A good candidate is the 1913 (Published 1914) novel by H.G. Wells, The World Set Free.
Synopsis of the novel:
The novel tells the prophetic story of man’s harnessing of the (at that time) newly-discovered power of the atom, and how this power nearly destroys civilization in a catastrophic war. In a sense, however, as we note below, it ended up being a self-...
This is likely A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
After 20th century civilization was destroyed by a global nuclear war, known as the "Flame Deluge", there was a violent backlash against the culture of advanced knowledge and technology that had led to the development of nuclear weapons. During this backlash, called the "...
This sounds like A Pail of Air by Fritz Leiber, originally published in the December 1951 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction magazine.
The Wikipedia synopsis reflects most of what you described:
The story is narrated by a ten-year-old boy living on Earth after it has become a rogue planet, having been torn away from the Sun by a passing "dark star". ...
Robert A. Heinlein's Solution Unsatisfactory, published in 1941, details the lead-in to nuclear war and its immediate aftermath (using radioactive dust, not bombs).
The story resulted in a government investigation into John Campbell, the editor who accepted and published the story, as well as Heinlein himself, before those doing the investigating decided it ...
This is John Wyndham's The Chrysalids (1955).
Set in a post-apocalyptic Labrador, the protagonist David and his telepathic friends try to hide their abilities from their rabidly anti-mutant neighbours. His younger sister Petra is a strong enough telepath to reach all the way around the world to New Zealand, where a society of telepaths are growing.
They are ...
Philip K. Dick's "Pay for the Printer".
There was a big blob like "creature" or machine of some type
Huge and old, it squatted in the center of the settlement park, a lump of ancient
yellow protoplasm, thick, gummy, opaque.
and the people left in this place would feed into it objects left from their civilisation.
On the concrete platform, in ...
Could this be the short story "Pilgrimage" (1939) by Nelson S. Bond? You might have read it in the Greenberg/Asimov series The Great Science Fiction Stories Volume 1, 1939.
Meg becomes a woman and does not want to become a warrior, or a breeder or a worker. Instead she embarks on the titular pilgrimage.
She thought suddenly of their gods. Of ...
It is definitely a The Stand based on Steven's King novel with the same title.
There was no rapture - instead, a deadly biological weapon has been released which has killed 99% of the population (the virus is deliberately introduced to USSR and China to assure mutual destruction).
With time, two groups of survivors emerge: one group is made of people who ...
I seem to understand that the need to escape a global disaster is the distinguishing element, not the voluntary alternatives like, say, the urge to visit the future (through prolonged artificial sleep, cryonics or stasis) or the attempt at colonizing a distant planet (through generation ships), that also put humans in a confined space and would very likely ...
This is Motel of the Mysteries by David Macaulay
The blurb reads as follows;
It is the year 4022; all of the ancient country of Usa has been buried
under many feet of detritus from a catastrophe that occurred back in
1985. Imagine, then, the excitement that Howard Carson, an amateur archeologist at best, experienced when in crossing the perimeter of ...
Sounds like Hell (2011), a German movie directed by Tim Fehlbaum.
From Rotten Tomatoes:
As the sun scorches the Earth, threatening to wipe out all life on the planet, desperate survivors Philip, Marie, and her younger sister Leonie race to reach a water reservoir rumored to be nestled deep in the mountains. Making the acquaintance of a lone mechanic ...
How about The Poison Belt by Arthur Conan Doyle from 1913? In it a scientist predicts the end of the world and so prepares a room to wait it out with his friends. Once the danger has passed, they emerge and explore the world that is left.
It's free to read online as well:
You're referring to the poem "There will come soft rains" by Sara Teasdale.
The poem was used in the Ray Bradbury story of the same name which went into greater detail (notably about the family dog and a "Hiroshima shadow" of a local family).
"There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, And swallows
circling with their shimmering sound;
"By the Waters of Babylon" was published in 1937.
It doesn't explicitly mention a nuclear war, but the description of the war and that only knowledgeable people can safely handle artifacts from the destroyed cities certainly make it sound like there was a nuclear war. That, and that the cities themselves were "poisonous" for generations.
So, not ...
Is it possible that you're thinking of Terminator Salvation (2009)...?
