Many readers get post-apocalypse confused with dystopian so I put both into one book — Action Figure. Dystopias usually emphasize spying, population control, oppression, a huge difference between the upper classes and the working class with nothing in between, privilege versus desperate struggles in the streets and an urban world of overpopulation.
Post-apocalypse comes when all the spying devices fail, the weather gets really unpleasant (variations — alien invasions, EMP attacks) and the narrative becomes the individual’s struggle to survive a world lacking all those amenities we have come to know and love.
Both have been present in other historical narratives, those being the Spanish conquest of the Americas.
Just finished reading the story of Francisco Orellana’s exploration of the Amazon — he starts from Quito in search of a utopia he has heard of, and ends up in a dystopian world of hunger and desperation. Fascinating reading.