List of Seventy Fictional Survival, Doomsday, TEOTWAWKI and Apocalypse Books

This post is pretty basic, but actually took time to assemble. It’s meant to be a resource for preppers interested in turning the television off and opening an entertaining read. This list is made up of some of the best fictional novels, and photo books I could find that fall into the Survival, Doomsday, TEOTWAWKI and Apolocalypse genres. Links change over time, so if you find a dead one, please alert me in the comments so I may correct it. I was tempted to make this a list of 75 or 100, but I feel this list is pretty thorough and includes the good ones. I think it’ll keep any reading prepper busy with entertainment for a while. September 2012 update – this list keeps growing!

  1. A Canticle for Leibowitz – following a  cloister of monks in their Utah abbey over six or seven hundred years, it tackles the sociological and religious implications of nuclear annihilation
  2. After London Or, Wild England – after some sudden and unspecified catastrophe has depopulated England, the countryside reverts to nature, and the few survivors to a quasi-medieval way of life (free download here)
  3. A Gift Upon the Shore – set in the near future, traces the first generations to survive nuclear war and ensuing plagues.
  4. Alas, Babylon – classic apocalyptic novel.
  5. American Apocalypse: The Collapse Begins – set in America at the beginning of a socioeconomic collapse.
  6. Atlas Shrugged – the story of a man who said he would stop the motor of the world – and did.
  7. But Not for Long – three housemates find themselves in the midst of an eerily plausible energy crisis.
  8. Brushfire Plague – When a virulent plague erupts across the globe, Cooper Adams faces a daily battle for survival as society unravels at a dizzying pace.
  9. Cell – a pulse sent through cell phones turns people using them into zombie-like killing machines.
  10. Children of the Dust – grade 6-9 reading, nuclear war scenario in which a new generation is born, “homo superior, the children of the dust.”
  11. Dark Tower Series – the quest for the Dark Tower takes readers on a wild ride through parallel worlds and across time.
  12. Death of Grass – society descends into barbarism as a virus wipes out grass and crops.
  13. Deep Winter – a normal American life turns into a survival situation as one family struggles to adapt
  14. Down to A Sunless Sea – the U.S. collapses economically from a lack of oil.
  15. Earth Abides – a disease of destructive force has spread across the globe killing all but one man, who makes an astonishing discovery.
  16. Farnham’s Freehold – a man builds a shelter under his house and finds a strange world after the bomb explodes.
  17. Final Blackout – set in a ravaged world a charismatic leader rises in England.
  18. Footfall – aliens are descending on the American heartland, demanding servile surrender.
  19. Hiero’s Journey – 5,000 years after The Death, an evil “Brotherhood of the Unclean” is waging a war against the few human survivors.
  20. Holding Their Own – 2015 in post-apocalypse Texas, a couple bugs out.
  21. Holding Their Own II – the story continues.
  22. I Am Legend – a plague has destroyed the world and the few survivors must fight the blood hungry creatures of the night
  23. Ice Quake – when the world climate changes overnight and civil order collapses, the survivors at a remote Antarctic icecap know they won’t get rescued.
  24. Into the Forest – two sisters must learn to live in the forest when electricity goes out, their parents die and civilization grinds to a halt.
  25. King Rat – an American corporal survives the brutality of prison camp life in Japanese-occupied, World War II Malaya through insight into human frailties.
  26. Last Light – oil supplies have been severed and things unravel at a horrifying pace.
  27. Last of the Breed – set in Siberia, a down American pilot must rely on ancestral skills to survive the deadly cold and elude his Soviet pursuers.
  28. Left Behind – a novel of Earth’s Last Days, first of a series
  29. Life as We Knew It – grade 6-8 reading level, a sophomore girl experiences life in Pennsylvania after a meteor hits
  30. Light’s Out – follows the story of a man after the lights go out over most of the world as he tries to unit his family and friends if they are to survive reality of everyday life after civil order is stripped away.
  31. Lucifer’s Hammer – a comet hit earth, causing earthquakes and tsunamis. For those that survived, it’s the dawn of a struggle for survival.
  32. Malevil – survivors escape the big event in an old French castle, but struggle to survive as society collapses
  33. Memoirs of a Survivor – in a destroyed, lawless city, a woman is given a twelve-year girl and told she must raise her
