41 Doomsday Fiction Books That You Should Be Reading!

Image courtesy stock.xchng user mrwrite (

Image courtesy stock.xchng user mrwrite (

By Wolverine – books are listed in random order.

Looks like you have a lot of reading to catch up on. If you have suggestions for other great doomsday fiction books  that are not listed here then please let us know in the comments below.

Patriots, by James W. Rawles, Economic collapse scenario. Lots of useful information on tactics, food storage, fuel storage, retreat security, survival medicine, etc. I’d recommend this book to anyone who is thinking about survivalism for the first time, as well as for long-term survivors. It’s full of great information, and is an eye-opener. I may not say that the survivors made the best choices possible in the story, but I learned from it.

Footfall  by Jerry Pournelle. Alien’s similar to elephants invade the earth. A good deal of how to survive in urban areas without the infrastructure we would normally have.

Lucifer’s Hammer , by Pournelle. A comet strikes the earth, many survival skills and scenes. Also deals with cannibalism.

Tunnel in the Sky , by Heinlein. Survival in an unexpected, long term situation.

Sixth Column , by Heinlein. Survival after enemy invasion of the US.

Farnham’s Freehold , by Heinlein. One mans preparation and success in surviving nuclear war.

Pulling Through, by Dean Ing. Post nuclear war scenario, Mr. Ing manages to discuss a wide variety of pertinent survival skills.

The Stand, by Stephen King. All reports suggest the book is better than the miniseries on TV was, I didn’t watch the series. Starts out with a plague killing most people on earth, gets very supernatural.

Unintended Consequences by John Ross. The first two-thirds of “Unintended Consequences” comprise a fictionalized chronology of various characters on three continents experiencing the effects of being armed – and being disarmed – from 1906 to the present. In the final third of the novel, set after Waco and Ruby Ridge, America’s gun-grabbers finally go too far.

Gun owners find themselves pushed to the point where they realize it’s either give up all their weapons or fight back. Individually, without getting together to form any giant conspiracy, they start killing their oppressors. A few at first… then by the hundreds.

Alas, Babylon, by Pat Frank. The first (?) survivalist book. Nuclear war survival in rural Florida.

No Blade of Grass, by John Christopher? A plague wipes out all food grains over most of the earth. People fleeing London for Wales, also forming local alliances and groups.

The Sheep Look Up, by John Brunner. Survival in an ecologically damaged America.

Stand on Zanzibar, by John Brunner. Life in an oppressive police state, within an ecologically damaged world.

Malevil, by Robert Merle. Post nuclear war survival in rural France. Interesting social dramas, not too good for survival skills.

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. Useful for understanding the people responsible for the problems.

Wolf And Iron, by Gordon R. Dickson. Post economic collapse. Lone wanderer scavenges and learns his way across several states. Finally sets up as blacksmith and farmer rancher.

A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter M. Miller. A fascinating book about long-term post apocalypse story, about the value of books and knowledge.

The Postman, by David Brin. A great book about a traveler in the medium – long post nuclear war environment, the establishment of local and regional governments, and the value of a traveling postman to carry news from one region to another.

Earth Abides by George R Steward. Pandemic survivors find each other and build communities initially based on scavenging. Inertia causes little of pre-disaster technology and culture to be passed on, causing great anguish to main character.

Survivors by Terry Nation. Pneumonic plague strain spread by air travel kills off most of the population. Set in Great Britain, a survivor group failing under pressure from bad weather and hostile neighbors migrates to the south of France. Strangely enough Brits will use guns if they can get them.

All Fools’ Day by Edmund Cooper. A new type of radiation (yuk yuk) causes most of mankind to commit suicide. The immune are ‘creative artists of all kinds, lunatics, political and religious fanatics, prostitutes and pathological animal lovers.’ Set in Great Britain.

Harvest of Stars, by Paul Anderson: America where political correctness has become a religion and taken over. One must think ahead and be on ones toes at all times in dealing with a police state; acting experience is a plus!

