Favorite Survival or Apocalypse Novels

I first read it in the 1980s when It first came out. I love it so much I bought the unabridged version that was recently issued on IBooks. By reading these suggestions I realize that I am really into end of the world stories. My wife says I thrive on disaster. That’s not good!!!


At some point there was a shift from utopian stories to dystopian stories.
Someone has probably done a dissertation on it.

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An interesting one I just read is “Lock In” and its sequel “Head On” by John Scalzi. Its a sci-fi police procedural, but it takes place about 25 years after a pandemic that at first seems like the flu infects most of the global population and kills or disables a couple percent of people. A lot of the backstory about the virus spread is especially interesting now.

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Nah I think it’s perfectly fine but I’m in the same boat. I’ve been looking at my books on the shelf and many are like that.

Here’s another White Plague by Frank Herbert

Loved the Stand when I read it the first time.

The Dog Stars - Peter Heller
California - Edan Lepucki
Rivers - Michael Farris Smith

I Will Fear No Evil - Robert Heinlein
I will second Lucifer’s Hammer mentioned by someone else.

Neville Shute’s “On the Beach” is a steady decline into oblivion. Quite a gripping read.


You should widen this to include games:

The Last Of Us
Days Gone
Dying Light

Old and less well known:

  • The Quiet Earth (movie, not pandemic)
  • Survivors (original UK TV, pandemic, haven’t seen the remake)

And a moving film. Especially for those of us who did “duck & cover” drills in school.


I’d like to nominate this thread for Thread of the Year. Or at least the thread that’s most likely to balance out the negative chi of the epic fantastical meltdown.

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I am Legend by Richard Matheson

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Stand by Stephen King

Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

Question: is anyone actively reading stuff like this right now? Is it helping? I normally love this genre.

After the 2016 election, Negan on Walking Dead felt a little bit too real. We left the show halfway through the season.

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I’m currently reading Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time. It has some toxic Earth themes but is a page-turner. Not bothering me, anyway.

Some futurist colleagues of mine use these kinds of fictions as inspiration in parallel with scanning. They’re updating their signals/trends/drivers and scenarios as we type.

Probably not healthy to read or watch apocalyptic stories now, especially if the enemy is a virus. Likewise don’t fixate on news about COVID-19. Too much sensationalism (remember, if it bleeds it leads). But some gallows humor isn’t bad for stress relief.

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Yes, I am. For me I like seeing how the characters handled things and run those options in the current real life scenario. I see it as a form of hive mind brainstorming possible solutions.

Then again, at least part of my former work was writing scenarios for real life incidents to use for training purposes. So I see the fictional ones as perhaps far out versions but useful nonetheless.

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Decameron :eyes:

Sorry :upside_down_face:

Children of Men. The book was so different from the movie. Both were great.

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I’ve read and enjoyed several of the books mentioned on this list, but it’s not my favorite genre. I recently read Fata Morgana by Steven R. Boyett, Ken Mitchroney which might be of interest to some here. (WWII B-17 ends up in another world).

When it comes to fiction, I’m a fan of The Expanse, by James S.A. Corey, and anything by Daniel Suarez. His first novel, which ended up published as two books, Daemon and Freedom ™ deals with software “that begins to change the real world after the original programmer’s death.” It was set about 10 -15 years in the future when published, and reality has caught up with some of the technology.