Is it Apocalyptic, Post-Apocalyptic or Dystopian ?
That’s the question I asked myself about The Road, the first book in my new series, World Without End.
Is The Road apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic or dystopian?
For example, the first season of The Walking Dead starts out apocalyptic because the characters are busily going about their daily lives when the dead suddenly come back to life and start gnawing on the living.
But, as the series goes on, it becomes more post-apocalyptic as we see how the character react to and deal with the obstacles brought about by the collapse of society.
The longer time passes, the more they try to return to the society they had before the apocalypse, attempt to create an even better one, or wind up, whether through design or mischance, in a dystopia.
We see this, for example, in the despotic society Negan creates for the Saviors in The Walking Dead.
Dystopias are usually the aftermath of some type of apocalypse that happened in the past.
The dystopian society in the movie The Book of Eli, comes about as the result of nuclear war. The Hunger Games’ dystopian society also rises from the ashes of a destructive civil war.
Here are some movie examples of each genre:
Apocalyptic – World War Z, Train to Busan, The Day After Tomorrow, War of the Worlds, Legion
Post-Apocalyptic – Mad Max: Fury Road; The Book of Eli; Children of Men, Reign of Fire, I Am Legend
Dystopian – The Hunger Games Series, The Giver, The Handmaid’s Tale, V for Vendetta, The Divergent Series
So, which genre did I eventually choose for The Road? Well, my story takes place after the dead have already risen but months after. Not years. My main characters, a young woman on her own and four soldiers who are all that remain of their unit, have fled the city.
Because my story is more character-driven than plot-driven, I decided to call it post-apocalyptic since my characters are grappling with the knowledge that the world they’ve known all their lives is gone.
As the series goes on and my heroine and heroes face even more challenges, the genre will become more profoundly post-apocalyptic and may, perhaps, evolve (or devolve) into a dystopian setting.
Please look for The Road, Book I in the World Without End Series, in the upcoming days.
What are some of your favorite apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic or dystopian stories?