • Porcupine Tree's "A Smart Kid" is an incredibly depressing song set after the end, stated to have been some sort of war.

There was a war, but I must have won


I called up the operator of time, just to hear a voice of some kind
She said "When you hear the beep, it'll be three o'clock."
She said that for over an hour, then I hung up.

  • The Decemberists song "After the Bombs" follows two lovers in such a world.
  • German heavy metal group Rage have a song named "Take me to the Water", which deals with a lone survivor in an already dried-out Earth looking for a mythical source of water.
  • Gotye's music video for Eyes Wide Open shows a band of strange, thin limbed creatures wandering Earth, starting with the aftermath of a nuclear war and going back in time to the beginning of life on Earth.

Newspaper Comics

  • Near the end of Johnny Hart's life, he revealed that BC took place in a post-apocalyptic world by having new character Anno Domini have copies of, among other things, phone books and The Bible in his cave.

Tabletop Games

  • Mortasheen's setting is implied to be our Earth after one of these, caused by the machinations of mad science
  • Twilight 2000. The canonical example of an RPG which plays the post-apocalypse setting deadly straight and right at the latter end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, without using it as an excuse to have supernatural weirdness or mutants.
  • Deadlands: Hell on Earth features a pretty straightforward nuclear war. Oh, and then the bombs turned out to be fueled by angry spirits, too. And then the Horsemen of the Apocalypse appear. And then it gets really bad.
  • Gamma World is set on an Earth which, centuries after some ill-defined global catastrophe, is populated with mutants of every mental and physical stripe, sentient animals and plants, insane malfunctioning robots and even humans. The players are strongly encouraged to not take this very seriously. The RPG credits Lanier's Hiero books, Aldiss' Hothouse, and Andre Norton's Star Man's Son as influences (see Literature).
  • In the backstory of Warhammer 40,000, roughly around the 25th millennium, humanity's golden age was brought to a halt by "soulless" robots known as Men of Iron, and humanity descended into in-fighting until the God-Emperor managed to reunite much of humanity. However, the Imperium of man is now beset from the outside by aliens and demons and from the inside by mutants and heretics, and technological progress has effectively stagnated, with the "tech-priests" of the Adeptus Mechanicus content to seek the remnants of lost technology rather than invent new technology.
    • Humanity's golden age was brought to an end by the Horus Heresy, where fully half of the human race turned to worshiping demons and wiping out the other half. The God-Emperor was permanently injured in a lethal duel with their leader, Horus (in a way, the Emperor's son), to the point that he is only kept alive by an extremely complex life support device. Since then, it has stood on the brink of destruction for 15,000 years... and considering that it has been said there are flaws in the device beyond repair, it may be coming soon.
      • For the majority of humanity, the "Dark Age of Technology" was a greater golden age than the height of the Imperium, but the attitudes and lifestyles of that era are not well regarded by the Imperium. The Horus Heresy occurred 5,000 years later, in A.D. 30,000, and some, including Tzeentch, one of the four main Chaos Gods, theorize that if the Emperor dies, he will be reborn as a full-blown god, destroy the Chaos Gods, and lead humanity to eternal victory.
      • To elaborate, in 40K, where all emotions are shadowed in the Warp, faith is literally power - and the Emperor is the object of worship for an unbelievably huge and ridiculously fanatical state-enforced cult.
    • Known apocalypses in the Warhammer 40,000 'verse: The Age of Strife, at the end of the Dark Age of Technology; the Horus Heresy, at the end of the Great Crusade; the Age of Apostasy, following the First Age of the Imperium; and, arguably, the Time of Ending, which is going on right now. After each one, humanity recovered; after each, the recovery was less complete, and society became worse. Note that there are quite likely at least a few apocalypses that have simple not been named.
      • Now, now people, let's not be humano-centric here. There have been at least several other apocalypses involving other races going on, the most recent and significant must be the fall of the Eldar, although there is of course the apocalypse that wiped out the Old Ones as well. In fact look at any race (bar the Tau) and you'll find an apocalypse or two somewhere in their background (though with Chaos they were usually CAUSING them).
        • With the exception of the Eldar's apocalypse, which is widely believed to have caused Slaneesh, rather than the other way around.
        • Bar the Tau from having their own little apocalypse backstory? No, they were on the brink of wiping themselves out in a civil war before the mysterious ethereal caste appeared in the eleventh hour to get them to work together. Not a mean feat considering their technological level at the time were at pikes and black powder cannons... And even the Orks have fallen from a previous state of civilisation, having inadvertently destroyed their Brain Boyz leaders and decending into happy anarchy.
        • Why no mention of the squat... *blam*
  • BattleTech (Although the 'end' happens after humans have colonized space).
    • BattleTech has had a few Apocalypses:
      • The fall of the Star League and the resulting 1st and 2nd Succession Wars which bombed the galaxy back to the stone Age (barely 20th century tech, with how to make mecha and starships all but lost, though not how to repair them)... this was followed by 2 more wars lasting 300 years all together although these were low intensity conflicts because of the damage inflicted earlier.
