While futuristic dystopias often looked beautiful from the outside, there is nothing alluring about the world after the apocalypse. Technology is frequently unreliable, at best, and 'civilization' as we know it is gone. These dystopias focus most on survival, asking the reader what they would be willing to do to to stay alive for one more day.
Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novels began to emerge in earnest after World War 2, and the fear of Mutually Assured Destruction during the Cold War only increased their presence. It's little wonder that these stories tend to be most popular as the Doomsday Clock gets closer to midnight.
This era of dystopian literature tended to have a few major points. First, the cause of the apocalypse was frequently based on contemporary problems and policies. From there, the books tend to explore both how cruel people can become when their lives are at stake and how surprisingly kind they can be.
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
- Zone One by Colson Whitehead