I have two examples of something that might be a sub-genre, and I'm interested in finding more. The essential elements are:
- Several generations have passed since an apocalyptic event.
- Survivors are fragmented and have re-formed society with structures similar to historical societies.
- AI technology from before the apocalypse (and usually associated with the apocalypse itself) persists in the world and is a key driver of plot.
A common element which I think might also be important is that the AI's interventions in the world are cast into forms that are consonant with the historical social structures used by the survivors.
The two examples I have are Guy Haley's Dreaming Cities series, in which
AIs triggered a nuclear apocalypse and unleashed zombie plagues, the survivors formed feudal city-states in the remnants of the US East Coast, the AIs suppress the populace with mechanical "dragons", while AI-enhanced "knights" serve the common good
and the video game Horizon: Zero Dawn, in which
small societies of survivors in the Utah region have social structures inspired by indigenous American societies, while the AIs are self-replicating autonomous robots in the form of megafauna and dinosaurs. OK the dinosaurs are anachronistic, but hunting a giant robot T. Rex with a bow and arrow is cool as hell, so whatever. I haven't reached the end of the game yet so this summary might be missing important stuff.
Both of these works are great, but neither one feels like a "first mover". I suspect there must be earlier work in this vein. A Canticle for Leibowitz is the usual starting point for "post-apocalypse + early social form", but it's the addition of the holdover AI technology that really sets these works apart for me. Are there antecedents with all of these elements?