19 Best Books about the End of the World

Although contemplation about the Earth turning into a desolate planet is difficult to face, some of the best books about the end of the world can be quite entertaining. It all depends on who still lives and who is going to try to wreck their way of survival, no matter how meager it may be. Here’s our list of books that deal with end-of-the-world situations.

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

Mere decades into the future Nevada and Arizona are on the brink of collapse due to the intensified effects of climate change. As nature brings about increasingly difficult challenges, our American society along with all its values is in a frantic state. A years-long drought makes wars for water inevitable.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Much like Stephen King’s The Stand, the apocalypse in Station Eleven is triggered by a sudden worldwide pandemic. That said, the focus here is not on the struggle for survival. Humans have gone through the survival stage and now in the far future where they live as nomads, like their ancestors did thousands of years ago. 

The Only Ones by Carola Dibbell

Unlike Station Eleven in which a pandemic strikes and eliminates 99% of the population with a single massive blow, The Only Ones offers a different apocalyptic version where every strike of disease kills hundreds of millions of people. Some develop a natural immunity against the disease, and while it makes them safe from the deadly pathogens, they become hunted for the saving power of their genes.

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

Andromeda is a microbe from outer space carried to Earth by a meteor. Exposure to the microbe triggers an instant formation of blood clots, causing death within minutes. Science and technology are the hallmarks of human achievement as a species in the very science-based film, and yet the newly found disease has all the potential to become a menacing threat to the planet’s population. The situation worsens when scientists discover where the disease originated.

Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

The world doesn’t end when a giant comet strikes. Instead it starts a new cycle of global cooling and enters another period of Ice Age. Before everything settles down, giant tsunamis and earthquakes of biblical scale have claimed the lives of billions. A handful of survivors are doing what they can to stay alive.

Moonseed by Stephen Baxter

No one knows that a returning spaceship carries a dangerous extraterrestrial substance. Inside a seemingly typical lump of rock, lies an extraordinary matter known as the “moonseed,” with a power to consume a planet. It transforms inorganic matter on Earth into more moonseed, as the devastation spreads at a deadly swift pace causing the Earth to rapidly disintegrate.

Earth by David Brin

Thanks to rapid scientific development and relentless research, physicists are able to recreate a black hole. Much like any fabricated object, however, the small-scale black hole requires careful handling. An accident can destroy an entire planet in an instant. Set in the not-so-distant future, much of today’s technologies are used as parts of the backdrop.

Quantum Night by Robert J. Sawyer

Based on the idea of “quantum mind,” Sawyer presents an imaginative mixture of human consciousness, psychology, and physics. Although the theory is not exactly a hot topic today, it gives an excellent premise for an end-of-the-world tale. It has everything a sci-fi thriller needs from a family relationship to criminal trial drama, from psychology to biology, all while weaving in the strict laws of physics.

The Drowned World by JG Ballard

A steady increase of global temperature has turned the Earth into an almost uninhabitable planet. In the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the civilization, a few survivors must reinvent the ethics and moral codes of humanity. Published in 1962, The Drowned World is among the earliest fiction books about climate change, filled with depressing life circumstances and dark tales of survival. 

The Year When Stardust Fell by Raymond F. Jones

Probably taking a hint from a past Great Extinction event, the end of the world in The Year When Stardust Fell cites an unexplainable comet as the cause of global-scale destruction. Nothing is specifically destroyed; it is just that every machine stops working as if the extraterrestrial object carries an unstoppable EMP. How can humanity survive without its machines?

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

No one says a book about the end of humanity has to be scary and depressing. Good Omens tells the otherwise bleak outlook of the world in an enjoyable hilarious way. A demon and an angel apparently also don’t like the idea of an apocalypse, so together they plan to prevent the imminent devastation.

One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses by Lucy Corin

Apocalypses take multiple forms. A bitter conclusion of a relationship or the death of a loved one could mean the end of the world to some people. The book is a collection of short stories to explore the various manners and circumstances leading to the demise of all existence. Some of the stories are both strange and ridiculous.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Planet Earth is in an unfortunate position that blocks the construction of a hyperspace bypass. For the project to continue, the planet must be removed or destroyed. Ford Prefect, an alien researcher, rescues a man named Arthur Dent. As the planned apocalypse happens, the two embark on a hilarious journey across the universe. 

The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway

The most fearsome weapon in the world is called the “go-away” bomb, which destroys everything in its path without leaving a shred of wreckage. After a devastating war, all these bombs trigger relentless ghost apparitions. Despite the horrific premise, The Gone-Away World is filled with fun the adventure of two friends in their attempt to save humanity.

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

A contagious virus once turned humans into flesh-eating drones. Now the survivors have found a way to defend, and even fight back against the zombie outbreak. The uninfected individuals go on a mission to rebuild Manhattan and get rid of the undead. Zone One tells some classic horrors only through the characters’ flashbacks.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

The collapse of the American civilization is marked by wildfires across California, environmental disasters, economic failure, an unrestrained president, and unchecked inequality. Lauren is one of few who have a willingness to see the world in an optimistic way, but the horrors feel real to the point where simple hope seems like a farfetched idea. 

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

As the moon shatters, the pieces are about to enter the Earth’s atmosphere and turn the planet into an inhospitable wasteland for thousands of years. Only about 1,500 people make their way into orbit before the lethal rain comes down.

Childhood’s End: A Novel by Arthur C. Clarke

Considered not only an endless classic but an exemplary sci-fi thriller, Childhood’s End: A Novel gives the idea of a first contact with an extraterrestrial entity gone wrong. The alien race is depicted as superior in nearly all aspects of human civilization. They claim to want to end poverty and unify all nations, but no one really understands their true objective.

The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne

In a futuristic Mumbai, India, Meena starts her journey to Ethiopia with no obvious reason or clear purpose. From the other direction, Mariama travels across Saharan Africa also heading to the same destination. Are their fates intertwined? What will happen if or when they meet?

We love reading about the end of the world. People are so creative with their many ideas on how it can be triggered and who will survive. Which end-of-the-world method is your favorite to read about? Drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.

Other things you might want to know about. 

1. Is The End of the World a real book title?

Yes! There are several books with this title, or very similar titles. Here is one:

The End of the World Kindle Edition

by A. Bean  (Author)  Format: Kindle Edition

Book 1 of 3: The End of the World

 Find it on Amazon at:

2. What can cause an apocalypse?


  • Atmosphere.
  • Disease.
  • Food scarcity.
  • Heat deaths.
  • Mass displacement.
  • Mass extinction.
  • Natural disasters.
  • Sea-level rise.

Climate apocalypse – Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Climate_apocal

3. Which country is considered to be at the end of the world?


Verdens Ende – Wikipedia