Digital Wastelands: Exploring Post-Apocalyptic Stories Online

You don’t always have to get your shot of after-doomsday tales from films or paperback books. As long as you’re anywhere with an Internet connection, you have access to tens of thousands of free eBooks. Of course, you still have to scour through the listings to find the exact books you need, but at least you don’t have to spend a dime on them. If you’re looking for post-apocalyptic stories online, be sure to make a stop or twice at the following pages. And don’t worry because we’ll skip the obvious Project Gutenberg this time.


Not every title in the ManyBooks site is a classic, which actually is a good thing because that variety is already covered all too well by Project Gutenberg. You’ll see a list of hundreds of books here, and all of them are available free of charge. One of the best things about ManyBooks is how you can browse by language, besides the typical options like genre and author. To download any book from the site, you need a user account that you can make for free as well. If the books have links to Amazon, you can also download them for free using your existing Amazon account. And if you feel like reading without downloading first, ManyBooks has a built-in reader, too. Just to name a few books you can find on the site’s post-apocalyptic list:

City at World’s End by Edmond Hamilton (1951)

  • The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (1895)
  • The Defenders by Philip K. Dick (1953)

File formats include PDF, ePub, FB2, and AZW3.

Internet Archive

Even the Internet has a library, and it’s called the Internet Archive. This is where you’ll find an overwhelming option of books in just about every genre, including sci-fi, academic, historical text, and fantasy, among others. Internet Archive allows you to search for books in the old-fashioned way, such as using the search bar or the “Advanced” sorting feature to get more specific recommendations. It’s also possible to browse through collections such as Getty Research Institute, California Digital Library, Boston Public Library, and more. In the post-apocalyptic section, some of the most notable titles include:

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Allison (2014)

  • The Last Man by Mary Shelley (1826)
  • The Boy on the Bridge by M. R. Carey (2017)

In case you don’t want to read online, you can download the books as PDF, Kindle, or ePub.

Open Library

It’s mainly a search tool that can pull data from the Internet Archive. You might think Open Library exists for the sake of redundancy – which is not entirely wrong – but the layout is much better than what the source site offers. Try using the Library Explorer, and you’ll see how the page looks just like actual bookshelves. Just type “post-apocalyptic” in the “Subjects” field to get to your list. Sitting among the more popular titles are:

  • The Stand by Stephen King (1978)
  • The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline (2017)
  • An Unkindness of Ghost by Rivers Solomon (2017)
  • Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon (1987)

Like many other websites, there are multiple file formats you can download such as PDF, ePub, and Daisy.

Standard eBooks

Some of the best things do come for free. We’re not just talking about the post-apocalyptic stories, but the website too. Standard eBooks are run and maintained by volunteers to produce new versions of public domain ebooks. Everything listed on the site costs nothing and is free of copyright restrictions. It’s not uncommon to see that many copies of public domain books made available in Project Gutenberg are not exactly built for modern e-readers, and this is where Standard eBooks comes in. The formats, typesets, and styles are modified when necessary to modernize the layout. All changed versions are kept as open-source files, so you too can contribute to the project by making corrections to misspellings, inconsistent spacings, tables of contents, etc. Some post-apocalyptic books you can find here:

After London by Richard Jefferies (1885)

  • A Plague of Pythons by Frederik Pohl (1965)
  • Theodore Savage by Cicely Hamilton (1922)

Yes, you can find the same copies in Project Gutenberg or other reputable sites, but the ones you find in Standard eBooks will definitely look good on your screen.


While Feedbooks primarily list books for sale, the site also has a sizable number of free public domain titles. Everything is grouped neatly under a few categories such as non-fiction, fiction, recently added, and most popular. If you click the “Show all” button, the page will display all the genres to help you take your picks more easily. In case that’s not specific enough, use the advanced search function to find books based on author, publisher, publication date, and so on. Most of the free books are (very) old, such as

  • The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson (1912)
  • The Machine Stops by E. M. Forster (1909)

Every book comes with a full description. All you have to do is click the thumbnail to see the attached information. FYI, Feedbooks is closing down in the spring of 2024 to be replaced by Cantook.

We think digital e-reader will not make printed books obsolete soon, but many people today prefer the electronic version. And why not? Digital books are practical, as you can carry thousands of them in a single device, which means they don’t take too much space on your desk or in your cabinet. Just about every new book fresh out of the publishing house also comes in multiple formats; in addition to the conventional paperback, it’s likely available in audio and digital formats as well. It’s good that the post-apocalyptic genre is widely popular, so that nearly all online book repositories have them ready for you to download at your convenience.

Can you name some websites for fan fictions? Is it legal to print free ebooks? We’d love to hear from you.

Other Things You Might Want to Know

Are there any websites specifically for post-apocalyptic stories online?

There are a few of them like GetFreeEbooks, Ash Tales, and PAW Fiction websites. The layout and options might not be as comprehensive as those in the list, however.

Are free ebooks good quality?

As far as the formats and layouts are concerned, certain websites may offer better quality than others. Some probably have comprehensive tables of contents, detailed descriptions, and styles, but the book contents should be identical regardless of the websites.

Are there realistic post-apocalyptic books?

Post-apocalyptic is a subgenre of sci-fi, so a strictly realistic story doesn’t exist. That being said, you may find the stories in the following books more realistic than others. YMMV.

  • Gray by Lou Cadle (2016)
  • The Sheep Look Up by John Brunner (1972)
  • Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse (1998)
  • Axis of Evil by Bobby Akart (2018)
  • When the English Fall by David Williams (2017)
  • The Trees by Ali Shaw (2016)
  • The Fourth Horseman by Alan E. Nourse (1983)
  • Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift (2021)

Check out other articles by month: