Often the villains are other humans, but sometimes are zombies, vampires, aliens, or unknown creatures.
These books take place right after the collapse of civilization, World War III, or an alien invasion, a virus outbreak... and occasionally a zombie outbreak. Any way you slice it, these "end of the work" books are fun to read.
While here are very brief summaries, perhaps we can entice you a little with our list of the Top 10 Post-Apocalyptic novels of all time:
1 - Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. Written in 1949, this is the grand-daddy of post apocalyptic stories. Society falls after the outbreak of a deadly disease. This book chronicles three generation of rebuilding the world.
2 - I am Legend by Tim Matheson. Moving up to 1954, this book laid the ground for many movies to come (including: Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, and I am Legend). It was also the inspiration for many zombie movies, and for The Walking Dead. We owe a lot to Tim Matheseon. Give this book another read. Although the villains here are more vampire than zombie, they do play the same role and provide the same amount of nighttime terror.
5 - On the Beach by Nevil Shute. A group of World War III survivors in Melbourne await the radioactive fallout from a series of nuclear blasts.While the character development is uneven, the story gets in your face and drags you along. A good book, even though a bit preachy at times. But then, what post-apocalyptic novel isn't?
6 - Do Andoids Dream of Electric Sheep? (aka Blade Runner) by Philip K. Dick. Written in 1968 this became the Ridley Scott movie "Blade Runner" a decade later (starring Harrison Ford), about a bounty hunter in post apocalyptic San Francisco.
7 - Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delaney, another giant book, this one focuses on just one city that had been ravaged and cut off from the rest of the world. Too literary for some people, and often hard to read, it still holds some very crucial writing worth reading.
8 - Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon, after nuclear devastation, a diverse group of people face new evils in the dying world. It does plod on at times, even boring for 100 pages of it, but eventually it finds a pacing to get you to the end. Overall, good.
9 - Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven, an asteroid is headed for Earth, and pieces of it break off and destroy huge areas of our world.
10 - The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. Plants from outer space take over our planet ... need we say more? A classic written more than 5 decades ago, but still holds up today.
Emergence by David R. Palmer
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr., first published in 1960
World War Z by Max Brooks held an interesting style of writing. While it's sometimes not as engaging as the others on this list, it is worth a read. Here a zombie virus breaks out quickly, and a scientist must find the cure.
Children of Men by P.D. James. In a post apocalyptic future, the human race can no longer reproduce. One pregnant woman turns up and must be protected at all costs.
The Maze Runner - Scorched Trials by Dasher; it isn't bad.
The Postman by David Brin is worth an honorable mention, too.
Among the worst: "The Road" was dismal and frayed, so do skip it, and "Wool" is overrated and often makes no sense.
These books aren't the end of the world, so check out more:
Reading is still the best way to absorb a long story, so give these post-apocalyptic novels a try. The best world-ending post-apocalyptic books are those that stretch the imagination and tell a good tale while teaching us more about our humanity.