End of the World Books You Can Read During the Apocalypse
by Brandy Cross
Whether you’re placing your bets on an end of the world 2012 prophecy, or just want to know what all of the fuss is about, there is a lot to read when it comes to end of days books, especially for the year of 2012. This top 5 list of end of the world books covers a variety of ways that the apocalypse could happen, some cover actual end of the world prophecies, and all of them are well written masterpieces of futuristic horror and suspense. With dates spanning from the 1930’s to now, you can read about how people have predicted the end of the world for the last century.
A masterpiece by none other than the legendary master of the horror novel, Stephen King, ‘The Stand’ takes a look at two end of the world theories. The change starts when a man-made virus escapes from a military base, a scientist’s family running from death, only to spread it around the world. With most of the world’s population wiped out, the plot begins to twist to include the more fantastical, as the 108 year old Mother Abigail takes the side of good, and Randall Flag, the dark man, the side of evil. Perhaps lauded as one of his most well written books, ‘The Stand’ covers a host of very human, very real characters that anyone can relate to, while still enjoying a massive end of days novel of ‘apocalyptic proportions’.
The Road was written by Cormac McCarthy in 2006 and quickly skyrocketed to the top of everyone’s must read list. The book follows the plot of ‘The Man’ and ‘The Boy’, an unnamed father and son who make their way towards the coast along the road. A post-apocalyptic world where plants and human life cannot grow, humans have become cannibals who harvest, capture, and kill each other for food. The man and the boy walk for some unknown hope, with a gun and two bullets. While the novel does not have a happy ending, it is a short and unforgettable novel with very graphic imagery probably not suited for children.
Probably the first nuclear war end of the world novel ever written, ‘On the Beach’ by Neville Shute was originally published in 1957. The novel covers the aftereffects of an unlikely nuclear bombing as radiation spreads across the world, contaminating and killing humans. With the Australian government handing out suicide pills to save citizens a painful death by radiation, and a Seattle rescue mission arriving to find that their trip was made for a false alarm, the books is more than a little depressing and not for the faint of heart. No happy endings here.
I am Legend
A film adaption of this book made it famous, but the book by Richard Matheson is so much more than the movie would suggest. Similar to in the movie, a man made virus pandemic wipes out most of the human race, turning the living into vampire type creatures, and the dead into zombies, and leaving only one immune survivor, Robert Neville. Neville captures an uninfected woman but quickly becomes suspicious as she exhibits signs of sympathy towards the vampires. Neville later discovers that she has been infected, and the still living members of society have found ways to suppress their ‘ hunger’ and are beginning to rebuild society. The book ends with the realization that he is the last of his kind (being human) and the thought ‘I Am Legend’ before an uncertain ending of either death, or turning.
Gordan Krantz is a survivor in a post-apocalyptic world following a nuclear explosion, deriving the name of the book ‘The Postman’ from the postal uniform and mail that he took off of a dead postal worker. Technology has ceased to work and part of humanity has retreated to small towns and villages, while the rest are ‘hyper-survivalists’, using any means necessary, including banditry, theft, and suppression, to stay alive. Krantz journeys to a town in Oregon claiming to be led by ‘Cyclops’ a surviving artificial intelligence, only to discover that it is a fake. Krantz rallied together with the locals, using his ‘postman’ status to help restore hope and order. While lovers of the movie adaption might be a tiny bit disappointed in the differences, the Postman truly is a masterpiece of the written word, and an excellent end of the world novel.
Want more to read? There are plenty of brand new books covering end of the world 2012 prophecies. These include ‘The Fifth Seal’ which covers the start of the end of the world from a religious vantage, including the Prophecy of Saint Malachy as the ‘turning point’ and start of the end of days. ‘2012 AD: The Mayan Apocalypse’ is a fictional anthology of what would have happened had the Mayans actually predicted the end of the world. ‘A Pound of Flesh’ is one of the best indie zombie novels to come out in recent times, although readers might want to read the prequels first.