Visiting Post-Apocalyptia

Playing less Fallout 3 (because I’ve completed most of the quests and the downloadable content), but it got me thinking about post-apocalyptic fiction. I’ve read little of it, enjoying post-apoc movies rather than books (unless you count Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun), but playing Fallout 3 made me think of writing something.

Post Apocalyptic City Environment by Nate Hallinan from deviantART

Post Apocalyptic City Environment by Nate Hallinan from deviantART

The thing is, it would really be a western wearing the skin of a post-apoc story. The setting would be post-apoc, as would be the trappings, but it would very much be a western-style story on the frontier. That’s not a bad thing. Yojimbo and Sanjuro are westerns by way of the samurai “chanbara” (sword-fighting movie).

I would be hesitant to undertake the task, mostly because I don’t know or understand the tropes and expectations of post-apoc fiction. Even very talented writers moving into a different genre can easily fall prey to creating a derivative story because the writer is unfamiliar with the literature that came before.

Right now it’s an interesting thought experiment, thinking of the plot, considering the characters, mapping out the chapters.

A question that rose in my mind: how much must I reveal regarding the apocalypse? Granted, if I use extremely limited third-person – basically the narrator as camera – it’s easy to avoid offering any information that is not derived directly from what the reader “sees” and what the characters say.

I’d prefer using a limited third-person, keeping to a point of view character but getting into that character’s head. That’s the easiest way to write for me. Doing so, though, probably requires skating pretty close to the edge of information on the Armageddon.

Then again, if this is far enough in the future, maybe that’s so far in the past, no one really knows.

For now, it’s only a thought experiment. If it keeps kicking me in the creativity, I may need to do something more.

You can find more information on Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun here.

You can find more information on Yojimbo here.

You can find more information on Sanjuro here.

You can find more information on chanbara here.

Art by Nate Hallinan from deviantART

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