After London

Richard Jefferies
After London Cover

After London: or, Wild England


This is another read in my early history of SF adventure and is usually stated as being the first post-apocalyptic novel. The story is set in England a few generations after an unnamed disaster wiped out the population and the cities. The society that has grown up is the classic quasi-medieval feudal world found in so many fantasy stories. To me this novel is science fiction is the same way that Anne McCaffrey's Pern series is science fiction- they are both fantasy stories built on a science fiction foundation.

I found the protagonist annoying and the plot lackluster (and don't get me started on the lack of conclusion). This is a case of a good idea suffering in a poor story but it's the core ideas presented that went on to inspire other writers of the era and so on down the decades until today where the post-apocalyptic society theme is firmly entrenched.

Overall, if you are a Science Fiction history fan and wish to get the sense of the lasting themes of this novel read Part 1 of the novel and then Chapters 22-24 of Part 2.