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  • marc

    can’t we get over zombies? Please? It’s an absolutely retarded apocalypse story. It can and will never happen. It just doesn’t work for many simple biological reasons. Nuclear war, disease, asteroid strike, they can all actually happen. Zombies are just lazy and boring.

    • The author wrote that there was zero chance of a zombie apocalypse.

      • Capnsaveemm

        The author (William Hicks) Also wrote that there was

        “0 out of 10 for the supernaturally tinged, post-apocalyptic confrontation.”

        He is obviously NOT the one to listen to.

    • Capnsaveemm

      @Marc – You don’t know what is and is not possible. Shut up and sit down you clown.

    • CBomb

      Just cause you don’t like something, doesn’t mean it’s lazy and boring. True, Zombies are not plausible as the ‘walking corpses’ styling. However, a 28 Days Later type is scarily plausible.

      That being said, once someone is the leader of cultural entertainment, they may then and only then dictate what others shall and shall not find enjoyment in.

  • darkknight9761

    Very good list, but you omitted one of my favorites; “Childhood’s End” by Arthur C. Clarke. If you’re going to include “The Stand”, and “World War Z” both of which are highly unlikely, what about “Childhood’s End”?

    • bnrtn

      Something like “Childhood’s End” would be a great way to go. Likelyhood? I take the JBS Haldane approach: “The universe is stranger than we can imagine”.

    • ian

      absolutely, Childhood’s end is quite brilliant, the end scene when the super beings dance into the sky as Earth dies is astonishing

    • Nicholas

      I agree, Childhood’s End is a great story! I would also include the following novels – some of which have been made into films – and skip all those Zombie and Vampire crappy stories:
      Armageddon (yes, it’s also a book)
      Pandemic (yes, it’s also a book)
      Knowing (yes, it’s also a book)
      Deep Impact (yes, it’s also a book)

  • Christopher R. Vesely

    What about LUCIFER’S HAMMER, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle?

  • Steve T

    I would add another Larry Niven short story called “Inconstant Moon” which was also done on TV as an episode of Outer Limits in 1996, which was probably the best episode of that run of the series.

    • Hugo-Arild Madtzog

      Check out “Down to a sunless sea” by David Graham, it’s a really harrowing end-of-the-world story. It came out in the 1970s, I think.

  • Stick

    How about my favourite book of all-time, “Swan Song” by Robert R. McCammon? I’ve read my copy so many times that it’s falling apart.

  • William Hicks

    Hey guys. I’m the author of the piece. I really liked “Swan Song,” “Lucifer’s Hammer,” and “Childhood’s End” as well. And “Inconstant Moon” is an awesome short story.

    Unfortunately, there were only 10 spots on the list. 🙂

    • Capnsaveemm

      @ William I don’t think you know what you are talking about. You dismiss zombies as well as saying that supernatural confrontation would not happen. Where is your proof these things could not happen?

      • Jizzamie

        Jeez. Some people are never satisfied.

      • CBomb

        Anything is ‘possible.’ Not everything is plausible.

      • Craig

        It is not possible to prove a negative. Why don’t you prove they are possible.

  • Peter Boucher

    “Alas Babylon” or “War With The Newts” ??

  • Kym R

    James Van Pelt is my AP Lit teacher. I sent him this list because he will really find it cool that he was listed.

    • William Hicks

      Cool! When I posted an earlier version of the list on my own blog, he sent me a thank you note. A very gracious man, indeed! 🙂

  • Rob

    I love The Stand and as a single novel I understand its inclusion here. However, I would argue that its status as King’s magnum opus was taken away by The Dark Tower series. Indeed, not only is that series an end-of-the-world story, it’s actually an end-of-many-parallel-worlds story.

  • LMG

    I’m very pleased to see Stephen King’s “The Stand” in top place as it’s been my favorite novel of any genre since I read it in the early 80’s. However, I do agree with Rob that it isn’t necessarily King’s magnum opus. I was completely blown away by King’s new book “11/22/63” and, even though it is not a typical King novel (not a horror story) or anything like “The Stand,” it may be his best work yet. I can’t comment on the Dark Tower series as it is the only thing of King’s that I haven’t read in it’s entirety. He has threatened retirement so many times I want to save something of his should that sad day ever come to pass.

