Ten Worst Mass Exterminations in Science Fiction

It’s troubling how often sci-fi Superior Beings... lofty & large-brained, detached & dispassionate... engage in mass murder. These Sheldon Cooperish super-rational minds, these scientific geniuses, sometimes with great intentions and well thought out justifications, seem to find it necessary to exterminate a sizable portion of the human race... eliminate all those inferior superstitious childlike barbarians.

One sci-fi writer described these Superior Beings: “their massive brains ballooning upward turning up their faces lifting their gaze to the horizon, their slender flaccid necks now able to support their huge hairless heads, puny withered bodies barely touch the ground, drift upward aside white gleaming towers, excelsior above mountain peaks, rise up and up to the pale dead moon, to their rightful place, rocket toward stars, now lost in cold black dead limitless space.”

When you see them, run!

The Top Ten

1 1953 Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
2 1971 Omega Man directed by Boris Sagal
3 1826 The Last Man by Mary Shelley
4 1971 The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
5 1984 The Terminator directed by James Cameron
6 1963 La Planète des singes, known in English as Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle

Pierre Boulle, who also wrote The Bridge over the River Kwai, gave us an extraordinary parable about alleged superiors oppressing alleged inferiors. Apes are used as slaves by corrupted humans until the apes revolt and kill humans en masse. A remnant of mankind is pushed into the wild where they devolve into beasts. These bestial humans are in turn brutalized by the apes.

7 1930 Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon
8 1988 Akiru directed by Katsuhiro Otomo

Akira is a dystopian movie which deals with a world desolated by nuclear war. The film is an example of the cyberpunk style, which combines elements of film noir with science fiction. Featured are street gangs, a secret government lab, psychic powers, and guerilla attacks. So much fiction, both within and outside the science fiction genre, is concerned with World War I and its aftermath. Think of The Road, On the Beach, and A Canticle for Leibowitz.

9 1936 War with the Newts by Karel Čapek
10 1975 The Female Man by Joanna Russ
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