Apocalypse AU

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Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)Apocafic, post-apocalyptic fic, Post-Colonization
Related tropes/genresDystopian AU, Zombie Apocalypse, Nuclear Apocalypse
See alsodarkfic, zombies
Related articles on Fanlore.

Apocalypse AU is a fanwork trope or setting. An apocalypse AU story is often set during or after some sort of apocalypse, or end of the world. Apocafic, a portmanteau of "apocalypse fic", is an alternative term used for apocalypse AUs. However, apocalypse AUs are not limited to fanfiction, and fanworks in other mediums can use an apocalypse AU premise or setting.

Some canons carry a built-in apocalypse against which the protagonists are fighting: in apocafic, they lose. As well, canonically averted apocalypse can inspire canon-divergent AU fics where the apocalypse is not stopped. In Forever Knight, for example, an asteroid threatened Earth in the episode "A More Permanent Hell." In canon, the collision did not occur; but there have been stories exploring the consequences if it had.

In some fandoms, the apocalypse happens as part of the series premise, such as Jeremiah or Battlestar Galactica; stories set in these universes tend not to be called 'apocafic' unless the writer makes a different apocalypse happens. For example, Highlander's canon apocalypse was The Gathering, but writers sometimes wrote about worldwide disasters that wiped out most of humanity. In many of these stories, the immortals survived the apocalypse, such as in the Immortal Nations series by Maygra and MacGeorge.

In other fandoms, there is no canonical reason to expect an apocalypse, so writers are free to imagine their own. The Zombie Apocalypse is a popular Apocalypse AU scenario, but there are many others. Yahtzee's Goodnight Moon places Joan of Arcadia characters on the cusp of a second ice age. This story was written for The Day After Tomorrow Challenge, which produced apocafic for 44 separate fandoms. Starsky & Hutch fandom had several Apocalypse stories, despite being a 1970s buddy cop show. Most notably, Decorated for Death was a gen AU Starsky & Hutch zine with a post-nuclear apocalyse setting.

Some fannish awards have included a category for apocalyse AU stories; for example, in X-files fandom, the Spookys, had an apocafic category, referred to in that fandom as post-colonization.

Canon Examples

The following are examples of source materials with canon apocalypses which inform apocalypse AU fanworks:

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a canon with so many apocalypses that characters actually asked each other "what is the plural of apocalypse?". There are multiple canon episodes of Buffy and its spin-off Angel which inspired apocafic works, including Post-NFA fics set after the series finale of Angel.
  • Highlander's canonical apocalypse was called "the gathering", and it was a time when all Immortals would be drawn together, killing one another until only one Immortal was left.
  • X-files Post-Colonization fanworks are set after the alien occupation.
  • Stargate fandoms often feature post-invasion and post-colonization works, similar to X-files fandom.
  • Supernatural apocafic is often set on a demon-controlled Earth. In some of these works, Lucifer was not trapped in the season 5 finale, resulting in an apocalypse. This trope was also explored in the canon Endverse which inspired more post-apocalyse works.

Example Fanworks




Fandoms in which apocafic is popular may also have challenges or ficathons built around this trope. There have also been multifandom ficathons strictly for apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic fic.