50+ Best Post Apocalyptic Books You Should Read in 2021

In the past two decades, post-apocalyptic books have become extremely popular. Here are some of the best post apocalyptic books that ever existed.

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Post-apocalyptic books allow the reader to imagine the end of the world safely. It allows us to look at what humanity would look after it inevitably ends, whether from nuclear war, disease, or environmental destruction. In the past two decades, post-apocalyptic books have become extremely popular. Here are some of the best post-apocalyptic books to ever exist.

Our top 5 recommendations for the Best Post Apocalyptic Books

 
🔰 Amazon Charts
2
The Midnight Library: A Novel
The Midnight Library: A Novel
Kindle Edition
⭐Best Seller
2
Relics of Dawn: A Story Carved in Time (Complete Trilogy Box Set)
Relics of Dawn: A Story Carved in Time (Complete Trilogy Box Set)
Kindle Edition
✨ GOOD VALUE
3
Black Autumn: Surviving the Crash (The Black Autumn Series Book 1)
Black Autumn: Surviving the Crash (The Black Autumn Series Book 1)
Kindle Edition
🔥 TOP PICK
4
System Return (Natural Laws Apocalypse Book 2)
System Return (Natural Laws Apocalypse Book 2)
Kindle Edition
⚡ Editors’ pick
5
Enter System (Natural Laws Apocalypse Book 1)
Enter System (Natural Laws Apocalypse Book 1)
Kindle Edition

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Table of contents

Top Best Post Apocalyptic Books

Severance by Ling Ma

Severance is a comedic post-apocalyptic novel written by Ling Ma. Shen Fever is a disease that slowly kills off civilization around the world. Ma writes about many different things in this novel, exploring ideas like monotony, nostalgia, office culture, relationships, etc.

It makes us wonder if Shen Fever is nothing more than nostalgia weaponized. Whatever it is, Candace is one of the few who remains immune, filming the destruction of New York City as it crumbles around her until she is compelled to run.

Severance: A Novel

Winner of the 2019 NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award
Winner of the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Fiction
You might read this book for its wickedly serrated, apocalyptic humor: two driven young women continue to show up at their Manhattan publishing jobs even as they’re among the last people left in the city.
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A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.

This story by Walter M. Miller spans over several thousand years, and the conclusion is that despite the safeguards taken by our forefathers, we will inevitably destroy the earth. The story focuses on the aftermath of nuclear war and how it wiped out most of civilization, leaving few survivors who became devout Luddites, purifying themselves of knowledge and murdering anyone who would share or spread it. The Albertian Order of Leibowitz monks were the only ones who could be trusted with science, and they promised to protect it until humanity is ready for it again.

A Canticle for Leibowitz Mass Market Paperback

In the depths of the Utah desert, long after the Flame Deluge has scoured the earth clean, a monk of the Order of Saint Leibowitz has made a miraculous discovery: holy relics from the life of the great saint himself, including the blessed blueprint, the sacred shopping list, and the hallowed shrine of the Fallout Shelter.
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Things we didn’t see coming by Steven Amsterdam

The narrator of this collection strives to survive in a society that is getting increasingly brutal as horrific events occur one after another. The opening story, “What We Know Now,” introduces us to the nine-year-old narrator, who leaves the city with his parents just as the year 2000 approaches. The remaining stories depict strange situations he faces in his no longer simple act of surviving. He tries to protect a squatter at a place with constant rainfall all year long, gets harassed and infected by a man suffering from virulent flu, and gives a job interview to an unstable accessor who can access all of his thoughts.

Things We Didn't See Coming

Richly imagined and darkly comic, Things We Didn’t See Coming follows a man over three decades as he tries to survive in an increasingly savage future that is at once utterly fantastic and disturbingly familiar.
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Who Fear Death by Nnedi Okorafor

This story is set in a post-apocalyptic Sudan and is a true fantasy novel. After the apocalypse, Onyesonwu was born in Sudan. She was known to be a child of rape and genocide because the country was in great turmoil. She works hard at gathering the courage to fight for her rights and talk about her trauma. During all these years, she hones her magical abilities to retaliate against her father. He is known to be a problematic man. The story talks about Onyesonwu’s journey at growing out of her damage and fighting back.

Who Fears Death

In a far future, post-nuclear-holocaust Africa, genocide plagues one region. The aggressors, the Nuru, have decided to follow the Great Book and exterminate the Okeke. But when the only surviving member of a slain Okeke village is brutally raped, she manages to escape, wandering farther into the desert.
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Blindness by Jose Saramago

An epidemic of “white blindness” sweeps through a city, affecting everyone. Authorities incarcerate the blind to an abandoned mental institution. Still, the criminal element holds everyone hostage, shoplifting, stealing food staples, and rapping women. However, there is one eyewitness to this nightmare. He leads seven strangers through the city’s empty streets to guide them over what is happening in their surroundings. Strangers include a boy without a mother, a girl with dark spectacles, and a dog of tears. As the story comes to an end, the procession becomes odd as the surroundings are terrifying.