      • The Word of Blake Jihad, a deliberate attempt to once again bomb the inner sphere into the dark ages, costing several TRILLION Lives over a 13 year-long war. Planetary saturation nuclear orbital strikes were common.
  • Exalted takes place after 3 different Ends, and is set at End of an Age. First was the Primordial War (named after the Primordials, the creators of the universe, who lose), involving the extinction of scores of civilizations and races; most of Creation was burned up by a sore loser's last act before surrendering. Then the First Age, was ended by the Usurpation. Lastly, a plague made by a ghost of a Solar killed in the Usurpation, and powered by the corpse/ghost of a killed Primordial, killed 90% of the population, and was followed by a invasion of The Fair Folk, who succeeded in unmaking half of Creation (by area).
    • The good news? You play EXALTS. They can do just about anything, including flattening the Fae Folk and pushing them back to reclaim parts of Creation from the Wyld and in the past they beat down the creators of the Gods themselves...Problem is the forces of the Underworld have Exalts too, and then there's that Great Curse. The Potential to fix the world is there, it'll just take a lot of work, and the Exalts overcoming the effects of the Great Curse along with every possible threat to Creation...But hey, if anyone can pull it off, its the Exalted
  • The Dark Sun campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons was in its ancient past a typical Medieval European Fantasy world, but centuries of wizards abusing magic turned it into a blasted desert planet whose inhabitants have mostly turned to barbarism.
    • Game designers' early descriptions of what Dark Sun would be like actually referred to it as "the Forgotten Realms after they dropped the Bomb".
  • Palladium's After The Bomb setting (originally a spin-off of their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RPG, now separate) takes place in a post-apocalyptic world populated by both human survivors and mutant animals as a result of a virus followed by a grand nuking of the population. (They assumed the virus was a bio-weapon, it was just a prank. Oops.)
  • Palladium's later Rifts setting takes place in a world where the psychic energy generated by the many casualties of a nuclear war led to the opening of dimensional portals across Earth, unleashing magic and other-dimensional creatures on an already apocalyptic Earth.
  • Paranoia is set after a nuclear war... or something... known as the Big Whoops, which ended with The Computer ruling over a huge population living underground in Alpha Complex which may be a dome city.
    • If the recent High Programmer book is to be believed it's San Francisco that's domed and underground, because a really big rock (or something) was going to hit the Earth, then commies took over the world
    • It's pretty much intentionally vague, but the main constant is not available at your security clearance, citizen.
  • The Chronicles of Fate. After the End + Earth Is a Battlefield + Schizo-Tech + Weird Science + Fantasy Kitchen Sink + People Of Mass Destruction + Trope Overdosed + Serial Escalation + Turned Up To Eleven = good clean fun for the whole family.
  • Earthdawn is set in the Earth after a devastating invasion of other-dimensional Horrors wiped out most living things on the surface and mutated what was left. The Horrors (mostly) returned to their home plane after the level of magic dropped too low for them to stay, allowing the survivors to re-emerge from their retreats and begin to repopulate the planet.
  • Shadowrun is set in the future of Earthdawn, in 2070 our calendar, after a series of nasty magical cataclysms and wars (including a war between all the major continental European powers that ended with a massive nuclear airstrike on every nation's entire command structure by (presumably) England) and other disasters that created the politically-divided megacorporation-run Crapsack World it is.
  • The GURPS supplement Reign Of Steel depicted a post- Robot War setting where Earth is divided up and ruled by eighteen artificial intelligences and the human population is just 37 million, most of which are either in slave camps of one sort or another or are hunted like wild animals in the wilderness. The catchphrase: 'The war is over. The robots won.'
  • The Day After Ragnarok, a setting book for both Savage Worlds and Hero System. The Nazis managed to pull off a summoning ritual that pulled the Midgard Serpent into our reality, but before it could fully manifest an American suicide team loaded the Trinity Device into a plane, rammed into the Serpent's eye, and detonated the bomb. The flailing around of a gargantuan serpent (whose head alone is 350 miles across) in its death throes while dripping magical radioactive snake venom from its fangs crushed most of western Europe and northern Africa.
  • Mutant Future is a close-as-you-can-get-it retroclone of post-apoc RPGs such as Gamma World using the Labyrinth Lord rules.
  • Aftermath! is an old Scavenger World game, and it's slim pickings since it's a few generations after the end. There's lots of scenarios for the setting, lots of little rules systems for simulating special cases, lots of genetically engineered life forms and Schizo-Tech and you are as likely to die of starvation and exposure as violence.
  • Eclipse Phase is by default set ten years after the Fall, in which the TITANs reached godlike power and reduced Earth to a scarred wreck haunted by vicious swarms of carnivorous nanobots and other, nastier surprises.


