Home Book Review Best Dystopian Books! – Top Five Apocalyptic Novels!

Best Dystopian Books! – Top Five Apocalyptic Novels!


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. Thanks so much for these Jeremy. Really cool list here.
    I think you would really enjoy a recent novel from Nick Totem called A M M.
    The author comes from a medical background and brings his experience into this story which makes it feel really authentic and somewhat unsettling. Sometimes it feels a little too realistic and all too possible but this is what I loved about it. This book has instantly become one of my favorites of all time. I don't think I've ever read through a novel of this size so quickly. Every time I set it down, I picked it back up again within the hour but the hours of sleep lost was totally worth it.

  2. been awhile…good to see you back! thanks for the recommendations I haven't read much apocalyptic novels ^^

  3. I like your list. But I am surprised you didn't mention *The Postman by David Brin.* The Costner film sucked but the book was great.

  4. ALAS BABYLON SOUNDS IKE IT IS SIMILAR TO THE TV SHOW THE ENDED TO SOON CALLED , I can't remember a small town sheltered in the right place during a nuclear war .

  5. Jeff is right Mathom, The enemy series is ridiculous, especially for a YA-ish (more toward adult) fiction. I highly recommend it man. I was with the character's the whole way through every book brother.

  6. Jeremy,
    I really love your recommendations. I am in the process of writing and filming my own full feature post apocalyptic film where a new government has taken over and they are on a hunt for all the rebels. I was wondering if you had any recommendations of stories that are open source or that possibly a author would allow me to use for filming. I would like it to be around 7-10 minutes so I would need a short story but its going to be a little like " The Road" except with soldiers perusing and I am sure your a lot more read than I in this field and was hoping you would have any further suggestions and or recommendations of stories that have the same feel and are short post apocalyptic films?
    Thank you for the great video. I was getting ready to buy the wastelands book but wasnt sure if they had any short stories that were similar to what I am looking for.
    Thank you again Sir.

  7. Thank you for the suggestions, I would add the Metro novels, just finished Metro 2033 and think it's amazing 🙂

  8. I'm a bit surprised that "The Stand" by Stephen King wasn't listed! I've read "The Stand" as well as "Swan Song" SO many times as I think they are both amazing books. Of course, if you've seen only the movie of "The Stand", it certainly doesn't do the book any justice at all. Thanks for the suggestions!! This as well as Horror fiction is my groove 🙂

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