Blindness Paperback

A stunningly powerful novel of humanity’s will to survive against all odds during an epidemic by a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
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Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Only a few survivors, along with Malorie and her children, remain five years after the trouble began. She has fantasized about leaving to a safe area while staying in an empty house by the river. It’s time for them to leave now that her kids are four years old. The journey forward, however, will be nothing short of terrifying. Thirty miles down the river in a blindfolded rowboat with nothing but her brains and the children’s tutored hearing to rely on. They will not survive if they make a terrible decision. And they’re being pursued by something. Is it a man, an animal, or a monster?

Bird Box: A Novel Editors' pick

Written with the narrative tension of The Road and the exquisite terror of classic Stephen King, Bird Box is a propulsive, edge-of-your-seat horror thriller, set in an apocalyptic near-future world—a masterpiece of suspense from the brilliantly imaginative Josh Malerman.
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Into the forest by Jean Hegland

Nell and Eva struggle to survive over 30 miles from the nearest town and several miles from their nearest neighbor. At the same time, society rots and crashes around them. There is no single event that heralds society’s demise. Even when there are rumors of war abroad and turmoil in congress, it comes as a surprise when the power goes out. The sisters deplete the remaining supplies in the house while waiting for the power to be restored. On the other hand, their transition to adulthood pushes them to reconsider their place in the world, as well as their relationships with one another.

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50+ Best Post Apocalyptic Books You Should Read in 2021

Into the Forest Paperback – by Jean Hegland Best Values

Into the Forest is a powerfully imagined novel that focuses on the relationship between two teenage sisters living alone in their Northern California forest home.
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The Dogs Stars by Peter Heller

Hig managed to survive the flu epidemic that claimed the lives of everyone he knew. His wife is deceased, and he now lives with his dog, Jasper, and a mercurial, gun-toting cynic named Bangley in the hangar of a small abandoned airfield. However, when a random signal comes via his 1956 Cessna’s radio, it gives him faith that a better life exists outside their strictly restricted boundaries. So he takes a chance and flies past his point of no restore. Following its static-broken trail, he discovers something better and worse than anything he could have ever imagined.

The Dog Stars (Vintage Contemporaries) Editors' pick

In this “end-of-the-world novel more like a rapturous beginning” (San Francisco Chronicle), Hig somehow survived the flu pandemic that killed everyone he knows. His gripping story is “an ode to friendship between two men … the strong bond between a human and a dog, and a reminder of what is worth living for” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
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The Passage by Justin Cronin

The passage is an epic and thrilling tale of disaster and survival about Amy, abandoned by her mother when she was six years old. Later she was pursued and imprisoned by the shadowy individuals following a government investigation of apocalyptic proportions. The lawman ordered Special Agent Brad Wolgast to find her. He is taken aback by the strangely silent girl and risks everything to save her. Wolgast facilitates her escape as the investigation goes wrong. But he can’t stop society from collapsing. Amy is imbued with the horrifying awareness that only she has the power to save the damaged world as she goes alone over miles into a future laden with violence and sorrow.

The Passage: A Novel (Book One of The Passage Trilogy) Editors' pick

This thrilling novel kicks off what Stephen King calls “a trilogy that will stand as one of the great achievements in American fantasy fiction.”
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The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

This book is the secret to surviving the onslaught of zombies that may be stalking you right now. This book covers all you need to know about zombies, including how to understand their physiology and behavior, the most effective defense techniques and weaponry to use, how to prepare your home for a protracted siege, and how to survive and adjust in any region or terrain.

In addition, the Zombie Survival Guide gives lessons for surviving zombie attacks. For example, some of them state that ideal protection comes with tight clothes and short hair; your blades do not require reloading; you should keep moving, keep quiet, and keep alert.

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead

The Zombie Survival Guide is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now. Fully illustrated and exhaustively comprehensive, this book covers everything you need to know, including how to understand zombie physiology and behavior,
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The Slynx by Tatyana Tolstaya

Benedikt isn’t one to grumble two hundred years after civilization came to an end in an event known as the Blast. He has a job. It is transcribing old literature and presenting them as the words of the great new leader. Tatyana writes The Slynx is a dystopian fantasy with many twists and turns. Benedikt is a normal human with no mutations. Hence he is hunted down by Saniturions.

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50+ Best Post Apocalyptic Books You Should Read in 2021

The Slynx (New York Review Books Classics) Best Values

Two hundred years after civilization ended in an event known as the Blast, Benedikt isn’t one to complain. He’s got a job—transcribing old books and presenting them as the words
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The Children of Men by P.D James

The human race has become infertile over the years, and the most recent generation has reached adulthood. Suicide and despair are becoming more widespread, and civilization is disintegrating. Theodore Faron, an Oxford historian who is apathetic toward a future without a future, spends most of his time remembering. Then, Julian, a brilliant, handsome woman, approaches him and asks him to assist her in obtaining an audience with his cousin, the powerful Warden of England. She and her unexpected revolutionaries reawaken his desire to live. They also prove to be a key to humanity’s survival.

