25 of the Best Post Apocalyptic Books

This is a list of the best post apocalyptic books out on the market. These zombie novels are a part of this list because of their story lines and how they are truly fitting of the post apocalyptic novel genre. Also, if you are interested in listening to any of these books for free make sure to check out Audible's one month free trial and download your two free books now!


World War Z

By Max Brooks

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The Zombie War came extremely close to ending all of humanity. Max Brooks, traveled around American and throughout the world gathering testimonies of men, women, and even children who had encountered the undead. This is what resulted in World War Z. 


The Road

By Cormac McCarthy

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As a father and son walked through the deserted and destroyed America they listen as nothing moves. The weather is cold and dark and the sun is no more. The walk towards their destination, the coast. If something awaits them they don't know. They have nothing but a pistol, to defend themselves against robbers who search the lands, and some food. 

This novel takes you through a moving story and journey. It boldly imagines a future were no hope or happiness remains. The only thing holding the father and son together is their love.


Battlefield Earth

By L Ron Hubbard

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Stalwart science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard uses Battlefield Earth as a platform to tell the tale of an Earth which has been taken over by a sinister occupying alien force. Humanity has been decimated to the point that humankind is a rare species. Battlefield Earth is the epic tale of humanity’s struggle for survival. The story is full of action and is guaranteed to be an exciting ride for fans of the post-apocalyptic subgenre of science fiction (and it makes a great gift too!)



By Hugh Howey

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This is a story of mankind clawing for survival and on the edge of death. The world has grown to be unkind and no one was allowed to go anywhere and talk about it was forbidden. Yet there are still those few who still dream and hope. They are the dangerous ones. 

Their punishment is quite simple. They are given exactly what they wanted, they were allowed to go outside their walls and see what the world was like. 



By Hugh Howey

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The second book of the Wool series is based in 2007 at the Center for Automation in Nanobiotech Canada. Where the robots, smaller than human cells, would one day do human medical diagnoses, self-propagate, and even conduct repairs. 

In that same year the CBS network re-aired their program about the effects of propranolol could do on those who suffered from sever trauma. The simple pill could wipe the memory of traumatic event that one experienced. 


The Year of the Flood

By Margaret Atwood

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Set in the near future, The Year Of The Flood is a tale of lasting friendship and a work of speculative fiction. This being the second book of the trilogy takes us through how Ren and Toby, the only few who remain, survive the altered Earth. Both being locked and barricaded places try to find ways in how they can get out to the corrupt world around them.


The Stand

By Stephen King

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The world is being blasted by plague and is struggling through the good and evil forces that are separating it. 

It all starts when one of the many patients escapes from the biological testing facility. The issue was the patient was unknowingly carrying a lethal weapon, a mutated strand of flu that would wipe out all but 1% of the worlds entire population. The people who remained were scared and in complete chaos. They were in need for a leader, someone to step up and take control. Two emerged, Mother Abagail and Randall Flagg...


The Power

By Naomi Alderman

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In this novel, the world is all too normal. There's a Nigerian boy relaxing by his pool side. An orphan who parents try to hide their true religious nature. A girl from London with a tricky family. But that all quickly changes when a new force hits, leaving their lives in dismay and takes root and flourishes with devastating effects. 

Teenage girls are now in power. With the ability to cause pain and even death to whom ever they choose. And with this small change in nature, they world resets and no one is ever the same. 



By Kurt Vonnegut

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Galapagos takes us back to one million years ago, A.D. 1986. Where a regular vacation cruise gets turned around and becomes an evolutionary journey. Because of the apocalypse the group of stranded survivors are having to face challenges they have never intended on facing before. 



By David Palmer

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An eleven-year-old girl, Candidia Maria Smith-Foster, is not aware that she is a Homo post hominem, which is humanities next evolutionary step. 

With the international relations growing out of control, Candy's father is called to work in Washington while Candy stays home. The next day a bio-nuclear plague attacks the world and Candy along with her pet bird Terry survive in a shelter under their home. After months in hiding they finally emerge only to realize no one is left and her genetic heritage makes her immune to the plague.


One Second After

By William R. Forstchen

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William R. Forstchen is a New York best-selling author who brings us a story where a man goes through the struggles fo saving his family after America loses a war. They live in a small town in North Carolina yet the losing of the war sends America to the Dark Ages. 

This story brings us through a time that could be all too terrifyingly real. 


The Host

By Stephenie Meyer

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Earth has been invaded and Melanie Stryder is determined to not fade away. Earth was attacked by a species that would take over the mind and body of a human while still leaving everything intact.

Melanie was being invaded by Wanderer however, what the invading "soul" did not expect was how refusing Melanie would be in the attempt to relinquish possession of her mind. 


Cyber Storm

By Matthew Mather

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Mike Mitchell is your average New Yorker trying to keep his family together and not let his life fall apart. But his family is put on hold when a huge snowstorm cuts New York off from the world and they are left with no internet or communication networks. 

Weeks go on without contact to the outside world. Murder and vigilante just soon replaces law and order. Millions of people are trapped. 


