Some Book Recommendations for the Coming Apocalypse




Or maybe it isn’t, but when I think back over all the books I’ve read and reread in the last few years, one theme emerges quite clearly: the coming of the apocalypse.


It’s patently obvious that the potential for catastrophic climate change is a driver of the trend. Plant and animal species are being extinguished even as I type this. Confidence in our ability to address climate change successfully is not high enough (see the 4th line in the chart below), and free-floating pessimism in the United States is oddly high:


Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 1.52.32 PM





So the spate of end-of-times and dystopian novels in recent years can’t come as a surprise. Still, what purpose do you think they serve? Why do people write them, and why do we read them? Is it a way of coping with our anxiety about the future, maybe? Is there magical thinking at work here: deep down, we think that if we contemplate the worst, we can prevent it from coming to pass? Or is it just the case that writers have realized that setting a story in an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic world makes for great drama?


Here are five novels of this type that I can recommend to you:



One of the few novels that lives up to its extravagant blurbs.
One of the few popular novels that actually lives up to its extravagant praise. Unforgettable.


For young adults of all ages — charming.
For young adults of all ages — utterly charming. Rosoff is a genius at what she does. You’ll want to move in and live inside her novels.


"Unbearably sad yet often sublime," NYT reviewer: that's about right.
“Unbearably sad yet often sublime,” as a NYT reviewer says, and that’s about right. Comparable to Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” but somehow both more believable and more terrifying.


Strangely gripping, it's stayed with me: incredible world-building.
Strangely gripping, it’s stayed with me: incredible world-building of Earth-like planet where secular monks in fortress-like monasteries keep science and reason alive.


Mitchell is a wonderfully gifted storyteller: whether these stories add up to something life-altering or -enhancing will be for you to decide.




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