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The Children of Men Paperback – by P. D. James Best Values

The inspiration for director Alfonso Cuarón’s modern masterpiece of a film: The year is 2021. No child has been born for twenty-five years. The human race faces extinction
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Wool by Hugh Howey

Men and women live in a world where they feel restrictions are in place to safeguard them. A community resides in a massive silo below, hundreds of stories deep, in a damaged and poisoned future. In this story, Sheriff Holston, who has faithfully enforced the silo’s laws for years, unintentionally breaks the most sacred of all taboos. He asks to walk outside. His fatal decision sets in motion a chain of dramatic events. Juliette, a mechanic with no legal experience with a remarkable flair for fixing machinery, is nominated to replace him. Juliette is about to be tasked with repairing the silo, and she will quickly discover just how her world is messed up. The silo will face something its history has only hinted at, and its residents have never dared to say.

Wool by Hugh Howey Editors' pick

*INCLUDES ORIGINAL NEW ESSAY “A HISTORY OF THE DARKEST YARNS” FROM HUGH HOWEY*
The first book in the acclaimed, New York Times best-selling trilogy, Wool is the story of mankind clawing for survival.
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Earth Abides by George R. Stewart

Post-apocalyptic and dystopian books were very popular during the 1940s. After WW2, people started to think about what it would be like during societal downfall and widespread destruction. Born from this idea, Earth Abides begins with a disease that kills off most people. A grad student, Isherwood Williams, has managed to avoid this catastrophe, but civilization has collapsed when he emerges from hiding.

In search of other humans, Ish finds a woman and decides to have children with her. Emma and Ish start a new society without electronics or modern technology, reverting to a primitive lifestyle.

Earth Abides

In a glorious new trade paperback complete with an original Introduction written by author Kim Stanley Robinson
First published in 1949 and a winner of the inaugural International Fantasy Award in 1951,
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I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

Like Earth Abides, this book starts with a pandemic too. However, the disease doesn’t kill the population; instead, it turns them into vampires. These mutants hunt and infect other people.

Robert Neville is a scientist who is the only remaining hope for humanity. Robert is determined to find the cause of the disease and discover a cure. But, unfortunately, he has already lost his wife and daughter to the disease. Robert does find another survivor, Ruth, but she has her plan in mind.

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50+ Best Post Apocalyptic Books You Should Read in 2021

I Am Legend Audible – Audible Audiobook Best Values

In I Am Legend, a plague has decimated the world, and those unfortunate enough to survive are transformed into blood-thirsty creatures of the night. Robert Neville is the last living man on earth. Every other man, woman, and child has become a vampire, and they are all hungry for Neville’s blood
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On the Beach by Nevil Shute

On the Beach is a novel that deals with the concept of nuclear fallout. The ‘beach’ in the title refers to Melbourne, Australia, one of the last few livable places on earth. However, even the people here will soon die of radiation poisoning.

This book takes a different scope on the genre, as many people are still alive. However, they know that they will die soon and must come to terms with the fact. This book highlights the different coping mechanisms of people, rather than just concentrating on the survival part of the apocalypse. 

On the Beach (Vintage International)

“The most shocking fiction I have read in years. What is shocking about it is both the idea and the sheer imaginative brilliance with which Mr. Shute brings it off.”
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The Stand by Stephen King

Even though Stephen King was popular for writing supernatural horror, The Stand is an ambitious post-apocalyptic tale. The book is set in a world that is ravaged by a pandemic. This pandemic occurs due to a weaponized strain of influenza that kills over 99% of the people in contact with it. The book has an exciting twist that sets it apart from other post-apocalyptic stories.

The Stand by Stephen King

Book recommendations, author interviews, editors’ picks, and more
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Swan Song by Robert McCammon

A mixture of horror and post-apocalypse, The Swan song was published in 1987. Frequently compared to The Stand, Swan’s song is a novel that is set after a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the US. Very few people survive and are left with the task of facing a scorched landscape. Additionally, fighting evil warriors, mutated animals, and starvation. This novel is not meant for the faint of heart and is very dark.

Swan Song Mass Market Paperback

In a wasteland born of rage and fear, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, Earth’s last survivors have been drawn into a final battle between good and evil that will decide the fate of humanity.
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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

A classic post-apocalyptic book, this book is eerily similar to what everyone has been through during the COVID 19 pandemic. Station Eleven tells the story of a woman in the early stages of the ‘Georgia flu.’ This flu strain is swine flu that is deadly, killing most of the population in 20 years.  Kristine is part of a theatre troupe in this post-pandemic world. So while the book is a post-apocalyptic book, it’s also a book about people and how they preserve themselves.

