[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/HellgateLondon http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/PostApocalypseLondon001_2039.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:The book of humanity closes and the words "The End" are given upon us all, yet the story continues in a new location: HellOnEarth.]]

->"''It was not, as some had predicted, the end of the world. Instead, the apocalypse was simply the prologue to another bloody chapter in human history.''"
-->-- ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' intro monologue

%% Quote changed per this (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1327331003042025100&page=184#4598) thread. Please post there before adding or changing the quote.

[[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Something hugely nasty]] has happened to humanity. Be it nuclear war (which was once very popular but has gone out of vogue, in part due to TheGreatPoliticsMessUp), ThePlague (which currently seems to be the most popular), natural disaster (which seems the most likely to happen in the near future in RealLife), [[WorldWreckingWave supernatural disaster]] (usually the case with a SealedEvilInACan or missing CosmicKeystone), devastating [[GaiasLament environmental changes]] (which, in this kind of fiction, happen too quickly for civilisation to adapt), a ZombieApocalypse (also hugely popular these days), or an AlienInvasion (God help us if ''that'' one happens) - most of humanity is gone.

The result is generally that you have the remnants of humanity fighting to survive in a hellish and devastated CrapsackWorld full of SceneryGorn, [[GhostCity Ghost Cities]] and a lot of nastiness in every corner of whatever remained of past civilization. This environment is perhaps also a ScavengerWorld which may have pieces of SchizoTech and LostTechnology (or even WeirdScience)here and there, but also where people inevitably degrade down to DisasterScavengers and {{Crazy Survivalist}}s, for whom staying alive may well mean being ReducedToRatburgers or [[ImAHumanitarian worse]]. If enough time has passed, those born after the end may hear stories of TheBeforetimes from those few who survived the catastrophe, trying to impress upon the children what [[GloryDays humanity was]] and still is capable of. Expect a FishOutOfTemporalWater who SleptThroughTheApocalypse to wake up to see their world changed. At any point in the setting an ApocalypticLog may be found to explain exactly why the world was devastated in the first place, and/or an ArchaeologicalArmsRace might break out to reclaim the old world's technology.

Large civilizations that were able to recover or at least preserved can include a DividedStatesOfAmerica and [[BalkanizeMe multiple interwarring states fighting each other for the corpses of a former superpower]], a {{Dystopia}} struggling to survive, or a DaysOfFuturePast with a FutureImperfect attempt to recreate happier times.

In any post-apocalyptic story created after the release of ''Film/MadMax'', it is almost assured that the obvious and natural way for the world to look after a civilisation-destroying cataclysm is "the Australian Outback". ''[[ApocalypseAnarchy There is no need to explain this. Global catastrophe turns the world into]] [[TheApunkalypse a gangster-infested anarchist]] WretchedHive [[DeathWorld Australia.]] It just follows logically.'' However, in any After the End story created around the 1950s, expect to see plenty of {{Nuclear Nast|y}}ies due to RuleOfCool.

Related, if not quite the same, [[DarkAgeEurope is the period immediately after the fall of Rome]]; most {{Film}} and TV set in this time tend to depict it as a time of post-apocalyptic anarchist savagery populated by interwarring warlords. Thus, After the End stories will reference historical parallels about humanity's decay into MedievalMorons [[TheDungAges wallowing in filth and superstition]], fighting for survival, and [[BurnTheWitch exterminating any "mutants" with fire]]. In fact, while there was a significant increase in banditry and piracy, most areas were peaceful most of the time. Fantasy series (especially {{JRPG}}s) are chock full of ancient, highly advanced civilizations that met their end and pitted humanity into a long Dark Age in a similar manner.

If you're really lucky, you may get a CosyCatastrophe, in which case it's best to be friendly and humane, but also adaptable and brave. Of course, that's not a bad personality in RealLife. If you're really unlucky, the only ones left to mourn at HumanitysWake will be robots, mutants and aliens. Or dogs -- you just better hope you [[PostApocalypticDog brought yours along for the ride]], and it stays faithful...

While this is a legitimate trope, like LukeIAmYourFather, it's also a very [[StockEpilepticTrees popular fan theory]] for shows that [[ConstructedWorld don't seem to take place in our world]].

Compare JustBeforeTheEnd, EndOfAnAge, AndManGrewProud. Not to be confused with TheStinger, an after the end credits scene. See also SoiledCityOnAHill and DepopulationBomb.

%%If you have time, please take time to put examples in alphabetical order. This page Administrivia/HowToAlphabetizeThings should help you with that.
* AfterTheEnd/AnimeAndManga
* AfterTheEnd/ComicBooks
* AfterTheEnd/FanFic
* AfterTheEnd/{{Film}}
* AfterTheEnd/{{Literature}}
* AfterTheEnd/LiveActionTV
* AfterTheEnd/{{Music}}
* AfterTheEnd/NewspaperComics
* AfterTheEnd/{{Roleplay}}
* AfterTheEnd/TabletopGames
* AfterTheEnd/{{Theatre}}
* AfterTheEnd/{{Toys}}
* AfterTheEnd/VideoGames (including VisualNovels)
* AfterTheEnd/{{Webcomics}}
* AfterTheEnd/WebOriginal
* AfterTheEnd/WesternAnimation
* AfterTheEnd/RealLife