Science Fantasy – Dying Earth

Dying Earth* is a very emotional subgenre for me – though, the story itself may be written as overtly devoid of emotion. As the name suggests, Earth is no longer the lushly green planet we know. Because of some sort of catastrophe, be it a literally earth shattering war, the Earth getting hit by a massive meteor, humans simply using up the Earth’s natural resources or a myriad of other apocalyptic events, nature is destroyed (or very nearly destroyed).

Stories may take place on Earth itself or on another planet, because earth is now dead or dying. The main focus may be on the fact that Earth can no longer sustain life (or in the very near future) or it may be a background detail.

This is a flavour that pulls at the heart strings of every tree hugger or nature lover out there.  Being one of these individuals, I can honestly say that this genre is in one breath demotivational, heart wrenching, beautiful and very inspiring. Avatar, the movie with the large blue cat people, makes me want to recycle my neighbour’s trash as well, blat polluters over the head and become an amazon every time I watch it.

*Note that the planet in question is not necessarily Earth, it may be another planet or moon…or whatever the people of the story call home.


Examples include:

  • A Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  • Dark Sun (the Dungeons&Dragons books and role playing setting) – set on a fantasy world
  • Dune books – Frank Herbert – set on a world where the introduction of verdant life destroys arguably the most valuable source on the planet
  • Avatar  (movie)
  • Waterworld (movie)
  • Princess Mononoke (animé movie)
  • Mad Max (movie)

2 thoughts on “Science Fantasy – Dying Earth

  1. pianomikey says:

    One of the greatest Sci Fi series I’ve read is the Dying Earth series of four books by Jack Vance. It’s old but still in print (and available as an anthology). I noticed you didn’t mention it even as you mentioned a dying earth, so I would really recommend it as part of your library!

    And really, anything by Jack Vance is must read in my opinion. Happy reading!


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