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.

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