The Best Apocalypse Books to Read This Year

Apocalypse landscape, urban deserted street with bridge and ominous orange sky.

When you have a bad day, why not open up one of these apocalypse books and see how bad everyone else’s day is going? Pandemics, zombies, nuclear war, natural disasters…at least you’ll know things could always be much, much worse.

 

 

The Stand (1978)

Author: Stephen King
Genre: Horror, apocalypse, science fiction, pandemic
Rating: 10/10

Stephen King knows how to write apocalyptic books that thrill and entertain: The Stand was turned into a miniseries in 1994, then again in 2021.

A weaponized flu is 99.4% fatal…and survivors are going through more than just grief. This book is long, but a must-read all the same.

 

The Mist (1980)

Author: Stephen King
Genre: Horror, apocalypse, science fiction
Rating: 10/10

Another fantastic book, this one started as a novella in a collection called Dark Forces, then in another called Skeleton Crew in 1985. It was made into a hit movie in 2007, and adapted into a miniseries in 2017.

Two men and a child go to the grocery store the day after a major storm knocks out their power. They become trapped inside with a large crowd, while deadly insects and other monsters invade their own.

 

End of Summer (2019)

Author: S.M. Anderson
Genre: Horror, apocalypse, science fiction, pandemic
Rating: 10/10

An ultra-deadly strain of the bubonic plague gets loose from a lab and spreads rapidly, killing most of the world’s population. Army Ranger Jason, along with a boy and his dog, try to escape the illness—and a few other bad guys.

 

End Times (2018)

Author: Shane Carrow
Genre: Horror, apocalypse, science fiction, zombie
Rating: 10/10

Starting on New Year’s Day in Australia, brothers Matt and Aaron are looking forward to their summer holiday after graduation when something falls from the sky. This space rock causes a plague to spread around the country, quickly killing many and turning thousands into zombies. Follow the boys through the city as they try to survive the madness.

 

After Life: Inferno (2018)

Author: Robert Chazz Chute
Genre: Horror, apocalypse, science fiction, pandemic, zombie
Rating: 10/10

An experimental drug, AFTER, was supposed to help people live longer…but turns them into zombies instead. Task Force Officer Daniel must stop the infected from escaping a military research lab and spreading the virus across Toronto.

This is a fast-paced and freaky story you may have to read twice.

 

Nuclear Dawn (2019)

Author: Kyla Stone
Genre: Horror, apocalypse, science fiction, nuclear war
Rating: 10/10

If you’re sick of viruses and zombies, then this book is for you. Forget about pandemics: our country decides to kill itself by setting off nuclear bombs all over the planet.

The protagonist, Dakota, is trying to get to her sister after a bomb explodes nearby. She pairs up with Logan, a hard-as-nails patron from the bar where Dakota works.

 

New Madrid Earthquake: A Disaster Thriller (2020)

Author: Bobby Akart
Genre: Horror, apocalypse, science fiction
Rating: 10/10

You may have heard of the New Madrid Fault, six times bigger than California’s San Andreas, and the cause of two of the largest earthquakes in history. In this terrifyingly plausible novel, all three sections of the New Madrid Fault rupture at the same time.

The devastating quake causes over 86,000 original casualties, and leaves more than seven million homeless. New Madrid Earthquake: A Disaster Thriller is perfect for readers who want that end-of-the-world action without overused tropes of zombies, pandemics, and nuclear war.

 

Final Days (2020)

Author: Jasper T. Scott & Nathan Hystad
Genre: Horror, apocalypse, science fiction, natural disasters
Rating: 10/10

Several simultaneous natural disasters prompt the United States to start evacuations, but something sinister is going on behind the scenes.

Follow Special Agent Kendra and Corporal Andrew Miller as they search for missing loved ones while the world collapses around them.

 

The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)

Author: John Wyndham
Genre: Horror, apocalypse, science fiction
Rating: 9/10

The inspiration for the film Village of the Damned, this novel begins with all the women in the town of Midwich waking up pregnant…and delivering their babies at the exact same time. Even stranger, all the kids look the same.

Possessed and evil, the children of the Midwich wives are hell-bent on destroying the world.

 

The Tide (2015)

Author: Anthony J. Melchiorri
Genre: Horror, apocalypse, science fiction, warfare
Rating: 9/10

Aboard a scientifically advanced ship, Captain Holland and his crew are tasked with fighting chemical and biological warfare all over the world.

Along the way, they end up on an abandoned oil rig, where they find a secret genetic engineering lab…and discover that experiments there have transformed people into “crazies.” Think zombies, but somehow scarier.

 

via GIPHY

For more reading recommendations, check out the best pandemic books or psychological thrillers to read right now. Or, if you just can’t get enough EOTW content, stream some apocalypse movies on Netflix, Hulu, and more.