Recommend some good post-apocalyptic/survivalist fiction?

I read George Stewart’s *Earth Abides * and loved it. Simple, interesting, focused on the fascinating details of survival.
I read Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake and was riveted until I got to the end–and then felt majorly cheated, because I’d just spent an entire book reading what felt like one short story’s worth of content, and I really wanted to know what happened after the end.
I read David Brin’s The Postman and hated it. Cheesy, unrealistic, generic–the worst sides of sci-fi, IMHO.

Now I’m reading Robinson Crusoe, and it’s pretty cool.

I think I’ve isolated the elements that I like about this genre: the nitty-gritty details of how people go on with their lives: where they get food, water, shelter, companionship, the dangers they face, and so on. (I also recently read the Little House on the Prairie series and loved it, largely for the same reasons, but I don’t know if I can really count it in this genre.)

Does anybody have some recommendations for some other good post-apocalyptic/survivalist fiction I should read?

Try Alas, Babylon, by Pat Frank. It remains one of my favorites of this genre. What do you do when the salt runs out, or the nearsighted doctor breaks his glasses? People died simply because there was no electricity to keep the refrigerators running that kept their insulin fresh(Book was from the late 50’s)

Malevil, by Robert Merle. It’s been around a while, but it goes into the type of detail you mention. Excellent book.

Lucifer’s Hammer * - both by Niven & Pournelle

Dies the Fire
The Oceans of Eternity Trilogy - S. M. Sterling

I wish I could find a Jack London story I read as a teenager. It was called The Scarlet Plague and was about what happened to human society after a devastating plague wiped out most of humanity. The few survivors had to scrounge about to survive, and brutal individuals could bully and cow the weaker people at will. It was a good Jack London yarn, and damned if I have never been able to find a copy since I lost that old book. If you do happen across it, you might like it as much as I did.

Damn! Beat me to it! This is a really great story that takes place here in Florida and was required reading for us in (IIRC) about 9th or 10th grade. Like you said, salt was a biggie, both for health and for preserving meat. Tabacco was great for trading purposes and of course, sugar.
Story is really well written and believable. Highly recommended.

I loved The Scarlet Plague! Here you’ll find the full text online.

Davy by Edgar Pangborn. One of the best SF novels ever written, though it’s once again out of print. Luckily, you can pick up used copies at A collectors’ edition is now available from Old Earth Press

Just so you know, I love reading Margaret Atwood, but she never ends her books. They are all like that. Oryx and Crake is perhaps the worst. I have a friend who won’t read her because THERE IS NO CLOSURE!

Another good post-apocalyptic novel, an oldie again, it The Purple Cloud, by M.P. Shiel. That book still haunts me.

Harlan Ellison’s short story A Boy and His Dog is a classic in the genre, but I don’t know what collection(s) it’s in.

I don’t know that I’d necessarily call The Stand good post-apocalypic fiction, but I found it an interesting read. Just don’t get the extended version.

pinkfreud, thank you so much for that link. I haven’t read that story for thirty years, and it holds up very well. I read it in an hour and a half, since it’s short. It’s placed right here in the bay area, so I was easily able to keep track of the different tribal locations. I copied and printed it out so that Mr. Brown may read it too.

tiltypig, you may like it as well.

AB&HD is great! As was the movie version with Don Johnson & Jason Robards!

I’d call The Stand good post-apoc fiction. But is the original version available in new copies?

I’ll just toss out a book by John Christopher titled No Blade of Grass. A plague wipes out all grasses on Earth, including things like wheat and other food grains. Mass starvation on a global scale.

Would John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids count or is having a meteor shower blind almost the entire human race just as a bunch of mobile carniverous plants get loose just too silly?

Hmmm… Just found this site which is dedicated to post-apocolyptic fiction. Looks interesting but I haven’t been through it too much yet.

Luke Rinehart’s Long Voyage Back.

Link includes an excerpt.

There was a series out years ago that I enjoyed…but for the life of me I can’t remember either the titles (they were all similar…a theme) or the author. Basically they were about this guy who used to be in the Special Forces (of course), who survives a nuclear war and finds himself in command of a rebel group of American libertarian types. They end up rebuilding a libertarian type paradise out in the south west somewhere and end up fighting (and losing too) to newly reconstituted American government.

Well, it sounds far fetched (they were a bit over the top in retrospect), but I did enjoy the books when I was in college…no idea though the titles or author unfortunately.

Another series I like thats sort of Post-apocalyptic begins with A Hymn Before Battle…its about an alien invasion that nearly wipes out the human race on Earth. Its pretty good if you enjoy military sci-fi.


**Steel Beach: John Varley **Aliens trash Earth, we’re stuck on the moon.

Dr. Bloodmoney: Philip K Dick He wrote a bunch of post apocalyptic California stuff. I like this one best.

Dinner at Deviants’ Palace: Tim Powers An early work, so it’s rough. Where you gonna party in post WWIII LA?

Cold As Ice: Charles Sheffeild The Earth/Belt war is over, let’s pick up the pieces.

A canticle for Leibowitz: Walter Miller Engineer worshipping monks of post-apocalyptic Utah.

I loved The Stand - I think I’ve read it four times now. I was bored silly by A Canticle For Leibowitz. I’ve had the sequel for years now without bothering to read it. Mockingbird by Walter Tevis is also good. Battlefied Earth by L. Ron Hubbard was great - the movie was such a disappointment. I’ve also read Swan Song[ub] by Robert McCammon - it was okay.

That link has an extensive listing of PAF. Must bookmark.

xtisme, I think the series you’re thinking of is the Deathlands series.

I don’t know…that doesn’t sound familiar, but its been a long time. It was a fairly fun series for some light reading though IIRC. About on par with your Battlefied Earth suggestion, which I also liked for light reading.


Another book by John Christopher - well, a series - is the Prince in Waiting series - post-apocalyptic, with science outlawed by the priests. Pretty good. Actually, a lot of Christopher’s work fits in this mold.
On a more survivalist note, there’s Heinlein’s Tunnel In The Sky - a group of schoolkids on a training exercise get teleported to the Wrong Place. It follows them surviving on a fairly hostile planet - and then when they’re found again. Excellent.