The positive post-apocalypse

edited May 2012 in Story Games
I just finished rereading Battle Angel Alita. It's full of gory fights, crazy characters and lots of yummy post-apocalyptic scenery. Every now and then there are also some very tender moments or calm passages where life isn't just about fighting to survive or save what's dear to you.

In one of the volumes Alita shows up in a village with stilt houses where small watercrafts are headed out to sea. There was something about how that place looked and felt that immediately made me want to visit the bright side of a post-apocalyptic world.

What if Water World was a heartfelt Studio Ghibli movie? What if The Flying Doctors flew about a sunken Sidney?

I'm thinking slice of life, I'm thinking Archipelago II. What about you? Maybe you've already done a positive post-apocalypse?

Comments

  • Filamena Young recently wrapped up a Kickstarter for Flatpack: Fix the Future!

    It's hyper-optimistic post-apocalyptic roleplaying!

    Hans interviews Filamena about it here.
  • Yokohama Shopping Trip seems to be in this wheelhouse too, perhaps along with Richard Grant's Into The Green.
  • If you're inspired by Waterworld, don't forget The Postman, which has a much more positive outlook. I think it was deeply underappreciated due to the unfortunate timing of having come after the Waterworld flop, but it's 90 times better of a movie.

    That being said, post apoc without a heavy dose of desperation is unusual and would be interesting to fiddle with.

    Arguably, Earthdawn was kinda sorta a fantasy version of that. In the official setting, they had just gone through an apocalypse and were rebuilding, though I don't know how often players made use of those themes.

    Speaking of anime on this theme, are you familiar with Grave of the Fireflies? One of the saddest and most awesome movies I've ever seen. It feels very post-apoc, though it's historical (though it's about Japan toward the end of WWII, which ends up being the closest to a recent history post apoc situation as you get.)
  • Not to toot my own horn (or solicit sales), but check out "Reboot: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale of Hope"* - a handyman traveling west encounters trouble while trying to reconnect isolated communities after EMP pulses erased our networked infrastructure.

    * Free ecopy available upon request
  • Posted By: crauscherNot to toot my own horn (or solicit sales), but check out "Reboot: A Post-Apocalyptic Tale of Hope"* - a handyman traveling west encounters trouble while trying to reconnect isolated communities after EMP pulses erased our networked infrastructure.

    * Free ecopy available upon request
    Is this a game, fiction, or what?
  • Reboot is fiction - for now.
  • Depending on your politics, there are lots of very positive postapocalypseses: no more oppressive police state trying to take away your freedoms, communities of like-minded individuals joined by faith and values...going the other way, glorious great tracts of clean wilderness no longer polluted by factories or overwhelmed by a hungry population. Small sustainable villages deeply in tune with their resources, happily bartering with one another in a post-credit economy.

    Actually I think most of my AW games actually feature societies headed upward, not downward.
  • Posted By: RobMcDiarmidIf you're inspired by Waterworld, don't forget The Postman, which has a much more positive outlook. I think it was deeply underappreciated due to the unfortunate timing of having come after the Waterworld flop, but it's 90 times better of a movie.
    And the book is roughly 900 times better than the movie! Seriously, it's very excellent upbeat post-apoc.

    Y'know what else ultimately ends up that way, is Y the Last Man.
  • Actually a lot of really awful men's adventure apocalypses are utopias for the gun-wielding right-wing-libertarian - finally, without being held back by those libruls and govmints they are free to achieve their rightful place as warlord of Schenectady, and get back at all those people that pushed them around in the 7th grade.
  • Second the recommendation of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (Record of a Yokohama Shopping Trip), a 14-volume manga not translated into English (except by fans) about a gentle end of the world, with rising seas, a coffee shop in the isolated countryside, and an orbiting spacecraft that will never land. There was a short OVA made of it as well. The art is lovely, the story is very slow but charming.
  • Wow, thanks for all the tips on series/books/movies! I haven't seen The Postman at all I think, so I'll check it out. Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou and Reboot seem pretty neat!