Station Eleven Paperback Editors' pick

Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear.
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One Second After by William R. Forstchen

This novel makes our worst nightmare come true, taking out all forms of electricity. An electromagnetic pulse attack renders anything that runs on electricity futile. Things include water systems, all forms of transport, generators; therefore, many people are stood with little to no water, food, or other viable resources.

The tale takes a twisted turn when people try to maintain order in these touch times.

One Second After (A John Matherson Novel, 1)

A post-apocalyptic thriller of the after effects in the United States after a terrifying terrorist attack using electromagnetic pulse weapons
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Metro 2033 by Dmitry Glukhovsky

Metro 2033 is written by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. The book is set in the Moscow metro, where people have lived after a nuclear holocaust. A military officer, Sukhoi, saves baby Artyom from a pack of killer rats. As Artyom grows up, he learns more about the mysterious creatures called ‘ The Dark Ones.’ The book follows Artyom in his journey to the middle of the metro to gain more knowledge and deliver a message.

Metro 2033: First U.S. English edition (METRO by Dmitry Glukhovsky)

An international bestseller, translated into 35 languages. Set in the shattered subway of a post apocalyptic Moscow, Metro 2033 is a story of intensive underground survival
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Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

One of the classic fiction books, Roadside Picnic, is a post-apocalypse philosophical science novel published in 1972. This book is based on the aftermath of an alien invasion that leaves behind a death zone. This zone is commonplace for things to die instantly and has rare alien technology that can be sold for decent money. The novel follows the main character’s adventures into the zone, despite it being a dangerous place.

Roadside Picnic (Rediscovered Classics)

Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those young rebels who are compelled, in spite of extreme danger, to venture illegally into the Zone to collect the mysterious artifacts that the alien visitors left scattered around.
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Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

By the year 2025, pollution, global warming, and sickness have caused a worldwide decline. Only a few safe neighborhoods remain throughout the world. Lauren Olamina and her family live on the outskirts of LA in one of the safe neighborhoods remaining. Laurens’s father is a preacher who tries to salvage the remains of their culture finished by disease, war, and drugs. When their compound is destroyed, Lauren loses her family and is forced into a world of danger. With some other refugees, Lauren travels north to seek shelter and safety.

Parable of the Sower (Parable, 1)

This acclaimed post-apocalyptic novel of hope and terror from an award-winning author “pairs well with 1984 or The Handmaid’s Tale” and includes a foreword by N. K. Jemisin (John Green, New York Times).
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Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban – 1980

This novel is based 2000 years after a nuclear war that almost wipes out civilization. Riddle, a young boy, stumbled upon a plan to recreate a weapon from the ancient world. The characters in the novel live a difficult life in a small area and hardly know anything about the outside world. This novel is an intense and imaginative read with a deeper meaning in the book, unlike anything you have read before.

Riddley Walker, Expanded Edition

“A hero with Huck Finn’s heart and charm, lighting by El Greco and jokes by Punch and Judy. . . . Riddley Walker is haunting and fiercely imagined and―this matters most―intensely ponderable.” ―Benjamin DeMott,
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Edge of Collapse By Kyla Stone

Edge of Collapse is the first book of a four-part book series. An EMP destroys all the power of the country and stops humanity from functioning. However, this is the greatest day of Hannah Sheridans Life as she escapes from her captor. Hannah and an ex-soldier navigate the unknown work to get back to the life they knew. The first novel of the four-part series only introduces the characters. Still, the other three get better and more exciting as you read on.

Edge of Collapse: A Post-Apocalyptic EMP Survival Thriller #1 Best Seller

In the dead of winter, an EMP attack destroys the U.S. power grid. No electricity. No cars or phones. The country is plunged into instant chaos. Battered but not broken, she emerges from her underground cell into a hostile winter wilderness with nothing but her determination to survive
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Each of Us a Desert By Mark Oshiro

Mark Oshiros’ post-apocalyptic world comes in the form of a magical desert world that has been set on fire by the sun God Solis. However, this novel is more than just about the struggle of a post-apocalyptic work; it is about the internal battles we face. Oshiro tells the story of Xochitl, a young girl who has the gift of listening to the stories of village members and forgiving their sins. When Xochitl feels the burden is too much for her, she goes on a journey to return the gift to the dessert. Along her journey, she finds love in a young woman who becomes a companion in her travels.

Each of Us a Desert Hardcover

From award-winning author Mark Oshiro comes a powerful coming-of-age fantasy novel about finding home and falling in love amidst the dangers of a desert where stories come to life
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The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Melanie, along with other youngsters, is imprisoned in a windowless bunker in post-apocalyptic England. When they leave their cells, they are all restrained and muzzled. Under no circumstances is an adult permitted to touch them. These are fair measures given based on who these children are. The installation is then attacked. Finally, Melanie is released along with a group of adults, some of whom want her alive. Some want her dead, yet others want her dissected. This book is thoughtful and a fast-paced thriller that everyone should read at least once.

