Horror and Fantasy are the two genres which can make you ponder over things which might not happen in the real world. But the real essence of these two genres is that they expand your horizon of imagination.
Before talking about the best post-apocalyptic books, first of all, we will find out what are the post-apocalyptic books?
Post-Apocalyptic books are the sub-genres of science fiction dealing with the fantasy and horrors of how the world will end. These books talk about the endless different possibilities where the earth would collapse. The apocalypse event may be runway climate, nuclear holocaust, alien invasion or many other ways.
Now, these books really turn out to be a great read. I will help you pick out the best post-apocalyptic books ever.
List of the Best Post-Apocalyptic Books
Here is the list of best post-apocalyptic sci-fi books that will transit you into some other fantasy land.
1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
This heart-breaking 2007 Pulitzer Award-winning book is haunting as well as emotionally shattering. It is the story of a father and son who sets their journey to the coast through the burned lands of America. They have no idea what awaits them at the coast and the critical climatic conditions are playing all the cards against them.
It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, ‘each the other’s world entire’, are sustained by love.
2. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Filled with the satire and bitter irony, Cat’s Cradle is considered as one of the best works of Vonnegut’s. The book narrates the story of a man, Dr. Felix Hoenikker, who is the father of atomic bombs. He has invented an “ice-nine” a lethal chemical which can freeze the entire planet.
In this apocalyptic sci-fi book, you will experience an unforgettable journey.
3. Oryx And Crake by Margaret Atwood
‘Oryx and Crake’ is one of the best post-apocalyptic romance novels and engrossing novel with its narration, ideas, and imagination.
The book chronicles about the genetic experiment which didn’t turn out as it was expected, resulting, a lone human survivor, a boy named Snowman. Snowman mourns on the loss of his best friend, Crake, and Oryx to whom they both loved.
This is a perfect book to witness the imagination so close that it no more remains a fantasy.
4. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
The saints of the dynasty at the Utah Dessert discovers a cache of pre–Flame Deluge data buried in a fallout shelter. The dark and decayed world awakened with the discoveries of the holy relics including the blessed blueprint, the sacred shopping list, and the hallowed shrine.
This is one of the top post-apocalyptic novels to read and search itself – for meaning, for truth, for love – that offers hope for humanity’s rebirth from the ashes.
5. World War Z by Max Brooks
World War Z is set in the times when the world was captured by Zombies, eradicating the human race from the earth. The crisis leads to preserving the first-etched first-hand experience survivors of the apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet.
This post-apocalyptic story is an effective and creative way to survive and fight back.
6. Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven
In this Hugo Award-winning novel, the comets are bombarding on the world, resulting in the worldwide earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, giant tidal waves, and the endless rains.
In this apocalyptic time, humankind runs for survival. The ones who had survived in the new Ice Age are struggling for living and unites to build together a new society which is perilous that no one would ever know.
Lucifer’s Hammer is a disaster thriller and an inspiring sci-fi post-apocalyptic novel.
7. On The Beach by Nevil Shute
This post-apocalyptic book deals with the nightmare of the survivors after World War III. The war ended after the destruction done by nuclear weapons which had almost wiped out the humans from the earth. But, in Southern Australia, there are few survivors who are waiting for an inevitable event and still hoping to find their family and face the consequences together.
On the Beach is a window of reality, peeping into the future and let its readers see the shocking demolition if World War III happens.
8. The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Girl With All The Gifts is a sci-fi novel by M.R. Carey. Melanie a young girl, who lives with other children of her age, is an incredibly intelligent girl with many friends and who loves books. Melanie is like every other normal child but right up until the moment she smells human flesh too closely she turns into a Zombie.
This is the best post-apocalyptic sci-fi fantasy book which is breaking grounds with its distinguished imaginative chronicle.
9. One Second After by William R. Forstchen
This is one of the most realist and the bestseller post-apocalyptic book. One Second after is based on the real weapon, Electro Magnetic Pulse owned by the United States.
The book chronicles about the aftereffects of the weapon, if used, which can literally end the USA in one second. The story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war. It is a dire warning to the country about the future and the end.
10. The Passage by Justin Cronin
The Passage is an enthralling story of a six-year-old girl, Amy Harper. Amy is abandoned by her mother and, pursued and prisoned by the government officials as they perform some experiment. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast decides to secure her after the experiment went wrong. Amy escapes from the prison but realizes that she is the only one who can stop this world from collapsing and can save many lives.
This post-apocalyptic book is an epic and gripping tale which will captivate your mind till the end.
11. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Pat Frank is the author of one of the best classic post-apocalyptic novels of all time, Alas, Babylon.
