Books, Movies, TV Shows

What Got You Hooked on the Post Apocalypse? Meet the Winners of ‘Days Too Dark’

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If you’re looking for a post-apocalyptic book or film these summer months, look no further than the suggestions from some of our readers below. They’re sharing the media that got them hooked on the post-apocalyptic genre. Maybe this summer is a good time to try one of these out! We’re also excited to announce the winners of Days Too Dark by J.J. Shurte. After we announce the winners and their stories, we’re going to share what everyone had to say about which post-apocalyptic media first got them hooked on the genre. Let us know in the comments what got you hooked. If you’re not familiar with Days Too Dark, read all about it in our previous story here. And if you’re not familiar with these works, we’ll include links to where you can pick up the ones that are available. We’ve also provided handy tweets that you can use to remind yourself about the ones you want to check out for the first time or relive. But without anymore delay…


The first name we randomly drew is cNile!

And cNile’s entry:

Next up is Malcolm Edeson!

And this was Malcolm’s entry!

And last but not least, Jose Miranda!

And here’s Jose’s entry!

Congratulations!!! Just DM us with your mailing address and we’ll send a copy of the book your way. 🙂 Now read on for some great summer reading and viewing ideas a la “The One That Got Me Hooked.”

Here are the films & books that first drew people to the post-apocalyptic genre - and how to get them! #TheOneThatGotMeHooked Share on X

The Last Man, Day of the Triffids, & Domain

RJH shared with us: “Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley ‘The Last Man’ & John Wyndham ‘Day of the Triffids’ read both at same time. Deeply affected me & turned me to the post apocalyptic side. But the real one which dragged me to my real passion was ‘Domain’ James Herbert.”

You can get The Last Man for just $3.99 here “The Last Man is Mary Shelley’s apocalyptic fantasy of the end of human civilization. Set in the late twenty-first century, the novel unfolds a sombre and pessimistic vision of mankind confronting inevitable destruction. Interwoven with her futuristic theme, Mary Shelley incorporates idealized portraits of Shelley and Byron, yet rejects Romanticism and its faith in art and nature.”

Mary Shelley of Frankenstein lore wrote a post-apoc book! Share on X

Buy John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids here. The synopsis reads: “Bill Masen, bandages over his wounded eyes, misses the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. Removing his bandages the next morning, he finds masses of sightless people wandering the city. He soon meets Josella, another lucky person who has retained her sight, and together they leave the city, aware that the safe, familiar world they knew a mere twenty-four hours before is gone forever.

But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids, strange plants that years before began appearing all over the world. The Triffids can grow to over seven feet tall, pull their roots from the ground to walk, and kill a man with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. With society in shambles, they are now poised to prey on humankind. Wyndham chillingly anticipates bio-warfare and mass destruction, fifty years before their realization, in this prescient account of Cold War paranoia.”

You can get James Herbert’s “Domain” hereThey synopsis reads: “The long-dreaded nuclear conflict has come. The city is torn apart and its people destroyed or mutilated beyond hope. For just a few, survival is possible only beneath the wrecked streets—if there is time to avoid the slow-descending poisonous ashes. But below, the rats, demonic offspring of their irradiated forebears, are waiting. They know that man has been weakened, become frail—and has become their prey.”

Z for Zachariah & The Stand

M.K. Martin wrote us that Z for Zachariah first got her interested in the genre, followed by The Stand.

You can get the book Z for Zachariah hereIt’s also been made into a movie — twice. The latest film version is here. The description for the book reads: “Ann Burden is sixteen years old and completely alone. The world as she once knew it is gone, ravaged by a nuclear war that has taken everyone from her. For the past year, she has lived in a remote valley with no evidence of any other survivors. But the smoke from a distant campfire shatters Ann’s solitude. Someone else is still alive and making his way toward the valley. Who is this man? What does he want? Can he be trusted? Both excited and terrified, Ann soon realizes there may be worse things than being the last person on Earth.”

Forget the movies. Get the BOOK Z for Zachariah here: Share on X

Want The Stand? It’s available hereThe description reads: “A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge—Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious Dark Man, who delights in chaos and violence. As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them—and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.”

