Post apocalyptic recommendations
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For some strange reason I've always enjoyed post-apocalyptic SF. Some notable titles I remember reading include Through Darkest America, Lucifer's Hammer, The Postman (good book, terrible movie!) and even weirder stuff like Hiero's Journey (far future PA) and some strange novel about intelligent spiders and humans hiding in the desert (Anderson? Silverberg? I can't remember).
Anyway, it's been a while since I've read a good PA book. I've tended to stray a bit from SF the past few years, as the older I get the less forgiving I become towards poor plots, bad writing and (most common of all) terribly executed or contrived dialogue. As a result Iain M Banks is verging on the only SciFi I've read in years (with Simmons coming a distant second).
So... perhaps it's time to check out one of my favourite topics again.
Oh, and please don't recommend A Canticle for Liebowitz. I tried reading it as a child, and after failing to get into it have never revisited it. I know it's out there and may pick it up again.
Yes, of course. I forgot to mention it.
What a terribly depressing book. I can't say I actually enjoyed it, and indeed I found several passages downright disturbing, but it's certainly a well executed novel. I could have done without some of the parsimonious prose (and describing looking through binoculars as "glassing" still annoys me), but I still consider it a good book.
I am loving Anathem, although the apocalypse is not the central issue in the way it is in Canticle for Liebowitz. You might like Dune which is both the story of a society that has (over thousands of years) developed post-apocalyptically as well as focusing in on life on a desert planet (which feels very post-apocalyptic in some ways).
I'd suggest Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban. Better than A Canticle for Leibowitz and A Clockwork Orange rolled together, once you've got your head around the future dialect that it's written in. But it's pessimistic, so potentially depressing
If you'd like something with a less gloomy outlook and don't mind a book aimed at the YA market, then how about Floodland by Marcus Sedgwick. (It's post-global-warming rather than strictly post-apocalypse, but I'm not fussy about how my civilization collapses.)
I took a look at what cropped up on a tag search for 'post-apocalyptic' to jog my memory, and here are some titles that came up that I've read, that haven't been mentioned yet:
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank -- this may not qualify, since it's quite immediately post-apocalypse (the event actually occurs in the book), but I'll mention it anyway for completeness.
Earth Abides by George R. Stewart.
No Blade of Grass by John Christopher -- a bit of an odd apocalypse, to be sure, but it certainly fits in the genre. (This book is alternatively titled The Death of Grass.)
I'm afraid I can't help you with anything more recent -- I've lost my taste for post-apocalyptic and dystopian works in recent years.
Oh, one more:
The Wild Shore by Kim Stanley Robinson. Part of his "Three Californias" thematic trilogy, but the books (the others are Pacific Edge and The Gold Coast are only thematically connected; they don't share setting or characters.)
Just a few mostly golden oldies.
One Second After by William R. Forstchen
The U.S. is hit with EMP (electic magnatic pulse) weapon
The Ice people by Byrene Barjavel
This one is different in that it deals with ancient advanced ciivlazations
Greybeard by Brian Aldiss
MR. ADAM by Pat Frank
A couple of classic what if there was no more children born.
On the Beach by Nevil Shute
Farnham's Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein
A Heritage of Stars by Clifford D. Simak
Classic after nuclear war stories
The New Madrid Run by Michael Reisig
Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny (also good book bad movie)
What if the face of the world changed. (polar shift)
If you want to go low-brow, I'm sure the Terminator movies have been "novelized."
And there's always Heinlein's rather slapdash Farnham's Freehold.
Another option if you're willing to go off-genre: After Man: A Zoology of the Future is a fictional bestiary set on an Earth after the human race disappears for reasons unspecified. It is not a story, but is fascinating reading because it combines solid evolutionary theory with imaginative speculation.
Speaking of Mara and Dann, Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler has many parallels to it, despite being set more or less during an apocalypse (in a way MaD is also set during an apocalypse, just the one ending the civilization that was established after the apocalypse that erased 'our' civilization:-). Near future, great book.
Nick Sagan has written a trilogy starting with Idlewild, about the aftermath of Black Ep. The first book (which is the best) deals with the initial survivors (individuals), the second describes the difficulties of precreating (families), and the third deals with reawakening the frozen ones (society). Interesting and challenging (esp. the first one) while being a relatively quick read.
Lethe by Tricia Sullivan is a very nice and wellwritten science fiction post apocalypse story, and City of Bones by Martha Wells is a great fantasy post apocalypse.
I wonder if anyone has written what happened to the rest of Earth's population when all the cities took flight? That would be a PA sorta story, dontcha think?
Is The Day of the Triffids set too soon to the apocalypse at its heart?
I will go out on a limb and recommend Fiskadoro by Denis Johnson. This is a psychological novel, along the lines of Ballard's works, and a favorite of mine. I would be interested in hearing if anyone here has read it and has any comments.