The Infection

By Craig DiLouie

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A virus, unexplainable to man, suddenly strikes down millions. Three days after being affected they wake up with one purpose in mind, spread the infection. As the world continues to run in dismay some of the infected continue to change into murderous monsters. 

While in America as a small group continues to survive and fight their way to a refugee camp where thousands like them have protected themselves.


I am Legend

By Richard Matheson

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Robert Neville is about the only living human left on Earth. However, he is by no means alone. 

A plague, not curable by anything, attacked every other man, woman, and child and turned them into nocturnal creatures whose sole intentions were to kill him. During the day Robert is a hunter, killing the monsters off one by one. But by night he hides and barricades himself in shelter to wait out the nights.  


Swan Song

By Robert McCammon

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The last of Earth's survivors have been drawn into a battle between good and evil. The winner would decided the fate of humanity. The battle field was a wasteland of monster and marauding armies. Those that are left included Sister, who discovered a transformative glass artifact in the deserted streets of Manhattan. Joshua Hutchins, a pro wrestler who had taken refuge in a Nebraska gas station during the nuclear attack. Lastly there was Swan, a you girl with peculiar powers that allow her to heal anyone. 


The Walk

By Lee Goldberg

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Minutes after the Big One Marty Slack crawled out from under his Mercedes which had been parked outside the once downtown Los Angeles warehouse, the location for his new TV show. The city was in ruins and there were buildings broken and laid across the streets. The sky was dark and it would be days before any help could arrive. 


The Atlantis Plague

By A.G. Riddle

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In Marbella, Spain, Dr. Kate Warner wakes up to horrifying news: the human races is standing on the edge of extinction. It was a pandemic like non ever before witnessed. Billions are dead and those that have the Atlantis Plagues and are not dead will be transformed at a genetic level.

As the world continues in its chaos industrialized nations offer a miracle drug called Orchid. But Orchid is only a was to buy time. It does not cure. 


 Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

By Philip K. Dick

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By 2021 the World War has pretty much wither killed or driven entire species off the planet. For those who remain salvage any living creature they can find. Those who can't afford real ones rely on companies who built incredibly realistic simulacra animals. Even robotic humans have been built. Immigrants to Mars receive androids so complex that they could not be distinguished from true men or women.

Fearful of what destruction the androids could bring to Earth the government has banned them. Yet some do still exist. Driven into hiding the unauthorized androids have to live among humans and remain undetected.  


The Twelve

By Justin Cronin

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In the present day, as the apocalypse slowly unfolds, three strangers are left to navigate through all of the chaos. Lila, a doctor and an expectant mother, continues on through with the plan for her child's arrival even though society continues to fade away. Kittridge, who is known as "Last Stand in Denver," if forced to flee is homeland and is now on the roads armed and aware that his tank of gas will only get him so far. April, a teenager giving it her all fighting her way through the death and ruin in order to keep her little brother safe. 

These three will soon have to learn that they are not fully alone. And that there is hope somewhere out in the darkness.  


On The Beach

By Nevil Shute

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After World War III had done its tole on the globe, the few who survived in southern Australia sit and await the radioactive cloud headed their way, brining death upon whoever is in its' path.

Among them is an American submarine captain who struggles with the fact that his wife and children are more than likely dead. Yet in all of their misery a faint Morse code signal is picked up transmitting from somewhere near Seattle. It is then Captain Towers knows what he must do. He leads his crew on a bleak tour of the destroyed world in search of any signs of life. 


Station Eleven

By Emily St. John Mandel

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It was a devastating flu pandemic that had arrived in the city and soon took out most of civilization. 

After years of moving from settlement to settlement Kirsten and her small group of actors and musicians have to move once again. Through all of the hardships The Traveling Symphony has dedicated themselves to keeping what was left of art and humanity alive. But when arriving in St. Deborah they came across a violent prophet who threatened their bands existence. 


Earth Abides

By George R. Stewart

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A deadly disease of unparalleled destructive force has become an issue in almost all parts of the globe. Destroying everything but the human race there is only one survivor. Being the only human immune to the effects of the disease he soon discovers he will prove far more amazing things than he ever hoped and dreaded for. 


Critical Dawn

By Darren Wearmouth & Colin F. Barnes

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After planning for centuries the Aliens are now ready to attack. Charlie Jackson's archaeological team discovers advanced technology in old 16th Century graves. While investigating their discoveries, giant sinkholes start appearing around the planet. This being the start of Earth's colonization of a new civilization. 

Charlie and the rest of the human race will have to fight for their lives along with their homeland. 


The Passage

By Justin Cronin

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Throughout this epic and dramatic tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is a story about a woman who was pursued and captured by shadowy figures working behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. 

Amy was abandoned by her mother at a very young age. She is left to fend for her own and after the experiment goes terribly wrong realizes that she has the sole power to save the ruien world.

 What is a Post Apocalyptic Science Fiction Book?

Doesn't it give you the warm and fuzzies when you read about the Earth getting destroyed in some nuclear holocaust? Or how about a few struggling survives on the glacier that was previously known as New York? Or what about a pandemic of Bunny Rabbit plague that decimates most of the population and turns the rest into flesh eating zombies?

