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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008 2:06 pm
Apocalypse Now and Then
Posted by: Keir Graff

I didn’t post yesterday because I was busy working on something for Booklist‘s May 15 Spotlight on SF/Fantasy–a core collection of apocalyptic fiction that preceded The Road. Whew! I may as well have chosen SF that involves space travel, or fantasy that features scaly beasts. I’m exaggerating, of course, but (and I’m quoting myself in advance here):

the idea of the end of the world is hardly new. In fact, as we revisit the apocalyptic works that paved the way for this modern classic, we find that, for writers, the end of the world is practically an annual occurrence.

Rimshot!

Here’s a sneak peek at the shortlist. I’ll be doing a web-only version (or, if you prefer, “Booklist Online Exclusive”) that’s much, much longer.

The Bible

Earth Abides, by George R. Stewart (1949)

I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson (1954)

On the Beach, by Nevil Shute (1957)

A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (1959)

The Stand, by Stephen King (1978)

Riddley Walker, by Russell Hoban (1980)

Fiskadoro, by Denis Johnson (1985)

Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood (2003)

The Pesthouse, by Jim Crace (2007)

(OK, The Pesthouse came out after the road, but I had to put it on there anyway, since Crace couldn’t have McCarthy while he was writing it.)

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  1. Pete Says:

    I developed a strong interest in post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction after reading The Road last year – Matheson, Atwood and Crace are already on my to-read list. One of my blog’s readers also recommended Chris Adrian’s The Children’s Hospital as another worthy read in that vein.

    My wife read Matheson and had some reservations, though – particularly that the version of the book that’s currently in circulation (the one with the Will Smith movie tie-in) is actually a collection of stories, only the first of which is actually the I Am Legend story.

  2. Keir Says:

    Yes! The Children’s Hospital will be on my extended, web-only list.

    Maybe Tor didn’t think people would shell out $14.95 for a 170-page novella…


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