*** Major Malevil SPOILERS below ***
I tracked down and read Malevil after the last discussion of post-apocalyptic lit here. It started off well and I was very inclined to like it seeing the reviews and being a big PA fan, but I was seriously disconcerted by a few things in the latter part of the book. The first was the slow elevation of the main character to almost cult-messianic status. He became the perfect warrior, leader, statesman, ladies' man, etc. It became rather insipid toward the end as he was effectively exercising a droit de seigneur with all attractive female characters in the book. I mean they buried him with a nubile virgin as chattel, for gosh sakes. Squick. I am never a fan of infallible characters (especially those with token, attractive failings) but this became a bit distasteful.
Another, more minor, and I think personal, issue was the intense focus on the religious differences and practices of the characters. I appreciated how Merle developed and worked the issues into the plot, it was just a surprise element and I thought a bit too much of a focal point. I admit I haven't lived in an environment where strong conflicting religious populations interact but I supposed in a post-apocalyptic world there would be more cooperation and less contention over religious ritual.
Oh, and the book was a bit expensive to locate even for a just reading copy. All these issues may be a result of cultural and temporal separation from France, 1972, I guess.
Edited for punctuation and clarification of the last sentence.
These are great suggestions everyone. Many thanks. I'm actually surprised at how many I've read or have mentally put in my "To Read" list already.
Earth Abides and Alas Babylon are two I've long heard about. I must get to them eventually. The Handmaid's Tale has always sounded intriquing, and I believe Atwood is an excellent storyteller. I didn't realize Oryx and Crake was also post-apocalyptic.
How could I have forgotten The Stand? Despite the supernatural aspects, and the fact that I read it many years ago, this is one of my favourites. I have a vague feeling that it was one of the few books to deal with a rather obvious problem often overlooked in many other disaster novels - the bodies.
I'm going to add Stirling's Dies the Fire to my TBR list, as I see it recommended a couple of times here. Ditto Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (which is a lovely title).
Many thanks to everyone. This post/thread has inspired me to post another asking for recommendations on "good" science fiction. I can see that's going to be an interesting one! :)
Thanks again everyone.
If you are in the mood for short post apocalyptic stories, Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse good collection. It contains the following stories:
The End of the Whole Mess - Stephen King
Salvage - Orson Scott Card
The People of Sand and Slag - Paolo Bacigalupi
Bread and Bombs - M. Rickert
How We Got In Town and Out Again - Jonathan Lethem
Dark, Dark Were the Tunnels - George R.R. Martin
Waiting for the Zephyr - Tobias S. Buckell
Never Despair - Jack McDevitt
When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth - Cory Doctorow
The Last of the O-Forms - James Van Pelt
Still Life with Apocalypse - Richard Kadrey
Artie's Angels - Catherine Wells
Judgement Passed - Jerry Oltion
Mute - Gene Wolfe
Inertia - Nancy Kress
And the Deep blue Sea - Elisabeth Bear
Speech Sounds - Octavia E. Butler
Killers - Carol Emshwiller
Ginny Sweethips' Flying Circus - Neal Barret, Jr.
The End of the World as we Know It - Dale Bailey
A Song Before Sunset - David Grigg
Jem, by Frederik Pohl, is also at-the-moment-of apocalypse, and well worth reading.
Earth Abides. Excellent novel.
If you don't mind fantasy mixed in with your Science Fiction, have a look at Wolf In Shadow, which is quite enjoyable.
Day of the Triffids deals with the immediate aftermath of a world-wide disaster.
Last and First Men contains quite a few apocalypses in it's storyline. It's definitely not everyone's cup of tea, though - it can be quite dry reading.
I would tend to agree with the recommendations of The Stand, Earth Abides, and On the Beach. However, Swan Song is the worst trash that I've ever tried to read. I forced myself about a third of the way through it, but had to quit. It was terrible.
Lucifer's Hammer is an interesting book. I read it when it came out thirty years or so ago, and I thought it was great. A few years ago, I decided to re-read it. The experience was very different. I came away with the impression that Niven and Pournelle's only experience with African-Americans came from watching blaxploitation films. They ventured beyond racism into unintentional comedy. It would be interesting if someone could rescue the good parts of the book and make a decent miniseries out of it.
Speaking of which, I've always thought that The Postman was partly inspired by Harry, the mail carrier in Lucifer's Hammer.
World Made By Hand is thought highly of at least by "the end is coming" types.
> 29 fredbacon
You're absolutely right about Lucifer's Hammer. Great book when I first read it, but I haven't had the nerve to go back to it. I also agree with you about The Postman being inspired by Niven/Pournelle's work.
I loved Niven's Known Space series when I was younger. A Gift From Earth, Tales of Known Space, Ringworld and The Ringworld Engineers etc. But that's a thread for another post...
Its a short story, but A Boy and His Dog by Harlan Ellison is great. No Night Without Stars by Andre Norton is good.
