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  • Writer's pictureDouglas James Troxell

Best Apocalyptic Novels for Quarantine Reading

I love post-apocalyptic literature (my post-apocalyptic series will be released next year … if we’re all still alive). With the Coronavirus raging across the globe, post-apocalyptic literature seems more like non-fiction than ever before. If you want to see some possibilities as to how this all plays out, check out these six books.

#6) Noise by Darin Bradley

If you want to be terrified by the possibilities of the collapse of society, read Noise by Darin Bradley. It is an extremely realistic and brutal depiction of what would happen when society devolves into chaos and life becomes a quest for survival. As an added bonus, the book also serves as a “How To” guide to forming survival groups and preparing to murder people for valuable resources. Start finding your “Places” now!

#5) Wool by Hugh Howey

In the future, everyone lives in giant underground silos because the air is toxic! The first few chapters are some of my favorite opening chapters of any book I’ve ever read and really plays with the reader’s expectations. The book also serves as proof that no matter how far society falls, politics and bullshit will always survive. My favorite part about this book is the fact that Hugh wrote this book after being inspired by Fraggle Rock!

#4) Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Too literary and snooty to read post-apocalyptic books? Then have I got a post-apocalyptic book series for you! The legendary Margaret Atwood takes the literary approach to the apocalypse and gives us a tale of science out of control, pigs with human ears growing on their backs, and a genetically-engineered human subspecies with huge blue boners. There are two other books in the series, but none of them live up to the greatness of the original. Watch out for the waterless flood.

#3) Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

This is one of my favorite books of all-time. The only reason it isn’t higher on the list is that it’s more about the getting to the apocalypse than the actual apocalypse itself. This contains all the usual Vonnegut humor and social commentary, but unlike most of his other work, this one actually has a plot! This is another science-kills-us-all flavored apocalypse with one of the coolest (heh...) fictional weapons in history, ice-nine. My favorite part about the apocalypse in this novel is that people are actually better off after the collapse of society. Oh, Kurt, you’re the best!

#2) The Stand by Stephen King

This is my favorite Stephen King book. I read it as a teen growing up and it has stayed with me for a long time. A plague wipes out most of humanity. Good people are drawn to one location. Evil people are drawn to another (Las Vegas, obviously). In true Stephen King fashion, there are 4,000 main characters and most of them die. My favorite is Trashcan Man because never has a character been better described by his name. Please don’t say the Coronavirus outbreak is like The Stand. It makes Stephen angry and he will flame you on Twitter.

#1) Earth Abides by George R. Stewart

I’m ending my list with a “nice” apocalyptic novel. It’s really the only way to describe Earth Abides. It’s, by far, the most realistic and least dramatic of any post-apocalyptic novel I’ve ever read. There are no zombies or tribal warfare or cannibals or Mad Max-style insanity. The apocalypse is real chill. A plague wipes out most of humanity (See a theme here?). One dude is left to wander around America trying to make sense of it all. In the end, he goes back home, gets married, forms a small tribe of survivors, and they have kids and try to do their best to carry on in the face of mankind’s demise by eating canned goods and learning to whittle. That's pretty much all that happens. Read it. It will make you feel pretty okay with the near extinction of the human species.

If you want to read about how Donald Trump's evil clone and the Walmart Corporation cause the apocalypse, check out my dystopian comedy, Trumptopia! The United States of Walmart.

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Stay safe out there, people!


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