“It’s not the end of the world at all,” he said. “It’s only the end for us. The world will go on just the same…”
For most people, armageddon books are not what we need right now. God knows we have had enough horrors this year. But sometimes, it is fun to take a deep dive into one of these scenarios. Whether it is an asteroid strike like in Lucifer’s Hammer, or a plague as in The Stand, we see the fortitude of humanity laid out before us page by page.
Shane Keene from Ink Heist again partnered with me to create a good starter kit of apocalyptic horrors to delight and add some fright to your reading. Take some of these for a spin, I promise they will be memorable reads.
“Hopeless causes are the only ones worth fighting for. The fight for the taxpayer is the most hopeless of them all.”
By Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
The chances that Lucifer’s Hammer would hit the earth head-on were one in a million. Then one in a thousand. Then one in a hundred. And then … even less.
I loved this book so much that I wrote my senior thesis on what it would take to survive in a world like that. This book is iconic and terrifying. It is everything a armageddon themed book should be.
“The closer men came to perfecting for themselves a paradise, the more impatient they became with it, and with themselves as well. They made a garden of pleasure, and became progressively more miserable with it as it grew in richness and power and beauty; for then, perhaps, it was easier to see something was missing in the garden, some tree or shrub that would not grow. When the world was in darkness and wretchedness, it could believe in perfection and yearn for it. But when the world became bright with reason and riches, it began to sense the narrowness of the needle’s eye, and that rankled for a world no longer willing to believe or yearn.”
A Canticle for Leibowitz
By Walter M. Miller Jr.
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.
“Only six books from the age of the Roadmakers were known to exist: The Odyssey; Brave New World; The Brothers Karamazov; The Collected Short Stories of Washington Irving; Eliot Klein’s book of puzzles and logic. Beats Me; and Goethe’s Faust. They also had substantial sections of The Oxford Companion to World Literature and several plays by Bernard Shaw. There were bits and pieces of other material. Of Mark Twain, two fragments remained, the first half of “The Facts in the Case of the Great Beef Contract,” and chapter sixteen from Life on the Mississippi, which describes piloting and racing steamboats, although the precise nature of the steamboat tantalizingly eluded Illyria’s best scholars.”
By Jack McDevitt
The Roadmakers left only ruins behind — but what magnificent ruins! Their concrete highways still cross the continent. Their cups, combs and jewelry are found in every Illyrian home. They left behind a legend,too — a hidden sanctuary called Haven, where even now the secrets of their civilization might still be found.
Chaka’s brother was one of those who sought to find Haven and never returned. But now Chaka has inherited a rare Roadmaker artifact — a book called A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court — which has inspired her to follow in his footsteps. Gathering an unlikely band of companions around her, Chaka embarks upon a journey where she will encounter bloodthirsty rirver pirates, electronic ghosts who mourn their lost civilization and machines that skim over the ground and air. Ultimately, the group will learn the truth about their own mysterious past.
“It’s better to face madness with a plan than to sit still and let it take you in pieces.”
By Josh Malerman
Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?
Interweaving past and present, Bird Box is a snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.
“I realised that everyone and everything out there had a story, and that most stories would never be told.”
By Tim Lebbon
In the darkness of a vast cave system, cut off from the world for millennia, blind creatures hunt by sound. Then there is light, there are voices, and they feed… Swarming from their prison, they multiply and thrive. To scream, even to whisper, is to summon death.
Deaf for many years, Ally knows how to live in silence. Now, it is her family’s only chance of survival. To leave their home, to shun others, to find a remote haven where they can sit out the plague. But will it ever end? And what kind of world will be left?
“It’s not the end of the world at all,” he said. “It’s only the end for us. The world will go on just the same, only we shan’t be in it. I dare say it will get along all right without us.”
On The Beach
By Nevil Shute
After a nuclear World War III has destroyed most of the globe, the few remaining survivors in southern Australia await the radioactive cloud that is heading their way and bringing certain death to everyone in its path. Among them is an American submarine captain struggling to resist the knowledge that his wife and children in the United States must be dead. Then a faint Morse code signal is picked up, transmitting from somewhere near Seattle, and Captain Towers must lead his submarine crew on a bleak tour of the ruined world in a desperate search for signs of life. On the Beach is a remarkably convincing portrait of how ordinary people might face the most unimaginable nightmare.
Warning. This book will break your soul. It is a hard book to read.
“Show me a man or a woman alone and I’ll show you a saint. Give me two and they’ll fall in love. Give me three and they’ll invent the charming thing we call ‘society’. Give me four and they’ll build a pyramid. Give me five and they’ll make one an outcast. Give me six and they’ll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they’ll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.”
By Stephen King
This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides — or are chosen.
“If I’m sincere today, what does it matter if I regret it tomorrow?”
By José Saramago, Giovanni Pontiero (Translator)
A city is hit by an epidemic of “white blindness” that spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and assaulting women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides her charges—among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears—through the barren streets, and their procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing. As Blindness reclaims the age-old story of a plague, it evokes the vivid and trembling horrors of the twentieth century, leaving readers with a powerful vision of the human spirit that’s bound both by weakness and exhilarating strength.
Check out my review here
“I’m not afraid of the world. I’m afraid of a world without you.”
Y The Last Man
by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra (Illustrator), Goran Sudžuka (Illustrator), José Marzán Jr. (Illustrator)
“Y” is none other than unemployed escape artist Yorick Brown (his father was a Shakespeare buff), and he’s seemingly the only male human left alive after a mysterious plague kills all Y-chromosome carriers on earth. But why are he and his faithful companion, the often testy male monkey Ampersand, still alive? He sets out to find the answer (and his girlfriend), while running from angry female Republicans (now running the government), Amazon wannabes that include his own sister (seemingly brainwashed), and other threats. The Vertigo team of Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, and José Marzán Jr. have given us a great read!
“Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”
The Handmaid’s Tale
By Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now . . .
Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.