Good Prepper Fiction is not just entertainment, it performs a vital function for preparedness. It helps visualize abstract thought. You can tell a lot about the prevailing thoughts of the time the book was written, and of how the author thinks his chosen scenario will play out.
All Roads Lead to The End
There are four broad approaches to Prepper Fiction:
- Some dreadful event is about to happen, usually something very, very bad.
- Lucifer’s Hammer
- Something is happening, you’re thrown into the middle of it.
- Something, horrible, happened. Now, you eke out survival.
- The Road
- A mix of more than one of the above.
There are fewer endings to Prepper Fiction:
- We survived and only some things changed, life, for the most part, kept going.
- World Made by Hand
- We survived and now have a chance to start over.
- Alas, Babylon
- We survived and it’s hell on earth.
- The Road
- We don’t survive.
- On The Beach
Some of the suggestions (strictly based on what we have read) are listed because they represent the genre so well they have become classics works of fiction of that particular catastrophe or they are just plain good reads (according to many, many reviews). Some, however, are clearly not classics.
This type of post generates many comments, we all have favorites which make sense to us, I’d love to read those comments.
Some of these entries have their own review post, we will link those.
This article contains Amazon associates links.
Remember these are works of fiction.
The internet is full of resources about prepper, survivalist, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic fiction. This Wikipedia article is a great start.
Why it all Ended
The US, most of the time you can infer that the rest of the world is also in some sort of horrible economic tailspin, is in the red. This leads to the classic social breakdown, riots, looting, killing, heroes, villains, and hunger, always hunger.
- Alongside Night by J. Neil Schulman
- Let the markets, black or otherwise, help who can be in the markets. New York is portrayed much as you can see or feel from the film Warriors. A quick read, you will learn or be exposed to Anarcho-Economics and Libertarianism.
- The Crash of ’79 by Paul Erdman
- Patriots by James Wesley, Rawles
- The Feds mess it all up, again, Chicagoans become Idahoans and live through the baddies that visit them. Didactic to a degree with a smattering of German firearms. Prepper Econ 101 and How to Live in a Trailer Park and Prosper are some of the great things you may learn here.
- Wolf And Iron by Gordon Dickson
- On the Brink by Stein and Stein
Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)
An atomic age bogey man, fictionally horrible and factually confusing to all but some Physicists and Military experts. It does make for great fiction.
- One Second After by William R. Forstchen
- Instant classic? Maybe not, but a great read. Old cars, southern hospitality, diabetes, cannibals, and a musical number from the Fantastiks. This is a favorite of Omar. Dog in redeye gravy anyone? Lessons learned: Don’t live on a hill, small cuts and bacteria are not buddies, and teaching your kids how and when to use condoms during the apocalypse.
War, Nuclear or otherwise
The old white horse, rocket-delivered, plane-dropped, mushroom cultivating destruction and death. This danger is still out there and without it, there would be no EMP or hellacious fallout for fiction to scare the snot out of you.
- Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
- OMG, this is the one. An actual classic, when the bombs drop (pre-Cuban Missle Crisis) you better have a decent bunch of neighbors. Diabetes makes an early appearance here as the, I told you so ill, so does Just In Time delivery for food and medicine. The story-telling keeps you interested, and the boring part is reflected by the characters, you’ll know when you get to the crabs.
- Pulling Through by Dean Ing
- Live on the right side of a mountain and survive some of the worst. Some future tech (at the time) make this sci-fi but not ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress’ sci-fi. Get yourself an exotic pet, books, and supplies, and you too may live long enough to witness nuclear hell. Learn to pay homage and tribute to real-world people who tried to help during the cold war.
- Farnham’s Freehold by Robert Heinlein
- The Postman by David Brin
- Malevil by Robert Merle
- Vandenberg by Oliver Lange
- The Third World War by John Hackett
- Warday: And the Journey Onward by Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka
- Free Fight by Douglas Terman
The little thing is sometimes the biggest or in these stories the worst ever. Pandemics spread and spread, but start with just the one person, maybe you were perving in a forest and rubbed a bat on yourself, next thing you know your head is the size of a melon, it pops and you spread some disease.
- The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
- Earth Abides by George Stewart
- The Jakarta Pandemic by Steven Konkoly
- One of my first ‘prepper’ books, it also laid some subconscious groundwork in me, since I ended up moving to Maine (the location of the story) and surprised the first time I went to a Hannaford’s supermarket (Bangor) the story is decent, the disease believable, some of the ‘real world’ resources aren’t there anymore. The internet is fickle.
- Some Will Not Die by Algis Budrys
- Survivors by Terry Nation
- The Death of Grass (No Blade of Grass in the US) by John Christopher
- Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
- The real big one hits, and all hell breaks loose. It’s great. Cannibals, jive talk, scientists, jokes you won’t get even when you Google them. A lot of learning here, and grade-a entertainment. It makes me want to stay away from California forever.
Peak Oil and Oil related
- World Made By Hand by James Howard Kunstler
- I like this novel, it takes odd turns, but in my opinion, it is like a view in the daily life of a messed up future, as opposed to running away from ex-army thugs, or zombies.
- Fire and Ice by Ray Kytle
- I am Legend by Richard Matheson
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- The most depressing book I have ever read, bleak is as cheery as it gets. However, I read it again after becoming a dad, and hat’s off Mr. McCarthy. You make prepper parents take a hard look at what we have to be ready to do for our children.
- Tunnel in the Sky by Robert Heinlein
You will com across prepper fiction, and fall for the stuff you can imagine yourself in. Maybe you enjoy strong characters, or infodumps, or tons of information on firearms. It’s all up to you. In the end, you would have spent your money on a story on a subject that you’re interested in.
Some of these novels can teach a lot, but none are textbooks. Take what you can from them carefully. Make sure you don’t allow the fantasy of the novels seep into the reality of your preparedness plans.