5 post-apocalyptic novels you probably haven’t read yet [What We’re Into]

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Five amazing post-apocalyptic novels for your reading pleasure.
Five amazing post-apocalyptic novels for your reading pleasure.
Photo: Kimberly Farmer/Unsplash CC

What We're Into bug If you’re looking for some situation-appropriate fiction to read during the COVID-19 lockdown, then what could be better than a good old post-apocalyptic novel?

Some people will want to avoid all mention of pandemics and other worldwide disasters. But if your idea of catharsis comes through mental inoculation, then you should check out this list. I’ve read a ton of dystopian fiction over the years, and below are some of my favorites. A few are from recent years, and one is a bona fide classic, but all of them are great.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven is 0ne of the best post-apocalyptic novels ever
One of the best post-apocalyptic novels ever.
Photo: Amazon

I’ve saved the best ’til first. Station Eleven flits between the beginning of a pandemic, the aftermath a decade or so later, and the world as it existed before. The book is gentle, and particularly poignant right now, because it considers the huge importance of the petty, everyday things we have lost. Also, there’s a traveling theater troupe.

Buy from: Amazon

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

The Dog Stars: Yes, there's a dog in it
Yes, there’s a dog in it.
Photo: Amazon

This book serves up a more traditional post-apocalyptic story. Our main character and his dog fly in a Cessna to scout the skies while his survivalist partner defends the farm they live on. The author, Peter Heller, is an outdoors enthusiast and journalist, and it shows. This book is a meditation on loneliness, but also of existing alone, and of the importance of the few connections you may have — even if you don’t really like them.

Buy from: Amazon

Far North by Marcel Theroux

Far North is another great post-apocalyptic novel.
Far North.
Photo: Amazon

Far North is like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, only with more snow and a better plot. The main character is the sole survivor of her town, and she sets out to loosely follow a plane she sees one day. This is an epic voyage through a post-apocalyptic world, but one told with tenderness.

Buy from: Amazon

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Cat's Cradle: Yet another Vonnegut masterpiece
Yet another Vonnegut masterpiece.
Photo: Amazon

Cat’s Cradle is an utter classic. If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, you’ve probably read this already. It’s more about man’s folly and vanity than the end of the world, and it is both amazingly inventive and filled with the blackest humor. It satirizes science in general, and the Manhattan Project in particular, and also delivers the cleverest end-of-the-world mechanism ever.

Buy from: Amazon

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake: The entire trilogy is great
The entire trilogy is great.
Photo: Amazon

This is the first book in an equally excellent trilogy, which is always a nice prospect. Margaret Atwood is more famous now for another dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, but Oryx and Crake might be even more enjoyable. It’s another pandemic aftermath story, with flashbacks to the time before. But it’s also a full sci-fi dystopia. The book is strongly feminist, with criticisms of the current world, eugenics, how science can rescue and ruin everything, and the blindness of pride.

Buy from: Amazon

Great post-apocalyptic reads

All of these are excellent. And if you have any suggestions, please let me know. I’m always hunting for new dystopian and post-apocalyptic novels.

What We’re Into is a recurring feature on The CultCast, the official podcast of Cult of Mac. The segment gives us a chance to talk about things not necessarily related to Apple (but still totally addictive).