A Canticle for Leibowitz is a great book, and I am surprised more people have not heard of it.
There is a great passage where monks are copying over Blueprint, and do not realized that the white portion is the information.
I know the name but I don't think I ever read it ... I just checked it on the Wikipedia and it sounds pretty gruesome ... but also something that deserves to be read ... I'll keep my eyes open for an anthology containing it...
Oh -- yes -- I remember this one (now I just looked it up on the Wikipedia) -- I read it when I was a young lad and it really made me think...
Strange to relate the story itself popped into my mind a week or so ago ... but I couldn't remember the title or who had written it, so thanks for reminding me
You mentioned Harlan Ellison, which reminded me of one of the most powerful short stories I have ever read - "I have no mouth and I must scream". Search for it online and you'll find a complete version somewhere (no idea whether this is a legal copy or not so I won't post a link). Tells the story of the last surviving humans, who live under the rule of a self-aware computer which hates them, tortures them and will not let them die. The story is utterly harrowing and brilliant. I have never forgotten it since coming across it in an anthology years ago.
Max, how could a savant of Commonwealth background such as yourself forget the BBC series "Survivors" from the 1980's? It was shown on SF Bay Area PBS TV in the 90's if memory serves me correctly. I used to have the entire series taped off the air on VCR cassettes and loaned it out many times to rave reviews! One aspect of the series I appreciated was that the apocalypse was a bio-engineered virus so there were not a lot of pseudo-science based "radiation" problems or incidents. In my mind clearly the best and most realistic post-apocalyptic series ever, at least of the ones I've seen.