    By the way, I loved this article and plan on checking out all the books on the list that I haven’t read. Great job! Thank you.

  • While i can agree with most of this list, i think “War of the Worlds” should of been put on it over several otheres but ofcoarse that is only my opinion and who knows, it could happen. As for your comment that vampires aren’t real well that depends on how you view them, in terms of how they are portrayed in movies, sure they aren’t in that sense but they are real(look up emotional vampires etc)which is seen as a mental health problem and no matter how much anyone tries to makeout they aren’t, facts speak for themself, it’s the movies that twisted the view on them.

  • Lucky

    “A Canticle for Leibowitz”, by Walter M. Miller Jr. is a very good apocalyptic novel too.

  • Stu

    I also loved Swan Song, and have read it oh so many times. Robert McCammon was always one of my favourite authors. Footfall & Lucifers Hammer were also good books.

  • Kristin

    Thank you so much for having Sleepless on here by Charlie Huston. He is an absolutely amazing author and he’s far too little known. This book is also a big step up from all of the previous books, which I already loved.

  • Jordan

    tease book should be in the list “The death of grass” the melting of the civilization by the end of its major food source by a virus.

    what would happen in the world with out grass? no rice ,wheat, maize, sorghum, barley, grass for cattle.

  • I loved I am Legend. It is by far better than the movie.

  • Bob

    Regrettably Will Smith? -.- What is wrong with him?

  • jennifer stewart

    man you hit the nail right on the head with this list see ya bye


    I’m not sure you’re summing up of Will Smith in I am Legend is fair, it’s a great film

  • Someguy

    FYI: Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” never specifies what caused the apocalypse beyond it being somehow fire-related. You can make a very good case that the supervolcano under Yellowstone caused a global catastrophe. Not to mention, he never mentions radiation.

  • fisheatppl

    I am a little late posting on this topic, but if I could add one of my (new) favorites, The Passage by Justin Cronin, is a fantastic post-apocolyptic novel, however since it is (I believe) a trilogy, and only the first part is out, I can’t comment on if it ends well. But if you haven’t read it you should check it out.

  • Braden

    How can you have a list of top end of the world novels without mentioning anything from Orson Welles like 1984 or anything from H.G Wells like War of the Worlds and The Time Machine. Also how come none of the Left Behind books were mentioned? They give the most plausible scenario for end of the world out of any of the books mentioned.

  • Randy

    Greg Bears The Forge Of God is as good as the end of the world gets. We get very intelligent, unemotional visitors. One set says they are our friends, another has some bad news: the world is going to get obliterated. This book will knock you on your rear and break your earth loving human heart.

  • Aminah

    Recently-released Night of the Transition gives a religious twist to the topic.

  • jennifer stewart

    well i think a nuclear war is more plausible than a zombie out break i also think a pandemic is more plausible than say something super natural bye

  • Erik Turner

    I would like to submit S.M. Stirling’s “Dies The Fire” as one of the better post-apocalyptic novels. The cause of the “Apocalypse” is a bit far-fetched (fast combustion is somehow suppressed) but the description of a society in a fast collapse scenario seems chillingly plausible.

    It’s a good read and the first of 6 books in the Emberverse series. In my opinion, the later books in the series get more and more “fantasy-oriented” and don’t have the same impact as the first novel.



  • CBomb

    I would like to toss “Dust” by Charles Pellagrino into the ring. An astonishingly intellectual book that handles the simple question, “What if a few insects disappeared.” The answer is terrifying.

  • Donald W Berghuis

    Is it appropriate to suggest one’s own book in this list? I have written a book entitled “All Alone”, It is the story of a man who is left as the only apparent survivor of a wold wide cataclysm which , in addition to wiping out all human life except him, has also destroyed almost all electrical power. He finds an operative TV that indicates there may be life in a distant city. His journey there and the time following is , I think, an intriguing story. It is not available through most outlets, as I submitted it to “Publish America” which is a Print on Demand house. You can order it through them, or contact me—I have about 30 copies of it available. I’ll sell them for $10 a copy, which is what they cost me.