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Here’s a chart of the top Post-apocalyptic science fiction books, and when they were published.
In the 1950s, people worried about communism and nuclear war, and science fiction reflected those concerns. Around 1980, it was plague and danger from space, and science fiction reflected those concerns. In a ruined and toxic future, a community exists in a giant silo underground, hundreds of stories deep.
A high-altitude nuclear bomb detonates above the US, and the resulting electromagnetic pulse (EMP) fries the entire power grid and nearly every electronic device. A nameless son and father wander a landscape blasted by an unspecified cataclysm that has destroyed most of civilization and, in the intervening years, almost all life on Earth. An indie (read: self-published) list entry, The Atlantis Plague is actually book two of a series, but its popularity and reviews are strong enough to warrant inclusion. Some reviewers have complained about Howey’s over-complicated plots, stereotypical femme fatales, and long-suffering housewives. Instead of fencing off his world and characters, Hugh Howey has actively encouraged fans to write and publish their own fan fiction.
When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. John Lennon was given a copy of Alas, Babylon in 1965 and spent all night reading the book, fueling his anti-war fervor and causing him to envision the people of the world attempting to crawl their way back from the horrors of a nuclear catastrophe.
It does, however, feature the effects of genetic engineering, climate change run wild, and primitive semi-humans. Without warning, giant silver ships from deep space appear in the skies above every major city on Earth. Unrelated to the Silo series, Sand left some reviewers felt the ending was a little rushed.
Earth Abides tells the story of the fall of civilization from deadly disease and its rebirth.
Stephen King has stated that Earth Abides was an inspiration for his post-apocalyptic novel, The Stand (which almost made it on this list, but just wasn’t science-fictiony enough).
Unfortunately, the book dates itself with references to hippies, Black Panthers, and Women’s Libbers, and by not liking any of those groups of people. This is Miller’s first and only novel, but he didn’t hold back: it spans thousands of years, chronicling the rebuilding of civilization after an apocalyptic event. Despite early reviewers that called Miller a “dull, ashy writer guilty of heavy-weight irony,” it’s never been out of print in over 50 years.
Like all the best post-apocalypse stories, the famous and well-respected On the Beach examines ordinary people facing nightmare scenarios.
In this case, a mixed group of people in Melbourne await the arrival of deadly radiation spreading towards them from the northern hemisphere following a nuclear war. Sequel to fellow list-member Oryx and Crake, in The Year of the Flood, the long-feared waterless flood has occurred, altering Earth as we know it and obliterating most human life. Reviewers have noted that while the plot was sometimes chaotic, the novel’s imperfections meshed well with the flawed reality the book was trying to reflect.
The Day Of The Triffids is a classic, one of the cornerstones of the post-apocalyptic genre. Narrated by a ghost that watches over the million-year evolution of the last group of humans on the planet, Galapagos questions the merit of the human brain from an evolutionary perspective.
Emergence is one of the overlooked gems of science fiction with a small but passionate following whose glowing reviews nudged this relatively unknown book onto this list. It follows a remarkable 11-year-old orphan girl, living in a post-apocalyptic United States.
Author Hoban was known more for his children’s books when he published Riddley Walker. I loved World War Z by Max Brooks (son of comedian and filmmaker Mel Brooks), but there wasn’t enough science in the fiction to warrant inclusion.