John Varley's The Ophiuchi Hotline and related books deal with a very different kind of post-apocalyptic scenario in which humanity has been driven off the Earth. His Millennium also deals with a post-apocalyptic scenario, but a very different one.
I'll echo the suggestion of Riddley Walker. Be warned though, it is not easy reading. The dialect it is written in is difficult to follow, and often it works best to read the text aloud.
A Creed for the third Millenium by Colleen McCullough is also more of a apocalyptic than a post apocalyptic story, but interesting just the same.
Earth Abides (Stewart) which has a certain post-war optimisim
The Road (McCormac) which has very little optimism - don't try it if you are at all depressed!
The Day of the Triffids (Wyndham) in which male Brits keep it together in the face of alien plant life
On the Beach (Shute) heart tugging post nuclear love story
Drowned London (Jefferies) A 19th century view of the desturction of urban life, a remarkable book
> 35 I have never heard of "Drowned London" and can't find any references for it. Is this perhaps After London or Wild England by Richard Jefferies? Can you provide any more info on the title?
Oops - After London (and Wild London as it is sometimes called) Jefferies was, I think a nature writer and journalist. The edition I recall was possibly a Garland or AMS reprint edition, the novel basically sees a post-disaster world in terms of a medieval-ised society living in the ruins. A recent non-fiction book looks at the impact of man in a post-human world that suggests the mess we make would be cleansed by nature pretty quickly!
I really get into post-apocalyptic fiction for some reason, and this thread has given me a lot of great suggestions. A sort of obscure one that I haven't seen mentioned yet is Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald. Absolutely bleak and depressing.
the drowned world ballard. Beginning of the ends. (well, not really, but the one of the early "modern" SF takes on the classic theme).
crescent city rhapsody Goonan - New Orleans blues.
souls in the great machine and its sequels. The first book, however, is the best. Portions of Oz recover, sort of, and reinvent the computer - as a human based computing system (ie. some people are "adders" others "xor" etc). Librarians who hold bits and pieces of past knowledge show that knowledge is power. An ingenious and carefully worked out PA society unlike any other i've read. Well written too.
the city, not long after Pat Murphy. SF after the plague.
freakangels comic book - What's left in a London/Britain where a band of mutants who were responsible for the end of civilization try to rebuild and atone. Online as well.
V for Vendetta - the comic book is the only one by Alan Moore that i really like. Post holocaust England under the heel of the fascist boot that wants to stomp on humanity's face, forever.
Oh.. a Canticle for Leibowitz
niven and pournelle have the sensibility of a 13 yr old boy circa 1965. If you want trite, they're your team.
a few others:
Suzy McKee Charnas' books beginning with Walk to the End of the World ... Motherlines ... The Furies ... and Conqueror's Child are great. From confusion to rage to revenge to possibly reconciliation.
Jonathan Lerner wrote Caught in a Still Place, which I quite enjoyed. Plague wiped out most people; the last folks eke out an existence.
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's False Dawn. Mutants, evil roving horrors, and so forth in a post-apocalyptic journey.
Stephanie A. Smith's Other Nature follows mysterious decline, mutations, etc.
Jean Hegland's Into the Forest is a post-gradual decline apocalypse.
Marlen Haushofer's The Wall (Eng. title; original Austrian was Die Wand is a truly amazing robinsonade; post-nuclear, I believe, a woman survives behind a mysterious wall.
A Gift Upon the Shore by M. K. Wren is a post-nuclear apocalypse. Two friends eke out an existence; trouble comes when one of them goes looking for other people and finds them. Religion, censorship, community, power.
Tepper's The Gate to Women's Country is her most classically post-apocalyptic novel. However, for some other scenes of potential post-apocalypse, try Beauty by Sheri S. Tepper as well.
Joan Slonczewski's The Wall Around Eden features alien intervention to preserve some humanity after a nuclear war.
Esther Friesner who usually writes comedic fantasy wrote two post-apocalyptic novels, The Psalms of Herod and The Sword of Mary. Horrible religious culture has been created from the ashes.
Pamela Sargent's post-apocalyptic is The Shore of Women; a woman is banished from her protected city and ends up exploring the (recovering) world.
Yay, post-apoc! I'm a huge fan myself.
I second The Stand and negative-second One Second After.
If you like YA at all, I can't recommend Life as We Knew It enough. And although not /strictly/ post-apoc, I suppose, I loved World War Z, and it certainly had the same feel to it. So if you like zombies at all...
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go start adding the rest of these books to my wishlist...
Which of the three complete novels do you second when you second The Stand? Each of them is equally bad.
The Chrysalids - Fantatical church destroys mutants... group of children find they are telepathic and have to hide their secret or be killed.
The Pelbar Cycle - Long after the apocalypse, the tribes of man are slowly reuniting after generations of hostility.
Older books but still quite good, both are set way after Armageddon during a period of rebuilding.
I thought the first part of The Stand was the only thing King ever wrote that was readable.
