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Old 08-31-2014, 02:53 AM
Martha-Shumway is offline
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Post-Apocalyptic Book Suggestions?


I recently read Cormac McCarthy' s The Road and really enjoyed it. Though I'm a pretty voricious reader I've never really read any post-apocalyptic fiction before and I really enjoyed it! A friend suggested Robert McCammon' s Swan Song. I felt it was perhaps overly-long, but it was an fun read and a real page-turner. I'm hoping you astute Dopers could suggest other compelling books in this genre. I read Stephen King's The Stand umpteen years ago but don't really feel the need to revisit it. I'm hoping to find well-written books that don't insult the reader's intelligence (no zombies please). Any suggestions?
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Old 08-31-2014, 04:29 AM
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Hi Martha,
I recently wrote a popular science book about how you could rebuild civilisation after an apocalypse (www.the-knowledge.org). Here's my recommended list of the very best post-apocalyptic novels (no Zombies!):
http://the-knowledge.org/en-gb/best-...alyptic-books/

Lewis
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Old 08-31-2014, 05:53 AM
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Here are a bunch of threads on the topic.

(taken from the book recommendations sticky. There may be more threads linked later in that that I didn't link).
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Old 08-31-2014, 08:44 AM
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Drowned World - ages since I read it, but I loved it.

Last edited by chiroptera; 08-31-2014 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LewisDartnell View Post
Hi Martha,
I recently wrote a popular science book about how you could rebuild civilisation after an apocalypse (www.the-knowledge.org). Here's my recommended list of the very best post-apocalyptic novels (no Zombies!):
http://the-knowledge.org/en-gb/best-...alyptic-books/

Lewis
I just wanted to say I enjoyed your book.
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:03 AM
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Earth Abides and Emergence are my two favorites. The City of Gold and Lead is the first in a trilogy of sort-of post-apocalyptic stories (post-alien invasion).
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:08 AM
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I enjoyed Lucifer's Hammer when I read it many years ago (asteroid collision story).
Also if you want an image of a world that is slowly dying I would suggest Make Room Make Room by Harry Harrison. It is the basis of Soylent Green but the movie is a much thinner story than the book (and Soylent is just Soy and Lentils in the book, aka cheap food).

Last edited by Quimby; 08-31-2014 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:26 AM
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I know you said no zombies but John Ringo thought about and solved the logical issues with your typical zombie novel.
His books aren't for everyone, but I love his stuff
Anyway the first book in the series is To Sail a Darkling Sea
(Full disclosure in the second book in the series there is a minor character named after me )
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Old 08-31-2014, 10:34 AM
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A brand new, really different and pretty excellent one is Bird Box by Josh Malerman. No zombies, I promise.
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Old 08-31-2014, 11:08 AM
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A brand new, really different and pretty excellent one is Bird Box by Josh Malerman. No zombies, I promise.
Could you give the cliff's notes version of the premise? The Amazon description is not clear. I get a sense it is like Stephen King's Cell (which BTW I couldn't recommend for this thread. Awesome idea and set up but goes off the rails after that) but not sure.
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Old 08-31-2014, 11:33 AM
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Canticle for Lebowitz.

You can read it in an afternoon.
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Old 08-31-2014, 11:41 AM
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Metro 2033 fits. Post-apocalypse; what's left of humanity is living in the Moscow subway stations.
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Old 08-31-2014, 12:04 PM
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Thank you to everyone for such interesting suggestions! I apologize profusely for not thinking of checking the really useful Book Recommendation compilation thread (I sure won't overlook that resource again.) It looks like the Dope has a bunch of great options for me, and please know how much I appreciate you guys!
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Old 08-31-2014, 12:44 PM
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I just wanted to say I enjoyed your book.
Cheers, thanks very much! Do add your thoughts to the book's Discussion page: http://the-knowledge.org/en-gb/discuss/ - what do _you think would be the most important knowledge to preserve if all else is lost...?
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Old 08-31-2014, 03:57 PM
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Canticle for Lebowitz.

You can read it in an afternoon.
That's my favorite example of the genre, too.
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Old 08-31-2014, 05:13 PM
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Could you give the cliff's notes version of the premise? The Amazon description is not clear. I get a sense it is like Stephen King's Cell (which BTW I couldn't recommend for this thread. Awesome idea and set up but goes off the rails after that) but not sure.
The story is divided between present and what happened five years ago.

Not too spoilerish, but...
SPOILER:
Five years ago something invaded the earth and people who see them can't cope with what they're seeing and go insane, committing violent acts or gruesome suicide. To avoid that, people cover up their windows and don't go outside unless they're blindfolded.

Now our heroine has just decided that her children, both age four, are finally old enough for them to risk traveling to a place where there are other people. It's a long hard journey by boat blind-folded.
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Old 08-31-2014, 06:21 PM
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L Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth, very old school pulp type sci fi in that the science ain't so good and the prose not much better but the dang book will grow on you, nothing to do with Dianetics or the awful Travolta movie. Daniel F Galouye's Lords Of The Psychon, also old school but very optimistic and maybe accidentally a meditation on classic (unwritten) Buddhism.
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Old 08-31-2014, 06:43 PM
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Having read all the usual post-apocalyptic suspects, I think Richard Herley's Refuge is probably the smartest and best thought out. It doesn't hurt that it's a fast-moving, razor-sharp adventure tale, either.
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Old 08-31-2014, 07:55 PM
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Canticle for Lebowitz.