Video Games

  • World of Warcraft's expansion pack "Cataclysm", sunders the land of Azeroth, leaving players to experience a world full of floods, volcanoes and earthquakes with many major settlements and areas destroyed.
    • The Alliance has it rough as the Horde invades Northshire and Elwynn Forest while Orgrimmar is subjected to Fantastic Racism as most of the Horde races are kicked out.
      • They didn't actually leave, the Tauren had a Coup happen in Thunder Bluff, and the Troll's left to take back their old homeland and because Garrosh is THAT big of a dick. Vol'Jin actually has a chat with Thrall via some kind of Scrying spell about why he chose to put Garrosh in charge. After a lengthy chat, Vol'jin sees the reasoning behind it...he doesn't LIKE it, but it makes sense to him and he decides to stay in the Horde.
    • This is actually the second time that Azeroth had an After the End scenario. Ten-thousand years ago, the Well of Eternity imploded, causing the sole continent to split into what there is today. It's noted in one of the Expanded Universe novels that the event happened so quickly that the heroes barely made it to safety. While it wasn't seen, we can pretty easily conclude that hundreds of thousands died - certainly, most of the night elf empire was completely obliterated.
    • Azeroth actually had it relatively easy. Outland, on the other hand, is a barely-habitable remnant of a literally shattered planet which broke up with the Demon Controlled leader of the Orcs opened a massive amount of portals for the Demon-Powered Horde to go through to aid in the Burning Crusade...The sheer amount of magical energy released to do it was enough to shatter the entire planet...Although the demonic corruption and loss of the natural shamanistic energies that usually flow through the Planets probably did weaken it a fair bit.
  • Doom, Doom II and Final Doom all take place with practically every other human on whichever chosen planet the game takes place on dead before you even start moving. Although (in DOOM II you return the favor and destroy almost every demon in existence.)
  • Half-Life 2 takes place about a decade after an alien invasion of Earth and revolves about a human resistance fighting the against the occupation. When the G-Man takes Freeman out of stasis and releases him out into the world again, the words he sends him off with are: "So wake up, Mister Freeman. Wake up and... smell the ashes."
  • The Fallout series takes place in a world that's been ravaged by global thermo-nuclear war. Most of the world is a desolate wasteland, and of the few places that haven't been destroyed most are either highly toxic, radioactive, or inhabited by the worst scum of humanity. See the quote at the top of the page.
    • However unlike a lot of apocolyptic stories which end before civilization starts to get back up on its feet, the world in Fallout slowly gets better with each game and by the time of Fallout: New Vegas (204 years After the End) nearly all things mention above is gone (to an extent, or at least around what was California), and a lot of the former United States appears to be occupied by tribes, settlements (both friendly and unfriendly), and at least one known (sizable) nation.
  • The House of the Dead III takes place after the "world collapse", a Zombie Apocalypse brought about by The Virus thought to be unleashed by EFI.
    • Its prequel, The House of the Dead 4, is set during said collapse; the town you're in is completely abandoned save for a Zombie Apocalypse, and it's implied that the rest of the world has fallen into this condition as well.
  • The second half of Final Fantasy VI, which completely alters the world map and jumps forward a year in time...not to mention having one of the most depressing 2D cinematics of all time.
    • Technically, Final Fantasy VI goes through this twice: the War of the Magi, set long before the start of the game, ripped the world apart so badly it took mankind 1,000 years just to rediscover steam power.
  • Advance Wars: Days Of Ruin (AW: Dark Conflict in Europe) takes place after a meteor storm that wiped most of mankind.
  • The Visual Novel Planetarian takes place in a future world that is slowly dying after a devastating war that killed off most of humanity.
  • The games in the Shin Megami Tensei series all take place after the end of the world, for the most part. The nuclear apocalypse occurs about a fourth of the way through the first game, when God sends Thor to own Japan.
    • Actually the Second Megaten game Megami Tensei (NES) starts immediately After the End In other words the world is already laid to ruin from Nuclear war.
    • Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne starts the game by ending the world. You spend the rest of the game rebuilding it in your image.
    • Digital Devil Saga also takes place After the End. Though not in the way it appears at first.
  • Deus Ex Invisible War takes place 20 years after the Great Collapse triggered by JC Denton, yet in that time, civilization has returned to its pre-collapse level. See Apocalypse Not.
    • The Game Mod for Deus Ex 2027 features this in the epilogue for the Omar ending, after they nuke most of the planet.
  • The Mega Man timeline is complicated. Every series but the original has a point either in-series or in-backstory could be considered "the end" From a Certain Point of View, from Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero's Colony Drops, to the war that took place between them that killed the vast majority of humans and Reploids, to the End of Humanity in Mega Man Legends, a series where the MacGuffin is the last remaining sample of intact human DNA. Mega Man Star Force takes the cake for least ambiguous End in an alternate timeline found in the postgame of the second game, which is basically the darkest point in the metaseries.
  • Homeworld
  • 2300 A.D. in 'Chrono Trigger.
  • 'Xenogears can count, after all, Miang decided to start a nuclear holocaust so grand that thousands of years later, there are only three big cities left on the surface of the world without most modern technology.
  • Phantasy Star III and Phantasy Star IV do this. It's heavily disguised in III, but it becomes apparent relatively early in IV.
