The far future of the post-apocalypse is an ideal setting for completely reimagined civilisations. Once the world is rendered waste, how do the population rebuild? These are stories often epic in scope, allowing for completely new orders of society. Such stories often, too, contain elements of mystery about what came before, and how society reached its modern state.
Title: Riddley Walker
Author: Russel Hoban
Threat: Nuclear holocaust
What it’s all about: An unfathomably accomplished novel, Riddley Walker not only depicts a completely reformed Iron Age England (following The Bomb), but it does so in the language of its uncivilised population. Completely immersive, it’s a difficult read, but well worth it.
Title: Wool Author:
Hugh Howey Year:
Unknown What it’s all about: Wool
and its sequels is a modern masterpiece of tense, claustrophobic fiction, as a community in an underground survival questions its centuries old traditions, and starts to come to terms with the idea of an outside world.
Title: Wixon’s Day
Author: Phil Williams
What it’s all about: Following the apathetic journey of a canal-based scavenger, Wixon’s Day covers themes of purpose and war in a world rebuilt after a distantly forgotten disaster.
Title: The Passage Author:
Justin Cronin Year:
Vampires What it’s all about:
Somewhat unjustly marketed as a near-apocalypse, The Passage
takes us from government experiments that cause worldwide destruction to a point 90 years later when isolated communities struggle to survive.
Title: A Canticle for Leibowitz
Author: Walter M. Miller
Threat: Nuclear War
What it’s all about: An ambitious apocalyptic account that follows society’s reconstruction over 1800 years after the disaster. With ongoing religious themes, it poses questions over how human ignorance fosters historical cycles.
Vic and Blood: A boy and his dog Author:
Harlan Ellison Year:
Nuclear war. What it’s all about:
This novella from sci-fi writer Ellison, later followed by a series of additional short stories, tackles the mutated wasteland after the bomb through the eyes of a sex-obsessed teenager and a telepathic dog. Nothing if not original.
Title: City of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
What it’s all about: An isolated city slowly runs out of power as its aged infrastructure fails. Young Lina Mayfleet and her friend Doon must decipher a code to save the city. But what will they discover in the outside world?
Title: Shift Author:
Hugh Howey Year:
Nano-technology / mankind What it’s all about:
The continuation to Wool, this depicts the different struggles of surrounding silos, the events that led up to the destruction and the background of those people managing the project – over centuries of isolated survival.