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There is a rich and satisfying seam of sci-fi novels whose core themes overlap with those of The Knowledge. Recounts the tribulations and aspirations of a small community for the first few decades of their recovery after a global pandemic. For me, the carnivorous plants are no more than a sub-plot in this incredible tale following the survivors of a global catastrophe and the inexorable unravelling of technological capability after the collapse of civilisation. The final months of a community in Australia as the radioactive clouds from a global nuclear war inexorably spread south towards them. A small town in Florida is spared outright annihilation by massive nuclear strike but not the consequences of a devastated society.
After society is crushed by nuclear holocaust, a chapter of monks attempt to preserve and copy the remaining shreds of human knowledge through the ensuing Dark Ages to kindle the eventual recovery of civilisation. Two millennia after nuclear war destroyed civilisation, a primitive, nomadic community scavenges remnant iron and believes a curious set of myths. An unexplained event transports the island of Nantucket and its inhabitants back into the Bronze Age where they must use their modern knowledge to prevail. An unrelentingly brutal story of father and son travelling through the devastation after an unexplained collapse of society. Echoing many of the themes of Robinson Crusoe, a ship-wrecked family thrives on an isolated island in the West Indies.
Five American aeronauts are blown far off-course by a storm and crash-land on a deserted island. After an unspecified catastrophe, England begins to return to nature and the small groups of survivors recede back to a medieval lifestyle.
The unnamed inventor jumps far into the future to find a carefree society of Eloi, living among ruins with no industry of their own but cannibalised by the subterranean Morlocks. Decades after global epidemic, one survivor attempts to impart his knowledge to his grandchildren before it is too late. The continuation of civilisation is threatened not by a plague that affects humans directly, but the crops and other grass species we rely upon.
In the wake of global epidemic, the survivors struggle to maintain civilised society as the emergent armies go to war. Global warming and rising sea-levels have inundated the cities and the torrid climate regresses to the Triassic era.
Translated from the French, this is a tale of a small town quarantined and isolated when it falls into the grips of a lethal plague.
A spacefarer crash lands on a primitive, magic-fearing planet and must improvise the technology needed to escape.
Sixteen-year-old Ann has survived nuclear holocaust alone in an isolated valley, and fears the stranger she sees approaching. An artist journeys through a landscape ravished by fall-out to paint the God of Wrath, the creator of the ultimate weapon.
A weaponised flu virus escapes containment and wipes out the majority of humanity, setting the stage for the apocalyptic battle between good and evil.
The passengers and crew of a long-haul jetliner survive the nuclear war mid-flight, but they must decide where to land. Translated from the German, an unyielding tale of a family who survive the immediate effects of nuclear war but are wracked by effects of the radiation.
A wanderer finds an old postal service uniform and brings hope of restored government to a post-apocalyptic society tormented by warlords. Similar to Last Children (above) but following the survivors for three generations after the nuclear apocalypse as humanity changes from the mutations induced. America is devastated by a nuclear strike and hindered from reattaining technological capability by international treaty.
Translated from the Portugese in 1997, this novel tells of a mysterious pandemic that causes blindness, and the social breakdown that ensues. Karen reveals to her boyfriend her recent vivid dreams of an apocalyptic future, before slipping into a coma.
A grand-scale alternative history in which medieval Europe has been virtually wiped out by the Black Death and Chinese and Islamic cultures vie for global dominance.
A hermit helps guide a group of human-like creatures he calls Crakers, in a post-catastrophe world and tormented by memories of Oryx and MaddAddam. A high-concept set of nested stories of souls being reborn through history, the apex of which is set in a harsh and lawless post-apocalyptic far future.
The written rants of a troubled London cab driver are unearthed centuries later and form the basis of a post-apocalyptic dogmatic religion. The only zombie apocalypse book I’ve included here, reporting the campaign against the hordes through a series of first-person accounts. Decades after global catastrophe triggered by climate change and pandemic, a small rural community struggles to thrive in a world without oil, and with increasingly aggressive neighbours. A device allows people to jump between an infinite chain of parallel Earths, but iron tools cannot be transported and so communities must start from scratch on the new worlds. A crew member of the first manned mission to the red planet is left stranded alone and must use his ingenuity to survive until a rescue mission can reach him.