    • Phantasy Star Online did it twice. First with their homeworld starts to wither and second being the civilization that sealed Dark Falz away.
      • Phantasy Star Zero did it too, set on an earth that's been thoroughly blasted to hell and back by a Dark Falz-possessed supercomputer called Mother Trinity. It happened so quickly and thoroughly that the period of destruction is known simply as the Great Blank, because nobody actually knows what the hell happened.
  • Etrian Odyssey is established as being one of these in the intro... but the exact nature of the world Before The End is intentionally left vague at first.
  • Mother 3, though you wouldn't think so until the end, when it's revealed the two small neighboring islands the game takes place on are the last inhabitable areas on earth.
  • Between Halo 2 and 3, the Covenant have captured and laid waste to Earth in their search for the Ark, supposedly reducing the population to about 300,000,000. And before the trilogy started, they wiped out Reach and most other human colonies.
    • Sorta; it's implied that the Covenant missed a few major colonies and the Glassing isn't nearly as effected as you think (the Spartan III's are children of thse glassed worlds so making thousands of them is never a problem).
      • In fact in Halo 2 you can see a room dedicated to world the Covenant has glassed, it's number is only 76 planets (humans have hundreads of worlds).
    • When the Covenant inducted the Brutes, their species was living after the end of the end; they had previously achieved spaceflight twice only to bomb themselves back into the stone age each time.
  • The Post-Apocalypse era after the aliens created a Temporal Paradox and brought about The End of the World as We Know It in Duke Nukem: Zero Hour.
  • The Neverwinter Nights 2 module-building community has given us the White Rose series, set in an ice-age-type post-apocalyptic world
  • Exmortis 2 is all about this: after the war between the human race and the Exmortis, the Earth has been reduced to a barren desert, inhabited only by the few humans still surviving and the Exmortis horde. For added effect, the sky has turned blood red, and the aforementioned survivors are continuously preyed upon by roaming bands of Exmortis travelling upon dark red stormclouds.
  • Tales of Phantasia takes place several hundred years after an end caused by a great war weakening a hyperadvanced magi-technological society too much for it to fend off a large meteor, which wiped out pretty much everything. By the time the game starts, mankind is in the dark ages both mystically and technologically (you go back a few hundred years to a point still after the impact and things are even more primitive). You also go to the future, where Magitech is just being rediscovered, and one of the first devices they're making is the very device which during the great war weakened mankind too much for it to defend itself.
    • The prequel, Tales of Symphonia, takes place some 4000 years after a great war very much like the above one but even more damaging in its effects (at any given time 50% of the world is suffering massive resource depletion), with mankind being prevented from advancing beyond the medieval stage by a powerful theocracy (to keep them from overtaxing the limited remaining resources). The heroes fix that, even restoring the magic tree which provides the resources and destroying the theocracy - setting mankind up for the disastrous great war mentioned in Phantasia.
  • Primal Rage shows in its Attract Mode that the world was hit by a giant asteroid, laying waste to all civilization... and awakening a number of powerful, ancient lifeforms. They now face each other in one-on-one deathmatches in order to determine which of them will be the god of "New Urth".
  • In Crystalis, the Protagonist Without a Past awakes from being a Human Popsicle 100 years after civilization was thrown back to the dark ages in a great war. "October 1997, The End Day" is a Shout-Out to Terminator.
  • Might & Magic, or at least one of the worlds visited. Enroth/Colony was a thriving, high-technological and magically developed planet before, within a hundred years, the robots of the most important control center for technology went crazy and overran it, a love drama lead to nukes being used in what was before one of the nicer areas on the planet, a massive rebellion occured against the increasingly tyrannical Governor, and a general alien invasion of the entire civilization led to the entire arm of the Galaxy being cut off from the rest of the worlds, with intrastellar infrastructure and communication being destroyed. The last is specifically cited as having caused 'a fall into barbarism and witchcraft' not only on this world, but on many others...
  • Metroid has an interesting variant in exploring the remains of fallen alien civilisations, often finding an Apocalyptic Log of how they fell. Particularly in the Metroid Prime series.
  • In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Raziel is thrown into the abyss at the height of his empire's power and comes back 1,000 or 10,000 years (or more) later to find it a crumbling, decaying wasteland. Although in this case, there was no cataclysm, just a gradual downward spiral.
  • In Rayforce, Earth has been overtaken and transformed by the supercomputer-turned-Eldritch Abomination "Con Human". The game, of course, ends with an Earthshattering Kaboom.
  • Super. Robot. Wars. Alpha. Gaiden. Starting with chapter 10, it's a future that had, as part of it's backstory, the backstories of Xabungle, Gundam X, and Turn a Gundam, fused togther in typical SRW fashion. "Apocalyptic clusterfuck" is about the only way to truely describe it.
  • In The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, the entire world had been flooded, and only the Chosen people survived; the rest were killed off. The graphics are so light-hearted that it might never dawn on the player that over 90% of the population of the planet was drowned.
  • In In the Hunt, the game takes place after most of the world is submerged underwater via an evil organization's Doomsday Device.
  • Metro 2033 (and the book that it was based on) have the remnants of humanity inhabiting the Moscow metro system after a devastating nuclear war. And that's just the situation of the living, as apparently, even the afterlife was blown up.