  34. Nature’s End – 21st-century Earth with a devastated environment and overpopulation. The comfortable elite coexist with the pitiful rest, “the victim generation.”
  35. No Blade of Grass – a massive crop disease wreaks havoc and society breaks down.
  36. On the Beach – a bestseller for decades, it’s an unforgettable vision of a post-apocalyptic world.
  37. One – survivor Richard Jane crosses a burned and battered country in search of his son.
  38. One Second After – an EMP disables almost every electrical device in the U.S. and the world, societal breakdown ensues.
  39. Parable of the Sower – global warming, massive unemployment and gang warfare combine to break down society, set in southern California
  40. Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse – America faces a full-scale socioeconomic collapse as the characters use survival techniques to endure
  41. Plague Year – set in post-apocalyptic California above the 10,000′ high-water mark, a group struggles to survive.
  42. Pulling Through – a story of survival after nuclear war
  43. Solar Flare – a major solar flare hits and changes life dramatically for an electronic-dependent society
  44. Some Will Not Die – a plague wipes out 90% of Earth’s population and those left struggle to survive
  45. Summer of the Apocalypse – a virus destroys the world’s population as a 15-year-old travels across Colorado to find his father
  46. Survivors – a virus wipes out 95% of the population and those left must revert to primitive skills to survive
  47. Swan Song – a NYC bag lady and a boy that survived in a now destroyed compound travel together
  48. The Aftermath – an asteroid destroys most life; a cruise ship of people and a village in South Africa struggle to survive
  49. The Ashes – in a search for his family in post-apocalyptic America, a man meets rebels and joins a revolution
  50. The Far North – a survivor in a post-apocalyptic world is sold into slavery and escapes
  51. The Folk of the Fringe – an ecological consciousness has been born in post-WW III America as Mormons set to rebuild society
  52. The Forge of God – two types of aliens invade the Earth, the first profess to be altruistic, but the second warn humanity that the first will destroy the world
  53. The Hunger Games – grade 7+, the U.S. has collapsed and divided; each year each district sends to young people by lottery to “The Hunger Games”
  54. The Last Centurion – a mini-ice age and plague have set as an American Army office struggles to rebuild the world
  55. The Last Ship – nuclear war has struck as a destroyer short on food and fuel searches for uncontaminated mainland
  56. The Passage – a virus leads vampiric revenants to wipe out civilization except survivors on a FEMA-established island
  57. The Postman – the lead characters survived the Doomwar and finds work crossing the post-apocalypse United States
  58. The Rift – an earthquake hits the southeastern U.S. as 9 people try to survive
  59. The Road – post-apocalyptic blight of gray skies that drizzle ash, the story of a man and his son.
  60. The Stand – a virus is accidentally released and wipes out most of humanity and sets the stage for a battle between good and evil
  61. The Walk – a TV network executive in LA after the big earthquake hits, he thinks he’s prepared, but he’s not
  62. The World Ends in Hickory Hollow – bombs fell and civilization ended as the people of Hickory Hollow, Texas are faced with renegade thieves and murderers
  63. Tomorrow! – an apocalyptic technology is superimposed on the future and exposes America’s dangerous vulnerability to panic
  64. Tooth and Nail – a rabies-based plague infects so many they begin to run amok, spreading slaughter and disease
  65. Tsunami – a battleground in the wake of a monstrous tidal wave
  66. Tunnel in the Sky – a final exam on an advanced survival class goes wrong and the students are stranded somewhere in the universe, at the other end of a tunnel in the sky.
  67. Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse – 22 apocalyptic tales all depicting unsettling societal, physical and psychological adaptations their authors postulate as necessary for survival after the end of the world.
  68. Watership Down – a story about TEOTWAWKI for rabbits, added it because it’s an great book (read my review)
  69. What So Proudly We Hailed – 80% of the U.S. is without power for 3-4 months as the result of a nuclear strike
  70. Without Warning – as coalition forces begin their assault on Iraq, a massive energy wave hits North America and is dubbed “the Disappearance.”
  71. Wolf and Iron – the U.S. is devastated by financial collapse, a man travels 2,000 miles to his brother’s Montana ranch
  72. World Made by Hand – oil wells run dry and the economy collapses, society must be rebuilt out of squabbling factions and cult-like communities.
  73. World War Z – an oral history of the zombie war.

