These novels focus on the end of the world as we know it by describing how survivors adapt after horrible events kill millions. For it's not mere survival that counts. Choose your dessert or your poison--some of these novels uplift, others horrify, but you will definitely forget about your everyday problems while reading them.
Walter M. Miller SF Miller
This classic post apocalyptic novel follows a cloister of monks in Utah over several hundred years. Funny, yet bleak , this novel questions whether man can truly avoid repeating the past.
P.D. James James
In the year 2021 humans no longer give birth. England is ruled by a despotic Warden who encourages the infirm to commit group suicide and subjects immigrants to semi-legalized slavery. Theo, a quiet man, becomes involved with a group of dissidents.
George R. Stewart SF Stewart
A virus has swept the globe leaving few survivors. Those who remain attempt to rebuild society. Written in 1949 this novel is especially timely today.
Richard Matheson Matheso
Before this was a Will Smith movie, it was a book combining vampires with the end of humanity. After a plague turns survivors into blood thirsty creatures, Robert Neville remains immune. With his trusty dog at his side he tries to find a cure.
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle SF Niven
Earth is struck by a comet resulting in earthquakes, tsunamis, plague, famine, and an Ice Age, just to name a few of the catastrophes faced by the survivors.
William Forstchen SF Forstch
An electromagnetic pulse has destroyed America's power grid. College professor John Matherson attempts to figure out what happened and protect his family as society breaks down.
Cormac McCarthy McCarth
A man and his son wander a post apocalyptic America, trying to get to the sea. They must battle starvation and roving bands of cannibals to reach their goal. The real story is the relationship between father and son.
Stephen King King
When nearly all of humanity is wiped out by the Super Flu survivors are pulled in two different directions. One group is trying to rebuild the human race, while the other is trying to destroy it.
Paolo Bacigalupi SF Bacigal
This harrowing, yet literate story portrays a post-oil Bangkok. A cast of fascinating, realistic characters struggle for survival in an era where natural food is extinct and humans can be genetically engineered on a whim. Winner of the Nebula Award.
Margaret Atwood Atwood
After most of humankind dies Ren and Toby are locked inside their respective places of employment, unsure if others are alive. In a future world populated by gene spliced creations like the liobam (a lion-lamb combination) the two must determine how to survive.
Robert C. O'Brien Y Obrien
Told from the perspective of a 16-year-old girl who survives nuclear war alone in her small town. When a stranger arrives she must determine if he is friend or foe.