So according to, oh, everyone we know on the Internet, a self-taught biblical scholar says the world is ending on Saturday, and a whole lot of people (though not necessarily their families!) believe him.
I suppose we’ll find out the truth in due time (I had some ice cream this afternoon just in case), but whether or not the end of the world is nigh, post-apocalyptic literature definitely is. This week’s top 10 list highlights our favorite books in the genre from the past 10 years, from the obvious to the obscure:
- The Passage by Justin Cronin. Yes, you’ve heard of this one, but Cronin’s world-building skills are equaled only by his literary chops. The fact that he’s a charming interviewee as well doesn’t hurt.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Another series that needs no introduction.
- Under the Dome by Stephen King. OK, so this was only the end of the world for one town in New England—but it’s creepy enough to hold its own on this list.
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Taking the bleakness of the genre to the extreme, McCarthy doesn’t pull punches in his Oprah-approved masterpiece.
- Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. These two novels, which take place in tandem with each other, follow characters through a world devastated by environmental collapse.
- The Pesthouse by Jim Crace. A British author takes on post-apocalyptic America, with surprisingly patriotic results.
- Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Lovers of The Hunger Games will appreciate Pfeffer’s take on the real-life problems that teens would experience if the world we know came to an end.
- World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler. Can an technology-obsessed world go back to the pre-industrial model once the oil runs out?
- Everything Matters! by Ron Currie, Jr. The hero of this imaginative novel is born knowing exactly when the world will end—how he lives with the knowledge makes for a great story.
- America Pacifica by Anna North. This debut novel from a Jezebel blogger features “a futuristic end-of-days setting where the buildings are made of sea-fiber and solvent-huffing hoodlums roam the streets.”
What’s your favorite end-of-the-world novel?