If you’re reading this, then the world probably didn’t really end with the Mayan calendar. We’re glad to still be here, but we do love the apocalypse as it appears in fiction. In honor of the world not ending, here are five of our favorite apocalyptic novels.
It starts with a jar that mysteriously shows up in Zoe’s apartment. First the cats around Zoe’s building begin disappearing, then the people around her start to get sick. The mysterious illness spreads quickly through the city and the world and those who do not die typically mutate in bizarre ways, prompting the president of the United States to declare that humans are no longer a viable species. White Horse alternates between Zoe’s journey across Europe to track down the man she loves post-collapse and the story of the devastating rise of the plague.
The Dog Stars
Hig is one of the last people alive in the United States after a terrible flu and a blood disease killed everyone he had ever known — and pretty much everyone else, as well. Now Hig lives out in the wilderness with only his dog, his plane and an ardent survivalist neighbor Bangley for company. Hig’s plane, “The Beast,” gives him more opportunities — he once found an abandoned stash of soda, which makes for a great treat for him and Bangley — but it also brings him into contact with others, which exposes him to danger. Still, Hig continues to hold hope for humankind, and this hope drives him to search for others who might know something about the world beyond his camp.
Once upon a time, there was one scientist working on a cure for cancer and another working on a cure for the common cold. Unfortunately, once both viruses were combined, they formed the Kellis-Amberlee virus, which quickly infected the world, meaning that now people are transformed into zombies on dying. Amazingly, society hasn’t fallen apart completely, but is trying to deal with the infection. Georgia and Shaun Mason have grown up in this world and are making their living as bloggers. They just landed the gig of their lives as official bloggers for Senator Ryman’s presidential campaign, but when everything on the campaign begins going wrong, it seems clear that this can only be sabotage. Feed is the first book in the Newsflesh series.
Married with Zombies
Sarah and David are just about ready to kill one another when their marriage counselor tries to do it first. Luckily for them, she’s still busy with her previous appointment. Busy eating them, that is. The first in the Living with the Dead trilogy, Married with Zombies is as much about Sarah and David’s marriage as it is about them attempting to survive the zombie horde that has overtaken the West Coast. When you’ve got to adjust to needing to kill zombies, your spouse’s bad taste in music doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Interspersed with self-help-style marriage advice, Married with Zombies is undoubtedly one of the funniest books out there about the zombie apocalypse.
The Age of Miracles
Karen Thompson Walker
The slowing begins gradually… so gradually that you might not notice it on a lazy weekend morning. The more it happens, though, the more things get out of whack. As the Earth’s rotation continues to slow, each day progressively gets longer and day and night quickly become unsynced from physical light and dark. For pre-teen Julia, the slowing exacerbates many difficulties of growing up — friends moving away, more problems in her parents’ marriage — while also making her life more uncertain by chipping away at the basic bedrock of society and safety. Learning to navigate the world as a young adult is hard enough without having to worry about whether civilization will stop being able to produce food, or getting third-degree burns when in the sun for mere minutes.