Postapocalit: “Novels set in an imaginary North American wilderness after the unthinkable happens” (John Seabrook, “Love Among the Chickens”). A blend of postapocalyptic and lit, short for literature.
“Postapocalit” appears to have been coined very recently – last week, to be precise – by New Yorker writer John Seabrook. In his October 26 post for the magazine’s Page-Turner blog, Seabrook writes that he’s “been reading a lot of postapocalit.” He explains:
While the category is new, the genre isn’t; it goes back to Stephen King’s 1979 novel “The Stand,” and beyond, to sci-fi classics like “On the Beach,” “I Am Legend,” “Day of the Triffids,” “Planet of the Apes,” and the forgotten “Alas, Babylon,” by Pat Frank. The genre was revitalized by Cormac McCarthy’s 2006 novel “The Road,” which made postapocalit safe for serious fiction, and recent years have brought several estimable contributions to this corner of my bookshelf, including Suzanne Collins’s “Hunger Games” trilogy, Justin Cronin’s “The Passage,” (the recently published sequel, “The Twelve,” is on my digital beside table), and Peter Heller’s wonderful “The Dog Stars,” which is my subject today.
First British paperback edition of Alas Babylon, via Existential Ennui.
“Postapocalit” combines two word-blend trends: the “lit” blend (see “shtick lit” and its kin, which I wrote about in December 2009) and the “apocalypse” blend (see Inaugulypse and related words, which I wrote about in January 2009; also see this Word Routes post by Ben Zimmer about “snowpocalypse” and other snowmanteaux).