Bibliography: The Last Man on Earth (anth.)

Asimov, Isaac, Martin H. Greenberg, and Charles G. Waugh (eds). The Last Man on Earth. New York: Fawcett, 1982

The New Reality • (1950)
novelette by Charles L. Harness

Knock • (1948)
short story by Fredric Brown

Kindness • (1944)
short story by Lester del Rey

A Man Spekith • (1969)
novelette by Richard Wilson

Continuous Performance • (1974)
short story by Gordon Eklund

The Coming of the Ice • (1926)
novelette by G. Peyton Wertenbaker

Trouble With Ants • (1951)
novelette by Clifford D. Simak

The Second-Class Citizen • (1963)
short story by Damon Knight

Flight to Forever • (1950)
novella by Poul Anderson

Lucifer • (1964)
short story by Roger Zelazny

Original Sin • (1946)
short story by S. Fowler Wright

Resurrection • (1948)
short story by A. E. van Vogt

In the World's Dusk • (1936)
short story by Edmond Hamilton

Day of Judgment • (1946)
short story by Edmond Hamilton

Eddie for Short • (1953)
short fiction by Wallace West

The Underdweller • (1957)
short story by William F. Nolan

The Most Sentimental Man • (1957)
short story by Evelyn E. Smith

Introduction (The Last Man on Earth)
essay by Isaac Asimov


Bibliography: Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Listen, children:
Your father is dead.
From his old coats
I'll make you little jackets;
I'll make you little trousers
From his old pants.
There'll be in his pockets
Things he used to put there,
Keys and pennies
Covered with tobacco;
Dan shall have the pennies
To save in his bank,
Anne shall have the keys
To make a pretty noise with.
Life must go on,
And the dead be forgotten,
Life must go on,
Though good men die;
Anne, eat your breakfast;
Dan, take your medicine,
Life must go on
I forget just why.

Bibliography: Newman, Kim

Newman, Kim. Apocalypse Movies: End of the World Cinema. New York: St. Martin’s, 2000.

UK edition: Millennium Movies: End of the World Cinema. London: Titan,1999.

Pg. 18
The more complicated a civilization becomes, the more fun it is to imagine the whole works going up in flames.

Pg. 18

What if the world we know were destroyed, but you alone (or suitably partnered) survived? The commonest recurring image of the Apocalypse, in literature and film, is the dilapidated and depopulated city. As the survivors tour corpse-littered streets, we are allowed to peer at a world caught unaware by the moment of its extinction. To be the inheritor of worthless riches and an inexhaustible supply of canned food is not perhaps such an unattractive prospect.

Pg. 19
…a half-wished for descent into the dog-eat-dog barbarity and the extermination of all the boring people in the world.

Hatch, Robert
Review of Five in The New Republic
“To suppose that the atom will bring quick death for millions and a bright, clean world for a bright, clean boy and girl to repopulate is to tell a fairy story to the soft-minded.”

On The World, The Flesh, and The Devil
Buildings are left intact, but people are instantly vaporized—one wonders if the inventors of the neutron bomb were trying to mimic the effect.


Genre Defintion

Last Man stories are a sub-set of the Post-Apocalypse/ Post-Holocaust genre whose narratives feature a main character who believes that they may be the last person alive on the earth. The primal scene of the Last Man story is the main character wandering through a deserted city center in search of other survivors of the catastrophe that depopulated the world or local area.

Rarely do Last Man stories actually feature a world in which only the main character is left alive. There is very little drama in the struggle of a lone character with the elements and general entropic traumas of civilization collapse or de-evolution. Those that do are often savagely ironic short stories.

There are also stories that are called Last Man stories that do not contain a sole main character and often begin with a cast of characters that have survived the catastrophe. Likewise, some stories that refer to themselves as Last Man stories are adopting the Nietzschean meaning of the phrase or a Biblical interpretation that refers to the last generation before the return of Jesus Christ and the subsequent chaos of "The End Times."

I will attempt to review and categorize the major sub-sets of the Last Man genre in written fiction and film. I will also provide synopses of stories and films that could be considered part of the genre in order to build a canon of works.