8 books you should read before the world ends

Joe Vesey-ByrneJosh Withey@josh_withey
Wednesday 09 August 2017 15:45
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Picture:(James Sutton on Unsplash)

It might be sooner than we had anticipated.

Prepare for the aftermath of nuclear armageddon by reading one of these eight books set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

The writers at indy100 have spent National Book Day living in fear of the oncoming 'fire and fury' that Donald Trump has promised, so to ditstract ourselves we've put together a little list of the best reads.

Some of them have been made into films, in case you worry you won't read them all before the bomb drops.

1. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Picture: Amazon.co.uk(Picture: Amazon.co.uk)

McCarthy's novel follows a nameless father and son as they try to survive in a world destroyed by an unspecified cataclysm.

The landscape is never explained, but the devastation and daily struggle to survive is gripping.

McCarthy previously flexed his bleakness muscles in No Country for Old Men and Child of God.

The Road won the 2007 Pullitzer Prize for fiction.

2. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

Picture: Amazon.co.uk(Picture: Amazon.co.uk)

First published in 1951, the work is a cornerstone of the post-apocalyptic genre.

While the work does sketch out the horrific event – a comet shower that blinds most of the population – the action focuses on survival in a world filled with flesh eating plants.

Reflecting the Cold War era in which the work was written, the protagonist suspects that these plants ‘the Triffids’ were bioengineered by the Soviet Union.

Survival tips for anyone in the Wiltshire and Sussex countryside area abound within.

3. The Stand by Stephen King

Picture: Amazon.co.uk(Picture: Amazon.co.uk)

Some would classify this as horror, but if your post-apocalyptic setting is anything less than horrifying, it isn't much of an apocalypse now is it?

Set in an America ravaged by an influenza epidemic, King’s novel has been reissued multiple times, shifting the date at which events take place from the early 1980s to the early 1990s.

According to King, writing in his non-fiction book Danse Macbre, the Stand was intended to be an epic in the style of modern day Lord of the Rings.

4. Pandemic: The Extinction Files by A.G Riddle

Picture: Amazon.co.uk(Picture: Amazon.co.uk)

Top of the Amazon bestseller list is Pandemic The Extinction Files by A.G Riddle.

The contemporary work, set mostly in Kenya, follows the outbreak of a mysterious disease and the attempts by scientists at the CDC and WHO to contain it.

Is the pandemic a true outbreak, or a sick conspiracy?

Guess what, read it and find out.

5. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

Picture: Amazon.co.uk(Picture: Amazon.co.uk)

First published in 1959, Frank’s work concerns a small town in Florida, which, by some miracle, survived a nuclear holocaust that destroyed the rest of the United States.

The nuclear blast is just the beginning, as the inhabitants of the town of Fort Repose join together to ward off bandits and raiders from the town, while news trickles through on the radio of America’s collapse.

6. Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon

Picture: Amazon.co.uk(Picture: Amazon.co.uk)

Another novel which borders on the genre of horror and a post-apocalyptic world, Swan Song tells the story of life after a Soviet nuclear strike.

Swan, the titular character, is a young girl with powers that could heal mankind.

If you don’t have one of these, McCammon’s novel nevertheless provides over 850 pages worth of survival tips, for living our existence in an abandoned petrol station,

7. Children of Men by P.D James

Picture: Amazon.co.uk(Picture: Amazon.co.uk)

The film for this by Alfonso Cuarón is also brilliant, so you’re excused if you just watch that instead, though the plots do differ significantly.

James, most known for crime fiction, sets her novel in a Britain where infertility is more or less universal. The last generation to be born maraud the countryside in hunting packs, while the cities are filled with the aged and the infirm.

Nuclear radiation is one probable cause for the state of infertility, but the true horror of James’ novel is the world where women like men have become unable to create, only to destroy.

8. World War Z by Max Brooks

(Picture: Amazon.co.uk)

Written by the son of Mel Brooks, the book’s full title is ‘World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War’.

Unlike the Hollywood blockbuster starring Brad Pitt, the book World War Z reads more like a collated account of survivors from around the world. Each chapter reveals a story of a survivor who have overcome the zombie hoard in their own way; be it the traditional fighting sense, or simply organising and micro-managing a civilisation. It's the sort of thing you'd despair to read now, if the subject matter concerned the gradual reconstruction of a country that had at some point fallen to civil war - but throw some crazy virus infected monsters in there and you have a real page turner.

The Z are Zombies, and although that’s not currently on the cards, we will not be ruling anything out.

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