Mountain Man by Keith C. Blackmore

cNile on Twitter said that Mountain Man did it for him. “Mountain man by Keith C Blackmore a very funny but also gruesome depiction of a zombie infested post apocalyptic world. Currently doing a 3rd read through of the series! … the 4th book is genuinely a master piece of zombie fiction.” You can get Volume 1 of Mountain Man here

Says @de_cNile: (Mountain Man) is genuinely a master piece of zombie fiction. Get it here: Share on X

The Walking Dead

Grace told us that The Walking Dead did it for her. “The walking dead was what got me hooked on the genre back in 2011 and I’ve pretty much watched every post apocalyptic film ever since.”

This is available in two forms. You can watch it on Amazon here or you can buy the graphic novels here.

By the way, if you’re caught up on The Walking Dead TV series, you’ll want to read my story about it here.

Mad Max

Robert Amador told us that the movie The Road Warrior is what got him hooked on the post-apocalyptic genre. The Road Warrior is the name for Mad Max 2 starring Mel Gibson. You can buy it hereJust for fun, here’s a trailer from back in the day:

For The Stone, it was all four of the Mad Max films. In fact, he still uses them when teaching his English classes.

Meanwhile, S.T. Campitelli also gave a vote for Mad Max 2. He wrote: “Just gets it so right on so many levels: the wasteland, the costuming, the compound, the characters (perfect) and of course the cars!”

For J.J. Shurte, the author of the book we gave away, Mad Max 2 was what got him hooked too.

Multiple people said Mad Max 2: The Road got them hooked on the post-apoc. Share on X

Still I Persist in Wondering

Nick Larter told us that Edgar Pangborn’s Still I Persist in Wondering is what did it for him.

You can buy it hereThe book was written in 1978. Here’s a description: “The waters rose, and darkness was upon the earth. For a few decades after the Twenty-Minute War and the Red Plague, there were those who remembered the ways and pleasures of civilization, but soon the harsh realities of life in the flooded seaboard of North America pushed the survivors into a new Dark Age – an age of superstition and brutality, but one of seeking and poetry as well. This is the world of Edgar Pangborn’s classic Davy, portrayed here over centuries of its change and growth. Here are heretics, and harpers, crusaders and cowards, magicians and mundane folk, in a stunning cycle of stories that have timeless quality of legend.”

This sounds fascinating: Still I Persist in Wondering by Edgar Pangborn Share on X

Beneath the Planet of the Apes & Damnation Alley

Pup eloquently shared why he picked the above two as his choices. “The seeds of PA fiction fandom were planted inside me upon seeing these 2 films back to back as a child. Seeds that stayed dormant until my later years. Images from these films left an imprint on my young, wet brain. Now dry, the images have solidified.”

We love that! Want to see them for yourself? They’re available on Amazon. Rent Beneath the Planet of the Apes hereThe description for the 1970 film reads: “Fleeing from the ape military and searching for clues to the disappearance of Taylor in the “Forbidden Zone” leads Nova and John Brent to the shocking discovery of man’s ultimate folly beneath the Ape planet.”

For Shadow Ironheart, it was just Planet of the Apes that did it.

You can get Damnation Alley hereA description for the 1977 film reads: “The world is devastated by a nuclear holocaust, causing the Earth to tilt on its axis and bringing vast meteorological chaos. As the weather stabilizes, mutated insects start to emerge, preying on the survivors. The surviving crew at a U.S. Air Force bomb shelter in the Mojave Desert picks up radio signals coming from Albany. The commander, Major Eugene Denton (George Peppard, The A-Team), unveils two armored vehicles he has constructed and announces a plan to cross Damnation Alley, the hundred-mile-wide strip between areas of radiation hazard, to join the survivors. They set off, taking on two civilians, a novice singer they find in the ruins of Las Vegas and a wild teenager (Jackie Earle Haley,Watchmen), along the way. The journey is also beset by giant mutated cockroaches, storms and crazed survivalists, making for some hair-raising escapes in this post-apocalyptic thriller.”

