If you don’t have potatoes and sheep, I want no part of your post-apocalyptic fiefdom

So.

Apropos of a couple of rants I went on yesterday on Twitter, regarding the tv series Into the Badlands

ItB is a show with excellently representative casting, lots of good roles for people of color, some fine-I-guess gender roles (women are mostly for sex, but some are also ninja warlords and one is a doctor?), and a plot which ostensibly relies on economic strife between post-apocalyptic baronies in, I dunno, what used to be California.

It’s this last bit that I stick at.

If the entire engine of your world and story is “people are fighting for territories and resources, and especially for forced labor, in a world in which these things are scarce,” then I as a consumer of your fiction really must insist that you have thought through your economics.

This problem isn’t unique to ItB. I bounced off of the tv series Revolution for the same reason, and I tweeted in exasperation about it all through The 100. And let’s not even discuss the Divergent books/movies, which I found to have wildly terrible economics. In fact, a great deal of post-apocalyptic-society fiction on tv seems to have really incomplete or poorly-considered world-building on the economic front.

A number of people have appreciated my ranting! Yay! And a few asked for some resources, or places to begin looking up how pre-Industrial labor functioned. So here is a partial, nothing-like-exhaustive, list of books that I, personally, have read, that you as an author or world-builder or creative-type might appreciate:

A History of Hand-Knitting
The Middle Ages Unlocked
Khaki Knitting Book
900 Miles From Nowhere
The Foxfire books
Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives
Salt: A World History
Ask the Past: Pertinent and Impertinent Advice from Yesteryear
Empire of Cotton: A Global History
The Complete Guide to Household Chemicals
The Principles of Knitting
The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It
The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition: The Original Manual of Living Off the Land & Doing It Yourself
Winter Survival Course Handbook
Summer Survival Course Handbook
The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?
Plagues and Peoples
When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency, 2nd Edition
Longitude
Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate
The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch
All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space
The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook: 100 Delicious Heritage
Recipes from the Farm and Garden
How to Cook Everything: The Basics
Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills, Third Edition
The Five-Year Guide to Self-Sufficiency
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century
A World Lit Only by Fire
Foundation: The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors
Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization
1001 Inventions: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilization
Pepys’s London
Feeding Nelson’s Navy
The Sea Wolves: A History of the Vikings

And GOOD historical fiction:

Hild, by Nicola Griffith

And some video options:

The Dark Ages: An Age of Light
Living History
Medieval Lives

And some historical fiction series:

The FIRST season of Vikings
The FIRST season of Outlander
Pillars of the Earth

One Response

  1. Thanks for the book recommendations! Copied to my TBR list!

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