    Filamena's game sounds very cool. I'm a bit surprised that I haven't heard of it before. I'm taking the word to my Swedish rpg forum.
    Posted By: JDCorleyActually a lot of really awful men's adventure apocalypses are utopias for the gun-wielding right-wing-libertarian
    Yeah, I can imagine they are. Me, I grew up a sheltered kid in socialist Sweden so my views are somewhat different. My utopia would be more along the lines of what Paul said:
    Posted By: Paul BSmall sustainable villages deeply in tune with their resources, happily bartering with one another in a post-credit economy.
    Maybe I should start learning a craft in case the apocalypse is nigh. I'm unsure how barter-worthy my skills in music and librarianship are in this world, but in my utopian positive post-apocalypse it's highly praised/priced of course!
  • Posted By: RobMcDiarmid
    Speaking of anime on this theme, are you familiar with Grave of the Fireflies? One of the saddest and most awesome movies I've ever seen. It feels very post-apoc, though it's historical (though it's about Japan toward the end of WWII, which ends up being the closest to a recent history post apoc situation as you get.)
    Yeah, I've seen it. It's indeed sad. And horrible. And so good. It stings in my heart just thinking about it.
  • Posted By: DeBracyMaybe I should start learning a craft in case the apocalypse is nigh. I'm unsure how barter-worthy my skills in music and librarianship are in this world, but in my utopian positive post-apocalypse it's highly praised/priced of course!
    This reminds me of the Fahrenheit 451 style theme you get in some dystopian future novels, where the librarian type is the brave hero holding on to the written word in the face of digital media anti-intellectualism. Or, again, the Postman, where the well-read but physically humble hero brings more hope and perspective than anything else.

    (Thanks for the recommendation about the Postman book. Adding it to my short list. I'll probably grab the audio and listen to it as soon as I finish Reality is Broken, which is also a reading inspired by this forum.)

    If you want to read a really good book series that combines a positive post-apocalypse setting, a little bit of teen cyberpunky badassery, and some consumable digital media anti-intellectualism dystopia vs. print permanence themes, check out the Uglies/Pretties/Specials series by Scott Westerfield. It's written for the Young Adult section, but that just means that they don't pontificate with egregiously excessive vocabulism or lots of sex - the thematic content is still hard hitting and well developed. I particularly like the way that the first book has a subtle plot parallel to Fahrenheit 451 and would make for an excellent compare/contrast essay.
  • Posted By: JDCorleyActually a lot of really awful men's adventure apocalypses are utopias for the gun-wielding right-wing-libertarian - finally, without being held back by thoselibrulsandgovmintsthey are free to achieve their rightful place as warlord of Schenectady, and get back at all those people that pushed them around in the 7th grade.
    Oh man did I read a lot of The Warlord series in middle school. When I was getting pushed around and girls thought I was gross.
  • Speaking of studio ghibli apocalypse, Nausicaa.
  • Yeah, The Valley of the Winds, sans invasion and outright war, is a nice post-apocalypse. I wonder what's in the water to make all the men there grow such tremendous moustaches … I could use a pinch of that.
  • Hmm, there's actually quite a bit of positive or at least not dismal post apocalyptic, both fiction and gaming.

    Pern and Tekumel instantly jump to mind. I've seen a lot of post apocalypse exploration/expansion settings/campaigns in Traveller inspired SF gaming (including my longest running Traveller campaign). Often such fiction starts out with an assumption of a somewhat distant apocalypse.

    Frank
  • I imagine a positive post-apocalypse in terms of a creative effort to find new ways for humans to live in the face of the collapse of an old paradigm. When I painted Seattle Post Apocalypse, I had post apocalyptic vision with strong positive elements in mind. See all those houses huddled on the bridge? That's your thriving human community in the midst of terrible loss. There are other little enclaves scattered throughout the map (along with scenes of devastation and suffering). In my mind that village is modeled after the Kowloon Walled City. Speaking of which, places like the Mumbai slums or the Favela of Sao Paolo have strong post-apocalyptic overtones, particularly as they relate to consumerist society.

    Blue Mars has a very positive post-apocalyptic vision where Mars becomes a breeding ground for new social paradigms in the wake of the fall of the space elevator.

    The art of Tim Wistrom presents an interesting post apocalypse.

    The novel Spaceman Blues takes place in New York City after alien invasion has reduced America to the status of a third-world country. It's post-apocalyptic, but the scenery is inspired by how people live in parts of the third world today. Everyone is dirt poor and pretty much everything around them is crappy so they form bands and have big parties. The author was an international economist. It's my favorite science fiction novel of the last five years. Blueprints of the Afterlife is also similarly awesome.
  • Posted By: tony dowlerWhen I paintedSeattle Post Apocalypse, I had post apocalyptic vision with strong positive elements in mind.
    Tony, that's a lovely piece.

    Spaceman Blues sounds like a very cool book. I'll definitely check it out!
  • Browsing for images I was reminded of these images of a very green post-apocalyptic Tokyo. I'd almost forgotten them.
  • Sort of stretching a point, but Michael Swanwick's Stations of the Tide is about a planet whose seas are rising and will eventually make the world uninhabitable. Oh, and there's a character in it who's definitely a Hocus, and another who's clearly a Skinner...
Sign In or Register to comment.