20 Great Survival Fiction Novels
I love survival fiction. It’s fun to read about what people might do in worst-case scenarios. If you need some motivation to prepare for a potential disaster or inspiration to get through one, try reading one of these books. If you know of any other books that should be on this list, please say so in the comments section below. The books are in alphabetical order.
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank. The struggle for survival in a small Florida town after a nuclear war cuts it off from the rest of civilization.
Brushfire Plague by R.P. Ruggiero. A devastating plague pushes society into chaos. Meanwhile, one man searches for a cure when his son falls ill.
Dark Advent by Brian Hodge. Post-apocalyptic story about life after an illness wipes out most of the world’s population.
Death Wind by William C. Heine. Another story about a pandemic. This one follows a family that moves far north to avoid the sickness.
Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. The attempt to build a new civilization and preserve knowledge after a plague wipes out most of mankind.
Footfall by Larry Niven. After aliens invade Earth, the people must learn to survive in urban areas without the infrastructure they once depended on.
Good News by Edward Abbey. The economy collapses and a small group of people in Arizona attempt to fend off a rising military dictatorship.
Lights Out by David Crawford. This book chronicles the challenges of Mark “Karate Man” Turner when the lights go out over most of the free world. He must find in himself the ability to unite his family, friends, and neighbors if any of them are to survive the harsh reality that everyday life becomes when the veneer of civilization is stripped away.
Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. After a comet strikes, the shit hits the fan overnight and chaos follows.
No Blade of Grass by John Christopher. A plague wipes out most of the world’s grain. The story follows a group of survivors fleeing London.
Out of the Ashes by William W. Johnstone. In a post-apocalyptic America, a man searching for his family ends up joining the Resistance forces.
Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles. The most educational survival novel out there. Great story, but reads like a non-fiction book at times.
Pulling Through by Dean Ing. A post nuclear war story that covers many essential survival skills.
Survivors by Terry Nation. The survivors of a severe pandemic migrate south to get away from dangerous neighbors.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. A dystopian novel about a girl who is forced by her government to participate in a game of survival where the last person alive wins.
The Stand: Expanded Edition by Stephen King. Follows the stories of various survivors after a plague kills 99% of the population. Great story of good versus evil.
Tomorrow! (Beyond Armageddon) by Philip Wylie. The stories of two cities after a nuclear attack. One was prepared; one wasn’t.
Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein. Survival students are faced with the ultimate test of long-term survival in a strange and hostile environment.
Vandenberg by Oliver Lang. A cold war novel about life in the United States after the invasion of Soviet Russia.
Wolf And Iron by Gordon R. Dickson. After an economic collapse, a lone man travels across the country and eventually starts a new community.
World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler. Peak oil, pandemics, and nuclear terrorism all play a role in the story of people who have to learn basic skills in an agrarian village.
Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’brien. Story of a young woman surviving on her parents’ farm after a nuclear war.