It’s an interesting time to be alive. With all of the current events happening these days, sometimes we need a bit of speculative fiction to remind us that the world isn’t as bad as it could be. We’ve rounded up the best post-apocalptic reads for you to dive into new worlds, and escape our own. Read on!
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
You must be blindfolded (har, har) if you haven’t heard about or seen Birdbox on Netflix yet. It broke records with 45 million accounts watching the movie in its first week! The original book by Josh Malerman is a terrifying and horrific story set in an apocalyptic near-future world. It happened five years, when something terrifying began driving people who saw it to deadly violence. Now, Malorie and her two young children are living in an abandoned house near the river, relying on blindfolds to keep them safe from the unknown creatures. Immersed in absolute darkness, Malorie and the children embark on a harrowing journey down the river to find a safe haven. Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is horror at its best.
The Book of M by Peng Sheperd
A gorgeous and dazzling novel set in a dangerous post-apocalyptic world, The Book of M tells a story with a unique premise: people begin losing their shadows all over the world, and with them, their memories. As people begin to forget how to perform basic functions like eating and breathing, the word descends into chaos. Very similar to Station Eleven, The Book of M is haunting and thought-provoking, as it explores what it means to be human in a world turned upside down.
The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer
Jeff VanderMeer is the king of post-apocalyptic fiction! The Southern Reach trilogy is a scary exploration into a world taken back by nature. Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. The government has been sending secret missions to explore the area, but none of these expeditions have returned. Annihilation opens with the twelfth expedition into Area X: four women are set on a mission to map the terrain and collect specimens, but what they discover shocks them. In Authority, the secrets of Area X begin to reveal themselves and in Acceptance, a new team must press deeper into the unknown.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Considered a modern classic of post-apocalyptic fiction, Station Eleven is a terrifying yet beautiful story. After the “Georgian Flu” explodes all over the world with a mortality rate of over 99%, the world is doomed. By week two, civilization has completely crumbled. In Year 20, a theatre troupe known as the Travelling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains. But a danger looms, threatening the world that the hopeful survivors had tried to rebuild. Station Eleven is a tender story about the fragility of life, the relationships that sustain us, and the beauty of the world as we know it. It’s a highly recommended read!
The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch
The Book of Joan is a unique post-apocalyptic reimagining of Joan of Arc, with a fierce heroine who must save a world ravaged by war, violence, and extinction. It’s the near future, and the earth has been transformed into a battleground. Humans have now fled the planet’s now-radioactive surface, and regrouped on a platform known as CIEL, hovering over their former home. A charismatic and bloodthirsty cult leader turns CIEL into a police state, and a group of rebels must fight back. The revels are led by the heroic Joan, a child-warrior who possesses a mysterious force that lives within her and communes with the earth. When armies turn Joan into a martyr, the consequences are astonishing. And no one—not the rebels, the police, or even Joan herself—can foresee the way her story and unique gift will forge the destiny of an entire world for generations.
1984 by George Orwell
Obviously, this classic book by George Orwell deserves a spot on any post-apocalyptic book list. In 1984, Winston Smith is a dutiful citizen and a propaganda writer. But when he falls in love with his fellow worker, Julia, they begin to question the very system they work for. Winston plans a rebellion against the Party in power in order to regain the freedom to shape his own future. This novel is still relevant today, as it explores the obliteration of truth, individuality and liberty.
The Divergent series is a gripping dystopian tale of electrifying choices, powerful consequences, a deeply flawed “perfect society”. The world is now divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Society forces a young girl named Tris to keep her secret hidden as she learns what makes you different also makes you dangerous.
Which of these books will you add to (and quickly check off of) your 50 Book Pledge shelf? Let us know on Twitter @SavvyReader or in the comments below!
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