The Boy on the Bridge Editors' pick

One exceptional boy journeys into the ashes of society to find the cure for a devastating plague in this riveting post-apocalyptic standalone set in the same world as the USA Today-bestselling The Girl With All the Gifts.
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Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Before a pandemic wiped out mankind, Snowman was is called by the name of Jimmy, is fighting to live in a place where he may be one of the last humans, lamenting the losing of one of his friends, Crake, and the lovely and mysterious Oryx who they both adored. A snowman, aided by the Crake Children, sets off on a voyage across the wilderness that was once a beautiful city before powerful corporations grasped humanity on an unchecked hereditary engineering trip.

Oryx and Crake (The MaddAddam Trilogy)

Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend
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The Giver by Louis Lowry

This novel is apt for middle school readers as it talks about 12-year-old Jonas, who lives in an ideal and colorless world of comfort and pleasure. Yet, he does not fully comprehend the dark, complicated truths that lie beneath his frail community until he is assigned his life mission as the receiver of memory.

Giver (93) by Lowry, Lois [Mass Market Paperback (2002)]

Lois Lowry is known for her versatility and invention as a writer. She was born in Hawaii and grew up in New York, Pennsylvania, and Japan. After studying at Brown University, she married, started a family, and turned her attention to writing
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The Road by Cormac McCarthy

A man and his kid trek alone through a destroyed America in this Prize-winning novel. Only the ash on the wind moves amid the ruined countryside. It’s cold enough to break stones, and the snow is grey when it falls. The sky is overcast. Their target is the coast, but they have no idea what, if anything, they will find there. They have nothing but a pistol to defend themselves against the criminal bands that stalk the highway, their clothes, a cart of food, and each other.

The Road Hardcover

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there
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Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

The phrase, “In the end, meat is meat,” keeps the readers hooked to this story throughout. This story offers so much more than one can imagine. Tender Is The Flesh delivers a sad and horrific insight into what occurs when social conventions go away and the ramifications of the hunger for food in a world where human meat is now legal. All of this is done in such a spectacular way that you will be hooked, lose your appetite, and consider it one of the best post-apocalyptic books of 2020.

Tender Is the Flesh Paperback

Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans—though no one calls them that anymore.
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Leave the world behind by Rumaan Alam

Leave The World Behind, written before the pandemic, manages to encapsulate every sensation of the panic and uncertainty that the world seems to be experiencing today. In a world where communication and technology are failing, a story of delayed trust and isolation emerges. The writer weaves a complicated story about race, parenthood, and dependency on technology. He switches between the characters’ narratives and allows us to see where they stand in the plot from our viewpoints.

Leave the World Behind: A Novel Hardcover Editors' pick

“A slippery and duplicitous marvel of a novel…. Leave the World Behind is atmospheric and prescient: Its rhythms of comedy alternating with shock and despair mimic so much of the rhythms of life right now. That’s more than enough to make it a signature novel for this blasted year.”
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When the rain stops by J.S Sutton

Sutton’s new novel tackles a topic that few can discuss and even fewer are willing to address directly: climate change. Humanity lives in a world in the clouds in a future world ravaged by climate change and nuclear conflict. On the wasteland Earth, acid rain is prevalent, criminals live on the planet, and we see ocular fit bits instead of eyeballs. However, David’s dedication to his profession forces him to go undercover in a world that no human being would willingly enter.

When The Rain Stops Paperback

In the year 2056, the earth is uninhabitable due to climate change and thermo nuclear war. While the normal people live in a futuristic city in the clouds known as New London, the prisoners are kept on the surface to serve out their sentences. In steps David Wright, a police officer who must go undercover with a criminal gang to take them down.
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2028 The Awakening by Carrie Russell

Russell’s new world of surveillance and covert revolt ranks among the best post-apocalyptic novels of the year 2020. Russell’s post-apocalyptic Seattle, perfect for lovers of The Hunger Games or WE, is filled with secrets and twisted webs as the government strives to eliminate dissent. But, in the process, the story builds a new form of resistance.

2028 THE AWAKENING: A Dystopian Post Apocalyptic Novel Paperback

Perfect for fans of the Hunger Games, Maze Runner, and Divergent series, 2028 THE AWAKENING is a gripping Dystopian novel set in a Post Apocalyptic Seattle, the last city alive in the world after a devastating Pandemia.
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The Raven by Jonathan Janz

How long will humanity be able to endure in the presence of monsters? Readers will be curious about this in Janz’s new work. The Raven doesn’t hold back on the horror and murder as it mixes vampires, werewolves, cannibals, and everything else that moves jolt in the night. The story ends with Dez being one of the few humans left whose DNA hasn’t been unlocked to unleash the monsters that once were.

The Raven (Fiction Without Frontiers) Paperback

“If you’re searching the horror horizon for a dark star, your next must-read, the silhouette you see coming your way is Jonathan Janz.” – Josh Malerman, New York Times best selling author of Bird Box and Malorie
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As Our World Ends by Jack Hunt

Hunt’s series picks up in 2020, which is the year for post-apocalyptic stories that focus on technology and power. This novel by Jack Hunt is a combination of apocalypse and romance, as Alex and his wife discover that the world has been thrown into panic and confusion the day Alex’s wife arrives with their divorce papers. This is one of the best reads, and everyone should get their hands on them.

