21 Best Seller Post-Apocalyptic Books on Amazon for Life in the Not-So-Distant Future

The end of the world, as a literary theme, has been on the rise lately. In addition to a number of award winning titles, there are plenty to go around in the sci-fi subgenre. The following list contains some best seller post-apocalyptic books on Amazon for life in the not-so-distant future. 

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Post-Apocalyptic Books on Amazon: oryx and crake

As the human population begins to dwindle in the face of a devastating plague, Snowman has to deal with the possibility that he might be one of the remaining few survivors in the entire world. His friendship and love entangle in tragic fashion throughout his journey in search of an answer. 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Post-Apocalyptic Books on Amazon: handmaid's tale

Set in the near future (with a setting similar to an early Puritans society), The Handmaid’s Tale tells a story of women when the government uses the Book of Genesis as a literal constitution. It might be science fiction of the modern world, but the patriarchal system which puts men at absolute power could be too close to the real life conditions of women in the bygone centuries. 

The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard

Post-Apocalyptic Books on Amazon: drowned world

Climate change and solar radiation have melted the ice caps. What used to be land area is now underwater. London is almost completely submerged and overrun by a resurrected ancient forest. Events in The Drowned World are set in 2145. The plotline follows Dr. Robert Kerans and his team of researchers as they navigate through the remnants of the city. 

Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh

Post-Apocalyptic Books on Amazon: shovel ready

Spademan was a garbage collector when a giant explosion struck Times Square and killed his wife. New York City is nothing but a superficial shell of its former glory. The wealthy live in their virtual reality world, whereas the poor have to deal with the true reality of a devastated city. Spademan is now an assassin, whose mission requires him to travel back and forth between the fake and real worlds.

The High House by Jessie Greengrass

Post-Apocalyptic Books on Amazon: high house

The story is simple here but reading the book to the end is not. The world is changing after an environmental disaster and continues to disintegrate rapidly. Siblings Caro and Pauly find refuge in a family house on Suffolk high ground. There they meet Sally and her grandfather. Sally has been hired by their mother to carry out a survival plan. 

The Death of Grass by John Christopher

Post-Apocalyptic Books on Amazon: death of grass

Now that the rice crops all over East Asia have been decimated by a new strain of virus, the world is at a real risk of famine. Just as the population realizes their bleak future, the virus mutates and kills all other grasses including barley, wheat, and rye. No place on Earth is spared. John Custance wants to take his family out of London to Wales. The supposedly safe journey turns into a nightmare when the country descends into a lawless land.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Post-Apocalyptic Books on Amazon: parable of the sower

In the near waterless future of America, the vast majority of the population resorts to scavenging and cannibalism just to stay barely alive. Safety and comfort are reserved for the rich. Lauren Olamina and her band of followers travel north to find a better place. 

The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang

Post-Apocalyptic Books on Amazon: the lifecycle of software objects

When someone mentions apocalypse, it does not always mean the end of human race. In The Lifecycle of Software Objects, the apocalypse is meant for virtual pets. The owners take care of their digital pets as if they are living breathing organisms. Like new modern technology, newer models will render the old pets obsolete.

A Gift Upon the Shore by M.K. Wren

Post-Apocalyptic Books on Amazon: a gift upon the shore

Rachel Morrow and Mary Hope dedicate their lives to preserving books and knowledge of the past western culture amidst a global scale devastation and the collapse of civilization. 

A Simple Man by Mark Bacci

Post-Apocalyptic Books on Amazon: a simple man

By 2078, the country once known as the United States of America has now become New America. In contrast to its former glory, the young nation is nothing but a dark remembrance of days gone by. John Bradford struggles to survive in the only way he knows: joining an underground fight competition. 

After the Crumble by Devon Porter

Post-Apocalyptic Books on Amazon: after the crumble

Fuel scarcity and relentless attacks by the Resistance have finally killed off electricity for good. Many people have died in the struggle, and the few remaining survivors have nothing but uncertainty about their future. Gavin Collier does not want to succumb to fate like anybody else. He is determined to embark on a journey for reasons not many can understand. 

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Leading industrialist and innovators have disappeared from the United States. The capitalist system is on the brink of collapse without powerful people to keep the wheels of economy turning. They’re not really gone; just giving in to their inner negativity and becoming something else. 

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick

Another world war has finally happened. Planet Earth becomes barely habitable, forcing the survivors to find refuge somewhere else. For those who choose to stay – rather than go to Mars – they will have to be content with life among simulacra. Immigrants to Mars enjoy the company of human-resembling androids, but the people of Earth ban the Androids from entering the atmosphere. 

