“In an incomplete world, we depend on closure for our very survival,” writes Scott McCloud. What does it mean to continue on after the world has already ended? In post-apocalyptic fiction, survivors attempt to find meaning in a husk of a world which has suffered an unspeakable catastrophe. This project explains how the post-apocalyptic narrative structure confronts fears of trauma and loss. I will first outline how various postmodern theorists have approached the topic, before explaining how different narratives across media have played the premise out in fiction. From the mushroom cloud of Fallout Games to the zombie of Dawn of the Dead, representations of post-apocalypse posit a frighteningly unresolvable world and tap into the important question of how we tell stories.


Michael Suen

Alison Byerly
Sponsor, Provost & Executive Vice President; Professor of English & American Literatures

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