The Best Sci-Fi Apocalypse Story Of The ’80s Is Being Adapted And Could Rival Stephen King Masterpiece

By Jason Collins | Published

swan song

One of the best post-apocalypse sci-fi stories of the ’80s, Swan Song by Robert McCammon, is finally receiving a long-awaited adaptation by none other than the principal creative behind The Walking Dead, Greg Nicotero. This potentially means that Swan Song is being prepared to rival Stephen King’s The Stand once again.

Details Are Scarce

swan song

Unfortunately, the details surrounding the upcoming Swan Song adaptation are very limited, but given the creative team behind it, I have very little doubt that it’s going to make for good television. Greg Nicotero really did a fantastic job of The Walking Dead, and there’s really no reason to believe he’ll do anything less for Swan Song, which offers plenty of adaptable material, considering that it doesn’t solely focus on a single individual but rather a group of survivors.

Swan Song By Robert McCammon

swan song

For those who haven’t read McCammon’s novel, Swan Song, it is a post-apocalyptic fantasy horror set in post-nuclear war America and follows the journey of survivors who face more than just nuclear fallout. While the narrative revolves around several survivors, it centers around Swan, a young girl with a mysterious power to encourage growth and renewal, which becomes pivotal for the survivors and their fight against a supernatural evil that now seeks to destroy whatever remains of humanity.

The novel was a massive success upon release in 1987, and it won the 1987 Bram Stoker Award, tying with Stephen King’s Misery. However, success often attracts naysayers, and many have compared Swan Song with another of King’s works, 1978’s The Stand—the latter most likely influenced the former in some way. The Stand is a post-apocalyptic horror fantasy that depicts a decimated world as well, but instead of nuclear fallout, Stephen King‘s narrative relied on a man-made superflu that killed off most of the world’s population.

Swan Song Vs. The Stand

Ezra Miller The Stand

The comparison between Swan Song and The Stand stems from the fact that both stories are based in similar settings, despite King leaning more towards horror and realism, while McCammon’s work leaned more towards fantasy and horror. Similarly, both novels deal with themes of humanity’s survival and the battle between good and evil, but where The Stand explicitly deals with the duality of morals and the choice between two diametrically opposed leaders, Swan Song focuses more on the internal battles within its characters.  

A Simulated Experience

I’m an avid fan of horror, but unlike horror-movie-loving audiences, I prefer my horror in written form because reading fiction simulates experiences. It provides a simulated experience of the narrative—fortunately, without having to actively participate in it—and both The Stand and Swan Song were very entertaining reads. Given the success Greg Nicotero had with The Walking Dead, the upcoming Swan Song adaptation has the potential to outshine 2020’s The Stand adaptation, especially since the latter didn’t really do well with critics or audiences.

More News To Come

That isn’t so surprising; it’s really difficult to adapt the simulated experience provided by reading fiction into a passive experience of watching a frightening narrative—which is why most modern horrors rely on jumpscares instead of pure dread. Swan Song‘s adaptation for television is still in active development, and its release date remains a mystery.