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I love post-apocalyptic fiction in the form of novels, films, comics, and video games. I’m a huge fan of The Walking Dead, Fallout 3, Under the Dome, Falling Skies, etc. I have gathered reviews and recommendations for hundreds of titles for my own summer reading list that I thought others might enjoy as well. This post will highlight some of my favorite post-apocalyptic novels, but then also provide resources and lists where you can find over 23,000 more!!
This short story by Richard Matheson has been one of my all-time favorites since I was a teenager. It’s the story of the last surviving man on Earth who is being hunted by the rest of the world’s inhabitants who have been turned into vampires following an apocalyptic event. Also, the Charlton Heston film The Omega Man, also one of my all-time favorites was based on this story, as was the recent Will Smith flick I Am Legend.
Stephen King has always been one of my go-to writers to read, but this tale in particular resonated with me. It’s about a worldwide epidemic and its few remaining survivors, but more it’s about what people would be like in a situation like that, what their moral and ethical decisions would look like and whether they would align themselves with good or evil at the end of days. The TV mini-series with Molly Ringwald was also great.
Not many people have heard of this book and that’s surprising. It’s an epic story about a motely crew of survivors of an apocalyptic nuclear event including a small girl who has special abilities, a professional wrestler and a homeless woman named Sister who possesses a special ring. Similar to The Stand, it explores themes of good and evil.
More of a dystopian novel than a post-apocalyptic one, this series takes place 300 hundred years after an apocalyptic disaster occurred that reshaped the world. In this new society, every teenager undergoes an operation on their 16th birthday to make them beautiful in the hopes that this will eliminate conflict and lead to a harmonious society. The books center on Tally Youngblood a fifteen-year-old girl who is about to become pretty, but may choose to reject society for friendship. This book reminded me of the Twilight Zone episode, Eye of the Beholder.
Hunger Games Series
I haven’t read anything as gripping as The Hunger Games in a very long time. I absolutely couldn’t put these books down. This title is also a bit more of a dystopian tale than strictly post-apocalyptic but it’s still one of my favorites. Set in Post-apocalyptic America (Panem), the country consists of The Capitol, the country’s seat of power and home to the obscenely wealthy and 12 districts which are poverty-stricken. Each year they hold a lottery from which a boy and a girl ages 12-18 are chosen to represent each of the 12 districts. These children are forced to fight in a battle royale from which only one can survive. This outstanding book reminded me of the exellent film Battle Royale, a Japanese film from 2000 which is also one of my favorites.
Unlike anything else I’ve read, Divergent really stood out to me as incredibly original, fast-paced, and gripping. This one also takes place many years following an apocalyptic event in dystopian Chicago that has segregated its population into 5 factions representing virtues that are valued beyond others – Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Each person has a choice on their 16th birthday whether to stay in the faction they were born into and remain with their family, or choose a new one and be shunned by everyone they know. They then must undergo an initiation rite in order to be accepted into the community or be cast out, factionless. The story follows Beatrice Prior (Trice) on her journey to adulthood.
Great Lists of Post-Apocalyptic, Plague, and Pandemic Fiction
GoodReads List of the Most Popular Post Apocalyptic Books
This is a list of the most popular books for this subgenre on GoodReads right now totaling 23,519 titles.
GoodReads List of the Most Popular Pandemic Books
I can see that there may be some overlap between this list of 1,024 titles and the last list of similar ones.
The Best Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
Here’s a list of 100 Post-Apocalyptic books by GoodReads user Osvaldo Ortega.
This wiki neatly lists out over 450 post-apocalyptic titles including dates, authors, and occasional hyperlinks.
Wikipedia List of Works of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction
This mega-list of post-apocalyptic fiction includes films, games, short stories, and 324 novels for your reading pleasure.
The Best Apocalyptic Fiction Releases of 2011
Paul Goat Allen at Explorations: The Barnes & Noble SciFi and Fantasy Blog put together this list of The Best Apocalyptic Fiction Releases of 2011 which includes 13 titles.
Post Apocalyptic Book Club
Post Apocalyptic Book Club is actually a blog that reviews titles in this fiction subgenre. They also offer a Reading List of over 50 titles.
Novels that Could Help You Prepare for a Future Pandemic
Amanda Yesilbas and Charlie Jane Anders at io9 put together this stellar list of 11 novels that are sure to please.
List of Seventy Fictional Survival, Doomsday, TEOTWAWKI and Apocalypse Books
The folks at the SHTF Blog has compiled a large list of 70+ titles that have to do with the apocalypse and the aftermath.
Time’s Top 10 Post-Apocalyptic Books
Time Magazine has put together their own list of the top 10 best books.
Five Apocalypses: A Particularly Catastrophic Summer Reading List
Here are five highly recommended post-apocalyptic novels from Emily St. John Mandel at The Millions blog.
So You’ve Survived the Apocalypse: A Post-Apocalyptic Reading List
WordsLikeSilver offers reviews and recommendations of 6 related apocalyptic and dystopian novels.