Yes, the movie was HORRIBLE; literally establishing the standard against which all awfulness will ever be measured again.
The story is so good that, the first time I read it, I actually was sad that I had read it because I could never read it for the first time again.
I agree whole heartedly, would also recommend David Robbins End World series, although I’ve only read a limited amount of the series because its not a very well known series. Firelance by David Mace, I shall await your reading of such, and watch for a review…. Someone realy should have the Deathlands series on this list author James Axler, we love these books.
I’ve included a few of these in my own round-up, and it’d be great if you could check it out and let me know what you think!
With the apocalypse (be it zombie or Mayan) being proclaimed on practically a daily basis, we list the top apocalyptic books ever written. Okay many will challenge the inclusion of this as a “novel,” but we are going to focus on The Book of Revelation as an apocalyptic text rather than a prophetic message from God for the purposes of this article. The Postman has a very different view on the end of the world than the first two items on our list. Most apocalyptic novels focus on some large event (zombie outbreak, meteor strike, fast acting virus).
One of the best sung lines of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) is “I really got hot when I saw Janette Scott fight a triffid that spits poison and kills.” At this point you may be wondering what The Rocky Horror Picture Show has to do with killer plants.
This is one of the greatest science fiction novels and certainly one of the best apocalyptic novels ever written.
Another incredible apocalyptic novel without a film adaptation (maybe the author just needs to stop writing and start directing). Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all news updates related to the world of geek. Not even during the Cold War were science fiction books about the apocalypse and life afterward so popular. War, viruses, natural global disasters, genetically modified humans, computers run amok, you name it.
There, men and women live in a society full of regulations they believe are meant to protect them. However, given his massive popularity, those issues (if they even exist) haven’t bothered too many people. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness. No nuclear war, no bizarro plague, no surly computers, and no genetic experiment gone haywire.
It traces the fate of the world after a comet shower blinds most of the world’s population.
Set in a remote future in a post-nuclear holocaust England (Inland), Hoban has imagined a humanity regressed to an iron-age, semi-literate state—and invented a language to represent it. We have long attempted to predict, control and prepare for what horrible ending could be in store for us. The author was surprised to hear it was being made into a film and wondered how audiences would react to the hopeless nature of the story. One of the reasons this novel rates so highly is that it is one of the most unique apocalyptic novels ever written.
Sheriff Holston, who has unwaveringly upheld the silo’s rules for years, unexpectedly breaks the greatest taboo of all: He asks to go outside.
The few with sight must struggle to reconstruct society while fighting mobile, flesh-eating plants called triffids. Riddley is at once the Huck Finn and the Stephen Dedalus of his culture—rebel, change agent, and artist.
That score probably doesn’t hold up to much statistical scrutiny, but it worked as a good starting place.


We see it all over our media from crackpot conspiracies regarding Mayan calendars, books preparing us for the upcoming zombie apocalypse and preppers on reality TV shows stockpiling cans of peaches in their basements. As fallout slowly kills the remaining humans on Earth our characters are faced with a dilemma. Some apocalyptic novels focus a great deal on the event leading up to the end of the world. This is our life, diving for remnants of the old world so that we may build what the wind destroys. I’ve recommended it many times, often loaning out my ragged personal copy, and the reviews have been utterly singular in their ringing praise.
We derive many western symbols of the apocalypse from this text including the four horsemen and the rise of the Antichrist. Though almost all of the books on this list are set in a distant future they aren’t about the future. People are left with the knowledge that the human race will end and with no one has the power to stop it. This moral dilemma is a common theme in apocalyptic texts and appears prominently in The Children of Men (1992) and The Road (2006). He maintains the symbolic connection between the world before and the world after the apocalypse. The animal hybrids become a strange background narrative (especially rakunks which is just sound adorable).
The rise of an incredibly conservative and militant enemy conjures up images of Waco and right wing preppers.
It is interesting how important the ability to pass on our genes, culture and lives is to the maintenance of civilization.
The author of this article hasn’t seen the 1962 version referred to in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) but he has seen the BBC’s 1981 adaptation and found it to be fantastic. With ongoing religious themes, it poses questions over how human ignorance fosters historical cycles. With a nation as divided as we are after the election the author recommends this novel for a good scare. Of course, in order to create the new world order, Crake must find a way to destroy the old. The film adaptation is not stellar (despite our abiding love for Kevin Costner) and doesn’t do the novel justice. They are left to recreate civilization with a rag tag group all while fighting off the ultimate evil. The most important message is the courage to maintain hope even under the most horrific conditions. The film adaptation of The Road, starring Viggo Mortensen, was released in 2009 (the author never saw the movie). Information is that Ben Affleck is set to star, but no release date has been set and apparently it may turn out to be a trilogy. While it isn’t a completely optimistic fairy tale it does serve as a contrast to the darkness of most apocalyptic novels. They face hardships as they discover some of their most cherished values (such as reading) are no longer valued by their children and grandchildren. Fiction serial, Pilgrimage of the Damned, available to read free online at Jukepop Serials.



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