Vandenberg, by Oliver Lange. Life in a United States occupied by Soviet(or whatever) troops. Frightening.

Warday and Nature’s End, by Whitley Straub

The Ends of the Circle, by Paul O. Williams – sorry I could not find this one on Amazon.com

Some Will Not Die, by Algis Budrys. Post pandemic in New York City Son of initial main char forms the “Reunification Army” to create the “Second Republic.” Guns, guns, and more guns and living on 20 year old canned goods. Still not a bad story.

Only Lovers Left Alive by Dave Wallis. Set in Britain, virtually everyone over 19 commits suicide over a 2 year period. A street gang rises to the conquest of London metro area but finds it tough going in the country when the canned good run out.  – sorry I could not find this one on Amazon.com

Out of the Ashes series by William Johnstone. The first is excellent on establishing attitude and the others each have a few tidbits in them. His Tri-states concept is developing almost a cult-like following in some areas. Most of the later volumes are just pay copy (Is there any other reason to write?) so you have to wade through a lot of story line to pick out the good parts. He writes interesting copy so it isn’t a chore.

The Guardians – series by Richard Austin (pretty darned good until you get to around # 20 or #23, then they were done by ghost writers and the characters just got too weird).

Deathlands – series by James Axler (survival value very little, but I think they’re darned good reading, especially the first 10 – 15 books)

Death Wind by William C. Heine. The plot is that a pandemic suddenly sweeps North America, killing within minutes anyone exposed to an infected person, even being downwind is sufficient. The story follows a Canadian family who retreat to the far North to avoid the plague. There are several elements that bear directly on survival. First, there is a sudden onset of the emergency with no prior warning.

The immediate response reaction is instructive. Second there are the North country survival techniques. Third there are psychological factors of being a survivor in a situation where most others die. And there is more, dealing with post-disaster situations, though I won’t go into that because it would spoil the book for you. It’s a page turner, though of course not a survival handbook.

Path to Savagery by Robert Edmund Alter. The world after a minor nuclear war. The polar ice caps have melted, flooding the coast lines. North America is suffering from a drought and millions of people are dead. The hero is a “loner” who avoids interacting with the tribes that most of the survivors have joined. He has a Thompson sub-machine gun and the right attitude.

The Castle Keeps by Andrew J Offutt. American life has gradually gone to hell in a hand basket, especially in the cities. Story of a family that moved to a farm determined to do what it takes to survive and live well. My only complaint with this book is that the protagonist uses a Colt .45 SAA instead of a M1911. Other than this, the scenes involving firearms are very well done. Sorry, I could not find this one on Amazon.com.

The Long Loud Silence by Wilson Tucker. Bio war wipes out USA east of Mississippi. The story of an “immune” (all such are careers). Cannibalism is adopted by some survivors.

The Day of the Triffids, by John Wyndham. A meteor shower blinds most of the inhabitants on earth. A group of people who still have sight fight against flesh eating plants while the try to survive.

Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien fictional account of a young woman surviving the aftermath of a nuclear war on her parents farm. Very weak on science. She lives in a protected valley, and everything outside the valley is dead. Then one day a man shows up who invented a radiation proof suit with a pushcart (since cars are radioactive). She hides in the woods, unsure of what to do. Finally she shows herself, but not before he drinks from a radioactive pond. He gets sick, she helps him, he eventually tries to rape her, and she hides again.

It had some good points, such as hiding her garden, getting fuel from pumps w/o electricity, and what to do with her dog, since it could be used by the man to find her. (reviewer) read it in Jr. High School in the school library, so its at least 13 old, and intended for younger readers.

I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson. The basis for the Omega Man movie, a plague kills almost everyone.

Earth Blood (3 book series) and The Death lands books by James Axler. The Earth Blood books are about an earth where some sort of biological agent has destroyed most of the plant life throwing the world into chaos. The Death Land books take place 100 or so years after a nuclear holocaust.

