A lot of people have a morbid fascination with apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction. When it comes to end-of-the-world scenarios, there is nuclear war, plague, alien invasion, asteroid strikes and … zombies. And sometimes you come across novels that are simply strange, yet enjoyable reads.
After scouring reviews and lists on goodreads, amazon and google my very own list of the greatest, weirdest and most exciting apocalyptic novels is born. The books on this list take you down the dark human road of uninhabitable and deserted worlds full of radioactive contamination, deadly viruses, cannibalism, gangs, and of course corpses.
The end is here! Enjoy!
and a few other books:
1. The Stand by Stephen King
Really, if you say you like post-apocalyptic suspense The Stand is the epic novel you should already have read … twice. The novel was originally published in 1978 and was later re-released in 1990 as The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition. When a man escapes from a biological testing facility, he sets in motion a deadly domino effect, spreading a mutated strain of the flu that will wipe out 99 percent of humanity. Two leaders emerge – Mother Abigail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman and Randall Flagg, the creep who delights in chaos and violence. Getting sick while Stephen King describes the horrific deaths from a super flu, that is the kind of suspense that fuels nightmares. The characters are ones you’ll remember long after you finish the story. Stephen King’s The Stand is not only a good book but a treasure of the literary world full of suspense, memorable characters and a dense story with mystic elements.
2. The Passage & The Twelve by Justin Cronin
If you loved The Stand you will not be disappointed by The Passage. Justin Cronin combines multiple story lines, point-of-views, narrative styles and timelines masterfully. This is a The Stand, The Road and Bram Stoker’s Dracula all in one hellish sick mélange. It will make your skin crawl; it will keep you night after night on the verge; you can’t put it down. This is a book already in the cinematic pipelines with Ridley Scott as director. Fasten your seat belts; this spiritual vampire-zombie ride is going to pull you under its spell. It’s called Project NOAH: a secret government experiment designed to make the super soldier. But the experiment goes horribly wrong. Twelve test subjects escape spreading a virus that turns human beings into something else: hungry, deadly and indestructible. A tidal wave of darkness is ready to engulf the world. And Amy, a six-year-old lost girl no one will miss, is the only one who can stop it.
3. The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq
An international literary phenomenon, The Elementary Particles is a frighteningly original novel that leaps headlong into the malaise of contemporary existence. Houellebecq shows the decline of human society. This novel is a journey towards a self-inflicted annihilation, where humankind will extinguish itself. We are tortured, contradictory, individualistic, quarrelsome and infinitely selfish beings barely different from the apes. The only thing that keeps us “running” is our belief in love. This is the horror, the vitriol that runs down your dry throat: That one day mankind will realize that love is just another expression for human elementary particles that occasionally bump into one another for sex. Bruno and Michel are half-brothers abandoned by their mother, an unabashed devotee of the drugged-out free-love world of the sixties. Bruno, the older, has become a raucously promiscuous hedonist himself, while Michel is an emotionally dead molecular biologist wholly immersed in the solitude of his work.
4. The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Yes, I am aware that Stephanie Meyer is creator of the *puke* teen-vamp Twilight novels. BUT just turn a blind eye and take a leap of faith into this alien post-apocalyptic adult novel. Those wary of vampire teen angst will be pleasantly surprised by this emotional and action filled story. A species of altruistic parasites has assumed control of humans. Melanie Stryder, one of the last survivors has been captured but won’t surrender her mind to the alien soul called Wanderer. Overwhelmed by Melanie’s memories Wanderer sets off to find Melanie’s friends and family.
5. Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard
Before he set the foundation for the batsh@it crazy spiritual pyramid Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard was actually a decent sci-fi writer. Battlefield Earth is his epic tale of heroism in a post-apocalyptic world, and if you haven’t watched the movie – be thankful. Earth has been dominated for 1,000 years by an alien invader and humankind is an endangered species. From the handful of surviving cavemen one dauntless leader emerges: Jonnie Goodboy Tyler (names are obviously not Hubbard’s forte). From leather and fur pieces to laser beam assets, Goodboy challenges and annihilates the entire race of the mighty alien overlords. By doing so he not only saves Earth but the whole universe. Against all odds, the book is real fun if you can overlook the fact that L. Ron Hubbard is responsible for the spiritual crap that is Scientology.
6. Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey
Santa Olivia is a coming of age story set in a post-apocalyptic world. The novel is Jacqueline Carey’s take on comic book superheroes and the classic werewolf myth. It’s a story about an underdog up against towering odds with a unique love story. Loup Garron was born and raised in Santa Olivia, an isolated, disenfranchised town next to a US military base between Texas and Mexico. Loup, who has inherited her escaped father’s oddly engineered genes, joins a group of church wards called the Santitos, a tight gang of vigilantes who masquerade as the local saint, Santa Olivia
7. Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
8. On the Beach by Nevil Shute
9. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
10. World War Z : An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
11. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
12. I am Legend by Richard Matheson
13. Stranger by Simon Clark
14. The First Days: As the World Dies by Rhiannon Frater
15. Plague of the Dead by Z.A. Recht
16. Dead City (Dead World Series) by Joe McKinney
17. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
18. The Postman by David Brin
19. The Children of Men by P.D. James
20. The World Without Us by Alan Weisman
21. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
22. Feed by Mira Grant
23. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
24. The Snow by Adam Roberts
25. The Wind from Nowhere by J.G. Ballard
26. Shatter Me & Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi