Inspired a 1977 film of the same name, which doesn't have much in common apart from the name and a post-apocalyptic setting. A more faithful adaptation would be the Judge Dredd story The Cursed Earth Saga.
The novel contains examples of:
- After the End: Damnation Alley is steeped with post-apocalyptic visions, from the forlorn decaying towns to the very air which churns in constant turmoil, ripping apart anything rising up more than a couple of stories.
- All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Interesting enough, Tanner is the last Hell's Angel that exists (the rest were annihilated before the novel).
- Anti-Hero: Tanner starts out as a Nominal Hero: he only agrees to deliver the vaccine in exchange for full pardon and under threat of death. During the travel, he slowly becomes noticeably nobler—and at the end he's a Unscrupulous Hero, or maybe even a Pragmatic Hero.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Many dangers of the Damnation Alley are of this kind. They include giant gila monsters, huge bats, and giant spiders.
- "Awesome McCool" Name: Hell Tanner. Yes, Hell is his given name—according to him, from his birth he was a bit of The Un-Favourite for his father.
- Badass Biker: Primarily Tanner, but also many bad guys.
- Biker Babe: Cornelia/Corny.
- Giant Spider: Mutated spiders can be roughly the size of a human.
- Meaningful Name: Hell Tanner.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Again, Hell Tanner. Plus, his fame is rather widespread, although many think that he have been killed during the Raid.
- Percussive Prevention: Hell gives his brother a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, breaking some bones in the process, to prevent him making the run.
- Post-Apocalyptic Dog: Don't worry, they don't get anyone though.
- Sociopathic Hero: Tanner, at least at first.
- Thicker Than Water: At the beginning of the book, Tanner, still very much The Sociopath, takes some pains to prevent his brother making the dangerous run through the wastelands. The means include the knowledge of hidden cache of money and Percussive Prevention.