Top 10 post-apocalyptic / fantasy crosses
I’m obviously a huge fan of anything post-apocalyptic, but I’m almost as fond of movies, TV shows, games, and books with a high fantasy theme. I like to quote the original Mad Max just as much as I like to talk about Gandalf’s origins. In fact, if you do a Google search for “the story of Gandalf’s lore” you will see an article I wrote in 2008 for Engadget on the same subject. Talk about the old one!
But I would honestly say that nothing triggers my nerdy synapses like mixing the two genres. Tell me a good rusty scrap knight story any day of the week!
So I wanted to compile my own list of some of my favorite forms of media that most effectively combine the two worlds. This is not a complete list of all the fantastic / post-apocalyptic crossovers, just what I think are the best for me. And my rules are simple: the story should contain elements of the opposite genre, but doesn’t have to be too obvious.
Here are my top 10 fantasy / post-apocalyptic crossovers in reverse order:
10. The Prince of Nothing (2004 Book Series)
This trilogy is a highly detailed high fantasy epic by R. Scott Bakker that easily rivals those of Tolkien or Martin. It takes place many years after a great apocalypse and centers around a group aiming to stop the second apocalypse.
9. The Dying Earth (1950 series of books)
The sun is consumed and magic has returned to earth in this classic series of novels that has inspired many post-apocalyptic and fantasy works today. The magical system described in the books is so complex and unique that Gary Gygax once revealed his own appreciation by incorporating parts of it into the original Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game.
8. L’Emberverse (Book series 2004-2018)
The Emberverse series begins as a post-apocalyptic story with fantastic elements introduced in the first book, Dies the Fire. Astrid Larsson is a prominent figure who is obsessed with Lord of the Rings and continues to create a group called the Dúnedain Rangers who must learn the Elven language from Tolkien to join.
7. Sweet Tooth (comic book series 2009-2021)
This comic book series remained a cult classic for several years before Netflix turned it into a hit TV show that just released earlier this year. The story combines fantastic animal / human hybrid characters with an end-time storyline. If you found out about the series through the Netflix show, it’s definitely worth going back and reading the comics for a darker take on the plot.
6. See (2019-? TV Series)
The main focus of Apple’s See revolves around a clan of people who survive in a tribal society where (almost) everyone has lost their sight. The fantasy elements (melee weapons and armor) are more caveman than He-Man, but there’s certainly a strong fantasy presence there. The first season of the series is one of my favorites while the second season is scheduled to debut in August of this year and a third season has already been confirmed.
5. The forest of hands and teeth (Book 2009)
This story is a prime example of how “fantasy” doesn’t have to be a medieval fantasy to count. The Forest of Hands and Teeth is the story of a young woman who was raised with the belief that her whole life begins and ends at the border of her small village and that no one should ever venture into the forest. . Why? Zombies, of course.
4. Reign of Fire (2002 film)
A tunnel project in London accidentally awakens sleeping dragons from the depths of the surface, and the world is on fire 20 years later (in the distant future of 2020!). Despite the fact that this film stars Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale, a young Gerard Butler and a few awesome dragons, it was not well received by critics at the time. I say it’s just tragically misunderstood because I loved this movie.
3. Shanarra (1977-2020 Book Series)
This Terry Brooks masterpiece novel series has everything you would expect from a high fantasy story, including elves, dwarves and gnomes, but it takes place in the distant future after a nuclear holocaust wiped out mankind. If you’ve only seen the TV series, clear that from your mind and check out the books.
2. Doomsday (Film 2008)
While the bulk of this movie is your action-packed modern day zombie flick, there is quite a subplot about a king (played by Malcolm McDowell) who recreated medieval feudalism in an actual Scottish castle in London. dark age. Scrap armor is just amazing.
1. Guild Wars (2005 video game)
I am a big, big fan of the original Guild Wars and have been playing since its release in 2005. The lore of the game revolves around several doomsday events spanning tens of thousands of years, from the mysterious disappearance of the Great Giants to the Guild. The wars themselves against the Burners which ultimately devastated the land of Orr. Much of the game’s complex story (which continues into Guild Wars 2) centers on salvaging the remnants of these doomsday events to prevent further destruction.
Almost post-apocalyptic honorable mentions
Game of thrones
While George RR Martin isn’t saying Game of Thrones is post-apocalyptic, there are clues that spawned entire theories. As a primer, consult this video and This article this will surely convince you that Westeros is a post-apocalyptic wasteland. In short, the theory claims that the north wall was built by ancient technology (called “magic”) and that the red waste is in fact a site of nuclear detonation.
Conan the Barbarian
I wrote about this in January, but I’m still fascinated by the possibility that the 1982 Conan the Barbarian movie was almost turned into a post-apocalyptic tale by a young Oliver Stone still trying to make a name for himself. Of course, that didn’t happen, but there are still traces of that idea in the movie.
What if the original Disney classic from 1992 wasn’t set in the deserts of the Middle East, but instead was set 11,000 years into the future after a nuclear war? I wrote an article about it in 2019, but unfortunately the creators of the animated film ultimately denounced the theory.
What are your favorite fantasy / post-apocalyptic crossovers? Let us know in the comments below!