Happy reading!

- RM

  • RustyH April 21, 2011, 7:27 am

    Nice list! I wish I was able to read. Any chance on a list of movies?

    Reply
    • Presager Buddy April 21, 2011, 1:58 pm

      RustyH,

      There are a lot of them. I wish I could list them all for you.

      One that you might find interesting is the 1982 movie called “Quest for Fire”. If our goal is to go back to our roots, then this is the ultimate. It’s a well-made movie.

      Reply
  • gat31 April 21, 2011, 7:56 am

    l always liked the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon because of all the medical techniques and herbal remedies she uses in the series. Plus it’s a cool love story too.

    Reply
  • Jason April 21, 2011, 10:18 am

    Nice list, great job & you could have gone more pretty easily -

    Dirt Cheap Survival? Ok, bad joke.
    Lord of the flies
    Oliver Twist
    Alive – better than the movie but a great movie for you Rusty.
    Touching the Void – a movie/documentary as well. The book is far better.
    Into Thin Air
    Jungle
    Bruchko – I read it 3-4 times

    These area a few that I have read (read many more) that are pretty riveting. I with you RM – shoot the TV & read, it’s far more interesting.

    The difference between TV/movies & books? TV/movies create it for you, reading you create it for yourself.

    I’ve always read & am a very fast reader but fell into the lazy TV rut some years back. When my now 18 year old son was 5 we decided to completely cut off the TV to save the kids – yea, right, it was really dad who needed rescuing. After completing a month long TV rehab program, including methadone treatments to ease the withdrawal sweats & shakes … ha, ha very funny – my sense of humor.

    Anyway, what we discovered was TV took your life away at 30 minute intervals and all by design. Subsequently, my son reads most of the time, works out & made a workout video using Parkour & my now 16 year old daughter is a competition dancer, artist & computer whiz. Both kids are tutors at their school as well – my son has even taught his math classes more than a dozen times. Is he smart or the rest of the kids lazy? The jury is still out on that one!

    We had no video games for them in the car or a disgusting TV/DVD player in the vehicle as well – sorry if I stepped on toes with that one but when you give them something to entertain & distract them you open up Pandora’s box that you will have difficulty closing – the child becomes dependent upon YOU to provide the cures for boredom & entertainment.

    Anyhoo – read, it’s more fun & easier to transport – no batteries needed!

    Reply
  • Templar April 21, 2011, 10:29 am

    Great list! Also, check out “The Day of the Triffids”.

    Reply
  • Judith April 21, 2011, 11:07 am

    The Last Canadian by William C. Heine
    The Unit by Terry Dehart
    Oil Dusk by John M. Cape and Laura Buckner
    Safe Haven by Ken Barnes
    Grants Pass Anthology edited by Jennifer Brozek and Amanda Pillar
    Invasion America by Alan D. Wing

    Thanks! I love these reading lists!

    Reply
  • russell1200 April 21, 2011, 1:05 pm

    There has to be about 70 apocalyptic zombie books alone! LOL!

    Many many good ones you could add.

    I read The Walk, but it really does not fit. It is really more along the lines of the Posiedon Adventure: a resonably good disaster tale.