As Our World Ends: A Post-Apocalyptic Survival Thriller (Cyber Apocalypse)

In an ordinary day, a devastating event will change lives forever. Alex Reid, a U.S. Coast Guard is on the brink of divorce. On the day his wife arrives on the east coast to have him sign papers, the nation’s crippled by a string of increasingly bizarre disasters. When the internet, communication and power grid goes down,
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Lockdown by Peter May

May wrote this book over a decade ago, but it was never published until now due to the plot’s implausibility. Despite being primarily a crime story, the plot is set in a post-apocalyptic London at the epicenter of an epidemic that will kill millions of people. As if that weren’t enough, DI. Jack McNeil is confronted with a heinous crime that pushes him to choose between the pandemic and the killers who want to silence him for good.

Lockdown by Peter May

Written over fifteen years ago, this prescient, suspenseful thriller is set against a backdrop of a capital city in quarantine, and explores human experience in the grip of a killer virus.
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The New Wilderness by Diane Cook

In this book, humans dwell in an overcrowded city, and nature is left to its device. Bea and her 5-year-old daughter Agnes are recruited to participate in an experiment to bring the two together, only to discover that the group has a different relationship with nature than they had anticipated and that they are willing to go against their will to protect it. Bea and Agnes must also fight the tide during the battle to keep their mother-daughter bond from deteriorating.

The New Wilderness Editors' pick

“More than timely, the novel feels timeless, solid, like a forgotten classic recently resurfaced — a brutal, beguiling fairy tale about humanity. But at its core, The New Wilderness is really about motherhood, and about the world we make (or unmake) for our children.” — Washington Post
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Junkyard Cats by Faith Hunter

Robotics, aliens, spaceships, and kitties! The perfect recipe for a post-apocalyptic narrative is Junkyard Cats. Unfortunately, it’s only been available as an audiobook thus far. Still, it captures all of the information without rambling at five hours long. This one is for all you tech people who will enjoy the story’s exploration of artificial intelligence and confidential robots in a post-apocalyptic junkyard where shining is pounding a secret.

Junkyard Cats

From the author of the best-selling Jane Yellowrock and Soulwood series comes a tough new heroine who is far more than she seems. Junkyard Cats is the first in a new novella series
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The Species Imperative by Nick Storming

Although Nick Storming does not identify the sickness in his post-apocalyptic world as COVID-19, readers this year may undoubtedly connect to the fear of the world ending due to a lethal epidemic. The only difference is that the Man-Slayer Flu killed 99.99 percent of all men, leaving only a few who wish to repopulate the world. Adam is the last man remaining on the west coast. He wakes up in a research hospital one day. Still, He finds himself in a world without governments, law and order, or a primordial hunger that he doesn’t fully comprehend.

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50+ Best Post Apocalyptic Books You Should Read in 2021

The Species Imperative: A Post-Apocalyptic Pandemic Fantasy Best Values

A Post-Apocalyptic Pandemic Fantasy! Birthed deep within the Amazon rain forest, the Man-Slayer Flu soon spread across the entire the planet. Governments collapsed, billions died, and the world mourned. 99.9999% of males perished and many women. Those precious few men who survived became guinea pigs in the search for a cure as the world crumbled around them.
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A Gift Upon the Shores by MK Wren

A Gift Upon the Shore is set of a generation after a nuclear war. It chronicles the adventure of two survivors as they try to save the last vestiges of civilization: books. The heroes of the story, drawn into battle with one more group of survivors known as the Ark, fight to preserve the knowledge of a lost planet, as well as their humanity.

A Gift Upon the Shore

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, two women seek to preserve the small treasury of books available to them – a gift of knowledge and hope for future generations.
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Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut’s novels have a habit of tackling the most important and pressing subjects of our time. Cat’s Cradle is no exception, and it examines the role of technology in ushering at the end of days. Following the fictional co-creator of the atom bomb, Felix Hoenikker, Vonnegut tackles a serious subject with his trademark humanizing humor and earnestness. This read is an eye-opener regarding how our lives are changing without us realizing it.

Cat's Cradle (Penguin Essentials) by Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut was a writer, lecturer and painter. He was born in Indianapolis in 1922 and studied biochemistry at Cornell University. During WWII, as a prisoner of war in Germany, he witnessed the destruction of Dresden by Allied bombers, an experience which inspired Slaughterhouse Five
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The Postman by David Brin

In the dark and violent aftermath of a catastrophic war, he is a survivor, a wanderer who exchanged tales for food and shelter. When he takes the jacket of a long-dead mail worker to defend himself from the cold on a chilly winter day, fate intervenes. He begins to create his biggest story, of a nation on the road to recovery, with the old, worn uniform, which nevertheless has power as a sign of hope. David Brin’s “The Postman” rounds out the top 10 list. This is a tale of falsehood that turns into the most powerful form of truth. It is a timeless story as urgently gripping as War Day and Alas, Babylon. It is the epic saga of a man who revived the spirit of America through the force of a dream.