The Omega Man

For Shadow Ironheart, it was Planet of the Apes that did it (mentioned above) and also Omega Man. You can watch the 1971 Omega Man hereThe description reads: “Biological war has decimated life on Earth. Los Angeles is a windswept ghost town where Robert Neville tools his convertible through sunlit streets foraging for supplies.” This classic stars Charlton Heston, so how can you resist?

You might not realize that this movie was based on the novel I Am Legend. And of course, Will Smith’s movie was based on that too (though it was quite different.) Before Omega Man was The Last Man on Earth movie from 1964 starring Vincent Price (not the comedy TV series.)

Let's go back to our roots with the I Am Legend novel Share on X


No list would be complete without a mention of Fallout! For Tomek Podgorski, the key was Fallout 2. Thankfully, his friend didn’t like the game so he passed it on to Tomek. Relive the game by buying it here

Jose Miranda also voted for Fallout 2.

For Evan Pickering, it was Fallout 3:

Buy Fallout 3 here

A lot of people saying #Fallout is #TheOneThatGotMeHooked on post-apocalyptic media. Share on X

Learning About Nuclear Weapons

For Josh Matthews, it wasn’t a book, TV show, or film that did it for him. Studying nuclear weapons led him to an interest in the post apocalypse. If you’re interested in nuclear weapons too, then you might be interested in the book Nuclear War Survival Skills. You can get it here

Nothing better than this folks: Nuclear War Survival Skills Share on X

BBC’s Survivors

The BBC is what got Mat hooked. He wrote, “The first two shows, a double header called ‘The Lights of London” from the original BBC ‘Survivors’ ,second series. Only a young lad but it triggered my imagination, for a whole raft of reasons, giving me a life long love of all aspects of the PA genre.”

You can start watching a more recent version of Survivors hereThe description for the first episode reads: “When a devastating flu-like virus wipes out most of the world’s population, a handful of survivors are left struggling to stay alive as society falls apart around them. Abby Grant, a housewife and mother, is among those who remain, and sets out to find her 11-year-old son. Along the way she meets a variety of people spared by fate, and they must stick together if they are to survive this dangerous new world.”

“The Lights of London” is part of a BBC Survivors series from the 1970s, so it’s a little tougher to find. But here’s the first episode of the second season of the 1970s version, on YouTube:


By the way, Malcolm Edeson also put in a vote for the original Survivors series on BBC.

Childhood’s End

For me, it was Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. Wow, what a book. You can buy it hereIt was recently made into a series on Syfy. Not nearly as good as the book, of course, but still pretty fascinating. Watch it here.

Mental note: Read Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke Share on X

Blood of Heroes

Nikki told us that Blood of Heroes was the key. “The movie Blood of Heroes is what hooked me on the genre and really got my wheels spinning about how an end could come about and what form society would take after it.” You can watch The Blood of Heroes here

The Blood of Heroes was made in 1990. The description reads: “In the barren and desolate world of the post-apocalyptic era, a proud warrior known only as Sallow engages in a brutal sporting event called juggers. Sallow was once a member of the League — a ruling body which governs the sport — but was summarily dismissed after committing a relatively minor infraction.”

The Blood of Heroes by Rutger Hauer is what got @1NikkiOnly hooked on post-apoc Share on X

The Road

For Anthropocene citizen, it was Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. And what a great choice that is. If you haven’t read it, you can pick up a copy hereThe book’s description reads: “A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other. The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, each the other’s world entire, are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.”

This was later made into a movie, which you can watch here

The Road by Viggo Mortensen (or the book) is a top post-apoc choice. Share on X

One Second After

Ed tells us that One Second After was what got him hooked. “Scared the heck out of me.” The book’s description reads: “New York Times best selling author William R. Forstchen now brings us a story which can be all too terrifyingly real…a story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages…A war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP). A weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies. Months before publication, One Second After has already been cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read, a book already being discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a truly realistic look at a weapon and its awesome power to destroy the entire United States, literally within one second. It is a weapon that the Wall Street Journal warns could shatter America. In the tradition of On the BeachFail Safe and Testament, this book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future…and our end.”

