Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction Novels

I’ve been in the mood to read some novels with the theme of survival after an apocalypse, or in the ruins of some sort of futuristic society. Something along the lines of Lucifer’s Hammer, The Stand or The Postman. Corniness is no problem! What are some good suggestions in this line?


Alas Babylon is a good one.

Small town in Florida survives after most of the country is nuked.

Pat Frank’s Alas Babylon is one classic of the genre. Nevil Shute’s On the Beach is another. There’s also the recent Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling.

On the beach by Nevil Shute is simply… disturbing. One of the best books I’ve ever read.
Another vote for Alas babylon.
Swan Song is a mixture of fantasy, science fiction and horror. It’s also a great book.
Earth Abides is another good one.
A canticle fo lebonwitz (I am sorry if I got it wrong, my copy isn’t nearby), is anotehr must read, (don’t bother with the sequel).

Arc Light by Eric L. Harry is a good one dealing with the aftermath of a nuclear war, although it’s mostly a military thriller. I don’t even like that sort of book but it really drew me in from page 1 because it’s very well-written.

I was coming in here to suggest Lucifer’s Hammer but I see the OP has already mentioned that one. That’s a classic.

Yes, do read Alas, Babylon. Also read Earth Abides. My father told me back before television programs shut out those on radio, there was an audio presentation of the latter. Wouldn’t have the slightest idea of how to find it, or if the recording even still exists, but that would be cool to listen to.

I also have something of a passion for post-apocalyptic stuff. One of my favorites, though not strictly an apocalypse, is Arslan by MJ Engh. It starts after an unknown general from a tiny Eastern European nation has managed to take over much of the world without firing a bullet. It takes place entirely within a small town in middle America where the general sets his headquarters.

It all depends on how apocalyptic you want your apocalypse.
War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells (the parts of Earth we see are pretty well trashed)
Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (ditto)
Revolt in 2100 by Robert A. Heinlein (USA is taken over by a theocracy)
Fallen Angels by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Michael Flynn (ice age on Earth)
Footfall by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle (aliens invade)
The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle (a far future where the “First Empire” has fallen and a new one is rising)–together with The Gripping Hand might be the finest 1-2 punch in Science Fiction.
Apocalypse Array by Lyda Morehouse (haven’t read it but it has 5 stars on Amazon)

Comic books and role-playing games, of course, have apocalypses (apocalypii??) by the dozen.

And then there’s always The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin :slight_smile:

On the Beach was a book? I gotta read it. I thought the movie was good, although others hated it.
The Seventh Day By Joy Dettman. I personally think it’s her worst book so far though.

Poul Anderson’s Tau Zero. You can’t get much more apocalyptic than living through the Big Crunch and the Big Bang! :smiley:

Some earlier threads. . .

One other novel I’d mention is “Shelter” by Dan Ljoka, published in the early 1970s. There’s absolutely nothing special about it, basically one guy and a bunch of women (led by a matronly bull of a woman) in a shelter after the big kaboom. What I find more interesting than the novel is that I can find no other information on the author, no other novels or anything.

LORDS OF THE SWASTIKA, the only novel by 1930s-40s SciFi pulp artist Adolf Hitler, presented in Norman Spinrad’s THE IRON DREAM.

In a similar vein, “Andrew MacDonald”'s (actually William Pierce) THE TURNER DIARIES. :eek: :eek: :eek:

Oryx and Crake - but its not in the least corny.

I’m not sure I’d count A Canticle for Liebowitz under the same category as, say, The Stand. Both are post-Apocalyptic, but Stand has more to do with the immediate struggle for survival and reforging some kind of society. Canticle, on the other hand, deals more with the circular nature of humanity and a reflection on how we repeat past mistakes.

Seconding the reccomendations for A Canticle for Liebowitz, and On the Beach.

I’d also like to add Wolf and Iron by Gordon Dickson. A post apocalypse novel that is unusual for having a purely social and economic collapse - no war, no nukes.

William Gibson’s ‘Sprawl’ series (Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, and a few short stories) makes mention of at least one large scale war that involved nukes in it’s past, but it doesn’t really fit into the typical post-apocalyptic genre as it was decades before the stories and civilization has not collapsed (or has rebuilt). Anyway, the timeline of the stories have changed from one novel to the next, Neuromancer mentions that a certain family that has been living in orbit for 6 generations (since the novel was written in the early 80s and Gibson may have been expecting people living in orbital habitats within a couple of decades, it could be set in the late 21st century though a 22nd century setting seems more likely), yet Count Zero has a character say that WWII occurred only 100 years before, and is set after Neuromancer.

To be fair, that’s not really post-apocalyptic. it’s about events leading up to a self-induced apocalyse that in the book was a “happy ending” :rolleyes: . Certainly a good book about how twisted the human mind can get. Scary.

Also scary, I recomend “Ape and Essence” by Aldous Huxley.

And Phillip K. Dick’s “Deus Iras”.

And once you’ve read all that, H.G. Well’s "In the Days of the Comet’. In which he puts forth an apocalyptic scenerio that results in…everyone coming to their senses and behaving properly for a change.

Yes, the whole Universe has its Apocalypse! Except for our heroes, of course. (I still think it would make a great movie!)

I’ll just put in another vote for The Mote in God’s Eye - both humans and Moties have had their turns.

The Fifth Millennium Series: A set of related novels by S.M. Stirling, Shirley Meier and Karen Wehrstein. (Some are solo, some co-authored.) Set on Earth, about 5000 A.D., long after some apocalypse has destroyed industrial civilization. The most advanced civilizations are at a late-medieval or Renaissance level of technology. In atmosphere, really a sword-and-sorcery series; the main characters are bisexual warrior women, and there are elements of magic and psionics, although they don’t play a crucial role.

Also by Stirling: The Peshawar Lancers. A comet hits Earth in the 19th Century, causing an abrupt mini-ice-age which makes farming impossible, except in the tropics. Most of the populations of Europe and America die of starvation. The British upper and middle classes flee en masse to India, where they establish themselves as a kshatriya (warrior) ruling caste or sahib-log – and get pretty thoroughly assimilated to Indian culture in the process. The story opens in 2025, when the British-Indian Empire has become the world’s premier industrial power. Other powers are France-Outre-Mer (the French Empire in North Africa), and Russia, which has been converted to a new Satanic religion that worships and practices extreme cruelty. Very colorful settings, lots of action!

Oooo… I love post-apopalyptic books! I’ve read just of all of those mentioned and then some. Some good, so just so-so. A really good one is The Last Ship by William Brinkley.