Post-apocalyptic novel recommendations?

Looking for recommendations for a relatively modern novel dealing with how society reacts to a post apocalyptic situation, be it nuclear war, asteroid, some other collapse of society. No real preference from whether it’s told from the position of an average joe or leaders.

Would rather avoid testosterone fantasies about everyone having a missile-equipped car, driving around, shooting each other… would prefer a more realistic look about people just trying to survive in such an environment.

Not that conflict in general is bad, of course - I just don’t want stuff that’s more a testosterone violence fantasy than a serious post-apocalyptic story.

Davy by Edgar Pangbourne. This is none better.

How “relatively modern”? My own favorite post-Apoc work (Walter Miller’s A Cantlicle for Leibowitz, and may I take this chance to praise it highly) is from 1957.

John Christopher virtually made a career out of post-apocalyptic novels, although many of them are aimed at adolescents. They’re all set in England. I liked The Death of Grass, which fits your description.

In the fiction - sci/fi genre:

The Stand (Steven King)

Swan Song (Robert R. Mcammon)

Not sure if they’ll fit your criteria though

Lucifer’s Hammer

One of P.D. James’s few non-mysteries is Original Sin from about 10 years ago, and set in the early 21st-century. Even the “apocalypse” part of it isn’t what you’d expect.

Though I haven’t read it yet Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson’s recently released Butlerian Jihad is their latest prequel to Frank Herbert’s Dune series and the earliest in the chronology; presumably it covers how the world in Dune* came about.

M.P. Shiel’s “The Purple Cloud,” from about a century ago.

You might have to look on Bibliofind or some other such engine, though, because I believe it’s out of print (and I’m not parting with my copy).

There’s always Alas, Babylon and On the Beach.

Also fiction - Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank.

Alas, double post! :slight_smile:

The paranoid folks at have a handy guide of recommended post apocalyptic enjoyment:

I don’t know abut that site, but the reviews connect directly to the Amazon reviews so check the links.

I recommend “The Long Tomorrow” by Leigh Brackett and “Lucifer’s Hammer” by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven.

Other Suggestions:
[li]Ariel by Steven R. Boyett[/li][li]Any of the Gen/Sime books by Jacqueline Lichtenberg[/li][li]The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (Kind of)[/li][li]The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk[/li][li]A boy and His Dog by Harlan Ellison[/li][/ul]

I thought Earth Abides was pretty good.

I’ll second that, definitely! Great, great book.

Kalki by Gore Vidal is a really good read.

A few suggestions from the more metaphorical side:

James Morrow has done a couple of post-apocalyptic novels, although they’re more fable-like than science fiction. This is the Way the World Ends describes the last man on Earth being put on trial by the unborn generations of mankind after a nuclear war. The Eternal Footman is the third in a loose trilogy about the repurcussions of finding God’s three mile long corpse floating in the mid-Atlantic. The first two books (Towing Jehovah and Blameless in Abaddon) are technically pre-apocalyptic, but are also vastly superior to the final novel.

Amnesia Moon, by Jonathan Lethem, is about a world destroyed by a fundamental change in the nature of reality. Or possibly the main character is just crazy. Not Lethem’s best work, but still pretty good.

More classically speaking:

Harlan Ellison’s short story, The Deathbird, is more or less in this genre, and is simply phenomenal. A Boy and His Dog, also by Ellison, is good, too.

John Wyndham did a bunch of good PA novels. Day of the Triffids has giant man-eating plants. The Chysalids has mutant psychic children. Both are excellent.

The Postman by David Brin (the book not the movie, which I haven’t seen but which was pretty widely panned)


That’s my personal favorite.