Twenty years after a flu plague wipes-out 99% of humanity, a band of actors and musicians tour the post-apocayltpic wasteland performing Shakespeare. The first of The Apocalypse Triptych of anthologies, with stories focussing on life before doomsday and those who see the end coming. The second instalment of The Apocalypse Triptych of anthologies, with stories covering the fall of civilisation and those who live through it.
And finally, if this genre of catastrophe and post-apocalyptic fiction appeals to you, you can’t go far wrong exploring through The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, ed. I’m working on a paper for an Apocalypse conference in Romania the details are fuzzy, but I wanted to make some notes to come back to later.
Of course we could go back earlier, when theorists were actually still talking about real, political revolution.
Things seem to come together in Slavoj Zizek, who’s writings on revolution (even the justification of violent terrorism) are well thought out and linked to the thinkers who came before him. What they all have in common is a totalitarian government who controls humanity, often through lies about the past and ritualistic sacrifices (Agamben’s Homer Sacer).
Surprisingly, these 15-16 year old heroines (they are mostly girls in YA dystopias) will soon start killing people. Of course, we can’t really imagine any setting that lionizes contemporary heroic rebels (like Anonymous, or Occupy Wall Street) because we are still in the system, we are still controlled by the power structure. But what all these really reminds me of, as a would-be Milton Scholar, is Satan’s struggle in Paradise Lost.
In exactly the same terms and conditions, with much of the same language, Satan seeks a space outside of God’s totalitarian order where he can think and speak freely, make his own choices, and be free. The truth is that widespread belief in a westernized, infallibly benevolent God demands from us a place to put evil and sin.
Allowing ourselves to see in Milton’s Satan the exact same revolutionary tendencies that are now accepted and glorified through the popularity of YA post-apocalyptic novels would be to remove that stone, and it is weighted in place by centuries upon centuries of tradition and hundreds of millions of believers. If you're interested in Christian history and whether or not Jesus really existed, don't pass up my book, Jesus Potter Harry Christ.
About UsHoly Blasphemy is a community of heretics, blasphemers, free-thinkers and spiritual seekers committed to religious freedom, personal autonomy and positive social change.

Besides supporting notable literary and publishing efforts, we also regularly produce in-depth, well researched articles on religious history, spirituality and sociology, as well as lighter (or darker) rants and tirades. About me"I now know thee, thou clear spirit, and I now know that thy right worship is defiance. 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!
Here are the very best post-apocalyptic books, as well as other stories involving the exploitation of expertise for rebuilding civilisation, such as by time-travellers thrown far into either the past or future.
A simple but utterly compelling story, and the ending is no less harrowing despite being clearly anticipated from the very first chapter. This is the middle of the classic trio of post-apocaltypitic novels of the early nuclear age (along with Beach and Leibowitz) and served as the inspiration for more recent TV series like Jericho. Spanning many centuries, Canticle accomplishes a breath-taking scope and offers a cautionary tale on the cyclicality of history. In later adaptations of the original book, the time-traveller returns to his London home to recover a handful of books to help the Eloi rebuild civilisation. A young engineer falls through a time-warp to thirteenth century Poland, and must use his modern knowledge to help leapfrog his homeland out of the medieval ages before the Mongol invasion.
After receiving a radio message from another pilot he dares to risk flying his plane over the horizon, knowing he doesn’t have enough fuel to get back. John Clute and Peter Nicholls, especially the in-depth discussion of post-apocalyptic novels and films in the Holocaust entry, or the free online SFE (Encyclopedia of Science Fiction). Unlike classic dystopian fiction like 1984 or even the more modern Never Let Me Go show a reality that can’t be escaped from.
Hunger Games (Suzzane Colins), Divergent (Veronica Roth), Legend (Marie Su), Matched (Ally Condie) and Pure (Julianna Baggot).
In the beginning, they may only dream about finding a new space, a space beyond the walls, outside of the dome, away from the reaches of the power structure. Sometimes their curiosity gets them into trouble with authorities whose unjust violence and power over their bodies can only be resisted.
They may feel terrible about it, especially if they’ve had to shoot a friend or family member, or they may adapt to killing easily. He justifies his actions through appeal to God’s manipulations, lies, control and injuries.