Well, the one I read was the expanded uncut version - that was accidental, and I suspect that the cut version is better (felt like a good deal of filler). But the spread of Captain Trip's across the country is one those written events that felt terrifyingly real, with sound and smell and feel.
I'm not a huge King fan, although I've liked one or two of his books, but I /did/ like The Stand for the most part (see above re: filler).
I read the edited version that was originally published. It was still loaded with bloat.
I second "On The Beach" -- it's fantasic.
Also recommend Whitley Streiber's "War Day" a "memoir" of post-apocalyptic America.
The Rift by Walter Jon Williams ~ A major Earthquake splits the U.S. into two halves.
A Wrinkle in the Skin by John Christopher ~ A worldwide shift in tectonic plates sends a man from the Channel Isles across a now dry, empty seabed to the mainland searching for his daughter.
Of those that I own and are in the list, Lucifer's Hammer and Pelbar Cycle are probably the best. I saw 19 checks as I scanned the list just now. But there are ways to think of post apocalyptic. THere is we are hear before the event, live through and try to make a go of it which is very different from those who have no memory of the world before the event. Only what the world they live in is like, and the legends of the world before.
How about Fallen Angels by Larry Niven et al? Oh Oh - I see the touchstone hasn't matched me with Fallen Angels. If you are a fan of Science Fiction conventions and DIY methods Fallen Angels is a lot of fun.
I have also read a number of the books you've all listed and enjoyed them, especially The Postman. I'll have to look the others up.
interesting suggestions. i'll definitely be revisiting this thread for book recommendations.
i second the suggestion for World War Z. Amazing book.
(Wolf And Iron)
by ((Gordon R. Dickson))
the world is wrecked by an economic meltdown, timely somehow.
I read it twice, usually a good sign.
City and the Stars, by Arthur C. Clarke
Pebble in the Sky, by Isaac Asimov
Breed To Come, by Andre Norton (cats!)
The Sheep Look Up, by John Brunner (actually, the apocalypse happening.....)
Stand on Zanzibar, by John Brunner ( ditto)
And, really, you might try Canticle for Liebowitz another try. I couldn't get into it the first 2 attempts, but on my third I not only finished it, I LOVED it!
>59 geneg: I think that's a satirical dystopia, along the lines of Swift, rather than apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic lit. Good book though.
I was thinking that Nightfall is also very much Apocalyptic in nature. We have the event coming towards us. But it is not based on earth and as I remember the story ends as the event happens.
#21 - I have read Fiskadoro and really liked it. I have bought another copy and plan on rereading it. The ending is transcendent.
#61 I was thinking that Nightfall is also very much Apocalyptic in nature. We have the event coming towards us. But it is not based on earth and as I remember the story ends as the event happens.
The short story ends shortly after the event, but an full length novel written with Robert Silverberg was published in 1990. It expands on the events leading up to, during, and then after the "darkness". The Nightfall Novel
edited to fix typo
For YA PA fiction I recommend Life as we Knew It and The Dead and the Gone both by Susan Beth Pfeffer and set in the same 'verse. Z for Zachariah and The Forest of Hands and Teeth for those of you with a yen for Zombies. The adult PA has been mostly catalogued here, but I give a medium recommendation to Dark Advent and Swan Song and Random Acts of Senseless Violence which has interesting language and falls somewhere between YA and adult.
Hi. I've just joined this group, and noticed your discussion topic. I hope it isn't bad form to recommend my own book, recently available from Amazon. My new novel *MOM* is literary science fiction (or so I claim), the first of a trilogy. MOM is an acronym for "mall operations manager." Set in AD2050-2100, it may be classified as post-apocalyptic, though it's ultimately a positive story. Character driven, *MOM* plays with questions of personal identity and the nature of reality. Please go to Amazon for more about the book and about me. It's been available on Amazon for a month now (http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Collin-Piprell/dp/144211990X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244292136&sr=8-1. Sample chapters are available at www.collinpiprell.com. See www.facebook.com/collin.piprell for a fledgling fan page.
I've published *MOM* through CreateSpace, part of a viral marketing campaign to attract agents and publishers. Wish me luck.
I would actually suggest the host by Stephanie Meyer as post-apocalyptic, since the story is set after 'body-snatchers' have taken over most humans on the planet.
The story reads as easily as Twilight, so if you are looking for something challenging from a literary perspective, this is not the book. Meyer gives you some insight into what she thinks is wrong with our current society and also creates neat alien cultures and personalities. It is a lighter read than the typical PA novel, but perhaps might be worth a try. One reader did suggest my own PA novel, Regression was comparable to it.
I myself am about to dip into Oryx and Crake and the Handmaid's Tale, I ordered them both on my brand new Kindle!
I just finished I am Legend which was very powerful, especially the sense of isolation experienced by the central character.
#68 > Have you seen "The Last Man On Earth" with Vincent Price? It's free up on archive.org. Of the 3 movies based on I Am Legend, it's the best, IMO. It holds fairly close to the book, although the end is hollywooded some.