"It appears that the devastation we brought upon ourselves was complete. Heaven, hell, and purgatory were atomised as well. So when a soul leaves the body, it has nowhere to go, and must remain here, in the metro. A harsh, but... not undeserved atonement for our sins, wouldn't you agree?"

  • While at first glance the setting of Inherit the Earth may look like a fantasy world of humanoid animals, the intro reveals that they became that way thanks to genetic tampering by humans, who may have been wiped out by a plague.
  • Resonance of Fate takes place long after humans polluted the Earth so badly that they couldn't live on it anymore due to extremely high cancer rates. The last enclave of humanity live in and around a giant air purifier built by their ancestors and have no idea the outside world exists.
  • Undercover Cops, a Beat'Em Up which takes place in the same universe as In the Hunt.
  • Violent Storm, which takes place after World War III ruined the world. Despite the setting, the game is very light-hearted.
  • Mutant Rampage Body Slam takes place after many wars and ecologic disasters ruined the world's cities.
  • This may be a stretch, but Shadow of the Colossus may apply, in a sense. Wander travels around the Forbidden Lands, which is devoid of human life, save for Wander himself. However, if one looks carefully (and does a lot of riding), traces of a prior civilization can be found, namely at the altar area in the desert that triggers the 13th colossus, and the "closed off city" that the 14th colossus resides in. Certainly not an end of all humanity or life, but an end to a civilization (maybe?), nonetheless.
  • Lethal Skies is an Ocean Punk flight sim taking place after runaway Hollywood Global Warming.
  • The world in Secret of Mana turns out to be this, with a past technologically advanced world civilization having long since been wiped out by harnessing the Mana Fortress. Considering this was caused by abusing Mana to power the Fortress, this is also a Green Aesop for our world's abuse of natural resources.
  • The in-game setting for The World R:2 is set after a huge war where humanity kills most of the gods from R:1's backstory.
    • Also, the entire franchise is based on a computer virus called Pluto's Kiss destroying the Internet years before. The incident is sometimes referred to as the Twilight of the Gods.
  • In the upcoming Gears of War 3, the Locusts have destroyed the last of humanity's refuges (as seen at the end of GOW 2), the COG has been disbanded, the Lambent is running rampant, and the few remaining inhabitants of Sera are fighting for survival.
  • Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden takes place in the Post-Cyberpocalypse, where the world was devastated by a Chaos Dunk performed by Charles Barkley and almost all the great basketball players were massacred in what is known as the Great B-Ball Purge.
  • City of Heroes: Going Rogue: The Devouring Earth has destroyed most of the earth, and mankind is slowly rebuilding. You play as a Praetorian, living under the watchful eye of Emperor Cole, whose island city of Praetoria is one of the few places where mankind can be safe.
    • Of course, Praetoria is in Another Dimension. Primal Earth is still (relatively) intact. This leads to some interesting problems when Emperor Cole finds out there's an entire inhabitable universe run by a group of people he has deemed unfit to rule themselves...
  • Hellgate:London
  • Poke Park Wii has what is possibly the most lighthearted take possible on this trope as a background element, at least as far as the park itself goes. It's unclear if humans are still around elsewhere or not.
    • Some interpretations of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games are like this, too. There are broken down human structures and most Pokemon know what a human is, but they are never seen and everyone is extremely surprised when they learn the player character is a human. Special mention goes to the Explorers games' Bad Future for being after the end of the after the last end.
  • Metal Walker has this, as a huge explosion turned the landscape into an unforgiving desert populated by killer robots.
  • In a rare Driving Game example, FUEL takes place after environmental disasters have rendered large parts of Earth inhospitable. In addition to racing, the player character must also avoid various environmental hazards.
  • The Panzer Dragoon franchise pulls this off twice, as well. The series starts a thousand years after a great civilization "perished into dust". By the time Saga has rolled around, the last remnants of civilization have been pushed back a bit further thanks to the destruction of the terraforming Towers, an event known as "The Great Fall".
  • The Drawn To Life saga is a series of games meant for children. In the end, The oh-so-kawaii villain, Wilfire, gets killed, the hero returns the scepter, the color of the game's universe, to it's place, and presto, they got back their color but they're world died, what's more, this 'important' dude named Mike woke up from the dream from his coma, the whole game's universe.
  • Enchanted Arms has this. The fact Yokohama, Kyoto and London of all things are all in the same general 100-km radius area should give you a rough idea of how badly the Golem Wars messed up the planet's surface and layout. Despite the chaotic rearranging of the surface, Mount Fuji somehow got through the mess in one piece.
  • Mortal Kombat 3 has Shao Kahn destroying much of the Earth Realm, with the main characters being among the survivors of the initial harvest of souls, hunted by extermination squads who are tasked with eliminating threats to Kahn's rule.
  • Darksiders takes place after the Apocalypse, the Player Character being one of the four Horsemen.
  • Combat of Giants: Mutant Insects takes place in a world 300 years after a meteor crashed the Earth and destroyed human civilization. Making way for giant mutated insects to rule the world.
  • The Wager takes place after an event known only as "the Shattering," which was powerful enough to permanently alter the world's geography but left humanity seemingly intact.
  • Subverted in The Reconstruction. The game doesn't start out like this, but an apocalypse happens towards the end that turns the final chapter into an After the End scenario.
  • Crisis City in Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 is essentially Soleanna's capital city after the Iblis Trigger wrecks up the place. It ain't pretty.
  • The Roguelike Caves of Qud, set in a world of ruins, mutants, and remnant killer robots.
  • Guns of Icarus is set in a post-apocalyptic world where Sky Pirates rule the air in Zeppelins from Another World.
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2 actually takes place inside a new universe created from the same black hole that destroyed the old one at the end of the first Super Mario Galaxy game.
  • Dark Souls takes place after what was effectively a Zombie Apocalypse, leaving pretty much the entire setting a series of ruins.
  • id Software's Rage takes place a hundred and six years after Earth was decimated by real life asteroid 99942 Apophis, the protagonist, a survivor who was put in a cryogenic time-capsule refered to as an "Ark" due to a massive international project known as "Eden Project", awakens to find Earth taken over by a tyrannic governor and finds disorder and chaos throughout the land.
  • Implied to be the case in Portal 2, although its unclear if the world has actually ended or if the computers running the place merely think it has, on account of the fact that the whole facility has fallen apart in the time since the events of the first game

