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Even as a child the end of it all captivated me. It’s hard to pinpoint where it came from. It could have been the Terminator, Predator or maybe it was X Men: The Animated Series. It all led me to post-apocalyptic books.
The obsession with things like UFOs and asteroid impact came soon after.
The interesting thing about all of this was that I understood the odds were stacked against these events actually coming to fruition. That must have been what kept me out of prepping for so long. Still, I spent many hours in my youth either watching or reading about the end of the world as we know it.
My mother later introduced me to Dean Koontz and my father taught me about H.G Wells. This was another strange journey in and of itself.
Through the years I have read some great books about collapse and the aftermath. These stories were piloted by powerful and thoughtful authors. This is likely what led me to write for a living.
It wasn’t that I was interested in crafting the English language but more the profound effect that words and pictures could have a human being.
The Children of Men
We are 1 1/2 years away from the setting of this post-apocalyptic fiction novel. The Children of Men is based around an interesting idea that is strangely in the news pretty often.
Infertility in the human race.
While this story is undoubtedly focused on the fact that the people of the UK cannot reproduce anymore, it all stems from a ruthless dictatorship that was allowed to prevail because of a public who no longer cared about politics.
This is another great book that features the first-person journal writing. There is something about the intimate thoughts of a first-person view that really works with the post-apocalyptic narrative
Dean is a master of suspenseful, perverted, horror. His early works were just as sick as they come. Though as of late he has kind of leveled off a bit.
The Taking was a bit of a departure from his style. This book centers around a woman waking up amidst a terraforming event that is presumably alien in origin.
The very world is changing around them and there is “Something heavy” above them. So far away they cannot see it but so large they can feel it. Its an astounding look at the end of it all and one that I never hear people talk about.
The Last Man
From 1826, The Last Man is easily the oldest post-apocalyptic book on our list.
This is a very interesting book that takes bold leaps into the future. It falls a little short as the year 2073 is pretty reminiscent of the 1820’s.
The story is centered around a political power struggle but soon introduces the plague that is spreading through Europe and the Americas. It gets much worse from then on.
If you want a taste of the end times that is nearly 200 years old this book by Mary Shelley is worth the read.
The Time Machine
Look, I know you read it but it was probably in 6th grade! The time has come to revisit this classic and one of the most dynamic dystopian civilizations in print form.
The Traveler visits the year 800,000 AD and meets two very different groups of beings. As you struggle to understand the relationship between the Eloi and the Morlocks you are taken by The Traveler around this new world.
For me, there was nothing more exciting than reading about The Traveler as he forged beyond 800,000 AD and further into the future.
By Sean Mclaughclan
This post-apocalyptic novelette is just 10,000 words but its a deep dive into the world following the great collapse.
Not only is The Scavenger an in-depth look at the setting and personalities that might exist in a dystopian scenario, but it was also an incredible marketing ploy! This book was released as a lead into the author’s Toxic World series.
The story follows Leon who is an inhabitant of this devastated landscape. While Leon’s story will not make any Top 10 lists for post-apocalyptic fiction, I enjoyed the focus as a fan of this type of content.
There are also some unique enemies that are not quite zombie but add another layer to Leon’s struggles.
V for Vendetta
This is a post-apocalyptic graphic novel. If you look to post-apocalyptic books to stir this part of you, well, graphic novels are just as effective.
Instead of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, this story centers around a hard, religious, right-wing fascist dictatorship. The leadership disappears those who dissent. There is a curfew and the news and food supply are both manipulated by the government.
V, the hero of the story, is a terrorist fighting against this radical fascist dictatorship. He rescues a woman named Eve and the plot thickens substantially from that moment on.
It’s not a prerequisite that you must partake in post-apocalyptic fiction to be effective in disaster preparedness. I feel pretty certain that it helps motivate. I always look at it as wargaming!
However, if you are as much a fan of the genre as you are of the action of prepping itself, you will enjoy every book on this list.
Do take some time to jettison from this world and into one of post-apocalyptic fiction. There is a lot of fun, and often learning, within the pages. Just don’t fall under the siren’s spell.
Jordan Smith, the host of A Family Affair on The Prepper Broadcasting Network, says it best: Prepare for your family, not your fantasy.
What is your favorite post-apocalyptic novel and why?
James Walton writes and podcasts at The Prepper Broadcasting Network.