Title: The Age of Miracles
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Year published: 2012
Genre: Apocalyptic, young adult/drama.
Threat: The Earth rotation slows.
Two words: Suburban .
A very different entry in our lists, this novel is devoid of much of the horror, or drama, that pervades most post-apocalyptic fiction, focused more on the development of childhood emotions and the family lives of ordinary people affected by a worldwide cataclysm. The Age of Miracles is a light read, with all the hallmarks of pulp book-club entertainment, though it sets its simple tale of an awkward girl’s advance into adolescence against a dramatically altering world, spiralling towards the apocalypse. Read more
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