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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I'm discussing different book genres/categories. Each day, I will give a few details about the...

August 7, 2023

11 Books for a Post-Apocalyptic Book Club

by Donna Huber

My post-apocalyptic book met in July to decide on the books we would read for the next 11 months. We have a broad definition of what we consider "post-apocalyptic" and the stories we read range from true post-apocalyptic, alternate history, pure science fiction, speculative fiction, and dystopian. We also try to read a mix of old or classic post-apocalyptic fiction and newer releases. We are a library book club so we do try to to choose books that can be found at the library (we have access to all the libraries in our state so we don't limit it to just what our library has). As it can be difficult sometimes to find post-apocalyptic fiction, I thought I would share what we are reading. We meet in a hybrid manner (in person and via Zoom) so if you would like to join our discussions, please let me know (we have at least 2 people who regularly join us from out of state).

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The Sundial by Shirley Jackson

book cover of apocalyptic fiction novel The Sundial by Shirley Jackson
January 1958; Farrar, Straus & Cudahy 
audio, ebook, print (245 pages); apocalyptic fiction

We discussed this book last week at our August meeting. The only story by Shirley Jackson I've read before this was The Lottery. The Sundial was a bit odd but made for a terrific discussion. We usually try to be mindful of time and stop right at our end time, but we ran a little over as there was just so much to tease out of this book. I'm really glad that I read it.

Aunt Fanny has always been somewhat peculiar. No one is surprised that while the Halloran clan gathers at the crumbling old mansion for a funeral she wanders off to the secret garden. But when she reports the vision she had there, the family is engulfed in fear, violence, and madness. For Aunt Fanny's long-dead father has given her the precise date of the final cataclysm! (Goodreads)

Buy The Sundial at Amazon

Neuromancer by William Gibson

book cover of technothriller Neuromancer by William Gibson
July 1984; Ace Books
audio, ebook, print (271 pages); technothriller

Our book for September is the first book in the Sprawl series. It is described as a technothriller and probably leans more towards hard science fiction. It looks like a popular book as there are 20 people on the hold list for the audiobook at the digital library.

Henry Dorsett Case was the sharpest data-thief in the business, until vengeful former employees crippled his nervous system. But now a new and very mysterious employer recruits him for a last-chance run. The target: an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence orbiting Earth in service of the sinister Tessier-Ashpool business clan. With a dead man riding shotgun and Molly, mirror-eyed street-samurai, to watch his back, Case embarks on an adventure that ups the ante on an entire genre of fiction. (Goodreads)

Buy Neuromancer at Amazon

Cell by Stephen King

book cover of thriller Cell by Stephen King
November 2006; Scribner
audio, ebook, print (367 pages); thriller 

I'm going to read my first Stephen King novel. I don't like horror and Carrie and Pet Sematary always seemed way too scary for me. I know that Stephen King writes a wide range of books and my book club assured me that this book leans more towards his books like Under the Dome and not Carrie

Where were you on October 1st at 3:03 pm?

Graphic artist Clay Riddell was in the heart of Boston on that brilliant autumn afternoon when hell was unleashed before his eyes. Without warning, carnage and chaos reigned. Ordinary people fell victim to the basest, most animalistic destruction.

And the apocalypse began with the ring of a cell phone... (Goodreads)

Buy Cell at Amazon

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart

book cover of post-apocalpytic fiction novel Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
January 1949; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
audio, ebook, print (448 pages); post-apocalyptic

Pandemic fiction is my favorite type of post-apocalyptic fiction. Having lived through a pandemic now though I read it from a different perspective. 

A disease of unparalleled destructive force has sprung up almost simultaneously in every corner of the globe, all but destroying the human race. One survivor, strangely immune to the effects of the epidemic, ventures forward to experience a world without man. What he ultimately discovers will prove far more astonishing than anything he'd either dreaded or hoped for. (Goodreads)

Buy Earth Abides at Amazon

Titanium Noir by Nick Harkaway

book cover of science fiction novel Titantium Noir by Nick Harkaway
May 2023; Knopf; 978-0593535363
audio, ebook, print (256 pages); dystopian mystery

I recommended this book and will be leading the discussion of the novel. You can read my review. I suggested it because it is similar to a couple of other authors we have read and while it is more dystopian than post-apocalyptic I think the group will enjoy it.

Cal Sounder is a detective working for the police on certain very sensitive cases. So when he’s called in to investigate a homicide at a local apartment, he’s surprised by the routineness of it all. But when he arrives on scene, Cal soon learns that the victim—Roddy Tebbit, an otherwise milquetoast techie—is well over seven feet tall. And although he doesn’t look a day over thirty, he is ninety-one years old. Tebbit is a Titan—one of this dystopian, near-future society’s genetically altered elites. And this case is definitely Cal’s thing.

There are only a few thousand Titans worldwide, thanks to Stefan Tonfamecasca’s discovery of the controversial T7 genetic therapy, which elevated his family to godlike status. T7 turns average humans into near-immortal distortions of themselves—with immense physical proportions to match their ostentatious, unreachable lifestyles. A dead Titan is big news . . . a murdered Titan is unimaginable. But these modified magnates are Cal’s specialty. In fact, his own ex-girlfriend, Athena, is a Titan. And not just any—she is Stefan’s daughter, heir to the massive Tonfamecasca empire.  