Web Comics

  • A Moment of Peace is a Lighter and Softer version of a post-apocalyptic Scavenger World.
  • UNA Frontiers. Notable for taking place three hundred years later, and for the conspicuous lack of biker gangs.
  • The Awesome Adventures! Comic Heaven [dead link] takes place in post-apocalyptic Detroit after most of humanity has apparently been turned into a race of mutant zombies.
  • Blade of Toshubi is set on a future Earth where the only humans survive in arks orbiting Earth while animals have been artificially 'evolved' into sentient bipeds.
  • Similarly, the "Aylee" arc from Sluggy Freelance shows an Alternate Universe where "ghouls" have overrun the Earth, with most of humanity's survivors living in orbital spaceships.
    • There are also a couple alternate universes where, while the most of humanity hasn't died, they have been transported into other dimensions, leaving very few people behind. In one there's no one around but an Alternate Universe Riff and six billion butterflies that replaced every single person on Earth.
  • Magical Misfits is set in the far future after magic returned & killed some humans while changing others into creatures of mythology.
  • Unicorn Jelly takes place in a strange pocket universe where the laws of physics are different from ours. Some time in the past one of the triangular "worldplates" where humans and natives lived was destroyed by something resembling an atomic bomb, resulting in a rain of debris that destroyed other worldplates, creating a chain reaction of destruction that will eventually obliterate every worldplate in this finite but unbounded cosmos. It's later discovered that new worldplates will gradually coalesce out of the debris.
  • Freak Angels is heavy with this. "London is drowning," seems to be the catchphrase here. Significant prtions of Great Britain (and perhaps the world) are submerged underwater, and it turns out that the eponymous protagonists are to blame.
  • Bubble Wrap - where most of humanity was wiped out due to a contagious virus. The surviving humans don't have to wear protective suits at all times...unless they have an aversion to dying, in which case it's a good idea to stay dressed.
  • Gone With the Blastwave is set during a post-apocalyptic war. It draws on a number of sources, and in many ways is something of a Black Humor parody of them.
  • This Amazing Super Powers.
  • White Noise takes place 120 years after a hostile alien race temporarily halted the rotation of the Earth, killing everyone and everything not on one of the three space colonies.
  • Post Nuke Comic takes place following a nuclear war that played out eerily similar to the biblical apocalypse. A mad dictator took over, nuclear fallout's poisoned a third off all water and a third of all land, and there was very little warning of the first shots in the Last War being fired-people say it came like a theif in the night.
  • O31 is set in San Francisco in a world where all electricity has simply and mysteriously disappeared (which was followed promptly by gigantic explosions worldwide).
  • The Ends is set in a post-nuclear wasteland, but that's only the beginning of the wierdness. Apparently the nuclear apocalypse set up a Groundhog Day Loop, forcing its inhabitants to endure an endless cycle of death and rebirth.
  • The world's been "broken" four times in The Dragon Doctors. Once in a war between evil puppet masters and upstart magic users, a nuclear war, a meteor impact, and a disaster called "The Dimension Fusion" that mixed up parts of Earth with parts of other dimensions. Each time started a new calendar.
  • Romantically Apocalyptic is a Lighter and Softer take on the setting. The Captain and his subordinates wander around, trying to find some sort of amusement in the otherwise rather boring nothingness of the post-apocalyptic world.
  • The Mansion of E is set in a world fifty years after a sudden catastrophic failure of magic.
  • The Order of the Stick is set on what turns out to be the second universe, after the first was destroyed by an Eldritch Abomination called the Snarl. All may not be as it appears, however, as it was recently revealed that the first universe may still exist.
  • Aurora Danse Macabre is a Darker and Edgier version of a post-apocalyptic Scavenger World.
  • Homestuck: The exile's story takes place on a post-apocalypse Earth, 413 years after the start of the comic.
  • Derelict After the flood.
  • Rumors of War takes place in a Post Apocalyptic mythical Greece.
  • Off White takes place after a 300+ year winter destroyed much of human civilization.
  • Shifters takes place in 2034 after a "Nuclear Incident" gave rise to MegaCities where Werebeasts, Vampires, and other races live and fight unknown to the greater human population.
  • What It Takes which takes place after most of civilization has died. Commonly referred to as "the flip."

