Dystopian and apocalyptic stories are often set in bleak places. James Dashner’s Maze Runner series, or Frank Herbert’s legendary Dune series, are great examples. We don’t have to go far to find models. Our planet’s diverse topography has no shortage of places that qualify as bleak. South Pole comes to mind, or the mountainous wasteland bordering Afghanistan. My pick for the perfect post apocalyptic setting … Death Valley … 3000 square miles of extreme nothingness. It holds the record for highest reliably recorded temperature, 134 degrees F. Hard to imagine it used be part of an inland sea during the Pleistocene age.