It definitely has a scene with a giant Terminator robot ripping through a gas station, and a failed attempt to blow it up with a gas truck.
There isn't strictly a scene with an EMP device being tested against an alien ship. However, there is a similar ...
Story identified: There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury
The story begins by introducing the reader to a computer-controlled house that cooks, cleans, and takes care of virtually every need that a well-to-do United States family could be assumed to have. The reader enters the text on the morning of August 4, 2026, and follows the house through some of ...
I believe this is "A World Out of Time" by Larry Niven.
From the Wikipedia description:
The Earth's climate has changed, despite its new location in orbit around Jupiter. Among the most important changes is the increased surface temperature; the poles are temperate, while the former temperate zones reach temperatures of over 50 degrees Celsius (...
The Sand Castle by Alma Luz Villanueva.
Readable online here: https://www.paulding.k12.ga.us/cms/lib/GA01903603/Centricity/Domain/2941/SandCastleStory.pdf
Appears to be the 6th grade book: https://www.classzone.com/books/language_of_lit_gr06/page_build.cfm?content=overview_p2_u4&u=4
knew they were squabbling
because they hated to dress ...
Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle:
from the chapter "Hot Fudge Tuesdae: Three"
He whistled as he worked. Spray a book with insect spray, drop it in a
bag, add some mothballs and seal it. Put it in another bag and seal
it. Another. The packages piled up on the floor, each a book sealed in
four plastic envelopes. Presently he got up ...
I believe this is The Eve trilogy by Anna Carey.
Where do you go when nowhere is safe?
Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth’s population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and two hundred other orphaned girls have been promised a future ...
This is Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer.
It is the first in a series of three books called the Southern Reach
Trilogy. The book describes a team of four women (a biologist, an
anthropologist, a psychologist, and a surveyor) who set out into an
area known as Area X. The area is abandoned and cut off from the rest
of civilization. They are the 12th ...
This sounds like it could be one of Philip K. Dick's stories.
He re-used themes quite often and it can be hard to keep track. The idea of adults playing with dolls in complex set ups is central to The Days of Perky Pat.
Unusually, I was able to lay my hands on my copy pretty easily. The adults in the story are supported by air drops of supplies after ...
Could this be The Priestess Who Rebelled by Nelson S. Bond, part of the Meg series of stories?
“The Gods — great Jarg and solemn Taamuz, lean Ibrim and far-seeing
Tedhi — are not Women like ourselves. Deep in the shadowed grottoes
of far ’Kota I have looked upon them; I have seen their faces strong
and fine, covered with the crisp man-hair. The Gods of ...
This is America 3000.
From wikipedia: America 3000 is a 1986 post-apocalyptic science-fiction cult film which takes place 900 years in the future in Colorado. Mankind has been reduced to Stone Age conditions and is under the rule of Amazon-like women warriors. The film was directed by David Engelbach, and stars Chuck Wagner, Laurene Landon, and William ...
This sounds like John Varley's Gaean Trilogy (Titan, Wizard, Demon)
It has the living airships:
“That’s our way off this cliff,” he said. “His name is—” he pursed his
lips and whistled three clear notes with a warble at the end, “—but
I see that’s awkward to use mixed with English. I call him
“You call him ‘Whistlestop,’” ...
Mother to the World by Richard Wilson
Has a "MR" character, a mentally challenged female survivor and lots of dead people after the apocalypse. Check the last two pages for the conversation between father and son about whom to save as well. Full text at the link.
I am far from certain, but I think you might be remembering "By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benét. (Click on the title and it will take you to an online copy of the story which I found just now.) One reason I nominate this one is that Benét's stories are more likely to be collected in literature textbooks than is the average science fiction ...
"The Store of the Worlds", by Robert Sheckley. I read it in Brian Aldiss' More Penguin Science Fiction, but I believe it's been anthologised several times.
The man's experience consists of a perfectly routine evening at home with his family (presumably killed in the war), and ends with him emerging into a ruined city to hurry off in time for the potato ...
I think this might be "Spawn of the Death Machine" by Ted White (1968). The Goodreads description is a partial match:
"You are an artificially constructed human being, a mobile data-gathering device."
That is what the computer's metallic voice tells Tanner when it releases him from his cell. Naked, unarmed, with no memory to guide him, he emerges into ...