You can read it in an afternoon.
Doesn't appear to be available in ebook format. Bummed!!
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Old 08-31-2014, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by PorchePine View Post
Canticle for Lebowitz.

You can read it in an afternoon.
Meh. Didn't like it, myself.

I suggest War Day by Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka, a travelogue about the aftermath of a limited nuclear war between the US and USSR; The Last Ship by William Brinkley, about the sole surviving U.S. Navy warship after a fullscale WWIII and the new society its crew struggles to create (very different from the TV series it inspired); and, of course, the classic On the Beach by Nevil Shute, about the slow dwindling of humanity as postwar radiation covers the globe.

All very different; all very good.
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Old 08-31-2014, 08:54 PM
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I'll recommend A Canticle for Liebowitz
Civilization collapses, and an order of monks springs up dedicated to preserving one mans grocery list.

Last edited by Apocalypso; 08-31-2014 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 08-31-2014, 09:37 PM
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I've started reading Lucifer's Hammer. I initially thought I would go for some basic nuclear aftermath, but the asteroid scenario sounded pretty interesting. I'm not too far into it yet but I think it was a good choice, and I appreciate the suggestion. I was disappointed to discover Canticle for Liebowitz isn't available in e-format as it has received several suggestions. Many other books mentioned in this thread are now in my wish list. Thanks again to everybody. You've really broadened by horizons!

Last edited by Martha-Shumway; 08-31-2014 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 08-31-2014, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
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Canticle for Lebowitz.

You can read it in an afternoon.
It's like 350 pages. Are you kidding?
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:38 AM
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I'll recommend A Canticle for Liebowitz
Civilization collapses, and an order of monks springs up dedicated to preserving one mans grocery list.
Seriously? Do people even read a thread before replying? It was the in the post JUST BEFORE YOURS!!! In fact, it was in BOTH of the posts just before yours!!

(although, I'll give credit for good post/username combo)

Last edited by Tim R. Mortiss; 09-01-2014 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 09-01-2014, 08:30 AM
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Alas, Babylon, by Pat Frank, is from 1959, a bit dated, but still a great book.
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:40 AM
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Because I forgot about this one until the second book showed up on my Kindle today, the Apocalypse Triptych - a trilogy of books, each with short stories about the apocalypse. It's got stories from authors I'd read before, like Seanan Maguire and Hugh Howey, as well as authors who were completely new to me.

The End is Nigh - these are set just before whatever the events might be. I first picked this up as a free book of the month on my Kindle and the stories stuck with me so much that I bought it. Not all the stories are great, but enough of them drew me in that I pre-ordered book 2.

The End is now. The apocalypse has begun. I've only read the first 2-3 short stories in this so far, but am definitely enjoying it.

The third book is The End has Come, is scheduled for March, 2015.
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Old 09-01-2014, 03:37 PM
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You might like a new trilogy called The Last Policeman, by Ben H. Winters. It's about a rookie cop in New Hampshire who is still trying to solve murder mysteries even though an asteroid will soon strike the earth and destroy life as we know it. The first book begins six months before impact.

Other newish books I'd recommend:
Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-century America, by Robert Charles Wilson.
Sleepless, by Charlie Huston - society collapsing due to the spread of an illness that causes people to be unable to sleep.
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Old 09-01-2014, 05:40 PM
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I had a great talk with my father today. He is truly an unusually wonderful man, now in his late 80's. He was drafted out of high school into WWII. Armistance was declared while he was way to the Philippines and his group was diverted to become part of the occupation forces in Japan. I enjoyed explaining the quality of The Straight Dope message boards to him. He was impressed and intrieged and I shared with him this thread I had started. Though his memory can be difficult he didn't have any hesitation in recommending On The Beach. He read it "hot off the presses" as he put it, and even this late in his life it was obvious what a profound impact it had on him. This will definitely be my next book. I'm looking forward to reading it through his eyes and reflecting the time period in which it was written. He was both surprised and impressed that the title had appeared in this thread. Sincere thanks to all.
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Old 09-01-2014, 06:54 PM
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On the beach was one of many end of the world as we know it books from 1950s and 60s. You know back when school kids in the US practiced getting under their desks and kissing their ass goodbye.
The Last Ship
Alas Babylon
Are two others that have been mentioned already
Even RAH dabbled in this with Farnham's Freehold and The Sixth Column.
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Old 09-01-2014, 07:47 PM
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Seconding A Canticle for Liebowitz and Lucifer's Hammer. And I strongly recommend to you The Passage and The Twelve by Justin Cronin, which features the added bonus that the third of the trilogy is scheduled for release later this year.
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Old 09-01-2014, 08:24 PM
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You could try Souls in the Great Machine The first in a trilogy - The Amazon blurb isn't the best description unfortunately.
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Old 09-01-2014, 09:11 PM
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Davy by Edgar Pangbourn. A forgotten classic of science fiction.
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Old 09-02-2014, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
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Doesn't appear to be available in ebook format. Bummed!!

There is a really a great radio drama version available for download if you are interested.
https://archive.org/details/ACanticleForLiebowitz
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