Perhaps ironically, the end of the world is something humans seem very keen on predicting and witnessing, at least is history is to be believed. Those who are seeking Armageddon should probably rejoice to be alive in a time where it’s more easily achieved than ever before.
From lethal viral breakouts to nuclear warfare (and without forgetting the slight chance of cosmic invaders), we have an embarrassing amount of choices to bring about the end of the world, and needless to say, this is very much reflected through our popular culture.
As far as literature is concerned, I think it’s fair to say the post-apocalyptic genre is at the peak of its popularity, and has the potential to ascend even higher in the coming decades. After all, I think we’re all curious to imagine what our planet might look like after we fulfill the deadly prophecy of being human.
Many different authors have taken different approaches to exploring the idea of a post-apocalypse, from simply using it as a setting for a grand adventure without further thought to examining it through the lenses of philosophy, psychology, and general human behaviour.
In here you’ll find the post-apocalyptic science-fiction books which I believe to be worthy of reading, regardless of which direction they choose to tackle the subject from. As a matter of fact, I think we all ought to partake in this type of literature regularly, lest we forget how good we have it now, and how bad we could make it for ourselves in the future.
“When The World Turns Dark” by Jack Hunt – The Price of Overreliance
Jack Hunt has ascertained his status as one of the most prolific authors in the post-apocalyptic and hard science-fiction genres with over fifty novels to his name, and recently he has done so again by beginning a new series, After it Turns Dark, with the first novel titled When The World Turns Dark. The plot follows an older man in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and his daughter in Florida, as they are both forced to make difficult decisions when faced with the total chaos following an EMP pulse.
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“Survive the Darkness” by Ryan Casey – The Remaining Few
Ryan Casey is fast becoming a respectable voice in the world of science-fiction, having written numerous bestselling series over the last few years. Survive the Darkness is perhaps his most renowned work, telling the story of three people during a sudden EMP attack. Two of them are caught in the mayhem of it all and are trying to survive, and the third one is a prisoner who just stepped out of his cell with his sights set on vengeance.
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“Moon of the Crusted Snow” by Waubgeshig Rice – Rebirth from the Cataclysm
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes Short Summary Waubgeshig Rice is one of the few modern authors with the benefit of having first-hand knowledge and experience of life as a member of the First Nations in Canada, something he sought to share with the world through his second published novel, titled Moon of the Crusted Snow. It tells the story of a small northern Anishinaabe community which finds itself completely cut off from the outside world because of an apocalyptic event, having no one but themselves to count on for survival in an unforgiving icy wasteland. Read more …
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“The City Where We Once Lived” by Eric Barnes – A Home in Emptiness
Eric Barnes put his name in the hat reserved for those concerned about climate change in 2019 when he published The City Where We Once Lived. The novel follows a narrator in an unnamed city split in two by the desolation of climate change: the dying North End, and the still surviving South End. Part of the few thousand living their lives out in the North, a disruption arrives threatening what little they have in a sea of nothing.
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“Blackfish City” by Sam J. Miller – The Frozen Tomb of Mankind
Sam J. Miller may have been on the cusp of winning literary awards for much of his career, but in 2019 he broke through once again, winning the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for his science-fiction novel Blackfish City. Taking us into a future ravaged by war and climate changes, we follow the fate of various denizens of humanity’s last surviving city, constructed in the Arctic Circle, and perhaps more importantly, on the brink of collapse… though not everyone can see it.
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“Wanderers” by Chuck Wendig – The Sleepwalking Saviours
Chuck Wendig was never one to let a good and original idea go to waste, and in his novel Wanderers he presents a truly unique idea, something which happens less and less often in this world. In essence, it tells the story of an ever-growing flock of sleepwalkers journeying across America, their friends and family protecting them along the way, and the society around them which begins to collapse, some even seeking their deaths.
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“LIFEL1K3” by Jay Kristoff – The Robotization of Humanity
Jay Kristoff has emerged on the literary scene only a few years ago, but has already penned a number of award winners, amazing readers time and time again with his creative prose.
With his new book LIFEL1K3 he marks the beginning of a new trilogy, Lifelike, and takes us to the heart of a post-apocalyptic United States of America where a young girl named Eve lives under radioactive skies. Though her life had never been easy, it has recently been turned upside down over the course of a day, as gangsters, murderous fanatics, her dying grandpa, telekinetic powers, and androids passing as humans all come crashing down on her.
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“Days of Danger” by Jack Hunt – Sanctuary of the Brave New World
Jack Hunt has taken us on quite the thrilling ride in the first two volumes of his EMP Survival Series, following a group of four strangers forced to band together in order to survive the electric apocalypse sending everyone back to the stone age. In the third chapter of the series, Days of Danger , we are once again presented with our beloved protagonists: after surviving a harsh winter and mother nature in all its lethality, the group becomes divided as rumours surface of a compound in East Texas offering hope and refuge. Is the uncertain promise of safety worth the risk in this new world order?
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“Days of Chaos” by Jack Hunt – The Order of the Village
Jack Hunt has presented us with his personal depiction of what America would look like in the event of an electronic apocalypse in his EMP Survival Series, focusing on the survival of individuals tangled in the whole mess. In the second book titled Days of Chaos, we follow our four protagonists once again as they attempt to maintain a fickle order in Lake Placid, a task much easier said than done with people at each others’ throats, a string of murders as well as looters and raiders on the prowl. Neutrality can only last for so long, and in this new society sides demand to be taken.
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“Days of Panic” by Jack Hunt – Leaving the World Behind
Jack Hunt has quite a bit of experience in penning post-apocalyptic stories, often fantasizing about how people would react to different scenarios. In Days of Panic he takes us into the heart of New York as four strangers find themselves in need of each other in the wake of a devastating EMP blast, completely annihilating the country’s electric grid. A bike messenger, a support representative, a homeless man and a convict; the clock is ticking for all of them as the city that never sleeps falls into chaos and disarray.
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“Iron Gold” by Pierce Brown – Shattered Dreams of Yesterday
Pierce Brown has certainly regaled our senses with the Red Rising saga, giving us science-fiction fans a whole new world to drool over. In the fourth book of the series titled Iron Gold, we continue following Darrow on his very long journey as he undertakes a last and desperate mission in an attempt to stop the endless war that clutched the land since the great revolution. Simultaneously, three other fates intertwine elsewhere throughout the worlds, preparing to shape Darrow’s future in ways none of them could suspect.
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“The Final Day” by William R. Forstchen – America Tearing at the Seams
William R. Forstchen is an expansive author whose many series have tackled a wide range of genres and ideas, often offering the kinds of perspectives on our society very few could dream up. In The Final Day, the third book in the John Matherson series, we follow the titular hero and his community as the United States is on the brink of tearing at the seams with a new government planning to give away large portions of the country to Mexico and China. Since the EMP strike plunged the country into the dark ages the constitution stopped taking effect, but John and his gang aren’t exactly willing to let a new autocratic regime roll in and shatter what little is left of a once-great country.
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