While Waiting for The Hunger Games Movie...

Are you one of the teens or adults who loved Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy and are wondering what to read while waiting for the movie to be released next spring?

Dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction is extremely popular right now. Here are some of the titles that some colleagues and I recently put together for a training on these topics. This post will concentrate on some favorite post-apocalyptic fiction. Look for some great dystopias in an upcoming post! What's the difference between dystopian & post-apocalyptic? In a nutshell: In a dystopia, there is a pseudo-utopian structure in society that has great flaws and the focus of the story is figuring out what is wrong and rebelling. Post-apocalyptic books concentrate on the collapse of society and survival and/or rebuilding.

Directive 51 by John Barnes. A group called Daybreak, which is anti-government and anti-technology implements its plan to bring down the societal structures we depend on every day. The focus is on rebuilding both the government and society.

The World Made by Hand, James Howard Kunstler. People struggle to survive in upstate New York after a catastrophic failure of technology.

The Reapers are the Angels, Alden Bell. 15-year-old Temple travels through a zombie-ravaged United States seeking home and redemption.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, Max Brooks. The story of the recent Zombie War, told as first-hand accounts by combatants and civilians caught in the cross fire. Movie is currently in production. The audio version is excellent, with a full cast.

The Passage, Justin Cronin. A military experiment gone wrong unleashes vampires which wipe out most of civilization. This book follows a group of survivors and a long-lived girl named Amy who may hold the key to the survival of the human race. The first in a trilogy.

The Stand, Stephen King. One of the classics of the genre, good vs. evil, epic in scope. If you're intimidated by the size of the book, try the graphic novel adaptations.

The Walking Dead (series), Robert Kirkman. Follows the survivors of the zombie apocalypse.

28 Days Later: The Aftermath, Steve Niles. Focuses on what happened after the events in the movie 28 Days Later.

Rise Again, Ben Tripp. A quest through a plague-devastated country.

The First Days: As the World Dies, Rhianon Frater. Internet sensation turned book, another zombie plague with focus on survival and rebuilding society.

Y: The Last Man (12 volumes), Brian K. Vaughan. This graphic series imagines a world where all beings with Y chromosomes die except for Yorick Brown and his monkey Ampersand. Does their DNA hold the key to resurrecting the human race?

The Enemy (series), Charles Higson. Everyone over 15 has died in a plague--and some of them have come back. Follows London kids and teens as they try to survive. (teen)

The Forest of Hands and Teeth (series), Carrie Ryan. Annah lives in an isolated world, in constant fear of the evil in the surrounding forest. Is there really a world outside of their fenced existence? (teen)

Oryx & Crake and The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. Examine the aftermath of environmental devastation due to corporate greed and genetic engineering gone awry.

The Last Survivors Trilogy, Susan Beth Pfeffer. After an asteroid hits the moon, devastating climate change affects everyone (teen).

The Road, Cormac McCarthy. A man and his son try to reach a better place, traveling through a violent, ash covered world. A sparse, bleak, classic.

Earth Abides, George R. Stewart. After a disease wipes out much of the earth's population, is society being rebuilt, or are the people who are left regressing?

Summer of the Apocalypse, James Van Pelt. Takes place after a viral and nuclear holocaust, and follows survivors in Colorado as they try to make their way to the CU library to see if any of humanity's knowledge has survived (teen).

What are your favorite post-apocalyptic novels?


Written by Becker on September 23, 2011


Yon on September 23, 2011


Ender's Game (series), Orson Scott Card.
This is the series that immediately came to mind as I read the Hunger Games. Children placed in futuristic war situations where they are the fighters, and those battles are seen through the kid's eyes. The fight for Earth's survival, coupled with the fight each kid must wage for their own survival, was very engaging. Again the theme of who to trust through this chaos helps turn the pages.


Yes, I agree that Ender's Game & its sequels are books that folks who liked The Hunger Games would like. Not quite dystopian or post-apocalyptic, which is why they're not listed here. Thanks for your suggestions!

John Barnes on September 23, 2011


For Denverites who just think the idea of Directive 51 sounds unbearably cool: I'm John Barnes, I live in the area, and I'll be at the Jefferson County Library (in Lakewood on S. Allison Pkway) on Saturday the 23rd, 11 am-2 pm, as part of a sort of mass author display. Come on down and see if you can pick me out of a crowd.


Glad the DPL blogs are on your radar! I noticed that you were a local author when I read Directive 51, and we'd welcome you at our author series here any time! Thanks!


Well, now you have my address. Feel free to contact me when you have anything in mind.

squee on January 11, 2012


I know it's way late for this, but The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler is my all time favorite post-apocalyptic novel. Seriously, that book is AMAZING!!! And scary.

Adam Brock on January 12, 2012


The Wind-Up Girl by Paolo Baciagalupi! Not quite post-apocalyptic in that it takes place in a future world re-globalizing after centuries of decline, but is a thrilling read with similar themes. Paolo is also a Colorado author.

Leave a comment