Well, probably not. Unless you're reading a post apocalyptic science fiction novel

Post-Apocalyptic stories all rely on one thing to make for an exciting tale. The depths of depravity of a destroyed society and the lengths that the survivors go through to make it out alive. The protagonists start out with a dilemma and must fight tooth and nail for their happy ending.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Ancient Stories of Apocalyptic Events

The end of times and mankind's afterward is one of the oldest stories ever told. One could say you could see the end in the beginning. 

Normally, you can pinpoint where an idea comes from. Who started it and why. But with post-apocalyptic tales, it's different. You see, every society to ever exist on Earth has had its very own warning of the end of days and how to survive. 

And the most common device to signify the coming? 


Perhaps, the most known of the flood myth ethos is from the Bible. God decides man has become too wicked and must be punished. However, God calls upon a righteous man named Noah to construct a mighty ark to withstand the upcoming deluge. Noah took his family and a male and female of every living animal on to this ark. They survived and were left to rebuild the Earth.

But... The Bible's not the earliest mention of a flood. Ancient Mesopotamia (the first major civilization) had its own version of the flood. In the Epic of Gilgamesh--the earliest surviving great work of literature-- the gods have grown angry and decide to destroy the Earth through means of catastrophic flooding. But only the ancient warrior Utnapishtim and his family are saved through the intervention of the god Ea. 

And it's not just the Middle East where floods wipe out humanity. In the Indus River region of Ancient India, the Hindu Dharmasastra has its great flood. According to the Matsya Purana, Vishnu (Lord of Hindu Protection) warns King Manu of an incoming apocalyptic flood. The King in turn builds a tremendous boat to house his family, all the animals, nine types of seeds, and the seven great yogis in order to restart life.  

How does the Apocalypse begin?

Let's take a look at some of the most popular ways that Armageddon happens in Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction books and some examples of each.

  • War
    • This perhaps the most popular way that post-apocalyptic novels start. Some sort of nuclear war or conflict leads to mankind essentially blowing itself up. These books often refer to a World War III to add a very real edge to them.
      • Shadow on the Hearth by Judith Merril
      • The Lost Continent by Edgar Rice Burroughs
      • Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov
  • Aliens
    • Another extremely common cause for these novels... Aliens. (Where's that big haired meme when I need him...) This typically involves an alien invasion from outer space or a war with and alien species.
      • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
      • The Genocides by Thomas Disch
      • The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham
  • Human Decline and Societal Collapse
    • Sometimes it's just our time to go. Many times with human decline there is no real explanation for what happened. It's just a scary world, and quite frankly that's all we need to know. With societal collapse, this can happen many different ways. Perhaps a major financial crisis leads the world in riots which escalate. Another major plot point can be overpopulation often leading to an overall lack of resources.
      • The Last of the Masters by Philip K. Dick
      • The Camp of the Saints by Jean Raspail
      • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Disease
    • This form of apocalypse comes through a very real terror. Disease. These can be particularly gripping stories due to the real possibility that this could actually happen in real life. Smallpox, Spanish Influenza, the Black Death... These are all but a few of some very deadly diseases that have actually swept our world. A great reason why disease makes a wonderful form of destruction in these types of novels. 
      • Virus by Sakyo Komatsu
      • Goslings: A World of Women by J.D. Beresford
      • The Last Man by Mary Shelley
  • Technological Terrors
    • What happens when Artificial Intelligence evolves too fast for humanity to control? The Matrix happens. Robots turning on humanity and leading an apocalyptic event is a surefire way to put a damper on any civilization. Especially organic ones.
      • R.U.R. by Karel Capek
      • Colossus by Dennis Feltham Jones
      • Robot Revolt by Nicholas Fisk
  • Zombies
    • Often going hand in hand with disease, this takes the apocalypse to a whole new level. Normally, the dead stays dead. But when they don't, it could lead to a murderous rampage of hungry flesh-eating monsters. 
      • The Rising by Brian Keene
      • On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks by Joe R. Lansdale
      • World War Z by Max Brooks

Writer's Discussion on Post Apocalyptic Novels 

Get Any of These Best Post Apocalyptic Books for Free!

Want to try some of these Post Apocalyptic books for free? Here are two ways you can do that:

1. Signup with Audible's One Month Free Trial: By signing up for Audible's free month trial you can download any two books you choose for free. If you decide you like Audible then you can pay a small monthly fee of $14.95 and get one book a month. If you decide you do not like Audible you can cancel your trial and keep your two free books.

2. If you want to try something other than Audible you could also try Playster. Playster's One Month Free Trial works with either ebooks or audiobooks. You can pay for a membership at $14.95 per month and receive unlimited books. However Playster does not offer as many book options. If you would like to listen to all of Playsters books you will need to use the premium which is $29.95.  

1 thought on “25 of the Best Post Apocalyptic Books”

  1. Hey guys, I recently retired after a tour in the Marines and 28 years in the law enforcement. I have been writing off and on since 1994 and now finally have the time to write a book. I self published and am always looking for a little help with getting the word out about this first piece of work. If you all are interested in helping a struggling, not starving author out, I would be glad to send you a book to be either reviewed or showcased on your site. If not it all good and I wish you all the best.



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