As the murder investigation intensifies, Cal begins to unravel the complicated threads of what should have been a straightforward case, and it becomes clear he’s on the trail of a crime whose roots run deep into the dark heart of the world. (Goodreads)

Buy Titanium Noir at Amazon

State of Decay by James Knapp

book cover of dystopian novel State of Decay by James Knapp
February 2010; Ace; 978-0451463104
audio, ebook, print (384 pages); science fiction

This is book 1 in the Revivors series. It is a dystopian novel with zombies. I'm not a big fan of zombie novels so I'm kind of ambivalent about reading this novel.

They call them revivors-technologically reanimated corpses-and away from the public eye they do humanity's dirtiest work. But FBI agent Nico Wachalowski has stumbled upon a conspiracy involving revivors being custom made to kill-and a startling truth about the existence of these undead slaves. (Goodreads)

Buy State of Decay at Amazon

Feral Creatures by Kira Jane Buxton

book cover of post-apocalyptic fiction novel Feral Creatures by Kira Jane Buxton
August 2021; Grand Central Publishing; 978-1538735244
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); post-apocalyptic 

I also recommended this book. We read book 1 Hollow Kingdom a few years ago based on MK's review. And everyone LOVED it. We are looking forward to checking in on this post-apocalyptic world that is narrated by a crow. 

Once upon an apocalypse, there lived an obscenely handsome American crow named S.T. . . .
When the world last checked-in with its favorite Cheeto addict, the planet had been overrun by flesh-hungry beasts, and nature had started re-claiming her territory from humankind. S.T., the intrepid crow, alongside his bloodhound-bestie Dennis, had set about saving pets that had become trapped in their homes after humanity went the way of the dodo.
That is, dear reader, until S.T. stumbled upon something so rare—and so precious—that he vowed to do everything in his power to safeguard what could, quite literally, be humanity's last hope for survival. But in a wild world plagued by prejudiced animals, feather-raising environments, new threats so terrifying they make zombies look like baby bunnies, and a horrendous dearth of cheesy snacks, what's a crow to do?
Why, wing it on another big-hearted, death-defying adventure, that's what! Joined by a fabulous new cast of animal characters, S.T. faces many new challenges plus his biggest one parenthood. (Goodreads)

Buy Feral Creatures at Amazon

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

book cover of post-apocalyptic fiction novel Alas Babylon by Pat Frank
January 1964; Bantam Books; 978-0553029239
audio, ebook, print (312 pages); post-apocalyptic

Nuclear fallout was probably the first post-apocalyptic plot line I read as I think my first post-apocalyptic novel was Z is for Zachariah. While it isn't my favorite plotline, I do enjoy it as I love a good survivalist story.

“Alas, Babylon.” Those fateful words heralded the end. When the unthinkable nightmare of nuclear holocaust ravaged the United States, it was instant death for tens of millions of people; for survivors, it was a nightmare of hunger, sickness, and brutality. Overnight, a thousand years of civilization were stripped away. But for one small Florida town, miraculously spared against all the odds, the struggle was only just beginning, as the isolated survivors—men and women of all ages and races—found the courage to come together and confront the harrowing darkness. (Goodreads)

Buy Alas, Babylon at Amazon

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr

book cover of post-apocalyptic fiction novel A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr
January 1964; Bantam Books
audio, print (278 pages); post-apocalyptic

I'm not sure what I think about this novel. It might be another odd one.

In a nightmarish ruined world slowly awakening to the light after sleeping in darkness, the infant rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of the relics and writings of the blessed Saint Isaac Leibowitz. From here the story spans centuries of ignorance, violence, and barbarism, viewing through a sharp, satirical eye the relentless progression of a human race damned by its inherent humanness to recelebrate its grand foibles and repeat its grievous mistakes. (Goodreads)

1984 by George Orwell

book cover of dystopian novel 1984 by George Orwell
July 1950; Signet Classics
audio, ebook, print (268 pages); dystopian

I've read Animal Farm but I haven't read 1984. I'm glad I'll finally read this iconic book.

o Winston Smith, a young man who works in the Ministry of Truth (Minitru for short), come two people who transform this life completely. One is Julia, whom he meets after she hands him a slip reading, "I love you." The other is O'Brien, who tells him, "We shall meet in the place where there is no darkness." The way in which Winston is betrayed by the one and, against his own desires and instincts, ultimately betrays the other, makes a story of mounting drama and suspense. (Goodreads)

Buy 1984 at Amazon

Dust by Charles Pellegrino

book cover of thriller Dust by Charles Pellegrino
January 1998; Avon; 978-0380973088
print (387 pages); thriller

Another novel that I don't really have any initial thoughts on. I like survivalist stories so I hope this one is a good one.

In an idyllic Long Island community, paleobiologist Richard Sinclair is one of the first to suspect that the environment has begun to wage bloody, terrifying war on humanity. What initially appear to be random, unrelated events are actually violent eruptions in a worldwide biological chain reaction. Along with a brave group of survivors, Sinclair must learn to understand the catastrophe while it roils around them, slowly crumbling a panicked world and threatening apocalypse. The survival of humankind depends on finding an answer immediately—or else they will face the final, tragic destiny of their species. (Goodreads)

Buy Dust at Amazon

Have you read any of these books? I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these books.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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