Fire and Ice – by Ray Kytle c 1975 D McKay & Co. It is the story of the effects of a Middle East War/Oil Crisis on a (liberal, although not for long) University professor and his family and friends. The oil fields are sabotaged/destroyed and Western Civilization gradually, then with increasing speed, grinds to a halt. Then, it becomes a story of survival, as the characters must contend not only with food shortages but looters, gangs and even the military. Then, the weather begins to change, affected by the burning oil fields.

Future Eden by J.M. Morgan- people in the biosphere project survive a plague like the one in the stand and 20 years later have found a way to go back out side. Sorry, I could not find this one on Amazon.com.

Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny. A man has to make a cross country run in a post apocalyptic America

Long Voyage Back by Luke Rehinhart- the story of a family who survive a nuclear holocaust by sailing along the cost of North and South America

Dark Advent by Brian Hodge- another story about a illness that wipes out much of the world population.

Swan Song by Robert McCammeron- A post nuclear war story.

Well that’s it for my recommended survivalist fiction – please list your favorites in the comments below…


  1. Gratuitous marketing: Consider mine for one from a Canadian perspective. It’s title, Olduvai, pays homage to Richard Duncan–electrical engineer and peak ‘oilist’-who proposed the Olduvai Theory that argues “Although all primary sources of energy are important, the Olduvai theory identifies electricity as the quintessential end-use energy of Industrial Civilization…[A]ccording to the Olduvai schematic, world energy production per capita will decrease…[then] there will be a rash of permanent electrical blackouts worldwide. Consequently the vital…functions—communication, computation, and control—will be lost.
    …Mother Nature then solves for us the (apparently) insuperable problem of the Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons, which the human race seems either incapable or unwilling to solve for itself.
    Governments have lost respect. World organizations are ineffective. Neo-tribalism is rampant. The population is over [seven] billion and counting. Global warming and emerging diseases are headlines. The reliability of the electrical power networks is failing. And the instant the power goes out, you are back in the Dark Ages.”

    • Steve,
      At some point we will come to our senses, and either coal (we have a 500 year supply) or nuclear energy will end up keeping us up and running. There may unfortunately be some misery in the short term.
      With a little luck, the High Beta Fusion reactor project at Lockheed will pay off, and we could have essentially unlimited power from small fusion systems within a decade or so.
      People have predicted the demise of humans for centuries; generally not thinking out of the box enough to see what upcoming technology will bring us.

  2. LittleAnniePrepper says:

    Lights Out by David Crawford. I’ve read a lot of the others listed. Thanks for doing this, MD. This is timely given we’re going to have a cold winter and I’ll be doing a lot of reading.

  3. When “Alas, Babylon” was mentioned, I immediately thought of “On The Beach”. It’s a great Apocalyptic novel, but not so much a Survivalist novel. If you like happy endings, avoid like the plague.

    My favorite of the genre is “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler. It’s not that great for survival knowledge, but it is the absolute most hopeful post-Apocalyptic novel I have read.

    • Oh yeah, another excellent read is “Oath of Fealty” by Jerry Pournelle. Not very Survivalist or Apocalyptic, but definitely post-industrial/post-fossil fuel/post-globalist Powerdown neo-feudal sort of scenario.

  4. One great book that I read about 5 months ago is called “Primal Shift” by Griffin Hayes. Excellent portrayal of a SHTF scenario from multiple viewpoints of the characters.

  5. I just finished the 3rd book in the “life as we know it” series by Susan Beth Pfeffer. I haven’t read much of this type of book, being somewhat new to prepping. It seems like it would be well suited to young adults as the main charaters are always teens. Based on what I’ve read about other books, the big pros to me of these books were 1) tehy really didn’t have a religous focus 2) the charaters were very average…they don’t possess special survial skills gained from military training or anything I can’t relate to. I enjoyed them and I thought they seemed pretty realistic.

  6. Noel V. Cespon says:

    Guys, I’m searching for the title of a book about a group of people who crash in an island. After agreeing on cannibalism for survival, they deliberated on who should make the first sacrifice. Eventually, it was the artist who was chosen because art is not relevant during survival.
    Can any of you help me as to what’s the title of this book and who the author is?