Recommend me some good "end of the world" novels

I loved “Earth Abides” By Stewart (one of my favorite books)
“The Stand” by King was ok, but I wasn’t all that excited about the spiritual side of it.

What are some good EOTW novels which focus more on what happens to the world after man has left? Especially things like nuclear war or disease, not focusing on the spiritual side of things.


How about:

“Lucifer’s Hammer” by Larry Niven

“The Last Ship” by William Brinkley

“The Postman” by Brin

“On the Beach” by Nevil Shute

“Farnham’s Freehold” by Robert Heinlein.

Down to a Sunless Sea David Grahm

Millenium John Varley

In my mind the best has to be Childhood’s End by Arther C. Clarke.

Of course Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles uses it as a backdrop but does not use it as the central theme of his book.

At least one of Vonnegut’s novels also deals with it. I believe it was Cat’s Cradle. There could have been more from him though.

Alas, Babylon - kinda-dated tale of the aftermath of nuclear war, but if you’re a completist, add it to your list.

The ones I was going to bring up have already been mentioned. So I’ll just second David Brin’s The Postman (very good book, even though the Costner movie sucked), Heinlein’s Farnham’s Freehold, and Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle.

Another pretty good one just occured to me - Spider Robinson’s Telempath.

Oh, and Joe Haldeman’s excellent Worlds and Worlds Apart duology.

Does I Am Legend count? And wasn’t The Postman more of a “collapse of government” novel instead of one about mass global death?

I’ll second I Am Legend. That was a great one. It isn’t quite nuclear, more like disease. And it’s got moronic attacking vampires who think that they can fly- beat that.

The Wind From Nowhere by JG Ballard

The End Of The World News by Anthony Burgess

Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban

Oh yess… Earth Abides… one of my favourites. And The Wind from Nowhere.

And Telempath… Spider Robinson wrote several other novels set around the same events, including Deathkiller (1982, 1987; Baen Books, Riverdale, NY, USA; ISBN 0-671-87722-4) and Lifehouse (1997; Baen Books, Riverdale, NY, USA; ISBN 0-671-87777-1). Deathkiller was first published as two books, Mindkiller and Time Pressure.

And what was that series of British novels about a Hothouse Earth, where there were spiderwebs between the Earth and the moon, and the few remaining humans lived in terror of the jungles?

Some of my nominations:

The End of the Dream by Philip Wylie
(1973; DAW Books, New York, USA; ISBN 0-87997-900-3).
The world ends in ecological catastrophe. A heartbreaking story, yet I highly recommend it.

Blood Music by Greg Bear
(1985; Ace Science Fiction, New York USA; ISBN 0-441-06796-4)
Microscopic intelligent life-forms start colonizing humans and the rest of the earth, leading to a total restructuring of the planet. The ending reminds me of Childhood’s End in some ways.

City by Clifford D Simak
(1952, 1980; Ace Science Fiction; New York USA; ISBN 0-441-10626-9)
Humans march into the future, change, and vanish, leaving their robots to carry on, serving Earth’s inheritors… and wondering…

Mother of Storms by John Barnes
(1994; Tor Books, New York, USA; ISBN 0-812-53345-3)
With a changing climate, storms become worse and worse, until a series of gigantic storms starsa to wipe the Earth clean of civilization.

If you want something different, try **Not Long before the End ** , an anthology of upbeat end-of-the-world stories, edited by Robert Sheckley. My favorite is Philip Jose Farmer’s entry, in which God gets Cecil B. DeMille to direct the Apocalypse. The get Harla Ellison to do the script, because he’s the only one who’s not afraid to argue with God.

It’s not a COMPLETE end-of-the-world novel, because there’s a nuclear war AND an aftermath, but Swan Song by Robert McCammon has always been a favorite of mine.

Chris W

This Is The Way The World Ends by James Morrow is… different. There are some graphic descriptions throughout so it may not be a good book for the squeamish.

That’s the one I was going to mention. Much better than The Stand.

P.D. James The Children of Men.

I’ve read Lucifer’s Hammer, The Stand and Swan Song. I highly recommend all three.

I’d also recommend:

Moonfall by Jack McDevitt

Shiva Descending by Gregory Benford and William Rotsler


Would The Giver by Lois Lowry qualify?

Kalki, by – ah, hell, who’s it by? [amazon amazon] Ah, yes: Gore Vidal.

Pretty implausible, I think, but an interesting read.

The Time Machine, by HG Wells, sorta fits.

Galapagos, by Kurt Vonnegut again. Pretty funny stuff.

Empty World, by John Christopher. A weird old young-adult novel that could almost occur in the same world as The Stand, only in England.