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Forum: Hard Science Fiction anyone?

End of the world anyone?

I'm always looking for good apocalyptic fiction. I can't say I'm much interested in the "Left Behind" series, but I really get into anything remotely plausible. Some examples of books I've enjoyed in this vein:

- Lucifer's Hammer (Niven & Pournelle)
- The Stand (King) - didn't much like the whole good vs. evil bit, but everything else was right up my alley
- Aftermath (Sheffield) - I'll read the sequel if the owner ever sends it to me
- Alas, Babylon ()
- Moonseed (Baxter)
- Ill Wind (Anderson & Beason)
- The Forge of God (Bear) - the sequel's pretty good, too
- Earth (Brin)
- Earth Abides (Stewart)
- Ice! (Federbush)
- I am Legend (Matheson)
- Circuit of Heaven (Danvers)

Honorable mentions:
- The Road (McCarthy) - post-apocalyptic really, but enjoyed it anyway
- Battlefield: Earth - not much for character development, but very fun
- Footfall (Niven & Pournelle) - Earth never gets trashed, but fun nonetheless
- The Hammer of God (Clarke)
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Adams)

Any recommendations out there? I'm hoping to get all the really good disaster books on my shelves (I'm sure there's some psychological neurosis that makes me enjoy this stuff, but I'd rather not be treated for it until I've read all the good ones).

Rebel Sun
4 years ago


I too like apocalyptic stories. Last year I performed online research and made a list of apocalyptic books. I divided the list into categories based on whether I owned, had read, or wanted them. (I haven't bothered to maintain the list, so several books are listed in the wrong categories now.) You might find some books to enjoy on it. I published the list in a blog post here:

You might find some ideas on my wishlist too:
Jon Maloney/9999/


Jon Maloney
4 years ago
Thanks for you lists, Rebel Sun. I have just submitted mooch requests for Kevin J. Anderson : Ill Wind and David Brin : Earth, and I added Arnold Federbush : Ice! to my wishlist.


Jon Maloney
4 years ago
Hey Jon, Thanks for the link to your blog list...a lot of books I'd never heard of on there (and quite as few that I forgot about). I'll be adding many of them to my wishlist.
Rebel Sun
4 years ago
I received another apocalyptic book today:
1979, Mary Vigliante : The Colony

I've got one apocalyptic book coming:
1977, Arthur Herzog : Heat

Within the last few months I've read a few apocalyptic books:
2002, Stel Pavlou : Decipher (from you, Rebel Sun!)
1998, Stephen Baxter : Moonseed
1955, Leigh Brackett : The Long Tomorrow
2009, James Wesley Rawles : Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse
1977, George Stone : Blizzard
1981, Ralph Hayes : Drought
1980, Robert Sheckley : After The Fall

I loved the ideas and trivia in Decipher, but the last third of the book was a mess.
I thought the parts about space travel and the moon in Moonseed were absolutely excellent, but I thought there were significant human-behavior errors and the book was about 300 pages too long.
The Long Tomorrow was better than I expected and showed a maturity I didn't expect from a cold-war-era novel.
I liked Patriots for it's survivalist ideas, but the story wasn't that great.
Blizzard and Drought! basically sucked. :-)
I enjoyed only two of 15 stories in After the Fall.

Apocalyptic books on my to-be-read shelf include:
2008, Scott Sigler : Infected: A Novel
1998, Jack McDevitt : Moonfall
1994, John Barnes : Mother of Storms
2006, Z. A. Recht : Plague of the Dead (The Morningstar Strain)
2007, Jeff Carlson : Plague Year
2006, Cormac McCarthy : The Road (Oprah's Book Club)
2003, Humphrey Hawksley : The Third World War (also from you)


Jon Maloney
4 years ago
I've been thinking about reading Stel Pavlou : Decipher. Thanks for your words on it Jon.

I am not sure If I'll read it now., but I'll keep it in mind.

Hercules40 (a.k.a. PapaG)

Hercules40 (a.k.a. PapaG)
4 years ago
I'm glad I read Stel Pavlou : Decipher. My personal enjoyment scale is 1-6, with 3.5 being average. I gave Decipher a 5. I keep a reading record in which I enter comments about each book I read. Here's what I wrote about Decipher (POSSIBLE SPOILERS):

"Filled with fascinating information about myths, ancient languages, ancient civilizations, physics, astronomy, religion, polar shifts, Atlantis, and more. It has a wild premise, undeveloped characters, poor dialogue, unbelievable action sequences, and an awful last hundred pages."


Jon Maloney
4 years ago
John Christopher's No Blade of Grass (published also as The Death of Grass, I think) is a British oldie (but gruesomely goodie), in which civilization crumbles as a virus kills off all grass plants (including wheat) and famine looms.
4 years ago
John Christopher wrote several apocalyptic books, but I've yet to see one. Here are a few that are on my wishlist:

John Christopher : The Year of the Comet (1955) (US: Planet in Peril)
John Christopher : Death of Grass (1957) (US: John Christopher : No Blade of Grass)
John Christopher : World in Winter (1962) (US: John Christopher : The Long Winter (Fawcett Gold Medal, No. T2323))
John Christopher : A Wrinkle in The Skin (1965) (US: John Christopher : The Ragged Edge (Signet SF, P3124))
John Christopher : Empty World (New Windmill) (1977)


Jon Maloney
4 years ago
I love post apocalyptic stuff too. John Wyndham is good - I've read The Kraken Wakes, Day of the Triffids and The Crysalids - all good. If you can stand a bit of fantasy in the mix (demons and magic, etc), then I've just read Terry Brook's Genisis of Shannara trilogy - I was absolutely hooked on them.
4 years ago
The Change novels by S.M Stirling starting with Dies the Fire are pretty good.
4 years ago
Wyndham isn't good! He is Great! His books are so good that people who don't like SF should read them!
4 years ago
Just finished the classic post-apocalyptic "A Canticle for Leibowitz".
"A Gift Upon the Shore" M. K. Wren for bibliophiles.
4 years ago
@ Jon
I just wanted to thank you for "Moonseed": it was awesome.
I'm in the process of acquiring other books you pointed out to me, many many thanks for your great counseling ^___^
Il Gobb
4 years ago
Il Gobb,

I'm glad you liked Stephen Baxter : Moonseed.
In the last month I've mooched some more apocalyptic books:
James Wesley Rawles : How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It
James Howard Kunstler : World Made by Hand: A Novel
John Christopher : Death of Grass
Alex Scarrow : Last Light
I'm reading and enjoying the short "The Death of Grass" now.


Jon Maloney
4 years ago
I LOVE post-apocalyptic novels. I'd add Jacqueline Harpman : I Who Have Never Known Men to the list. It's a lovely translation of an incredibly bleak story. Also P.D. James : The Children of Men .
Mary H
4 years ago
The days after by ballantine is the best PA social science fiction book i've read (bar the great wyndham). It's strange as hell, but once i got into it, i was fully immersed.
4 months, 20 days ago

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