Title: Z For Zachariah
Author:Robert C. O’Brien
Year published: 1974
Genre: Post-apocalyptic (near), young adult/drama.
Threat: Nuclear holocaust, nerve gas.
Two words: Tense adolescence.
Z for Zachariah is often bandied as a children’s post-apocalyptic book, concerning a young lady’s survival after a nuclear holocaust. Indeed, it was partially finished by O’Brien’s daughter, released only after his death, and it’s a text at least previously studied in schools. Something you read and reread and pick apart in class until you find it mind-numbingly banal. But there’s a reason it was worthy studying, and it’s a perfectly mature tale – it’s a great character study, with a purposefully subtle story. Read more
Title: Riddley Walker
Author: Rusell Hoban
Year published: 1980
Genre: Post-apocalypse (far), literary.
Threat: Distant nuclear holocaust
Two words: Immense immersion.
Guaranteed, Riddley Walker is like nothing else you have ever read. Rusell Hoban has created something truly unique, by placing himself, and us as the reader, fully in the place of a reformed society, centuries after the devastation of a nuclear bomb. Unlike most works of post-apocalyptic fiction, or of any fiction that looks to a different era of time, Hoban gives us a story from the perspective of people completely removed from our society. They don’t have our norms: they don’t even use our language. It makes it a difficult read, but a massively rewarding experience, placing you in a completely different world. Read more