Dystopian and Prepper Fiction Books Past and Present Selections That You May Not Have Heard Of For Adults and Teens

Avatar Samantha Biggers  |  Updated: January 31, 2020
Dystopian and Prepper Fiction Books Past and Present Selections That You May Not Have Heard Of For Adults and Teens

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There is a lot of prepper fiction out there and a lot of dystopian novels. In this post I am going to cover some books I think are worth mentioning that are not always given the credit they deserve in the mainstream press and book review. In some cases this is due to the fact that they are older books that have been lost to history. I encourage you to share in the comments your own book choices that are not well known like “One Second After” but that are worth adding to a prepper library.

There are just a few to get you started. I think it is good to look beyond the bestseller lists in the New York Times and take a look in the past too.


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This is the book that inspired 1984. Zamyatin’s book was banned in his native Russia but published abroad. The book concentrates on the story of D-503, a spacecraft engineer living in a city of glass once as the One State. Everyone is watched over by the Bureau of Guardians. Smoking and drinking are banned and people are only allowed to lower their curtains if they are using a pink slip (what you get when sex is authorized by the state).

This book takes some time to read and understand but I recommend it for those that are fans of Orwell. The book was published in the 1920s in most places but not actually published in Russia until 1988 although there was a Russian translation published in other areas of Europe well before that.

On The Beach

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After nuclear World World III wreaks havoc on the Northern Hemisphere, citizens in Australia await the radioactive fallout that is headed their way. The book highlights how each person copes with the fact that there is no escape from the massive fallout around the world.

This book was originally published in 1954 when there was a lot of fear about an all-out nuclear war. My Dad told me about it years ago as he described how they had to do drills in school and were told updates by school teachers about bombs being tested.

While some critics say that Neville Schute paints a picture that nuclear war and incidents are not survivable, it is still a thought-provoking book about what if. It also goes to show just how long we have been living in fear of the big one via nuclear technology.

The World Made By Hand Series

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This series is written by James Howard Kuntsler who wrote “The Long Emergency”. The 4 book series takes place in Washington County, NY after the collapse. There is no oil or electricity for the most part. The books show how a town and region adapt to the new reality and go on with their lives in a world with no modern medicine such as antibiotics.

If you want a series that concentrates on after a big disaster rather than the disaster itself then it is a good series. I personally have a hard time getting into some “prepper fiction” books but I found this series was easier. It is a good series to start with if you are not sure what books to read.

I like how Jim lets the characters reminisce about their life before because it highlights how people can change and adapt under trying circumstances. The partier from college that went to clubs could become a carpenter, farmer, etc under the right circumstances and with some effort.


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This book is a classic. I remember that it was in my grade school library. Gary Paulsen wrote a lot more books featuring the main character. This is an excellent book on survival for teens and mature grade-schoolers. The character is relatable and the reading level is not so challenging that kids will be put off.

In Hatchet, 13 year old Brian is flying on a small plane to see his Dad after his parent’s divorce. He is upset and trying to come to terms with what life is going to be like in the future. When the single-engine plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness, the pilot is killed and Brian is alone. The rest of the book chronicles his 54 days in the wilderness beginning with his despair and showing how he gained skills and survived where others would not.

I encourage you to take a look at all of Gary Paulsen’s work as he has something to offer those of almost any age.

Fahrenheit 451

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I just read this book this past year and it was particularly horrifying to me because I love books and despise censorship. The title refers to temperature that books burn at. In the future, firefighter Guy Montag’s main job is to go burn books and the homes and businesses of anyone caught harboring books. One moment I found chilling was the robot dogs that remind me so much of some of the videos I have seen of the robots that are actually being used today for some tasks. At least robots today don’t have poison needles they can inject you with.

I think people used to have to read this book in school? I was homeschooled so I did not. Even if you read it years ago for a class, I recommend revisiting it as a grownup.

Lord of the Flies

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In this tale, children are left to survive on their own after their plane crashes on an uncharted island. What happens is a story of survival and betrayal that has become a classic book that is often read in classes even today. For many, it is horrifying to read how the boys go from wonder and awe to choosing a leader to breaking into different groups for better or worse.

There is also a feature film for those that prefer to watch the drama. Of course like any film adaptation, be ready for some differences between the book and film.


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Note: This book might be pretty scary for some to read at the moment as we watch Wuhan coronavirus spread to other countries.

When I first read the description of this book I was like, great, another typical pandemic book. I decided to try it though via my Book of the Month Club membership and I thought it was very interesting. The book chronicles the story of a young Chinese woman working at a company in New York. When Shen Fever starts spreading life goes on but as more and more people die off, Candence_finds herself the only person working at her building. She also takes pictures of the city, posting to her blog as long as she can.

She stays until she cannot any longer and then takes off to join up with some other survivors as they make their way to “The Facility” where they will live. While there is some zombie-like theme to some of this, I would not consider it a zombie novel. I hope the author does another book. Shen fever makes victims get caught in loops that make them essentially automatons. For example, someone might set and clear their table until they die. They are not on bloodthirsty rampages like in a regular zombie book.

I would love to read a sequel to see what the main character does next with so few people left.

Brave New World

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After reading Brave New World, I can understand why it was banned back when it is published. It certainly describes a lack of moral values that while disturbing now, were totally unacceptable to print according to some people back when the book initially hit the shelves.

