The best books set in a post apocalyptic future

Who am I?

I love writing historical fiction. I enjoy the research and creating long-lost worlds filled with little-known historical accuracies that intrigue my readers. It is no surprise then that I enjoy reading about the future - the other side of the coin. I always find it interesting to see how writers create a post-apocalyptic society. What was the catastrophic event? (TCE) What caused it and how do the different characters react to adversity when their old world is taken away from them? Inevitably they have to survive in the new system but will they have learned their lesson or will they return to their old ways?  

I wrote...

The Candlelit Menagerie

By Caraline Brown,

Book cover of The Candlelit Menagerie

What is my book about?

For fans of The Greatest Showman and Water for Elephants, The Candlelit Menagerie grabs hold and pulls readers into the dim halls of the exotic animal emporiums of London, over two centuries ago.  

Set in late eighteenth-century London, this haunting debut novel features Lillian, a freakishly tall woman who struggles to fit into society. Each morning, she wakes in her tiny maid's room in a too-small bed to the sound of a lion roaring nearby on the Strand. When she investigates she discovers an exotic animal emporium. At first, Lillian is repulsed by the stench and squalor, but there, in the menagerie, Lillian finds her natural home befriending wild animals brought from around the world, stolen from their habitats, misfits like her. But when her unborn baby dies in an accident, the solution is set to upend the order of even Lillian's unusual existence.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World

Why did I love this book?

A generation or so after The Calamitous Event (TCE), our hero’s dog is stolen by an unexpected visitor to their remote home in the Outer Hebrides. This book is my definition of a cracking good read. It has adventure, surprises, and insights into the human condition that led to TCE in the first place. Above all, it features a boy and his overwhelming mission - to get his dog back. If, like me, you love dogs you are going to love this book.

By C.A. Fletcher,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'You'll remember A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World long after you finish reading'
Peng Shepherd, author of The Book Of M

'Fletcher's suspenseful, atmospheric tale imagines a near future in which our world is in ruins . . . an adventure saga punctured by a gut-punch twist'
Entertainment Weekly

'Truly engrossing . . . brings hope and humanity to a cold and scary world'
Keith Stuart, author of A Boy Made of Blocks

'I promise you're going to love it'
Louisa Morgan, author of A Secret History…

Last One at the Party

By Bethany Clift,

Book cover of Last One at the Party

Why did I love this book?

TCE here is a virus that leaves just one woman alive. I found this quite irritating at first because the law of averages would say there HAD to be at least a handful of other survivors. The story features a woman who would take to her bed for the day if she broke a fingernail. I enjoyed seeing a female character in this role although she has a tendency to be a bit wet. She spends the first few weeks post-TCE breaking into nightclubs, drug dens, and museums and getting smashed. Set in London, it’s a great travelogue for this brilliant city.  I started to warm towards her when she finally pulls herself together and we watch as she learns the skills needed to survive. 

By Bethany Clift,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Last One at the Party as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


It's December 2023 and the world as we know it has ended.

The human race has been wiped out by a virus called 6DM ('Six Days Maximum' - the longest you've got before your body destroys itself).

But somehow, in London, one woman is still alive. A woman who has spent her whole life compromising what she wants, hiding how she feels and desperately trying to fit in. A woman who is entirely unprepared to face a future on her own.

Now, with only an abandoned golden retriever for company,…

I Who Have Never Known Men

By Jacqueline Harpman, Ros Schwartz (translator),

Book cover of I Who Have Never Known Men

Why did I love this book?

I cannot get this book out of my head. Published nearly twenty years ago, I’d never heard of it before so was delighted to find it was as good as it is. It’s the story of a young girl trapped in a cage with thirty nine other women. Male guards patrol the cage but never engage with their prisoners who have forgotten why they are there. Our heroine has no memory of her mother and the reader never finds out why, whether a TCE occurred or even if they are on earth. One day an alarm goes off just as a guard is opening their cage and the women escape – but to what? Often a frustrating read without satisfactory answers, the reader is still drawn into the protagonist’s world.

By Jacqueline Harpman, Ros Schwartz (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Who Have Never Known Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ursula K. LeGuin meets The Road in a post-apocalyptic modern classic of female friendship and intimacy.

Deep underground, thirty-nine women live imprisoned in a cage. Watched over by guards, the women have no memory of how they got there, no notion of time, and only a vague recollection of their lives before.

As the burn of electric light merges day into night and numberless years pass, a young girl—the fortieth prisoner—sits alone and outcast in the corner. Soon she will show herself to be the key to the others' escape and survival in the strange world that awaits them above…

Zone One

By Colson Whitehead,

Book cover of Zone One

Why did I love this book?

A good old straightforward zombie story who are clearly the architects of TCE. It tells the story of a civilian turned conscripted soldier whose task it is to clear the various towers of Manhattan and ready them for the planned return to normality. But can they hold the Wall which keeps out the ever-growing hordes of zombies? Excellent insight into the choices people make to stay alive and reflections on survival and personal loss.

By Colson Whitehead,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Zone One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this brilliantly original take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, American novelist Colson Whitehead shakes up the zombie genre with genius results.

A pandemic has devastated the planet, sorting humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuilding civilisation under orders from the provisional government based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street - aka 'Zone One' - eliminating the most dangerous plague victims, but pockets of infected squatters remain. Teams…


By Christina Dalcher,

Book cover of Q

Why did I love this book?

What happens when you take the meritocracy to extremes and you can only access the best of food and housing etc when your Q is the highest? Dalcher creates an interesting future world, damning of social engineering and genetic manipulation, and reminds us that it was less than a hundred years ago that certain war-hungry fellas (and a few women) salivated over thoughts of a perfect Aryan race. A great page-turner but with a few ‘Deus ex Machina' plot twists with which I’m still struggling. Nevertheless a very worthy read.

By Christina Dalcher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Q as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'Terrifyingly plausible' Louise Candlish
'Devastating and brilliant' Woman & Home
'Thought-provoking' Alice Feeney
'Shocking . . . A powerful tale' Cosmopolitan
'Timely' Kia Abdullah


It begins as a way to make things fairer. An education system that will benefit everyone. It's all in the name of progress.

This is what Elena Fairchild believes. As a teacher in one of the government's elite schools for children with high 'Q' scores, she witnesses the advantages first-hand.

But when Elena's own daughter scores lower than expected,…

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