Top 10 Best Nuclear Holocaust Short Stories
The Top Ten
1 "Not with a Bang" (1949) by Damon Knight A post-apocalyptic short story set in a world where humans have become extinct. The story follows the observations of a group of aliens who are exploring the remnants of human civilization, trying to understand how such an advanced species could have disappeared so suddenly. As they explore the ruins, they begin to piece together the events that led to humanity's downfall.
2 "The Last Word" (1956) by Damon Knight A darkly humorous short story about a man who discovers that he has the power to make anything he says come true. He soon realizes that this power comes at a terrible cost, as everything he says has unintended and often disastrous consequences. As he tries to navigate his new reality, he becomes increasingly desperate to find a way to escape the consequences of his words.
3 "A Clean Escape" (1985) by John Kessel A science fiction short story about a man who wakes up in a hospital with no memory of his past. As he struggles to piece together his identity, he begins to realize that he may have been involved in a sinister government project. With the help of a sympathetic nurse, he embarks on a desperate quest to uncover the truth about his past and escape from the people who are trying to control him.
4 "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury A haunting short story set in a world where humans have destroyed themselves through war and technology. The story follows a fully automated house that continues to function even though its human occupants are long gone. As the house carries out its daily routines, it serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility of human existence and the destructive power of technology.
5 "Preview of the War We Do Not Want", published in Collier's Magazine (1951) A chilling short story about a future war that devastates the world. The story takes the form of a fictional news report, detailing the events leading up to the war and its catastrophic aftermath. As the world grapples with the consequences of the war, the story serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of nationalism, militarism, and the pursuit of power at any cost.
6 "A Boy and His Dog" by Harlan Ellison (1969) A post-apocalyptic short story about a teenage boy and his telepathic dog as they navigate a brutal and savage world. As they struggle to survive in a world where food and water are scarce and danger is ever-present, they encounter a group of survivors who are more interested in using the boy's dog for breeding than in helping him. The story is a dark and gritty exploration of the human condition in extreme circumstances.
7 "The Custodians" by Richard Cowper A science fiction short story about a group of humans who have left Earth to colonize a new planet. As they settle into their new home, they discover that they are not alone and that the planet's true custodians are a group of intelligent, non-human creatures. The story explores the complex relationship between humans and the natural world and raises thought-provoking questions about our place in the universe.
8 "Tight Little Stitches In A Dead Man's Back" by Joe R. Lansdale (1986) A horror short story about a man who gets more than he bargained for when he agrees to help a woman track down her missing husband. As he delves deeper into the mystery, he discovers that the husband was involved in a dark and twisted underworld of black magic and human sacrifice. The story is a chilling exploration of the depths of human depravity and the consequences of meddling with forces beyond our control.
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