For those of you interested in books of the "TEOTWAWKI" (The End Of The World As We Know It) or "SHTF" (@#$* Hits The Fan) genre, you might find many of the following titles interesting. This is just a small collection of the SHTF novels that are available, but you might get some ideas of stories you haven't read from this collection. You can click on the Amazon links below for a more complete description and reviews of the book.
This was one of the first TEOTWAWKI novels I read, back when I was in about sixth grade. I frankly had not idea that it had such a following, or that it's still in print. But apparently it is, and it's rightly considered a classic. This is an account of a nuclear attack on the United States in the 1960's. It's more or less technically accurate, and, more importantly, the characters are all plausible. This is still one of the best SHTF novels.
An unknown virus surprisingly and almost immediately kills most of the earth's population. Only a handful of survivors remained, all isolated. This is my entry in this genre. Caretaker is the story of one of those survivors, who becomes the caretaker of civilization. He ensures his own survival by getting the pumps working at a local gas station, and putting in enough supplies to survive his first winter alone.
But he also longs to connect with the other survivors that he knows must exist. With his knowledge of radio, he is able to get an AM radio station on the air, which is eventually heard by other survivors. Eventually, he hears some fleeting signals on the CB radio that ensures that someone else is out there. Through his tenacity, and through coaching the other survivors how to respond, he is able to eventually make radio contact with them, and then eventually arrange a rendezvous. In the process, he also meets the love of his life. After meeting, they realize that they were destined to meet, disaster or no disaster. They team up with another couple to begin the task of rebuilding civilization.
This "novel" is really more of a short story, and is written as a first-person account of the "Second American Depression". The story is intentionally vague as to the start date, but it is sometime in the decade of the 2010's. The story begins with a preface written many years after the fact, and mostly consists of contemporaneous journal entries by this same author. The event that marked this depression was a large number of small-scale terrorist attacks on critical infrastructure. Most problematic were the attacks on the electrical grid. Even though the individual attacks were small, they were strategic enough to cause cascading failures and plunge the nation into darkness. The author's journal describes his experiences as the national began the slow process of rebuilding itself.
Other Books by Clement R. Dodge
I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but from the free preview on Amazon and the reviews there, this looks like a very plausible post-nuclear war story.
This is a very readable and plausible (both from a scientific and character point of view) of a killer asteroid. This one is also rightly a classic.
If you've read Lucifer's Hammer, you will find this story strangely similar. It's the same authors, and the story line is quite similar, except the asteroid is replaced by aliens. It's difficult to come up with a plausible alien invasion story, but this book does the job. If you enjoyed Lucifer's Hammer, you will certainly enjoy this book.
This is an early entry into the SHTF genre. An unkown disease kills most of the earth's population, and only a handful of humans survive. In my opinion, there are quite a few implausibilities (e.g. canned goods being edible decades after the fall of civilization). But if you're willing to overlook these problems, it's an excellent story.
Not the greatest SHTF novel, but at least I can say that the book is much better than the movie, in my humble opinion, anyway.
This is certainly an ambitious SHTF novel recounting the tale of the crew of a Destroyer after a nuclear war that destroyed the world. Some people say that it's poorly written, and I'm not sure I would go along with them. But it's so full of technical errors and implausibilities that it was painful to make it through this thick book. Of all the books on this list, I would say this is the one to skip.
A plausible story of a limited nuclear war.
Another relatively plausible (with occasional but forgivable technical errors) story of a limited nuclear war.
Original source documents from yet another limited nuclear war.
This is the British title of the book shown below. Otherwise, the books are identical. A plague kills all species of grass, including wheat, corn, and most other sources of human and animal food. A handful of survivors eek out an existence. This is one of the best SHTF novels ever. Unfortunately, it's difficult to find, so keep searching for both the British and American versions.
This is the American title of the previous book. Again, it's an excellent TEOTWAWKI story, and it's worth searching for, either for the British or the U.S. version. If you find either, snag it. Occasionally, used copies show up on Amazon, so keep checking both of these links.
This book is actually a work of "juvenile fiction"--the kind of thing your Junior High School English teacher would have been happy to see you reading. It goes to show that even those in the "juvenile fiction" world had a morbid streak. Our young protagonist is one of the few survivors in what is now an empty world. It's an excellent story, even if your English teacher would have approved.
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