In many ways, Brave New World, is more frightening than 1984. Years after the novel’s publication, Huxley published “Brave New World Revisited”. I have a copy of this book but I have not read it. Honestly “Brave New World Revisited” is disturbing to read given the state of society today.

V For Vendetta

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While I have yet to read this book myself, I have seen the movie and thought it was compelling. This is actually a graphic novel. V For Vendetta was a comic before it was a movie.

Since books are usually better than the movie, I think it is worth including V For Vendetta in this list since I am not sure how many people realize that it is based on a book. V For Vendetta is perhaps one of the more influential books on this list in some ways since after the book the number of people protesting in Guy Fawkes masks increased significantly indicating that a lot of people were paying attention to the film at least.

Golden State

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While this book definitely picks on California a bit, I found it an excellent read. In fact, the Golden State, is said in the book to be the state formerly known as California. This was another Book Of The Month Club selection that I came across. Some may find it reads a bit like a warning for what could happen if a Utopian ideal is pursued. Like a lot of good dystopian fiction, this book seems plausible in some ways. It also shows that sometimes being the outcast is not a bad thing.

In the Golden State, lies are illegal and the person telling one is punished severely. Speculators are people that can sense lies as a web around people. They are the only people authorized to lie themselves to catch others. The problem is that the whole Golden State is based on lies and the permanent Record, which is manipulated by the state itself.

The Postman

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In a post-apocalyptic landscape, bands of people survive but there are some loners about too. Gordon Krantz is trying to stay warm and fed however he can. Sometimes he trades story for what he needs. One day he finds an old post office vehicle and in it the skeleton of a postman, still wearing the uniform and all. He is cold and takes the jacket and cannot help but take the mail too. This propels him forward as he takes on the role of a postman for the “Restored United States”. As he works on establishing mail routes between communities, he starts to give others hope and unite them.

Plenty of people have seen the movie, “The Postman”. I remember seeing it in the movie theatre when I was 14. My Dad never went to movies but we did for this one. I remember liking the movie myself but it never had the popularity of a lot of big-budget films and was considered a flop at the box office.

I highly recommend giving the book a try even if you found the movie trying at best. The movie would have been a lot better if they had stuck to the book I think.

It can be fun to explore books from different eras in publishing but there are also some notable authors that are producing prepper fiction that you will find mostly online or at some preparedness stores if you have one in your area.

Here are a few links via Amazon to some authors that are quite popular in the genera and worth checking out. From what I can tell you can get most of the books from the authors below in ebook or paper format with some even being available as audiobooks.

Franklin Horton

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His series include “The Locker Nine” Series”, “The Borrowed World”, and “The Mad Mick” Series. He has a ton of other books too. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can get straight to reading a lot of his books. Franklin is also a great prepper to talk to as well. I have chatted with him more than once online and he has always been very nice and knowledgable. He is getting ready to release the latest book in his Mad Mick series within the next month.

CA Rudolph

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CA Rudolph is another prolific writer of prepper fiction. His series include “The What’s Left of My World Series” and “The Gun Play Novels”.

Steven Bird

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Steven lives in Tenessee where he farms and is an active prepper. His series include “The New Homefront” and “Society Lost”. He is also the author of many other stand-alone prepper novels.

A. American

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This is an author that is really popular among the preparedness crowd. Perhaps the most well known of A. American’s books is “The Going Home Series”. He appears at a lot of preparedness events and expositions so if you attend some of those you might just see him there.

What are your favorite prepper fiction or dystopian books that people may not know about?

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8 Responses to “Dystopian and Prepper Fiction Books Past and Present Selections That You May Not Have Heard Of For Adults and Teens”

  1. Please don’t forget James Wesley Rawles who wrote Patriots (fiction prepper book). He also wrote How to Survive the End of the World as we Know it (non-fiction reference recommendations for survival if the SHTF). I would also add Ken Gallender wrote a great fiction prepper series starting with Jernigan’s War and John Grit who wrote an awesome 5 book fiction series called Apocalypse Law.

  2. I’ve read all the above recommendations from readers, except for Stranded. I recommend them all too.

    I especially liked One Second After. It highlights the difficult moral decisions that a small town is forced to make after TSHTF: Who makes the decisions for the community? How to fairly allocate limited supplies of food and medicine? (Everybody loses a lot of weight, and some die for lack of medicine.) Should weapons be owned by individuals, or contributed to the town’s self-defense corps? There are 2 sequels, a yr. and 2 yrs. after The Big One.

  3. Warday by Whitley Streiber and James Kunetka is another good one not often mentioned. Theresa Shaver’s ‘Stranded’ series is another good one, it is YA, but well written/researched.

  4. Don’t forget “Alas, Babylon”. It was written for a different generation and is about nuclear war, but still is a very good book to read. It gave me some ideas to incorporate into my prepping for an EMP or similar situation.

    • I loved this when I first read it as a teenager and even more so over 30 years later.
      The change in status that the moonshiner experiences as gasoline becomes increasingly unavailable is almost metaphorical.
      Highly recommended.

  5. Don’t forget “One Second After” by Williams Forstchen. Best one I’ve ever read on EMP, and it got me started reading “prepper” books. I’ve now read most of the ones you’ve listed and many, many more. My Kindle is so full of them that my doctor thinks I’m a little unhinged! Thank you for the list.

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