I really enjoy post apocalyptic stories. I find the question “what would you be willing to do to keep your loved ones alive?” very intriguing. I haven’t read many of them lately, but I have read enough that it’s hard to pick which ones to share.
One of the first books I ever read in this genre was The Stand by Stephen King. This story is scary because a pandemic could easily happen with the ease of world travel and our dense population. It’s also terrifying to see how quickly some people choose to do bad things to keep themselves alive.
The Road was a great story that felt both real and heartbreaking. The father is working so hard to keep his son alive and safe. I can’t imagine trying to raise a child in such a world.
Kunstler’s World Made By Hand series is a bit of a more gradual decline. The people who have survived a flu epidemic have adapted fairly well and are making their way in the new world. They aren’t above violence though.
If you like zombies, and I do, this is probably the best written zombie book I’ve ever read…and I’ve read a lot. Max Brooks approaches the story as a reporter with individual stories following the pandemic in both geographic and chronological progression around the globe. (I was blown away to discover that Max Brooks is the son of Mel Brooks, as in Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein and Space Balls!)
Though not true zombies, Amanda Hocking’s Hollowland series is along those lines. This is a young adult series, and the writer began her career by self-publishing online. She has found well deserved success. I loved the main character’s grit and determination. She will do anything to protect her brother and even manages to befriend a lion that helps protect them.
Another great YA series is the Ashfall series by Mike Mullin. The supervolcano under Yosemite erupts and sends the North American continent into chaos. The main character is a 15 year old boy trying to get from Des Moines to his family in Indiana. I’ve read the first two books in the set and loved them. I hope to catch up on the series this summer.
One of the most powerful stories about a world gone wrong is Life As We Knew It and the follow up books in the series by Susan Beth Pfeffer. An asteroid hits the moon and shifts it closer to Earth. This results in tsunamis and massive flooding. Then later on, as the world reels, volcanic activity skyrockets plummeting the globe into a nuclear winter (of sorts). The story follows a 15 year old girl and her family in Pennsylvania. The second book is about a family in New York City and the third book brings the two families together. These families rely on the power of love and their devotion to one another to see them through.
I could probably come up with 20 more books like this that I think are good enough, or unique enough to tell you about. I would have recommended another volcano triggered apocalypse story if I could recall the name, and there’s an odd one by a classic author, again my brain is not working–where 100 years has passed since a virus wiped out most of the educated class. The servants survived in greater numbers and the result is an uneducated group of people who no longer even speak English correctly. I wish I could think of the name!