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Jeremy reviews and recommends the best of Apocalyptic / Dystopian literature!

Here’s Jer’s favorite apocalyptic novels, and why they deserve to be among the greats of dystopian fiction.

This video is Part Two! Watch Part One!

Whether you’re looking for a great book gift idea, or looking for a great new read for yourself, here’s Jer’s top five apocalyptic book recommendations. These are some of the best books in a large and ever-growing genre. Jeremy’s been a fan of dystopian literature for years, and sadly, many of the books in this category tend to disappoint. But here, Jeremy saves you the trouble of disappointment by offering you selections that are sure to entertain, inform, and even inspire. Everyone knows that books are great gift ideas, so if you’re looking for some novels to gift that reader in your life, or you yourself are looking to expand your own reading geography, these books are well worth your time.

Here’s Jer’s book recommendations in the realm of dystopia and the post-apocalypse:

The first recommendations are actually two short story collections called Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse, and Wastelands 2: More Stories of the Apocalypse. These volumes contain short stories by many of the best authors of our time, putting their talents into the apocalyptic world. Jeremy has read these stories again and again, and believes that these stories hold their own as works of fiction regardless of their dystopian genre. So if you simply enjoy good stories, whether they’re dystopian or not, you will enjoy these collections.

One Second After, by William R. Forstchen, is a novel written recently that discusses the consequences of an electromagnetic pulse bomb, which would completely destroy all electronics. It is a very well-written tale of how one community manages to survive and attempts to maintain a sense of society.

Neville Schute’s classic, On the Beach, focuses on the psychological and social elements of people coming to terms with the fact that they have but days to live. This is a superb novel on any level, and certainly a gem of the apocalyptic genre.

A particular favorite of Jeremy’s is Swan Song, by Robert McCammon. This is a book that does something that very few apocalyptic books attempt – it combines the real world survival elements common to post-apocalyptic stories with a supernatural/spiritual battle. This battle is seen through the characters’ actions and motivations almost as icons for Good and Evil, respectively. This book is not to be missed.

Another superb post-apocalyptic story (which was also made into a good film), is The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, which could serve as a great entry point for those who have not read many stories of the apocalypse. This book is as touching as it is haunting and is likely a book you’ll want to read again and again.

Last, but certainly not least, among these recommendations is Pat Frank’s Alas, Babylon. This is a book that focuses primarily on what you might call the dirty details of rebuilding society after the apocalypse – things like, how do we get clean water? Where’s food going to come from? What about a sewer system? Let alone the larger questions of reforming a sense of law and order, and so forth.

So whether these turn out to be great gift ideas or whether you decide to gift yourself with one of these new books, we hope that this list was helpful, and we’d love to hear your own thoughts on these books and authors. Do you feel we unfairly left out a book or author? Any books or stories that you would like to add to the list? Please comment and join the discussion.

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  1. SM Stirlings books .
    The last ship.
    On the beach.
    World made by hand series.
    Going Home series
    Holding thier own series
    Dark winter
    We interrupt this program
    About 25 more I cannot currently recall.
    Wolf and Iron was great..

  2. Thanks for all of your thoughts on these books!You need to check out the post-apoc survival series the Three Sisters Trilogy.

  3. Thanks for all of your thoughts on these books!You need to check out the post-apoc survival series the Three Sisters Trilogy.

  4. I find older novels superior. The new ones are interchangeable – same plots, characters,, settings. The elements of a good end the world story include a reason (why did the world end?), believable characters that evolve, believable dialogue and action and a believable scenario (not an EMP that wipes out N America or "goingo to the stars" because Earth is too far gone). Needless to say, spelling, grammar , punctuation errors,, repetition, words left out, etc disqualify immediately.

    On the Beach, the Stand, The Last Ship, A Canticle for Leibowitz, The Long, Loud Silence, I am Legend – these are memorable. Fly by night things like One Second After (a plagiarism of Alas Babylon), the idiot zombie tales, the contemporary political rants, self-published mishmash on a middle school level, are forgettable.

  5. (re: "One Second After") 2:30: "So [the book] is a forecast, if you will, of something that bad that could ever happen." (evil laugh by narrator) Hehehe

    Just kidding! Enjoyed your video — you do a much better job than I could do! Bravo!

  6. Books you missed that are better than Waste Lands. 1) Lucifer's Hammer–Larry Niven. 2) Long Voyage Back–Luke Rhienhart. 3) Lot and Lot's Daughter–Ward Moore. You list is otherwise pretty good. Keep up the work.

  7. i watched the Road,and i read One Second After ,these two tell what will happen ,like they have an insight

  8. i have to recommend a series ,it is called the ashes series ,by William W Johnstone ,best i have ever read and it is like this guy saw the future

  9. Aloha All, Stephan M's comment is my favorite, so far, so I second that offering! Aloha, Mark RN, retired

  10. I love "One Second After", but after discovering "Alas, Babylon" all I can think is that is is just an updated version. Don't get me wrong, "One Second After" gave me a lot more to think about concerning prepping (let's be honest, with COVID-19, prepping is very much been brought more mainstream), but the story itself is very much a retelling of "Alas, Babylon".

    EDIT: I discovered not only "Alas, Babylon" but also "Starship Troopers" (the book) through another apoc novel series…"Black Tide Rising" series by John Ringo. It's not Shakespeare, but the series is at least entertaining. That's all that really counts. :)

  11. If you like the "nuts and bolts" of Alas, Babylon – try "The long emergency" or "World made by hand" by James Howard Kuntsler.

  12. The Last Stand, Swan Song, again and again. Prophetic as we do see in these End of times

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