    Some reviews of some lesser known fictional accounts:

    http://reflexionesfinales.blogspot.com/2011/03/jakarta-pandemic-e-book-review.html

    http://reflexionesfinales.blogspot.com/2011/04/gardener-summer-review.html

    http://reflexionesfinales.blogspot.com/2011/03/good-news-review.html

    http://reflexionesfinales.blogspot.com/2010/10/but-not-for-long-michelle-widgen.html

    http://reflexionesfinales.blogspot.com/2010/10/doris-lessing-and-memoirs-of-survivor.html

    Reply
  • NoMEPreppy April 21, 2011, 6:56 pm

    Then there are:

    Swiss Family Robinson
    Robinson Crusoe
    My Side of the Mountain (got me into survival)
    Hatchet (and the rest of the Brian books)

    Reply
  • Rushman April 21, 2011, 10:38 pm

    On the Beach is one of my favorites books. and the movie is pretty good to but make sure you see the original 1959 version staring some greats…

    On the Beach (1959) is a post-apocalyptic drama film based on Nevil Shute’s 1957 novel of the same name. The film features Gregory Peck (USS Sawfish captain Dwight Lionel Towers), Ava Gardner (Moira Davidson), Fred Astaire (scientist Julian—John in the novel—Osborne) and Anthony Perkins (Royal Australian Navy lieutenant Peter Holmes). It was directed by Stanley Kramer, who won the 1960 BAFTA for best director. Ernest Gold won the 1960 Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Score. It was remade as an Australian television film by Southern Star Productions in 2000.

    the 2000 version is not as good and they change some of the story

    Reply
  • Survivalchick April 22, 2011, 9:19 am

    Great list..

    Reply
  • Anon April 22, 2011, 1:01 pm

    I seem to remember that ‘No Blade of grass’, and ‘The Death of Grass’ are the same novel with different publication titles (USA) and (UK) resp. By John Wyndham. All of his books are worth reading.

    Reply
  • Anon April 22, 2011, 1:10 pm

    “Call of the Wild”, Jack London. May be d/l from gutenberg…
    “To Build a fire”, ibid. Very chilling tale of a failure to build a fire in extremis.

    Reply
  • Lonestar April 22, 2011, 6:47 pm

    You must have inadvertently left off the “Horseclans” Series by Robert Adams. Great post apocalyptic adventure and contains a lot of survival and self reliant themes.
    Great list. Just finished Alas Babylon, I first read it 45 years ago and it is still very believable. I read One Second After a few weeks ago and it makes a great companion book for Alas Babylon.

    Reply
  • Jarhead Survivor April 23, 2011, 9:59 am

    Excellent list. I was kind of surprised to see King Rat on there, but it (and just about anything by Clavell) is awesome reading.

    @Lonestar – I’d almost forgotten the Horseclans series! Pretty good books if I remember right.

    Reply
  • 357chaos April 25, 2011, 5:00 pm

    That list must have taken awhile. Thanks for some new ideas.

    #46 The Ashes link wasn’t working for me.

    Reply
  • Josh April 30, 2011, 2:01 pm

    Great list! guess what I am going to be doing for the rest of this lazy afternoon? Library here I come.

    Reply
  • Joe May 5, 2011, 8:59 am

    What would be your top 10 must-read books from the list?

    Reply
  • Odd Questioner May 8, 2011, 11:06 pm

    Alas, Babylon! Yes!

    I remember reading that one nearly 30 years ago… and still remember it very well. Highly recommended, IMHO.

    Sure, it’s centered on 1950s-1960s Florida, and all-out nuclear warfare isn’t as likely today as it was when the book was written, but it still holds a *lot* of lessons for any TEOTWAWKI situation. It also plumbs the social and psychological depths very well of the immediate and mid-term aftermath.

    The ending was a bit sweet-heartish (the government recovers, and an Air Force helicopter arrives with soldiers telling them that things will be back to semi-normal soon…). But – everything else in the book is an excellent description of what one could expect in a suddenly crapsack world.

    Reply
  • Anonymous June 13, 2011, 7:35 pm

    Death of Grass and No Blade of Grass are the same book. One is the British version, the othe American.

    Reply