August 9, 2009

List of Apocalyptic Books

I have always enjoyed stories of the apocalypse -- before the apocalypse, during the apocalypse, and post apocalypse. The apocalypse may be from war (man against man, machines against man, aliens against man), natural disaster (global warming or cooling, polar shift, flood, storm, plague, drought, earthquake, volcanism), space disaster (comet, nova, meteor, orbital change, solar flares), or experiments gone awry (black hole creation, nanobot replication, genetically-engineered organisms). I enjoy all types of apocalyptic fiction.

I maintain a list of apocalyptic novels divided into four groups: I have read, I own but have not read, I want to acquire & read, and I might want to get later. The list reflects my own tastes. It is not intended to be comprehensive. In general, I exclude books for children and teens, books intended to be humorous, zombie books (although I am including a few samples), and books whose reviews indicate that they are very-poorly written. Also, the older a book is the less likely I am to include it.

Shown below is my list as it is today. Perhaps it will evoke memories of books you have read or introduce you to books you would like to read. I hope you enjoy the list. The books in bold font are the books I enjoyed the most. Please let me know in the comments if you notice any errors. Thanks.

Apocalyptic Novels

I have Read

1898 The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
1901 The Purple Cloud by M. P. Shiel
1933 When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie & Edwin Balmer
1949 Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
1951 The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
1952 Daybreak - 2250 A.D. by Andre Norton
1957 On the Beach by Nevil Shute
1959 A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
1959 Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
1959 Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald
1960 Dark December by Alfred Coppel
1962 The Drowned World by J. G. Ballard
1965 The Genocides by Thomas M. Disch
1969 Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny
1976 The HAB Theory by Allen W. Eckert
1976 Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
1977 Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
1980 IQ 83 by Arthur Herzog
1981 The Survivalist #1: Total War by Jerry Ahern
1986 O-Zone by Paul Theroux
1986 This is the Way the World Ends by James Morrow
1988 Dark Advent by Brian Hodge
1990 Winterlong by Elizabeth Hand
1993 The Deus Machine by Pierre Ouellette
1995 Blood Crazy by Simon Clark
1995 Distress by Greg Egan
1996 Into the Forest by Jean Hegland
1996 The Third Pandemic by Pierre Ouellette
1997 Einstein's Bridge by John Cramer
1998 The New Madrid Run by Michael Reisig

I Own but have Not Read

1980 After the Fall edited by Robert Sheckley
1999 Moonseed by Stephen Baxter
2006 Plague of the Dead: The Morningstar Strain by Z. A. Recht
2007 Plague Year by Jeff Carlson
2007 The Road by Cormac McCarthy
2008 Infected by Scott Sigler
2008 Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams

I Want

1936 Wild Harbour by Ian MacPherson
1955 The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
1955 The Year of the Comet by John Christopher
1956 The Death of Grass by John Christopher
1960 The Drought by J. G. Ballard
1962 The World in Winter by John Christopher
1965 A Wrinkle in the Skin by John Christopher
1974 Walk to the End of the World by Suzy McKee Charnas
1976 The Survivors by Terry Nation
1977 Empty World by John Christopher
1979 Down to a Sunless Sea by David Graham
1983 The Burning Book by Maggie Gee
1984 Emergence by David R. Palmer
1985 Blood Music by Greg Bear
1985 Children of the Dust by Louise Lawrence
1989 Deus Ex Machina by J. V. Brummels
1998 Moonfall by Jack McDevitt
2003 The Third World War by Humphrey Hawksley
2004 The Long and Winding Road by Jeffrey J. Hoy
2005 Angel Dust Apocalypse by Jeremy Robert Johnson
2005 It's Only Temporary by Eric Shapiro
2005 The Empire of Texas & The Star of India by Rodger Olsen
2006 Burning Stones by Steven Mills
2006 Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles
2006 Summer of the Apocalypse by James Van Pelt
2007 Last Light by Alex Scarrow
2007 Blackjack by Lee Singer
2008 Contagious by Scott Sigler
2009 One Second After by William R. Forstchen

Maybe Later

1954 I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
1957 The Black Cloud by Fred Hoyle
1961 Dark Universe by Daniel F. Galouye
1964 Davy by Edgar Pangborn
1967 Ice by Anna Kavan
1978 The Stand by Stephen King
1980 Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
1984 Warday by Whitley Strieber & James Kunetka
1985 Fiskadoro by Denis Johnson
1985 The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
1987 After the Zap by Michael Armstrong
1987 Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
1987 The Last Ship by William Brinkley
1988 The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper
1989 The Folk of the Fringe by Orson Scott Card
1990 A Gift Upon the Shore by M. K. Wren
1994 Vanishing Point by Michaela Roessner
1995 Mother of Storms by John Barnes
1996 The Killing Star by Charles Pellegrino & George Zebrowski
1997 The Alien Years by Robert Silverberg
2000 The Slynx by Tatyana Tolstaya
2003 Clade by Mark Budz
2003 Idlewild by Nick Sagan (Carl’s son)
2003 Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
2004 Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
2004 Earth, the New Frontier by Adam Celaya
2004 The Snow by Adam Roberts
2006 World War Z by Max Brooks
2007 The Book of Dave by Will Self
2007 The Pesthouse by Jim Crace
2008 Flood by Stephen Baxter
2008 Night Work by Thomas Glavinic
2009 The Rapture by Liz Jensen
2009 The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

Copyright © 2009 by Jon Maloney


  1. Thanks for this. Love post-apocalyptic fiction, made a few additions to my bookmooch wishlist. From your maybe later list, I highly recommend A Gift Upon the Shore. Handmaid's Tale also good.

  2. Thanks, Nolan. I'm glad you found some titles of interest. I haven't kept this list up-to-date. Apocalyptic books I have read since publishing this list include: After the Fall, Blizzard, Drought!, Moonseed, Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse, Phoenix Island, and The Long Tomorrow. Apocalyptic books I have mooched include: Blood Music, Moonfall, The Third World War, Mother of Storms, The Last Days of America, The Colony (Vigliante), Earth (Brin), Last Light, and The Death of Grass. Good stuff! - Jon