In seeking to go beyond the social order, Satan was acting precisely as God expected him to. It can’t come from God, so there must be something else, somewhere else, where we can hide away the blame and the guilt and the shame.

He is the necessary sacrifice, the dissident unjustly incarcerated, upon which the lie of Christianity can rest – he is the founding stone of the temple.
I'm finishing my PhD in Comparative Literature, with a focus on how mythological and religious symbolism influences contemporary pop culture. You can go buy it on Amazon- or if you sign up on my email list I'll tell you where you can download a free copy. 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. I’ve listed my favourites below, including a selection of the very best top reads (but not dystopian fiction in general). Resistance is really futile, if not only because systems of bio-power have nullified any possibility of Real Freedom. Often family members will be held as hostages, and as often die at the hands of the totalitarian state, proving it corrupt. He feels, instinctively, that freedom is a natural right, that must be fought for if necessary.
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.
They will gain followers and eventually triumph: a complete destruction of the social order. Les Miserables the dramatization of a failed revolution that is still heroic and glorified.
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. If you’d like to explore this genre of literature further, see this list of post-apocayltpic book clubs around the world where you can discuss your thoughts on different books over a drink with new friends. Dozens and dozens of other examples to prove that our most cherished heroes are rebels who resist, refuse and bear arms against the police and the government. Again set in San Francisco, the humans struggle to live alongside the intelligent apes, who have built their own, new society. Generating human emotions in animals and a political plot, it’s got character and action. Not necessarily post-apocalyptic, but with all the usual tenets of survival and discord you’d expect.
This film was big, and popular, but is really only half there, setting the scene for a grand finale next year. A teen adventure, with gripping action and sinister enemies, this sci-fi romp sets out to entertain with no pretensions. The first of a 3 part saga.Young OnesImpressive performances from a primarily unknown cast make this tale of survival in a waterless land stand out. Something subtle and a little different to the above blockbuster fare, although sadly never quite reaching the potential of its story.The RoverMy personal pick of this list, The Rover is a brooding, dark tale in a grim and unforgiving land. It’s brutal and affecting at the same time, as a lone wanderer does whatever it takes to hunt the men who stole his car. Originally available in weekly (or slower!) instalments, the first part will now be available as a complete eBook – absolutely free! The first part is a full 25 chapters of madness, charting our heroes journey from the devastated civilisations around London towards the coast, and hopes of escape from the British Isles.Watch this space to be the first to lap it up on its release. If you can’t wait until then, though, the whole ongoing tale is available at JukePop, just click the link below. Usually concerning Dungeons and Dragons territory, the series were ingenious single-player games continued in a short piece of literature. Freeway Fighter was a detour from the typical world into a future apocalyptic landscape. A rare post-apocalyptic book where you are the hero!What’s Freeway Fighter all about?Taking obvious overtones from Mad Max, Freeway Fighter follows the main character, you branching out across a desert wasteland to connect your tribe of survivors, New Hope, with another.
It is a breakneck mission to re-establish civilisation – and, sadly for you, it seems everyone outside these two civilisations is less than a savoury egg. A work of deep, thoughtful literature it might not be – but it does have a unique place in our hearts as a gaming book, something where the narrative depends a little on your uninformed choices, and a little on luck. Not only does it deviate from the usual fantasy realms, for the post-apocalyptic setting, but it also gives the player a more developed gaming mechanic, as you have a car to worry about (leading to both regular fights and vehicle combat – what!).
Ballard took a different approach with the characters’ attitudes to the end of the world when he wrote The Drowned World.
Here, catastrophe is welcomed, releasing dormant desires and a dreamlike regression of society.
It does not suppose a disaster, or any major catastrophe, simply asking what if humans were no more – if we all died, but the world as it stands today was otherwise unaffected. Last Light is merely the latest in a slew of post-apocalyptic adventures that have rolled out of Russia in the last decade or so, and it cannot really hold a candle to the accomplishments of the vast Stalker series.
The result was an extensive look at historical events driven by mass fervour, with a vast collection of subject-matter.
He covered witch-hunts, the crusades, haunted houses, economic bubbles and plenty more – but for us here probably the most interesting section is that which covers Prophecies. These prophecies, particularly focussed on the 1,000 years prior to the book’s publication, often had to do with the apocalypse, as seen with the recent fears of 2012, Nostradamus and Y2K.
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