Some of my favorite Post-Apocalyptic / Prepper Novels

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As a writer of books that some classify as Post-Apocalyptic or Prepper Fiction, I frequently get emails from people saying that they liked my book and want to know if I could recommend any similar books.  Some of those folks, with brains wired like mine, write more urgently saying that they are obsessed with this category of fiction and cannot stop reading it.  They want more.  So I want to share a few of the titles that I’ve really enjoyed in this category.

First, I have loved Post-Apocalyptic fiction since I was a kid and read Steven King’s THE STAND. I still love that story, but it’s not on my list. Though I enjoyed it, it didn’t really contribute any of the kind of information that I hope to absorb when reading better P-A/Prepper books.

Why do I love this category of fiction?

Because I love stories of survival and resourcefulness. I love stories where a person’s ability to improvise, innovate, and adapt helps them survive even in situations that they were not prepared for.
Why should you read PA/Prepper fiction?

Because there are tons of websites, TV Shows, Youtube channels, and forums out there that tell you how to be prepared and how to survive in disaster/emergency/collapse situations. There are also websites out there to that tell you what you should have in your Bug Out Bag or Get Home Bag and what items should be in your EDC (Every Day Carry).

The problem is that all of these instructional websites with their lists and suggestions do not always show you how to apply the survival tools and techniques to real-life situations. It’s not their fault. They are a tremendous resource. There are just too many different scenarios and situations for these informational and educational resources to present them all.

That’s where P-A/Prepper fiction comes in.

It shows you situations and how certain gear and techniques can be used in those particular situations. The value is that if you read enough of this type of fiction, you begin to see patterns in what people carry and certain preparations they make at home. If you see any particular item used in enough books you begin to realize that this may be a valuable item for you to acquire because you’ve seen (through fiction) this item used several different times in several different ways.

This field is growing tremendously and there’s a lot of information out there, some better than others. As a critical thinker it’s up to you to decide what information is helpful to you. Prepper fiction is an area where this can help. Seeing ideas play out in a fictional sense sometimes makes it easier for you to personalize the scenarios and apply them to your life. This process of personalizing and adapting your emergency planning and emergency gear to your own situation is of utmost importance and we’ll talk about that some in another post.

For now, we’ll move on to those books I was talking about. This list is not comprehensive but let’s just consider it my introductory reading list in the topic. I’m sure I’ll have to update it as I find new books that I enjoy.  Here are some of my favorite works of Post-Apocalyptic / Prepper fiction, not in any particular order.

  1. ONE SECOND AFTER by William Forstchen. An EMP-based disaster story, this book taught me a lot about post-collapse social dynamics and how a year without power can decimate a population. On top of that it’s an extremely engaging and well-researched story.
  2. PATRIOTS by James Wesley Rawles. This is a divisive book in some circles. In my opinion, Rawles is not much of a story-teller but he does include a tremendous amount of information in this book, though much of it is on the extreme end of preparation. I sadly cannot recommend any of the follow-up books he wrote. Those were highly anticipated but fall flat.
  3. 299 DAYS by Glen Tate. There are a lot of books in this series and I think I’ve read them all. The first book in particular is extremely informative as a case study of how a man had an epiphany and realized where the country was going. He also understood that he was not at all prepared for that coming collapse. This is the story about how he became prepared. While his story might not be your story, there is still a lot of useful information in this book. If you like the story, this is a series I can recommend you following.
  4. THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC by Steven Konkoly. I love this book. While some books present a scenario that seems so unlikely you have difficulty putting placing yourself there, this was NOT the case with this book. I could imagine myself in this situation with everything unfolding exactly as Steven laid out. It’s an incredibly realistic book. What this book taught me is that you don’t have to be Super-Prepper with an AR on your keychain to survive. Even a few basic preparations will put you ahead of the curve on outlasting a disaster situation.
  5. GOING HOME by Angery American. No, I didn’t misspell his name. That’s how you’ll find the books. This is another series that I highly enjoyed. The characters are believable, the flow of events seems natural, and it’s a logical book. An added plus is that if you like this series there are several more books in it. I’ve read all of them and it is one of my favorites.
  6. LUCIFER’s HAMMER by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. This book came out over thirty years ago, when post-apocalyptic novels were relegated strictly to the science fiction shelves. This is a “comet impact” story and is entertaining, but does not contain the wealth of embedded survival tips that many modern novels do.
  7. ALAS, BABYLON by Pat Frank. This book came out in 1959 so it does not read like modern popular fiction. It’s a novel about a nuclear attack and how a small town in Florida deals with it. Much like William Forstchen, the author of this book sought to influence politics with his work. As with some of the others, this is a good story if you enjoy these novels but does not include much in the way of practical preparations. The psychological impact of disaster on these characters is something that would probably be experienced in a similar manner today. As I dealt with in my novel, one of the toughest hurdles for many people to accept is that a disaster really is unfolding around you. Face it.
  8. THE PERSEID COLLAPSE by Steven Konkoly. Okay, I’ve already mentioned Steven above as the author of THE JAKARTA PANDEMIC, however, a few years after that novel he re-entered the world of those characters. This book launched a new series in that same world. It’s nothing short of fantastic and carries through several different volumes, so if you like it there’s more.

You know, I feel like I’m leaving people out because this is a vibrant category and there are a lot of good folks writing here now. Readers react differently to different writers and different stories. These were all writers who spoke to me and I’d encourage you to give them a try and see if they speak to you, as well.

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