Cloverfield has everybody talking about the way science fiction is dealing with the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, but that giant monster movie is hardly the first SF creation to tackle terrorism, high-tech surveillance, and governments run amok in the post-9/11 era. As the United States has cracked down on civil liberties at home, and invaded nations abroad, in the name of national security, a crop of futuristic and fanciful tales have sprung up to satirize and justify "the war on terror." These tales generally deal with one of five crucial post-9/11 themes, which we've enumerated (with examples) for you below.
New York Must Be Destroyed
One of the most obvious ways that scifi echoed the events of 9/11 was to destroy New York, over and over again. The collapse of New York, via time traveling shenanigans or giant sea monsters, continues to obsess scifi creators. In the incredibly terrible A Sound of Thunder (2005), a time traveler who steps on a butterfly during the Jurassic Age changes the present and turns New York into a savage jungle. New York is made into a less-savage jungle by an inexplicable disease in I Am Legend (2007). Aliens with giant world-destroying Tripods smash New York and everywhere else in War of the Worlds (2004). And of course we've already talked a lot about how Cloverfield (2008) is basically a direct allegory of 9/11, with a giant monster standing in for scary terrorists who came out of nowhere and bashed the city.