The Postman

He was a survivor—a wanderer who traded tales for food and shelter in the dark and savage aftermath of a devastating war. Fate touches him one chill winter’s day when he borrows the jacket of a long-dead postal worker to protect himself from the cold.
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Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

“Alas, Babylon.” Those fatal remarks signaled the end of an era. When a nuclear holocaust sweeps the United States, a thousand years of civilization are torn away suddenly. Tens of millions of people are slaughtered instantly. But one little Florida town was miraculously spared. There, the fight is just getting started, as men and women from all walks of life band together to face the darkness. This novel is a sad, human story from 1959, which was published 50 years ago. Nevertheless, the novel, set in a small Florida community following a nuclear strike on the US, is an instant success. It’s been reissued numerous times, is on high school reading lists, and is always towards the top of lists of the best post-apocalyptic fiction.

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50+ Best Post Apocalyptic Books You Should Read in 2021

Alas, Babylon Best Values

“Alas, Babylon.” Those fateful words heralded the end. When the unthinkable nightmare of nuclear holocaust ravaged the United States, it was instant death for tens of millions of people; for survivors, it was a nightmare of hunger, sickness, and brutality. Overnight, a thousand years of civilization were stripped away.
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The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

Meteor-like objects begin slamming into earth immediately after astronomers see explosions on Mars’ surface. As they explore the English countryside, Martians emerge from their craters in enormous tripods, wiping out army troops with heat-rays. When the order to evacuate London is delivered, everything appears to be lost. However, there is one tiny element that the Martians overlook. H. G. Wells has consistently been credited for popularising time travel in 1895 with The Time Machine. He introduced time as the “fourth dimension” a decade before Einstein’s first Relativity papers were published. In The Island of Doctor Moreau, he envisaged a mad doctor producing human-like beings from animals. This sparked a surge in interest in animal welfare across Europe. It demonstrates how a formula could render one invisible in 1897 in The Invisible Man, recognizing that an invisible eye would not focus, rendering the invisible man blind. The War of the Worlds popularised the term “Martian” and the idea that aliens could attack earth and that an advanced civilization could reside on Mars.

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50+ Best Post Apocalyptic Books You Should Read in 2021

The War of the Worlds (Signet Classics) Best Values

For more than one hundred years H. G. Wells’ classic science fiction tale of the Martian invasion of Earth has enthralled readers with a combination of imagination and incisive commentary on the imbalance of power that continues to be relevant today.
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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Guy Montag works as a firefighter. Firefighters ignite fires where television reigns supreme and literature is on the verge of extinction. His mission is to eliminate the most unlawful of commodities, the printed book, as well as the homes where those books are stored. Montag never challenges the devastation and ruin his actions cause; instead, he returns to his mundane existence and wife, Mildred, who spends her days with her television. But then he meets Clarisse, an eccentric young neighbor who introduces him to a time when people didn’t live in dread. When people saw the world through the ideas present in books rather than the meaningless talk on television. Montag begins to doubt all he has ever known after Mildred commits suicide and Clarisse mysteriously vanishes. He begins to hide books in his home. However, towards the end, when his theft is detected, he is forced to flee for his life.

Fahrenheit 451 #1 Best Seller

Nearly seventy years after its original publication, Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 stands as a classic of world literature set in a bleak, dystopian future. Today its message has grown more relevant than ever before.
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Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke

In this novel, spaceships come out of nowhere over the world’s most populous cities. They are Overlords, an alien race far more technologically advanced than humanity with the goal of dominating the planet. Their demands, on the other hand, are surprisingly beneficial. They want to put an end to war, poverty, and cruelty. Rather than announcing the end of humanity, their arrival ushers in a golden age, or that is what it appears to be. Childhood’s End, Clarke’s first successful novel, was released in 1953 and is now regarded as a classic of science fiction. Many of Clarke’s later writings, particularly the Space Odyssey series, have the dominant topic of transcendence development. The novel was nominated for a Retro Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2004.

Childhood's End: A Novel

Without warning, giant silver ships from deep space appear in the skies above every major city on Earth. Manned by the Overlords, in fifty years, they eliminate ignorance, disease, and poverty. Then this golden age ends–and then the age of Mankind begins….
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Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

A gigantic comet breaks apart and bombards the earth with disastrous results in this bestselling novel by the writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. They include volcano eruptions, worldwide earthquakes, massive tidal waves, and endless rain. However, individuals come together to survive and form a new community as civilization crumbles. Lucifer’s Hammer, first published in 1977, was the first major science fiction novel to attempt to deal realistically with the planetary emergency of a collision. It explored depths of curiosity on a grand scale. It was rewarded with sales considerably exceeding the genre’s standard expectations at the time.