#68> Loved I Am Legend. I've been somewhat disappointed by Matheson's other weird fiction and horror work though.
One of my favorite Mad magazine cartoons showed an old man sitting on a tree stump telling a young boy, "When your grandmother and I first came here this was a thriving metropolis, and we single-handedly turned it into a godforsaken wilderness."
#69 - no I haven't, though I have seen the other 2. I don't know archive.org, how does that work?
See... I found I am Legend too internal... half the book is a discussion of Neville's looming insanity (or lack thereof...) he philosophizes too much (am I insane, is this normal, how scary I must be, am I human), kicks butt not enough.
There are plenty of "humans butt-kicking vampires" books out there for you to read. However, I liked the intelligent and thoughtful nature of "I Am Legend". I liked how it stayed away from cheap scares, and how Neville had to develop his own solutions to the vampire problem from scratch, rather than be the brute so beloved in action novels.
I also liked the introspection of the novel, particularly since it allowed Matheson to make the whole idea of vampirism a scientifically-explainable premise, rather than one only explained through mythology.
That's what I find funny/weird about books... everyone likes such different things. #74, you liked the exact thing about the book that I disliked...
I find that quite fascinating... but not enough to philosophize on whether or not I remain human... ;-)
#72 > Best to just drop by archive.org & you'll see. You just search for what you want & can download anything available for free. All legal content, no sign up needed. The free movies aren't the greatest resolution usually, but they're viewable & worth the download time or you can watch it right there.
I went there & searched on 'Vincent Price' under a media type of 'movies'. About halfway down, I found two uploads of the movie. Here's the link to one:
They have some good stuff there. Well worth a visit.
I though his introspection and doubting his own rationality were entirely understandable reactions to the situation in which he found himself. I might have got weary if there had been hundreds and hundreds of pages of nothing but that, but as it was I thought the balance between this and action was about right.
To answer the original post: I too have always loved the post-apocalyptic genre and find myself looking for new books to enjoy. I just finished The Devil's Day by James Blish. More of an apocalypse story than a PA one, but I found it outstanding. I've only recently returned to SF/fantasy after years of reading only non-fiction and have been sorely disappointed by everything. Growing up sucks. Blish's work was an exception; the first good SF/fantasy story I've read in a long time.
I'm going to second the nomination of World Made By Hand by James Howard Kunstler. I just finished it up and found myself liking it more than the mixed reviews suggested I would. There are a few faults to the story, esp near the end, but overall it is a richly drawn post apocalyptic story of a town that has remained somewhat insulated from the worst effects of the deterioration of society. An interesting, slower paced story than most, rich on the details of a rural life.
I liked "A World Made By Hand". I haven't read the "Long Emergency" yet, but plan to soon.
I really enjoyed the (Long Emergency). I sat in Borders and read the entire book. Then I bought it after I read it. It is not a novel.
So many of the apocalyptic novels do seem like they could easily come to pass. I finally finished On the Beach & it was horrifying. Very well written, extremely depressing & could have been written last year for the way the atomic war starts. It was written over 50 years ago, though in 1957.
Just finished Hiero's Journey by Sterling E. Lanier. Lanier uses the hard radiation left over from an apparent nuclear apocalypse as explanation for what would otherwise be a fantasy world: telepathy, divination, intelligent talking animals, fantastic creatures & alien life forms, etc. It finally became an odd mixture of The Lord of the Rings (a very obvious influence) and The Odyssey as more and more fantastic creatures were encountered. For example, Hiero and his group of sailors were drugged asleep by a race of beautiful avian women and then impregnated them by means of sexual dreams alone. Huh.
Not very fulfilling compared to some other “hard” PA novels but an interesting take on the subject.
I read that book years ago. Brings back memories! I remember very much enjoying it. I do believe there's a sequel.
The Unforsaken Hiero is the sequel, I remember it was as fun as the first.
I can't believe Swan Song was trashed!! I loved it!! Oh well. Whitley Strieber and James Kunetkas Natures End was fantastic. Also Wolf and Iron by Gordon Dickson was excellent.
I remember enjoying "Nature's End" as a teen. It's about time I ordered it in to my library and reread it.
Not yet mentioned, and a post-apocalyptic novel with some real twists and risks, is Michaela Roessner's Vanishing Point. It's surprising that I enjoyed the book so much since the science fiction that explains the reason for the apocalypse is poor. If you can get past the less than hard sf, it's a good, quirky yarn. One reviewer compares it favorably to Robinson's The Wild Shore and I enjoyed that a lot, too.
Earth Abides is foremost in my opinion.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Emergence by David R. Palmer. This is one of my favorite books.
Here is the link to my post apocalyptic novel , The Great Ship of Knowledge, on Library Thing.