Alas, Babylon is the story of the world destroyed by nuclear powers and are also the last words after which a nuclear holocaust ravages in America. But a miracle happened and a small town of Florida is the only place which was not affected by the destruction. Men and women in the town try to survive and witness the darkness.
It is one of the first apocalyptic novel of the nuclear age which still remains popular.
12. Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
When the human race was vanished by an unparalleled plague, a man immune to the effects of the epidemic survived. Earth Abides is the tale of the post-apocalyptic events of a man who eventually finds a woman in the barren lands and they both together tries to rebuild the world in the simpler form.
This fantasy post-apocalyptic novel will definitely engross the minds of the readers.
13. Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
Swan Song is one of the best post-apocalyptic fiction books which deals with the battle between the good and evil deciding the fate for humanity.
On the desolated lands of the wastelands, an evil monster with scarlet eye roams in the quest of a girl named Swan who has powers to destroy the monster. Teamed up with few survivors on the earth, it gets interesting to read how Swan will save the world from the monster and his massive armies.
14. The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
Adding on, in the list of the best post-apocalyptic books, The Dog Stars was added after its first publication released in the year 2012 and become a national bestseller.
It is a tale of a lone survivor, Hig who somehow managed to endure the deadly flu pandemic. After losing his wife and friends, he lives in the hangar of an airport with his dog, Jasper and a mercurial, gun-toting misanthrope named Bangley. He takes a risk for a better life when he listens to a voice in the radio transmission and leaves the hangar in the hope of something which is less bad.
15. The Last Ship by William Brinkley
The Last Ship is the post-apocalyptic book which is now turned into a famous TV series. It is a tale of a one hundred fifty-two men and twenty-six women who were sailing in the ocean and were the only survivors of the all-out nuclear war. Sailing in the Arctic Circle, when they reach the shore and realize that they were also affected by the radiations. Things become worst when the fact is revealed that none of the women seems to able to conceive.
Read this fascinating and exciting tale of the apocalypse.
16. The Death of Grass by John Christopher
When the Chung Li virus hits Asia, mass starvation and riots were caused followed by many deaths. The virus has wiped out all the rice crops, wheat, barley, oats, rye: no grass crop is safe, and global famine threatens. As it mutates and spreads in London, John Custance and his family decide they must abandon their London home to head for the sanctuary of his brother’s farm in a remote northern valley.
This is one of the best post-apocalyptic books which will make you dive into this fascinating tale.
17. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
The Day of the Triffids is the most famous catastrophe sci-fi classic novel of the twentieth century. This book is also considered among the top post-apocalyptic books of all time.
It is a chronicle of an apocalyptic event of the meteor shower which turned England into a place of sightless people. Bill Masen and Josella, managed to protect their eyes during the meteor shower and now they both decide to leave the place and find a world where things are normal like they have known. The story plot takes a twist when they have to cross the Triffids, plants who are killing people.
18. The Stand by Stephen King
Stephen King’s vision of apocalyptic events has made this book more fascinating and enthralling for the readers. The Stand is a sci-fi horror novel which chronicles a tale when a patient escapes from a biological experiment, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon resulting in the loss of many lives.
Eventually, people have to choose between two groups to save their lives. One of a 108-year-old woman who believes in God and appeals to make a peaceful community. On the other hand, a dark man who delights in chaos and violence. The choice of the survivors will decide the fate of humanity.
19. Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
Honored with many awards, Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban is amongst the best post-apocalyptic sci-fi books. Set in the times, thousands of years after the nuclear war devastation.
People are living a harsh life in a small area where a boy named Riddley Walker tries to recreate the weapon which did such massive destruction in the ancient world. With this book, Russell Hoban presents an extraordinary feat of imagination and style.
20. I am Legend by Richard Matheson
I am Legend is a story of an only human on the planet, Robert Neville. The rest of the world has turned into bloodthirsty nocturnal creatures who are destroying the human race. By the day he becomes a hunter and in the night he barricades himself in his home and prays for the dawn.
This tale of a last man in the world is a post-apocalyptic horror sci-fi book is also adapted for the various movies.
21. The Postman by David Brin
The Postman is the dystopian post-apocalyptic novel published in the year 1985.
Originally, a student at the University of Minnesota, a boy named Gordan Krantz travels to Oregano. He finds a bag full of unopened letters and a uniform of a postal serviceman. He gives people the letter in return for his supplies. People believe to those lied letters and thinks that aid would be coming to their way from the Restored United States.
This compelling novel is a must-read post-apocalyptic novel of all time.
Here we come to an end with our list of the best post-apocalyptic books. You must read these books and enjoy the imagination of these writers who had written the end of the world in different creative and exciting ways. You will be captivated with the narration of the destruction of the world and yet you will be delighted to read all these post-apocalyptic books.
Do mention your favorite Post-Apocalyptic book if we have missed any, below in the comment section.