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50+ Best Post Apocalyptic Books You Should Read in 2021

Lucifer's Hammer: A Novel Best Values

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The Disappearance by Philip Wylie

This novel is ideal for fans of The Leftovers and stories that examine what life is like for those left behind after the end of the world. For the people of The Disappearance, everything changes in an instant.  Men vanish from the world of females, and women vanish from the world of men. Men and women learn to forget the gender norms assigned by the old world’s culture as they find themselves in separate timelines, oblivious of what has happened to their friends, parents, lovers, and children. Wylie examines female issues and systemic discrimination in The Disappearance, issues that are unfortunately still pertinent over 70 years after the publication of this addition to the post-apocalyptic genre.

The Disappearance (Bison Frontiers of Imagination)

“The female of the species vanished on the afternoon of the second Tuesday of February at four minutes and fifty-two seconds past four o’clock, Eastern Standard Time. The event occurred universally at the same instant, without regard to time belts, and was followed by such phenomena as might be expected after happenings of that nature.”
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In the Drift by Michael Swanwick

The nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island melted down 100 years ago. The terrain around the reactor is now the scene of not only environmental devastation but also human devastation. It includes vampires and other previously unimaginable beasts, as well as poisoned air and incomprehensible dirt. The lives of survivors on opposing sides of the drift are chronicled in this horrifying tale as they strive to keep their humanity in a new Hell on Earth. “A potent new myth from the realities of radioactive waste,” George R.R. Martin said of the novel, and you know it’s serious when Mr. Red Wedding himself deems a sci-fi horror book “potent.”

In the Drift

Set in America in the 21st century, this is a generation-spanning saga of the fight for power and survival after a nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island. One man must find the power to become the new ruler of a society where radiation has created human mutations and a death zone known as the Drift. Michael Swanwick has also written “Vacuum Flowers”, “Ginungagap”, “The Feast of Saint Janis”, “Mummer Kiss” and “The Man Who Met Picasso”.
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Valhalla by Newton Thornburg

Newton Thornburg creates a compelling dystopian America scenario. America devolves into anarchy following the fall of the government. With towns on fire and the violent Mau Mau gang wreaking havoc across the country, vagabond Walter Stone sets up camp on a lake. As plane crash survivors join the lakeside refugees, supplies run low, and the mansion known as Valhalla begins to tempt those who dwell outside of it. A wealthy junkman and his daughters live inside Valhalla, which is filled to the brim with food and weaponry. Though the refugees are at risk of drowning in the lake between them and the mansion, robbers also threaten the lakeside camp. Whatever decision is made, humanity, as these survivors know it, is quickly vanishing.

Valhalla

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Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

The human species has been reduced to a handful of survivors in this science fiction story. The few people who remain on a deteriorating Earth float through life in an electronically drugged state, with no release or relief in family or art. It’s even illegal to read. Spofforth, an indestructible machine, dominates the husk that the world has left behind, but he yearns for death. The love that humans Paul and Mary Lou have for one another, on the other hand, provides a ray of hope for humanity. Spofforth’s jealousy for the couple’s affections simmers, resulting in an odd and sad love triangle.

Mockingbird (S.F.Masterworks S.) by Walter Tevis

A very different approach to humanity. With the human population heading towards extinction, Tevis creates a most intriguing novel on the future. Androids/robots have become paramount in this book, with a somewhat sinister intent
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BEST & WORST POST APOCALYPTIC BOOKS || RECOMMENDATIONS & REVIEWS 2021

FAQ

 What are the best post-apocalyptic books?

  • Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • world War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
  • One Second After by William R. Forstchen
  • I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
  • On the Beach by Nevil Shute

What is a post-apocalyptic book?

Post-apocalyptic fiction is a subgenre of science fiction. For a book to be post-apocalyptic, it needs to be set when the world has ended, and the characters try to survive and keep life going. The apocalypse can occur with many different scenarios like a plague or war or any other disaster.

What are the characteristics of a post-apocalyptic book?

Post-apocalyptic science fiction books are generally grim, where the apocalypse has drastically altered the state of the planet’s humanity. The landscape in these novels is often bleak with extreme weather conditions or mutation or radiation that affects and kills most of the human race. The novels are meant to make the reader feel a sense of loneliness.

Is post-apocalyptic fiction science fiction?

Yes, post-apocalyptic fiction is science fiction; they are subgenres of science fiction. Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic books are set in a time frame where the earth has been destroyed and life as we know it is ending. Almost all post-apocalyptic books are set in the future.

What was the first post-apocalyptic novel?

Apocalyptic fiction has existed for centuries, with stories going back millennia. One of the first post-apocalyptic novels written was The Last Man. written by the same author who wrote Frankenstein, Mary Shelly. The book was published in 1829, 8 years after Frankenstein was published. The book follows the story of tragic love and the extermination of the human race. More than just a post-apocalyptic novel, The Last Man offers insight into a future against romanticism while also demonstrating the failure of the book’s characters trying to redeem themselves.

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