The first ten chapters are now online at www.thegreatshipofknowledge.com
I think it was in the late 1970s that I read a book, more apocalyptic than post, about a plague spreading through the United States. I think the disease started in or around Tennessee and caused the human immune system to completely fail, people were dying of common problems like acne and tooth decay. I know that this was before AIDS because when I first heard of AIDS I remembered this book. Does it ring a bell with anyone?
It was not a very good book; the only things I remember about it are what I put in the first paragraph. At the time I thought the idea was original but if not for the appearance of HIV/AIDS I might not even remember that.
To get back to the topic does anyone remember any post-apocalyptic books where the fall of civilization was from disease?
The Scarlet Plague by Jack London is one of the grandaddies of post-apocalyptic fiction, post-plague, and a short one at less than 90 pages.
All Fools Day and Survivors, The book of the BBC TV series from the 80's. If you fancy a change from reading you could do worse than watch Survivors and The Last Train,
M.K. Wren, A Gift Upon the Shore is post apocalyptic and parts of Kage Baker's long time-travel series of The Company deals with post-apocalyptic themes, though she mixes it with time travel and some straight sci-fi and adventure. But her world of the future is both dystopic and post-apocalyptic - a two-fer. Thanks to all for the great suggestions, I ordered a few of them already. My name is Anastasia and I am a bookaholic.
#98 and 100, there is a new re-make of Survivors currently airing on BBC America. I have to say there are a few plotholes, but it is worth a watch.
Searching for the tag 'global disaster' in my collection gets the following, which I rated and reviewed at 3* or more:
The gods in flight (short story)
The calorie man (short story)
Thomas M. Disch
Canned goods (short story)
Seventh fall (short story)
Hibakusha (short story)
Enola (short story)
Plague Birds (short story)
Robert Heinlein wrote two PA novels, The earlier of the two is Sixth Column published in 1949 and Farnham's Freehold published in 1964
Folk of the Fringe a collection of short stories either written by or compiled by Orson Scott Card, I cant find my copy to verify authorship.
The stories in Folk of the Fringe are all written by Orson Scott Card.
And were an attempt to recast The Book of Mormon as post-apocalyptic sf.
Speaking of religion reminded me of a classic, The Chrysalids by John Wyandham. When I could suspend my disbelief of ESP it was a very good story, when I tried to reread it a few years ago, not so much.
I think you might enjoy reading my debut novel The Great Ship of Knowledge-Learning Earth's Deathy History. The story is in the post-apocalyptic genre with radical twist of reality. I believe my first edition is now sold out. I'm working on the 2nd edition, and you can read the first ten chapters online at: www.thegreatshipofknowledge.com
I hope you enjoy reading them.
I've just read Eric Brown's Guardians Of The Phoenix which is definitely post-apocalyptic.
Two newer novels in post-apocalyptic fiction: The World Ends In Hickory Hollow by Ardath Mayhar and One by Conrad Williams. I am reading One, and it is pretty good. I enjoyed The World Ends In Hickory Hollow.
I think it's fascinating that a genre as apparently cut and dried as post-apocalyptic has as many different definitions as asking a group of people what qualifies as a classic...
Anyway, PA sci-fi is a real favorite of mine. I have some of my collection listed here but since I am always perpetually behind in listing my books I don't have them all in here but nonetheless you can check the post-apocalyptic/dystopian tag in my library for some good ones.
I read the short story collection Wastelands on my honeymoon and LOVED it but have not yet read The Pesthouse or Parasites Like Us.
For an interesting nonfiction take on it I would recommend The World Without Us. I read that on a flight to the South Pacific and it was just the thought experiment to keep my mind occupied the whole way.
I recently finished Peter Clines, Ex-Heroes.
It it set a few years after zombie virus spreads worldwide (though with intermittent chapters which return to before and during the spread).
The novel focuses on a group of survivors in LA who are protected by a handful of superheroes. The plot primarily revolves around the conflict between this group and another group of survivors that include a street gang, one of whom is able to mind-control the zombies, some of whom are "ex-heroes". The two groups complete for the remaining food and other supplies of the city.
Very fast paced and fun. Consider it at the opposite end of the spectrum from something like The Road.
Recently read a book called Hunter's War by Peter Methven. It's available at Smashwords for pretty cheap. It's an excellent read, and takes place some time after the apocalypse. It follows a soldier's journey from the UK to New Zealand. We see the results of the apocalypse and how different societies faired. Some did better than others. I wasn't expecting much in the way of world building, but Methven did an excellent job.
By the way, does anybody remember a series from the '80s called the Guardians? It was by Richard Austin, a pen name of Victor Milans. If you want PA, check out the 80's. I couldn't get enough of the stuff back then, and it was everywhere.
Winter by Simon Brown is set in Sydney after a nuclear war, where Sydney is the dominate city of the world as it was least affected by the fallout due to it's distance away from the bomb blasts.