Web Original

  • In The Gamers Alliance, all the stories have been set some time after the most recent catastrophic event that has taken place in the world. The most recent story arc takes place over a decade after the Cataclysm which shattered continents, gave rise to the terrifying Godslayer and allowed demon hordes to invade the world en masse.
  • Several stories on Everything2, including (but not limited to):
  • Fine Structure's dystopian "Crushed Underground" chapter takes place after a nonspecific apocalypse called the "Hot Wars". The surface is uninhabitable and humanity is reduced to a small population.
    • ** MAJOR SPOILERS** Actually, we learn in later chapters (after Earth is sealed off from the rest of the universe by a black hole, much like a piece of a twisted balloon animal,) that humanity suffers a Crash EVERY FEW CENTURIES. Just when humanity is on the verge of discovering subatomic theory, everyone on the face of the planet has his or her memories and technological knowledge wiped in an instant. Of course, surrounded by working vehicles, factories, and skyscrapers, civilization recovers pretty quickly. It turns out this is the plan of two protagonists to keep humanity from rendering Earth uninhabitable via nuclear war.
      • Again.
  • The Darwin's Soldiers tie-in story Card of Ten takes place on a post-apocalyptic Anti-matter Earth.
  • A common interpretation of Salad Fingers' location.
  • The setting of Lost Boys of the Cascades, a world where almost all adults were killed in a pandemic a year prior.
  • In Above Ground, the remaing humans live underground due to the spreading of a disease which turned all those left on the surface into monsters.
  • The setting of Apocalypse Lane, due to a nuclear war. It's a comedy series, so everything is Played for Laughs.
  • The Alternate History Dot Com thread Protect and Survive is set in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, after a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the West. Newcastle is somewhat spared, but suffers in the aftermath of the nuclear war.
  • The Alternate History Wiki 1983: Doomsday takes place after a nuclear war caused by a Soviet Air Defense Forces officer being reassigned to a different bunker and his replacement mistaking a false alarm for an American nuclear attack. The timeline continues to be updated in real time via the WCRB NewsHour.
  • Tales of Ubernorden is set some time after a Golden Age is destroyed.
  • The web-published story Lost Boys of the Cascades is about a group of children struggling to survive in southern Oregon a year after a plague destroyed almost all of the world's adult population.
  • Rosa is set after humans left cyborgs to fix the ecosystem they destroyed by causing all natural life to disappear.
  • Several stories in Hitherby Dragons, although the intro to "The Arena and what happened there" sums it up rather well.

Western Animation

  • The Flintstones is debated whether the characters are truly prehistoric or post-apocalyptic, trying to mimick past modern conveniences.
    • It has been established that The Jetsons is set in the future of The Flintstones. Then again, this could simply mean that the population in Flinstones eventually rebuilt themselves to their former glory. The fact that the ground is a wasteland in The Jetsons seems to support the idea of an apocalypse.
      • An oddly common internet joke is that the people in the Flintstones are some sort of low-caste part of the Jetsons society...Of course this joke originated on 4Chan, and is usually done with someone asking what planet the Jetson's buildings are standing on, which someone else replies with an angry image of Fred Flintstone yelling "Fuck those rich assholes and their magic sky castles!"
      • Unless the apocalypse in the Flintstones 'verse involved some sort of Jurassic Park-style genetic engineering that got out of hand, or the show is in fact on a different planet with species similar to prehistoric Earth species, the number of extinct species from very different geological eras makes it hard to argue the post-apocalyptic part.
  • Ralph Bakshi's Wizards.
  • Surprisingly common in Saturday morning adventure series intended for children:
  • Parodied in Futurama, in which Fry, believing that he has somehow been frozen for another thousand years, finds himself in a post-apocalyptic world; as it turns out, it's just contemporary Los Angeles.
    • Note that in Fry's first millennium freeze, aliens in flying saucers came and leveled civilization on Earth (or, at the very least, New York (and excluding the cryonics building)), from which it rose again. Twice! One of which was apparently time-traveling Bender's fault.
    • In Season 6, Fry, Bender, and Professor Farnsworth time travel in a fast-forward-only time machine to the year 10,000—After the End, in the sense that society has crumbled. They continue moving forward, hoping society will rebuild and one day someone will invent backwards time travel. We get to society collapse several more times, for varying reasons including enslavement by giraffes, Robot War, a flood, an apparent ice age, and a parody of the time machine people. They keep going until they reach the year One Billion -- After the End of all life on Earth. They decide to keep going forward, as they really have nothing else to do, to see the end of the universe, billions of more years in the future, after the last proton "dies". Turns out time is actually cyclical, and the Universe then restarts, allowing them to move "forward" to their starting point...which they proceed to miss, forcing the Professor to take them "around again."
  • An often overlooked movie called Rock & Rule (or Ring of Power as the chopped-up kids version is called) is about a world where, after a nuclear war, humans and animals merged together. The world has become surprisingly civilized, as most everything is done using rock music. The Big Bad of the film, a person known as "Mok" (a parody Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger) pilots a giant airship shaped like his face, and plans to throw a giant concert in which he hopes will raise the Anti-Christ.
  • Skyland was set after a point in which the entire world had broken up into sections, and required air vehicles to move between sections.
  • Adventure Time is set in a rather bright post-apocalyptic (after the great mushroom war) world according to Word of God. Finn is apparently the last human boy on Earth however.
  • The civilization that produced the Xybers in Xyber 9: New Dawn ended in fire probably centuries before the series starts.
  • Debatable in Samurai Jack. In the opening sequence, it is revealed Aku, the main antagonist of the series, threw open a portal in time and sent Jack to the distant future, where Aku's evil "is law". Wether the setting is actually post-apocalyptic or not is debatable, but it definetely seems that was what the creators were going for.
  • Strongly implied in Thundercats and ThunderCats (2011). The planet is called Third Earth, there are remnants of Lost Technology, and in the original Mumm-Ra mentions how he remembers when it was once First Earth.
  • Samson and Sally takes place in a world where the environment is all but destroyed, and cities are sunk. And, for some reason, people have started whaling again.