Metro 2035 by Dmitry Glukhovsky

Huge cities are now ghost towns. Satellites are orbiting the planet without anyone controlling them. Railroads are covered in dust. Radio communication is all but silent. The planet is mostly empty. All because of the destruction left behind by World War III. The only survivors are those in the Metro, a subway system in Moscow, Russia. A new world shall begin underground.

Ark by Stephen Baxter

The prospect of living on Earth is bleak by 2030 with the constantly rising sea level. Soon enough there will be no more land area. The discovery of an Earth-like planet gives new hope. That said, only a fraction of the population can travel to the new world. Everyone else is doomed to die by drowning.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

A virus has killed 95% percent of human population. Among the survivors are Kirsten and her band of performers. They move from one town to another to do music and play Shakespeare shows. When words of their adventures reach the ears of an insane prophet, the real dead-or-alive journey begins.

World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler

Inside the town of Union Grove in New York, people barely manage to build a sustainable living thanks to local crops. The foods take a great deal of energy and time to grow, but it is better to stay rather than venturing into the unknown world outside. There might be a new government based in Minneapolis after the devastating war, but they are not sure. 

Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams

It is a collection of post-apocalyptic stories written by such well-known authors as Stephen King, Octavia E. Butler, George R.R. Martin, Jonathan Lethem, and more. Think of the book as a simple yet effective introduction to the genre. 

On the Beach by Nevil Shute

The year is 1963. World War III with its nuclear power has destroyed the planet. In a relatively untouched area in Melbourne, a group of survivors are only waiting for the radiation and death to come and take them. A mysterious radio communication from Seattle can be either real or false hope, but it’s hope nonetheless. 

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

In the post-apocalyptic world of Bird Box, the fate of humanity is threatened by a mysterious being lurking in the woods. A glance at their eyes turn you into a mindless maniac with an insatiable hunger to kill until you commit suicide. The only way to reach a safe sanctuary is to go there blindfolded.

More Than This by Patrick Ness

A boy is dying alone. His time has finally come, death is an inevitability. Moments later he wakes up, not knowing whether he is now in the afterlife or something has resurrected his soul.

We humans certainly know how to write about the worst things to come! Heck, somebody devoted an entire website to the world’s end! Oh, yeah, that was us! Let us know which of the books are your favorite. We’d love to hear from you.

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Other things you may want to know about.

Here are 15 of the best post-apocalyptic books according to nerdmuch.com

The ultimate list (2022)

15. A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher

14. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

13. The Stand by Stephan King

12. Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton

11. World War Z by Max Brooks

10. Earth Abides by George R Stewart

 9. Oryx and Crate by Margaret Atwood

 8. I Am Legend by Richard Mathewson

 7. One Second After by William R Forstchen

 6. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M Miller, Jr.

 5. The Passage by Justin Cronin

 4. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

 3. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham 

 2. Swan Song by Robert McCammon

 1. The Book of M: A Novel by Penguin Shepherd

Best Post-Apocalyptic Books that are best sellers

According to amazon.com 

#1 Germination: A Fantasy LitRPG Adventure (Battle Mage Farmer Book 2)

#2 Invasion (Heartland Aliens Book 1)

#3 Behind Every Blade of Grass: Book 9 by Ira Tabankin

#4 Vashon Island Fall (In the October Fall World) by MJ Witt

#5 Indiana Fall 3 (In the October Fall World) by Michale McDonald

#6 American Oligarch: Book 8 in The Mad Mick Series by Franklin Horton

#7 World’s Collide (Architects of the Apocalypse Book 2) by Jasper T Scott

#8 The RPG Apocalypse 3 by Jeremy Chambless

#9 Alpha Physics! Book 6: Home Bound: A LITRPG Apocalypse by Alex Kozlowski

#10 Signal (From Beyond Book 2) by Jasper T Scott

What is the difference between apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic?

According to Amanda Pagan in her article End of the World as We Know It: Apocalyptic, Post-Apocalyptic, and Dystopian Worlds (nypl.org), these novels are popular because of changing socio-political landscapes serving as both entertainment and a warning of possible futures to come. 

Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories tend to follow characters trying to survive a devastated landscape. If the disaster or catastrophe occurs during the story, then the novel is termed apocalyptic. It the event has already happened; it is post-apocalyptic. 

For more information on this topic go nypl.org to read Amanda Pagan’s article.