(there are 100 choices in touchstones for 'Winter' and none of them are the right book! Stupid touchstones)
Another favorite PA book:
Has anyone mentioned Into the Forest by Jean Hegland? I enjoyed this one a lot..it's rather unusual as it follows two teen-aged girls surviving in a PA world...it kept me reading and the writing was superb. Anyone else a fan of this book?
re:123 I am a fan of Into the Forest. I have two copies of it, one signed by the author and the other is my loaner copy that I hand out to friends wanting to try some post-apocalyptic or even regular science fiction. Living in Northern California gave the book a little extra resonance as well.
Currently reading Adam Johnson's Parasites Like Us that has an academic setting in South Dakota and anthropology regarding the Clovis people who are thought to be the original settlers of North America 12,000 years ago. It turns apocalyptic.
Jerry Ahern's "Survivalist" series.
Robert Adam's "Horseclans" series.
Hard to get though.
Someone just recommended a post-apocalyptic series to me but I haven't read it yet so I cant vouch for it.
The Series starts with "Warrior"
Donald E. Mcquinn
If you're into sci-fi with a fair mix of mayan prophecy, ancient mythology, aliens, government conspiracies, etc. which all play into a "This could really happen" scenario, take a look at my first book titled "The Great Keepers"
Also available on ebook: http://amzn.com/B00HG2WVKW
Many of these are seconds to other comments: Riddley Walker (read it aloud if you have trouble with the language), The Long Tomorrow, the Postman (movie is a travesty, book is really good), A Boy and His Dog (both book and movie - surprisingly - are very good), Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, the Drowned World, Davy, Death of Grass, Earth Abides, Greybeard, On the Beach, Children of Men, the Doomsday Book (a real apocalypse...the bubonic plague). I actually found Atwood's "Handmaid's Tale" to be pretty stupid (Suzette Haden Elgin's novella "For the Sake of Grace" is same theme, shorter, much better written, but not post apocalypse.) A Canticle for Liebowitz is very good. I fail to see how Ringworld is post apocalypse, although it's a very good story. Going back further, Doyle's "The Poison Belt" is interesting, and Mary Shelley I think wrote one...the Last Man?
Japanese Mange - Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Avoid the VHS tape, but read the comic/graphic novels.
I don't think these have been mentioned yet -
Rivers by Michael Smith
Blood Red Road by Moira Young. First in the Dust Lands trilogy, followed by Rebel Heart and Raging Star
Wolf of Shadows by Whitney Striber
Juniper Time by Kate Wilhelm
Survivors by Terry Nation is a book as well as a TV series.
Dreamsnake by Vonda McIntyre, mentioned above, won both the Hugo and Nebula awards.
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller was amazing. One of the best post-apocalyptic novels I've ever read.
I've always loved The Day of the Triffids which has already been mentioned a few times. But what about Wyndham's The Kraken Wakes aka Out of the Deeps ?
If you don't mind YA books the Pure trilogy-in-progress by Julianna Baggot is good. I've read the first two so far, Fuse and Pure and am waiting to get the last one, Burn.
Paul J McAuley, one of my favorite authors, wrote a bunch of post-apocalyptic books earlier in his career: White Devils, Fairyland, and The Secret of Life are probably the best.
*I wrote the above when it was past my bedtime. Although Paul McAuley's books are set in a future that isn't very pleasant, they aren't actually post-apocalyptic.
The Southern Reach trilogy is new out this year, parts one and two in print as of May and the third coming out in the Fall. Here's my review for Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer:
Four women, known only by their titles (biologist, psychologist, anthropologist, surveyor), have been sent through some kind of “border” from a world which appears to be modern Earth to a place where many things are familiar (plants, animals, structures, geography) but there are no people, and where nothing makes sense. The team has been told they are the 12th expedition to Area X, a part of their own world which suffered a catastrophe several decades ago and is no longer inhabitable, understandable, or even easily accessible. Most of the previous team members have been killed or become murderers themselves, or died after returning, or disappeared. The biologist, who is the narrator, quickly discovers that the psychologist has been regularly hypnotizing the other three to keep them focused, calm, and under certain illusions as to what they are experiencing. Where the team has been sent is unclear: possibly where they've been told, possibly another world or reality, or a section of their own world colonized by something new And, of course, there’s the possibility that the whole experience is taking place in the biologist’s mind, or that her memories of the past are products of hypnotic suggestion or madness.
This was one of the most inventive and tense books I've run across. Each page brings surprises and new clues, so many, in fact, that less and less makes sense. Will any of the team retain their sanity, or even survive? Does death mean something different here? And what is the “border”, anyway, and how can it be found in order to return home?
Other reviewers commented negatively on the use of job titles rather than personal names, but I thought it added to an understanding of the distance the characters felt towards each other and their environment. There were also comments that the book ended abruptly, but here, too, I disagreed. I knew before reading this that it was the first part of a trilogy, but it also stands alone: the end made sense to me, even if Area X didn’t. I’m looking forward to the next installments (one is being published in May and the third in September, 2014), but I can really use the break to relax before submerging myself in this story again.