You can buy it here

One Second After (A John Matherson Novel) sounds legit terrifying Share on X

Night of the Comet

For Melissa, Night of the Comet was the movie that got her hooked on the post apocalypse. You can watch the classic 80s movie hereThe description reads: “A huge comet passes near the earth, vaporizing nearly the whole planet. Only a few teenagers, who were inside a steel movie projection booth, survive–all those outside were turned to dust.”

Mental note: Watch the 80s cult classic Night Of The Comet Share on X

The Quiet Earth

For Captain Doomsday, it was The Quiet Earth. You can rent it on Amazon here.  The description reads: “In this sci-fi cult classic, Zac Hobson, a mid-level scientist working on a global energy project, wakes up to a nightmare. After his project malfunctions, Zac discovers that he may be the last man on Earth. As he searches empty cities for other survivors, Zac’s mental state begins to deteriorate – culminating in the film’s iconic and hotly debated ending.”

It sounds really good. I’ll definitely need to watch it soon after reading what Evan had to say:

Cat’s Cradle

Cat’s Cradle, a partially post-apocalyptic novel, was the gateway drug for Tyler Bumpus. He wrote: “(It) may not technically be Post-Apocalyptic since it only partially takes place post. But let’s call Cat’s Cradle the gateway drug. My tender young mind flash-frozen by the lunacy and strange beauty of a world ending in Ice(-Nine).”

You can get Cat’s Cradle on Amazon hereThe description reads: “Cat’s Cradle is Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical commentary on modern man and his madness. An apocalyptic tale of this planet’s ultimate fate, it features a midget as the protagonist, a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer, and a vision of the future that is at once blackly fatalistic and hilariously funny. A book that left an indelible mark on an entire generation of readers, Cat’s Cradle is one of the twentieth century’s most important works—and Vonnegut at his very best.”

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut was a post-apoc gateway drug for @swallowedworld Share on X

Alas, Babylon

For L.R. Ryan it was Alas, Babylon. “A powerful story told in the midst of global nuclear threat.” If you want to check it out, Alas, Babylon is available on Amazon hereThe synopsis reads: “Alas, Babylon.” Those fateful words heralded the end. When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness.”

Mental note: check out Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank Share on X

Terminator 2

For Derek Dwilson, it was Terminator 2. “I remember being legit frightened by what I was seeing on a TV screen.” You can buy the director’s cut here

I'll never forget Terminator 2: Judgment Day Share on X

Things to Come

Evan told us that a viewing of Things To Come on TV, sometime in the late 70s, got him interested in the post apocalyptic genre. You can actually watch a color version of the 1936 film on Amazon hereIt’s included free with a Prime subscription. The description reads: “Civilization has been torn apart by a global war when mysterious stranger offers a new path, free of war. In Vibrant Color!”

If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch the 1936 post-apoc film Things To Come for FREE: Share on X

Vampire Hunter D

S.R. Jones told us that Vampire Hunter got him hooked. “I’d seen post-apocalyptic stuff before, but it massively widened my view of what a post-disaster world could look like, and how it could cross over with other genres. Absolutely blew my mind. I was 10, and never really recovered.”

The description reads: “Vampire Hunter D takes place 10,000 years in the future, and for 10,000 years, Count Magnus Lee has walked the night, sustained by an unholy thirst for blood and an unending lust for human women. But when he tastes the sweet nectar running through Doris Lang’s veins, the Count knows he has found more than his next meal: this is the woman he intends to claim as his next vampire bride. As the daughter of a werewolf hunter, however, Doris Lang is less than willing to step into the thrall of evil. And if she is unable to defend herself from the Count’s nightmarish powers, she is fortunate enough to have found someone who can: the Vampire Hunter known as D. But D is no ordinary man, and signing up for his protection may carry a price of its own. Spoken Languages: English, Japanese, English subtitles.”

You can buy a copy for yourself on Amazon here

Vampire Hunter D is a classic Share on X
Was the book, TV show, movie, or game that got you hooked on the post-apocalyptic genre listed in this article? If not, tell us #TheOneThatGotYouHooked in the comments below.

    Stephanie Dwilson started Post Apocalyptic Media with her husband Derek. She's a licensed attorney and has a master's in science and technology journalism. You can reach her at [email protected].

    Don't even think about sharing this article.

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