Though I have a rather sizable pile of unread material, I’m vastly devoid of a good futuristic, humanity-threatening, apocalypse-type novel. I really love those stories about a post or impending life-as-we-know-it-is-finished disaster. Any recommendations?
You could try Spin, which I thought was pretty good. Mind, it’s not so much a Skynet-style apocalypse, but a very slow end of the world. Still might be worth a try if you haven’t read it already.
Kim Stanley Robinson has taken a few cracks at imminent doom:
Nuclear Holocaust - “Three Californias” series
Global Warming run amok - Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below , and Sixty Days and Counting.
Bubonic Plague gone way way worse - The Years of Rice & Salt (this one is more alternate history than futuristic though)
Assuming you’re OK with zombies and don’t mind something that’s set in near-present as opposed to totally futuristic, you might like World War Z. It’s not a great literary work, by any means, but it’s a really interesting twist on the whole zombie invasion genre.
Thanks for the responses guys! I’ve heard of World War Z and have been curious about it for some time. I may have to finally pick it up. I didn’t know the author was Mel Brooks’ son. That kicks it up a notch in my book.
There’s a 40 page preview for Spin here. I’m officially intrigued. Officially.
The “Three Californias Series” looks awesome. Definitely the sort of thing I’m into. I can’t believe I haven’t heard of Kim Stanley Robinson. Looks like she has a lot out.
There’s also a book I remember reading in high school (but was too immature/stoned to appreciate) about a world in the distant future after a nuclear war. Everyone had odd name/number combinations like “Equality1523” (or something). At some point the protagonist discovered an old lightbulb and figures out how to make it glow, but gets denounced by whatever powers are in charge as a heretic and is cast off from society. Eventually he finds ruins of old New York (or some major city) along with the requisite love interest. That’s about all I remember. Any help?
For some reason, post-apocalyptic scenarios seem to abound in adolescent literature. I remember in school we had to read books like Alas, Babylon and Z for Zachariah. I didn’t care much for those, but I loved the Future as Medieval Past books of John Christopher, like the Tripod trilogy, Prince in Waiting trilogy, and the plain ol’ apocalyptic works Empty World and No Blade of Grass.
Assuming you want more grown-up literature, have you read The Road by Cormac McCarthy? I haven’t read it yet, but if it’s good enough for Oprah…
If you truly want a grim and pessimistic story, try Through Darkest America, by Neal Barrett, Jr. It’s a tale of life in America some generations after a nuclear war devastates the world and kills off all animals. Americans have reverted to living a 19th century, frontier-style life. Barrett does nastiness like no one else.
You could also try:
On the Beach (the last days of the world–a nuclear holocaust in the Northern hemisphere has been killing everyone but the fallout is taking a while to drift down to Australia and finish everyone else)
Earth Abides (a plague wipes everyone out while a researcher is spending some time in the mountains, he comes back to Berkeley to discover that civilization has ended, he starts to build it back up again)
Oryx and Crake (Margaret Atwood, Twelve Monkeys-ish pandemic tale)
I Am Legend (actually just a short story in a collection–last guy on earth, hanging out in city populated only with vampires)
Head over to webscriptions.net, they have a free library of SF, try anything that looks interesting. If you like, they also sell their entire line as ebooks.
I find that it is a blast reading samples online, Baen gives you a lot of sample to try out.