Edited to add review of the second part of the trilogy, Authority:
While the first book in this post-apocalyptic/SF/horror trilogy can be satisfactorily read as a stand-alone, this one most definitely cannot. Be sure to read "Annihilation" first, or what happens here will not make much sense.
"Authority" continues the story soon after "Annihilation" ends and follows the new director of Southern Reach, the government agency charged with making sense of Area X. This decades-old anomaly has isolated a large geographic area in North American and allowed only a few explorers to enter and even fewer to return, none without mental and physical damage. The director makes little progress for most of the book, as he is thwarted and mislead by both employees and his superiors. As the book comes to a close, abrupt changes in the relationship between Southern Reach and Area X force the director to make some unorthodox decisions in order to continue to makes sense of what is happening to Earth.
This entry in the trilogy was fairly frustrating because of the roadblocks the director faces, but the end makes it worthwhile and will leave readers wishing the publication of the third volume (Sept 2014) would be moved up.
Edited to add review of the third part of the trilogy, Acceptance:
This is the end to the Southern Reach trilogy, a mixture of horror, science fiction, and apocalyptic fiction. The first book was terrific, the second somewhat disappointing, and this one fell in between. It answers some questions, raises many more, and left me feeling rather claustrophobic rather than completed. The concept is stunning, and I recommend the first book highly. It's essential to read the series in order, and I hope eventually they'll be published as a single volume, which would give the reader the ability to refer back to previous books. But do look into volume one, "Annihilation", which stands on its own, and then decide whether to continue. Professional reviewers liked the second book, "Authority", so maybe I'll be in the minority. Does this sound confused? Yes, I'm feeling that way. Maybe I need more time to assimilate.
>138 auntmarge64: I really enjoyed Annihilation, although I think I'll get more out of it on re-reading than first reading, and am looking forward to the sequel. I agree it would work as a stand-alone - although I'm not convinced (in spite of the marketing) that it reads as an apocalypse novel (I know that's how it's sold, and it's why I picked it up). As you say, it's clear that the biologist is an unreliable narrator (possibly through no fault of her own), so the location of Area X becomes as big a mystery as what is happening there. It could be billed as first contact as easily as apocalypse (or even be purely psychological)... although I see the sequel makes all this more explicit.
I liked the ambiguity of the first instalment. I know things become clearer from here on in - I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. I'll reserve judgement until I've read Authority.
If anyone else has read the Southern Reach trilogy I'd love to hear feedback. I've edited my review above (#138) to include all three volumes.
The recent Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel has garnered a lot of buzz and praise. It is a post-apoc (flu epidemic). It is well written and I'm currently reading it. It didn't have me at hello as I expected but it seems to be OK so far, 50 pages in out of 300+
Yes! Lucifer's Hammer and The Postman...was prompted to read The Wall by Marlen Haushofer when a colleague said she couldn't get it out of her head. Have never heard anyone else mention it until here! Great group...look forward to more recommendations.
Also, really enjoyed Station Eleven especially the rapid, totally believable way in which the world as we know it ends.
>149 SMBwriter: The Wall was made into a film which I thought was pretty good. It is currently available on Netflix streaming.
Plan to read some Post apocalyptic type books during the next 6 months, took note of some of the recommendations on this blog, thanks guys!
I'm just about to get stuck into Station Eleven, and recently read The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (also set in the wake of a massive flu epidemic, with higher female mortality than male and total infant mortality in the years that follow). Unusual for having a female lead and a particular focus on birth control, pregnancy and childbirth (given the lead is a midwife).
I'd recommend it for those who like their apocalypse human, bleak and violent although I had some minor issues with structure (I think it would have been better if it had been even more tightly focused - there are some odd snippets reflecting the broader world that didn't gel for me). There will apparently be a sequel in due course.
I have added Station Eleven to my wishlist, took note of many of the titles people are reading because I also am a very big fan of post-Ap story lines, but around there area that I live to be honest I have not seen many of these theme books on the shelves, so hardly read any Post-Ap books to be honest. I have added a couple of books that members in this blog talk about to my wish-list, now I have finally got a Kindle, maybe I be able to download them, and hopefully I can read them during the next 6 months. My love of post-ap comes from films not books and I can’t wait to see the forthcoming movie Mad Max, also a big fan of the movies Postman, Waterworld, The Road, although not a fan of post-app zombie movies, I don’t see the appeal of Zombies, but each to their own. I plan in the next 6 months to start reading post-app related books, in the library were I work there are very few of them on the shelves, the only post-app book that I have read in the past 6 months, was “The Whale Kingdom Quest” by Ming Wei, after been given a copy to read by some of the students at the university I work, this book is a post-app theme, but mainly about sea-life and birds with only a historical mention about humans, it is worth reading but I think it is best suited to the age 12-30, although some adults might enjoy it, particularly if movies like Deep Blue Sea, Jaws, Drift interest you. Does anybody know of any Mad Max books? Did they write any?
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