Real Life

  • Europe and Asia after the plague of 1347-1350, otherwise know as the Black Death, the Great Mortality, and the Year of Annihilation, is pretty much as close as human history has ever gotten to After the End. The plague hit nearly every city in Europe and Asia and death rates ranged from 15% to over 60%. In Europe it dealt a crippling blow to the old feudal society, undermined the moral authority of the Church, wiped out villages and families completely, and in some areas led to religious fantascism and anarchy (such as the anti-Semetic, anti-authority flagellants). This does not take into account the 100 Years War, Mongol invasions, famine, and environmental disasters such earthquakes and non-stop, wheat-destroying rain that immediately preceded the plague. The 14th century was not the best of times to be a human being, to put it mildly.
  • It was no coincidence that Plymouth was the first successful colony in North America. The settlers arrived just shortly after a massive smallpox pandemic had swept the area, which wiped out over 90% of the native American population. Instead of trying to eke out an existence in the untamed wilderness, they took over an empty Indian town and its surrounding farmland and infrastructure, even going as far as opening the graves of the dead to search for anything useful to salvage. In addition, what little remained of the local population was in no shape to seek any fights with the newcomers. Some people have speculated that the American fascination with post-apocalpytic scenarios is based on the fact that the first years of the colonies that later became the United States were basically just that.
  • The period of European history between the fall of Rome and the rise of Charlemagne is sometimes called "The Dark Ages", and said to be characterised by doom and gloom. This is somewhat of a misnomer created by Renaissance scholars, who were such Ancient Greece and Rome fanboys (well, mostly fanboys) they didn't think a period without classical knowledge could be anything other than post-apocalyptic (Petrarch, the father of Renaissance humanism, said "What, then, is history but the praise of Rome?"). In truth, a lot of classical knowledge was lost, but it was more on the order of "we can't build classical-style ampitheatres anymore" than "devastated world of crap". It wasn't that horrible most of the time, save for Viking attacks. And constant border wars. And the rise of the mercenary aristocracy. And 30 and 100 year long wars. And serfdom.
    • Classical civilization continued unabated in the Eastern Roman Empire (the "Byzantine" Empire). "The Dark Ages," a misnomer as it is for western Europe, did not exist as far as the eastern Romans were concerned. In fact, Greek scholars steeped in classical learning migrated to western Europe after the fall of Constantinople and significantly contributed to the Renaissance.
    • Just the same there certainly was a period of time for a fairly substantial number of people in Western Europe where they no doubt looked up upon crumbling Roman ruins and realized that life used to be better and civilization a grander thing than what they had access to themselves. Just try to imagine hunkering down for months of European winter with all your relatives in a shack and not only do you not have any sort of modern entertainment but you're illiterate too. Not that there's a book within a hundred miles anyway.
    • There's an article debunking such a notion:
  • Today, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are thriving...but this is because the bombs used were for shock and awe rather than sheer destructive power, were detonated in the air, (and so didn't leave significant fallout) and were very small in nuclear terms (15kt for Little Boy and 20 for Fat Man). For comparison, the most recent North Korean nuclear test was of a similar yield and the intelligence community debates whether it was nuclear at all.
  • The early Triassic Period, which followed the PT Event, the greatest mass extinction in Earth's history, and the Paleocene Epoch, which followed the KT Event, the second greatest mass extinction, wherein, among many others, the dinosaurs were wiped out.
    • The Cretaceos-Tertiary Extinction was not the second greatest mass extinction, only the most well known one. In fact, most of the extinction events from the beginning of the Permian through to the Triassic-Jurassic Extinction actually saw more species wiped out. Think about that.
  • Actually, the entirety of human history has happened after the end...of the dinosaurs. That's right kids, we live in a post-apocalyptic world.
    • And the dinosaurs themselves lived after the end of the Permian-Triassic mass extinction, so you could say the dinosaurs themselves lived in a post-apocalyptic world.
    • There is evidence that the entire solar system is cobbled together from chunks of other solar systems blown apart by super novas (novea?) which, given the age of the universe, were probably made from other systems and so forth. In fact the Milky Way itself is probably a new system made up of older galaxies which in turn were made up of the remnants of quasars and so forth and so on right on back to the big bang—which was probably the result of a universe-ending event.
  • The Native American Civilizations is arguably an example. The Aztecs even had a myth that Quetzalcoatl will come and end the world and he would come around 1519, from the east, and look white. And Cortez somehow managed to came at the exact time, from the right direction, and with the right skin color. What came after for the civilization and race was a total collapse and replacement.
  • The best real life example would have to be the Toba catastrophe theory. Shortly put, our numbers were reduced to around 10-15 thousand individuals due to a volcanic eruption around 70,000 years ago. Of course, since written history doesn't extend that far in time, it's just a theory, but still...
  • Detroit.
  • Currently the incident is unknown but humanity can be genetically traced back to 50 women. That means that there was once a time when only 50 women (and an unknown number of men) were the only survivors of something that nearly made humanity extinct. We are the result of their after the end.
    • It's just as possible that there were many more others alive and we simply didn't inherit their genes. Regardless, there are some evidences (such as the Toba theory above) that the human race did go through a population bottleneck of some kind very long ago.
  • The Rurik dynasts were on the brink of founding a fabled civilization. They had beautiful imitations of Byzantine artwork, trade and political contacts with powers all over Europe and Asia. And even the beginning of rule of law and republican government. Then they came up against the Hordes From the East who went through their territory with their usual procedure and left a hardscrabble lot mainly trying to survive in the forests for generations.
  1. The North American continent is glassed, and severed from South America through the complete obliteration of Central America. Entire seas have evaporated and changed places, and there is a mountain so high its top is in space, generated by volcanic activity. Half of China is underwater, and everything north of New York is an icy wasteland with five-hundred-mile-an-hour winds.