Irreverent, Yet Hopeful, Apocalyptic Fiction

The end of the world doesn’t always have to be, well, the end of the world. These eight books place their protagonist in apocalyptic situations with often unexpected results.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Seconds before Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor. Together, this dynamic pair began a journey through space aided by a galaxyful of fellow travelers.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
The time is 2025. The place is California, where small walled communities must protect themselves from hordes of desperate scavengers and a roaming band of people addicted to a drug that activates an orgasmic desire to burn, rape and murder. When one small community is overrun, Lauren Olamina, an eighteen-year-old black woman with the hereditary trait of ‘hyperempathy’ – which causes her to feel others’ pain as her own – sets off on foot along the dangerous coastal highways, moving north into the unknown.

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
S.T., a domesticated crow, is a bird of simple pleasures: hanging out with his owner Big Jim, trading insults with Seattle’s wild crows (i.e. “those idiots”), and enjoying the finest food humankind has to offer: Cheetos. But when Big Jim’s eyeball falls out of his head, S.T. starts to think something’s not quite right. 

Last Human by Zack Jordan
The last human in the universe must battle unfathomable alien intelligences–and confront the truth about humanity–in this ambitious, galaxy-spanning debut. Thrown into the universe at the helm of a stolen ship–with the dubious assistance of a rebellious spacesuit, an android death enthusiast on his sixtieth lifetime, and a ball of fluff with an IQ in the thousands–Sarya begins to uncover an impossible truth. 

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

Book of M by Peng Shepherd
Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
 An apocalyptic tale of this planet’s ultimate fate, it features a little person as the protagonist; a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer; and a vision of the future that is at once blackly fatalistic and hilariously funny.



Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
For Oxford student Kivrin, traveling back to the 14th century is more than the culmination of her studies-it’s the chance for a wonderful adventure. For Dunworthy, her mentor, it is cause for intense worry about the thousands of things that could go wrong. When an accident leaves Kivrin trapped in one of the deadliest eras in human history, the two find themselves in equally gripping-and oddly connected-struggles to survive