Civilization Crumbles, Horror Emerges: Post Apocalyptic Horror Books

Humans are the experts at imagining the worst thing that could happen to the world, and for good reasons. Considering the readily available inspirations from our daily life, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it would be strange if people said they couldn’t think of anything bad at all to befall our beloved planet. Global wars, climate change, tsunamis, nuclear fallout, plagues, wildfires – you name it, we have it. Alien invasion remains a gray area, but it seems like we’re getting closer to the peril, too. And it’s within human nature to spice things up a little. When stories about the end of the world are just overly commonplace, we add some horror elements, as if the prospect of an apocalypse is not terrifying enough. Here are a few examples of post apocalyptic horror books to keep you awake at night.

Post Apocalyptic Horror Books

I, Zombie by Hugh Howey

You’re no stranger to zombies. There are films, TV series, books, and comics filled with various descriptions of the monster. But if you think you know them, you’re wrong. I, Zombie by Hugh Howey offers several encounters between zombies and their potential victims. Normally, readers witness the events and feel the dread from the perspective of the latter. The book begs to differ. You are presented with everything from the zombies’ point of view through internal monologues and unique observations. Howey even suggests how the people who transformed into zombies still have conscience to an extent. It’s just that they cannot resist the hunger for human flesh.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Post Apocalyptic Horror Books

The world ended five years ago. No one knew how it all started. According to news reports, people in many places throughout the world began hurting themselves to death for no apparent reasons. Similar reports pile up, and the hysteria soon reaches Malorie’s hometown. Rumors have it that before those people committed suicide, they had seen some kind of strange apparition. No one goes outside anymore. But the pregnant Malorie wants to escape town. She reads an ad about a sanctuary and is determined to go there despite the odds.

The Taking by Dean Koontz

Post Apocalyptic Horror Books

An unusual rain triggers a series of horrors in Molly’s life. The rain is falling hard, and the water is luminous. Molly is restless in her bed; her husband is sound asleep. So, she wakes up and looks out the window only to notice some sinuous shapes moving on the ground. Luminous rain is just the beginning of what we’ve discovered. In the days that follow, the world also has purple fog, blue snow, and massive waterspouts that carry 20,000 gallons of seawater per minute. The wildlife shows some oddities as well. Dead people talking and walking is not an isolated sight, either.

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

If you enjoy a slow burn horror, Wanderers is right up your alley. And you’ll read hundreds of pages of build-up before the first dying and screaming happens. The story begins with Nessie, a young girl who suddenly develops a sleepwalking problem. She can neither wake up nor stop walking no matter what her father and sister do to help. But Nessie isn’t the only one. She soon joins a large group of sleepwalkers on the East Coast heading west.

The Sixth Seal by Mary Wesley

A mother and her son along with the son’s friend will camp overnight in an old well. Everything seems normal throughout the night, but they wake up in the morning to find that everyone else has vanished. Each of them left only hair and a set of dentures. It was a normal world yesterday. An apocalypse happened overnight, and now the three of them are in the post-apocalyptic world. That said, they’re lucky enough to stay alive and come across several other survivors.

Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban

The story is set in Kent, about two thousand years after modern civilization was destroyed by a nuclear war. Humanity still hasn’t reached re-industrialization yet. It’s the far-flung future, but the civilization resembles prehistoric Iron Age and the society is in a semi-literate state. Ridley Walker is just a boy moving up in his world. He is smart, brave, and resourceful. Things take a drastic turn when he discovers a puppet figure of which an official tries to confiscate. He defies the law and is soon on the run with the wild dogs that befriend him. There are dangers ahead, with intrigues and forbidden knowledge.

Jesus Freaks by Andre Duza

A plane crashes and the dead crawl out of their graves. Is it the apocalypse, or are we already in the post-apocalyptic time? Some say dead people walking can be the first sign of the Second Coming. Two men tell everyone that they’re Jesus, and that’s a problem. Detective Kane takes his own stance; he believes neither of them is the man they claim to be. There are also zombies to make things even more complicated. In addition, the book brings along a ghost-like entity that can move from one body to another. In short, you have Jesus, zombies, and ghosts involved in a story filled with violence, necrophilia, and gore.

We think it is nice that post-apocalyptic stories also cater to horror fans. While most narratives about the end of the world and the struggle for survival in the aftermath are not exactly uplifting tales, no one says you can’t add some more horrifying elements to the mix. Post-apocalyptic is so dark, so you might as well turn off the light.

Can you name a ghost story set in a post-apocalyptic time? Is a zombie technically a ghost? We’d love to hear from you.

Other Things You Might Want to Know

What are some classic post-apocalyptic horrors?

Well, The Stand by Stephen King and I Am Legend by Richard Matheson are the typical recommendations, and that’s why we give you some alternatives in the list above.

What exactly is the Second Coming?

It’s a Christian belief that Jesus will eventually return to the mortal world after ascending to heaven about 2000 years ago. Based on the belief, Jesus is still alive, but not here.

When post-apocalyptic horror is too much, here are some lighthearted ones:

●      Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton

●      Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

●      Doomsday With My Dog by Yu Ishihara

●      A Beginning At The End by Mike Chen

●      Touring After The Apocalypse by Sakae Saito

●      Doomsday Cleaning by Zaki, Translated by Dan Luffey

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