End of the World/Apocalypse Books (Redux)

I need stuff to read over the holidays. I know there have been threads on this before, in fact I Googled one recently here and have started looking at the long list of great books recommended in that thread. A good thread on this genre really shouldn’t slip away though.

I’m wondering if there have been any recent additions to this genre or ones that weren’t mentioned below that are a “must read.” Or, would anyone want to help me pick out some of the best here?

The Stand - Stephen King
Alas, Babylon - Pat Frank
Swan Song - Robert McCammon
Moonseed - Stephen Baxter
Wolf & Iron - Gordon R. Dickson
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Lucifer’s Hammer - Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven
Mother of Storms - John Barnes
The Rift - Walter Jon Williams
Dying to Live - Kim Paffenroth
The White Plague - Frank Herbert
I Am Legend - Richard Matheson
Urth of the New Sun - Gene Wolfe
A Canticle For Leibowitz - Walter Miller
Blindness - Jose Saramago
On the Beach - Nevil Shute
Forge of God - Greg Bear
The Last Ship - William Brinkley
Galapagos - Kurt Vonnegut
The Other End - John Shirley
Earth Abides - George R. Stewart
Dies the Fire - S. M. Stirling
The Postman - David Brin
The Pesthouse - Jim Crace
Damnation Alley - Roger Zelazny
Oryx & Crake - Margaret Atwood
Gideon’s Wall - Greg Kurzawa
The Children’s Hospital - Chris Adrian
The Mote in God’s Eye - Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Battlefield Earth - L. Ron Hubbard
Dying Earth - Jack Vance
Dr. Bloodmoney - Philip K. Dick

My absolute favorite post-apocalyptic book is Death of Grass by John Christopher. He’s a British author. What I love about non-North American authors is that they generally dwell on the negative side of human nature in post-Apocalyptic books. I’ve read some of the books in the list above, and all the ones I’ve read are by North American authors and they’re very optimistic and cheery about what will happen. And I have to admit, I’ve lived in America long enough now that I share that optimism now.

But, what I love in my post-apocalyptic books is that bleak look at human nature.

Unfortunately Death of Grass in that link is available for sale at over $700, and over $100, and is not readily available. I read it myself from a library when I was 12. I wish I’d bought a copy of it. It’s also sold as No Blade of Grass, which is a lot cheaper for some reason. It’s still very expensive though. I’d still recommend it if you can find it for a reasonable price because it’s the best I’ve read.

John Christopher also has some other great post-apocalyptic books, but none that are as good. A Wrinkle in the Skin takes place after a massive earthquake. Empty World is about a kid who is one of few immune survivors after some kind of global virus. The Tripods is a trilogy that takes place after aliens have taken over the earth and place mind controlling devices on people’s heads when they hit puberty.

For other recommendations:

Battlefield Earth - For love of god, do not read this book. It has such incredibly bad writing, it is an excruciatingly painful read.

The Mote in God’s Eye - Excellent book, highly recommended, but I wouldn’t classify it as a post-Apocalyptic book, merely as Scifi.

The Postman - Not one of Brin’s better books. It’s hopelessly optimistic, but I still liked it. I’d read Brin’s others books first though, which are much better, like Startide Rising and Uplift War. (Ignore the Sun Diver).

Lucifer’s Hammer - Pretty good book. Pournelle and Niven write entertaining books, and this one is no exception.

Folk of the Fringe by Orson Scott Card is also a decent post-apocalyptic book, but only because of what it taught me about Card himself, and about Mormons in general. Very interesting if you’re interested in mormon beliefs.

The Last Ship - William Brinkley, is terrific. That would be my vote for a must read.

I also really love Oryx and Crake by it doesn’t live in my imagination as an end-of-the-world/apocalypse novel.

Hey Rock8, is this the same book in ebook format? http://www.scribd.com/doc/2586284/The-Death-of-Grass-by-John-Christopher

It’s only 131 pages, but freely downloadable, which would be a nice score if that’s the whole book.

Awesome! That is indeed the book. I just read the beginning and end to be sure. And yes, it is a relatively short book.

How is this list missing the excellent Left Behind series?

Actually those were mentioned in the other thread Bahimiron but there seemed to be mixed reaction on the series. Are they good? And is this the same series with the christian addin to the plot?

Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham!

The Stand is one of my favorite books across all genres. I would say snag that, especially if you have any affinity for King. That said, I know plenty of folks that do not read him, but enjoyed the book.

I have read the Stand, it’s one of my favorite books by far from King. It’s pretty much my only dip into the genre though and that has me wanting to try out more of these.

Oh, no, they’re dreadful. I was being jerky.

You might consider James Morrow’s This Is The Way The World Ends.

Childhood’s End - A classic

Moonseed was also fun - by Stephen Baxter

I’m a big fan of his books. He tells very big stories.

I’m surprised that Galpagos is in over Cat’s Cradle. A much better apocalypse narative, and a better novel overall IMO. Also it invents a religion, and stars an indexer as one of the main characters.

But it’s hard to go wrong with any Vonnegut, really.

Gene Wolfe’s “Seven American Nights” has become one of my favorites.

I’ll happily second Cat’s Cradle. The moment where the apocalypse actually hits still tends to give me chills, as the clipped simple prose really works for the utter hopelessness of it.

I liked “The Anvil of Stars,” the sequel to “Forge of God”, but it’s further afield than the list’s gist, more a musing on how terrible justice and vengeance must by necessity be on the cosmic scale, when the responsibilities of enacting it fall immediately on the personal scale. Plus bonus points for space warfare where lasers going pew-pew would be seen as adorably cute, and the weapons are more about making the fabric of the universe itself weep.

I love Cat’s Cradle, but it’s more of a pre-apocalypse novel and a poke at religion.

Philip K. Dick’s “The Penultimate Truth” isn’t bad, if you like his style.

Those were just suggestions from the old thread. I’m happy to check out the suggestions you guys are offering as well. With Amazon linking used books now I can happily buy a boatload.

If you like Alien Invasion kinds of apocalypse, I would suggest

Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

I’ve read the short story version of Zelazny’s Damnation Alley. It’s a good read, and I imagine the novel is similarly enjoyable.