If The Leftovers series finale has left you feeling a little too cheery without your fix of apocalyptic doom, reach for one of these reads and fill that void with climate change, nuclear warfare, cannibals and more!
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
It’s a desperate scenario for a father and son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic America — not only are there the usual issues of hunger, thirst, and a general lack of vitamin D (the sun’s been blocked out by soot), there’s also some pesky cannibals who just love to chomp down on young-boy limbs. A fast, riveting, yet devastating read that will leave you broken and sobbing. Um, enjoy? Order it here.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
This one’s unique. Rather than set in a post-apocalyptic world, this story tells of a time where humans can go on living for more than 100 hundred years — there’s just one little snag: Clones of each human are being groomed for eventual organ harvest to allow for this sustained lifespan. Those clones live, breathe, and love just like regular people, and when they discover their fate they’re more than a little perturbed. An ethically provoking read that will leave your mind reeling. Order it here.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven will leave you reaching for the hand sanitizer. Set in the Great Lake region after a swine flu pandemic has swept the world killing the majority of the population, the story follows protagonist Kirsten as she moves between settlements of this new world. She joins up with a small group of actors and musicians dedicated to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. Because what’s an apocalypse without a singalong or two? Order it here.
The Passage by Justin Cronin
If you enjoy the slow burn of discovery that The Leftovers offers, you’ll get right into book one in The Passage trilogy. Amy is abandoned by her mother at a young age and soon finds herself imprisoned by government agents who are conducting an experiment that has apocalyptic outcomes. Luckily, the special agent sent to track her down can’t resist helping the quiet and unassuming girl and risks it all to set her free. But, it’s only the beginning of Amy’s troubles — trilogies are pesky like that. Order it here.
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
Slow things down a little with this debut novel from Karen Thompson Walker: There’s something weird going on in the world where the days are literally slowing down. Basically, the completion of one rotation of the Earth has started taking longer than it should. Each day gradually increases by a small fraction of time (eventually one day stretches to be weeks long). This hugely alters life on Earth. While some people think it’s a hoax, others attribute religious significance and, naturally, crime rates spike. If you thought having all the time in the world to get things done in a day was a good thing, think again. Order it here.
The Stand by Stephen King
The king (get it?) of supernatural fiction delivers as always with this post-apocalyptic thriller that sees society totally break down after a strain of influenza that has been modified for biological warfare is accidentally released. Of course, this causes a pandemic that wipes out most of the world’s population. Order it here.
The Maddaddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood
This dystopian trilogy follows a group of characters as they navigate the aftermath of a biological catastrophe — mostly caused by multinational corporations and privileged people behaving as they’re wont to do. As is her style, Atwood mixes in just enough realism into her plot to keep you hooked but also fearful of the real-life future. Afraid? You probably should be. Order it here.
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller
Heller’s novel is yet another flu-fueled apocalypse. The main character Hig somehow survives the pandemic and, along with his dog Jasper, hunkers down in a hanger. One day he receives a transmission on his car radio and is full of hope that a better life exists out there for him (and Jasper). They set off — risking everything — to follow the transmission’s broken trail only to discover nothing is as he expected. Order it here.