Willow Becker Hosts Top 10 Apocalyptic Fiction of All Time on Dungeon Crawlers Radio

September 8, 2022

Recently, the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of Weird Little Worlds Press, Willow Becker, became a recurring host on Dungeon Crawlers Radio, a Hugo-nominated podcast about all things pop culture. Last week, she debuted as episode guide during the special hour-long episode dedicated to the best End of the World fiction in movies, books, and games. Along with hosts Matthew Krebs, Joshua Krebs, and Daniel Swenson, they came up with a fantastic list of over 20 incredible apocalyptic ways to waste your time.

In addition to some hilarious one-liners and great discussion, the Crawlers also played a competitive game of A-boggle-lypse, each vying for the most unique and unheard of end-of-times options. The scoring (although a little fudgy at times) gave players one point for anyone who agreed with their choice for a top 10 piece of last days fiction and 5 points for being a loner. Who won out in the end? You’ll have to listen for yourself.

Listen to the full episode here

Here are some of the movies that they all agreed belonged on the list:

I am Legend (Short Story, Film; 1954, 2007)

Quiet, haunting, and classic, this novella from Richard Matheson (one of the original show writers for Twilight Zone and Night Gallery, among many) has been adapted and readapted many times. From its first version as the film The Last Man on Earth (1964) featuring Vincent Price in the lead role to its reboot in 2007 featuring Will Smith, this story has captivated audiences for nearly 70 years. It even includes a universally-hated Blaxsploitation-adjacent version in 1976 with Charlton Heston in the lead. But whatever your favorite version (ours is obviously the original novella—there is no one who can rival Matheson for crisp, timeless prose and emotionally conflicted protagonists), this is one of those stories that you need in your bunker.

The Walking Dead, Seasons 1-3 (Television, 2010-2013)

Amongst the Crawlers, The Walking Dead came up several times. The verdict? There can never be too much zombie-driven apocalpyse (as you’ll see from #5). This is the phenomenon that really made zombie media mainstream. Despite the fast zombies of I am Legend and the cleverness of World War Z, it was during the Walking Dead that we started to see not just the realities of a world full of zombies, but the human condition in a world where humans were no longer the definitive apex predator. Is it about zombies? Sure. But mostly, it’s about how the human race struggles forward in a world where society has crumbled. It forces us to ask ourselves, “What is the definition of humanity?” and then tests it at every opportunity.

Contagion (Film, 2011)

It is not a surprise that this made the list, despite the fact that the pandemic is FAR BEHIND US. It’s so very, very far behind us. Okay. Too soon. But this movie made a big splash when it came out in 2011 and then made an incredible resurgence in the spring of 2020 as the world dealt with the terrifying unknown that COVID inflicted on us. Contagion made a run for the top of the digital download box office, with more than 25,000 pirated downloads a day in January alone. The movie, written by Scott Z. Burns, was meticulously researched and fact-checked using protocols set in place by the CDC and the Department of Health. A chilling addition to the collection, but important for the strange times we’re living in.

One Second After (Book, 2009)

In a slight departure, this is a book-only entry that made it to our top finalists. The novel, written by William R. Forstchen, highlights a world in which an electromagnetic pulse attack on the United States forces the residents of Black Mountain, North Carolina to respond. According to Amazon, “Months before publication, One Second After was cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read, a book already being discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a truly realistic look at a weapon and its awesome power to destroy the entire United States, literally within one second.”

World War Z (Book, Movie; 2006, 2013)

Whether the book or the movie, this intellectual property is awesome, either way. The original novel written by Max Brooks in 2006 was such an innovative format for its time—a fictional documentary-style research book relating the events surrounding the zombie apocalypse. Full of different voices and narrative styles, this was mind-blowing to those of us who read it. When it was adapted into the 2013 movie starring Brad Pitt, purists might have been frustrated by the loss in translation, but many of us just simply appreciated it for what it was. A good old-fashioned fast zombie movie. But if you want to experience the full original splendor of zombie kids, the role of dogs in the apocalypse, etc.? Read the book.

Planet of the Apes (Film Series, 1968-2001)

One of the first tastes of apocalyptic fiction for many of us, the Planet of the Apes series was just so weird and uncanny valley that we couldn’t stop thinking about it. With the big reveal at the end of the first movie, the entire film series is launched into the category of apocalyptic fiction, with most of the rest of the movies trying to illuminate the how, where, when, why, and who. There are now 11 movies in the series (5 original, 5 rebooted, one we try to forget exist), a failed television series, a failed animation series, and a number of action figures and video games. Although our team didn’t break down the best of all these, the reboots got a lot of notice during the discussion. You can hear the whole thing here.

Here are the hosts Top 10 Lists:

Willow

  1. Terminator 2 (1991)
  2. The Stand (1994)
  3. I am Legend (2007)
  4. Mad Max (1985)
  5. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
  6. Don’t Look Up (2021)
  7. The Road (Book)
  8. The Walking Dead (Seasons 1-3)
  9. Contagion
  10. Knowing

Honorable Mention: Cabin in the Woods

Mattai

  1. One Second After (Book) William R. Forsten
  2. Jericho
  3. The Book of Eli
  4. I am Legend
  5. Space Battleship Yamato
  6. The Postman
  7. World War Z
  8. Red Dawn
  9. Night of the Comet
  10. Planet of the Apes

Honorable Mention: Revolution (TV series)

Daniel

  1. Pacific Rim
  2. 2012
  3. Love and Monsters
  4. Reign of Fire
  5. Waterworld
  6. I am Legend
  7. World War Z
  8. War of the Worlds
  9. Planet of the Apes (all)
  10. The Mist

Honorable Mention: Shannara (TV Series)

Joshua

  1. The Last of Us (Video Game)
  2. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  3. One Second After (Book) William R. Forsten
  4. Quiet Place
  5. Cloverfield
  6. Walking Dead
  7. The Edge of Tomorrow
  8. World War Z
  9. I am Legend
  10. Contagion

Honorable Mention: Rifts/Dead Game (Game)

All the end of the world movies, ever: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_apocalyptic_films

 

 

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