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Some book porn: from me to you.

Every week, Abebooks.com delivers some tantalising book porn to my inbox. I usually go through a four step ‘drool, covet, check bank account, delete email’ process upon receiving these newsletters, but this week’s selection deserves an LJ post of its own.
We wants all of these, precioussss…. Even the ones we’ve already got…

Recommended Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

After London Richard Jefferies

After London
Richard Jefferies (1885)

Famous for his nature writing, Jefferies penned this early science fiction novel where an unknown disaster has decimated England’s population and nature reclaims the land amid the chaos and conflict. Domesticated animals turn feral, towns and infrastructure break down. It’s almost Gaia-like in its foresight.

Earth Abides George R. Stewart

Earth Abides
George R. Stewart
(1949)

Stewart was an English professor at Berkeley. Set in the 1940s, the Earth’s population falls to an airborne pandemic. Isherwood Williams, an ecologist, is one of the survivors and the novel examines how several generations adapt. Reading and writing disappears. Hunter-gathering and tribes return. This is an extremely influential book.

ISBN: 0141185414 The Day of the Triffids John Wyndham

The Day of the Triffids
John Wyndham
(1951)

Wyndham’s novel has two strands of catastrophe. Firstly, lights from a meteor shower blind anyone who watches it (and that’s most people) and the visionless society completely breaks down. Then the triffids – walking, killing, meat-eating plants – take advantage of the whole situation and go on the rampage.

Star Man's Son 2250 A.D. Andre Norton

Daybreak – 2250 AD (Star Man’s Son)
Andre Norton
(1952)

Originally titled Star Man’s Son, this science fiction classic is set 200 years after a nuclear war in a radioactive world with a handful of humans. Mutants and mutations abound. This is an upbeat novel with hope for the future even though Norton is spot on in terms of understanding the horror of radiation. 

ISBN: 0802755240 Omega Man Richard Matheson

I Am Legend
Richard Matheson
(1954)

This novel crosses into several genres (including zombies and vampires) but its protagonist, Robert Neville, appears to be the sole survivor of a viral pandemic that turns humans into vampires. Holed up in his Los Angeles hideout, Neville fights for his survival at night while trying to find a cure during the day.

Pat Frank - Alas, Babylon

Alas, Babylon
Pat Frank
(1959)

Fifty years old and still going strong, Alas Babylon is a post-nuclear war novel about the struggle for survival in a small Florida town called Fort Repose. The disintegration of everyday society is clearly detailed. Written before radiation sickness was properly understood, the book does show a functioning government attempting to help survivors.

ISBN: 0553379267 A Canticle For Leibowitz Walter M. Miller

A Canticle for Leibowitz
Walter M. Miller Jr.
(1961)

A nuclear war has devastated the world. The monks in a Catholic monastery in an American desert are attempting to preserve books that could save humanity. Miller was part of a bomber crew that helped destroy the Monte Cassino monastery in Italy during World War II and that experienced served as an inspiration. A Canticle for Leibowitz won a Hugo Award in 1961.

ISBN: 0385294492 The Devil's Children Peter Dickinson

The Devil’s Children
Peter Dickinson
(1970)

The Devil’s Children is the third book in a trilogy where a strange noise causes humanity to hate and destroy machinery and technology with society reverting to pre-industrial times. The Weathermonger (1968) and Heartsease (1969) complete the trilogy, which was written in reverse chronological order. BBC TV turned the books into The Changes serial in the mid-1970s.

The Stand Stephen King

The Stand
Stephen King
(1978)

This novel is based upon an earlier King short story, Night Surf. A biological weapon inflicts a virus on the world, killing the vast majority of humans. The survivors make a number of cross-country journeys, and camps of good and evil are established. The book is divided into three parts – the virus which is called Captain Trips, the journeys and the final confrontation.

ISBN: 0553051075 The Postman David Brin

The Postman
David Brin
(1985)

In a post-apocalyptic world, a drifter called Gordon Krantz discovers and starts wearing a US Postal worker uniform. Unlike Cliff Clavin from Cheers, Krantz becomes a symbol of hope for those surviving in the ruined world. The plot does not paint a heroic picture of the survivors and even blames them for preventing recovery from the disaster.

ISBN: 0345370880 A Gift Upon the Shore M.K. Wren

A Gift Upon the Shore
M.K. Wren
(1990)

This novel has a strong theme about fundamentalism. A nuclear holocaust destroys life and two female survivors in Oregon struggle on amid the nuclear winter and plagues. The book asks what’s really important – a devotion to books and knowledge conflicts with the single-minded drive of fundamentalism.

ISBN: 0156007754 Blindness José Saramago

Blindness
José Saramago
(1995)

This novel is worthy of consideration even though it doesn’t detail a global disaster. Saramago’s acclaimed story deals with an epidemic of blindness, like Day of the Triffids, in a single unknown city and how everything swiftly falls to pieces. Turned into a movie in 2008, Blindness helped earn Saramago the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998.

ISBN: 0618124977  The Slynx Tatyana Tolstaya

The Slynx

Tatyana Tolstaya
(2000)

Tolstaya is one of Russia’s leading authors. Written in Russian, an English translation was published in 2003. This is a dystopian fantasy set in a post-apocalyptic world. Civilization came to an abrupt halt 200 years earlier thanks to something called the Blast. The new society is cruel, mutations are commonplace and free thinking is a very bad thing.

ISBN: 0375822739 The City of Ember Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember

Jeanne DuPrau
(2003)

Ember is the only city in a world of complete darkness and Ember’s power supplies are running low. The world as we know it has been destroyed by humans several centuries earlier. Two 12-year-olds lead the search for a solution. The City of Ember, which became a movie in 2008, was followed by three more novels in this popular young adult series.

ISBN: 0307455297 The Road Cormac McCarthy

The Road
Cormac McCarthy
(2006)

Bizarrely, an Oprah Book Club pick in 2007, this novel describes the journey of a father and son after some unknown disaster has destroyed the majority of life on this planet. Won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2007. Very, very, very downbeat – cannibalism, rape and much horror. What on Earth did Oprah’s followers make of this remarkable book? The black cover is very apt.

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