Pre-dystopian, Post-apocalyptic Fiction

I'm a subscriber of The Listserve, a mailing list where, every day, one of the ~22,000 subscribers is randomly chosen to share something. Last week, I was given this chance. I didn't have much to say (you can read what I wrote here), but I took the opportunity to ask the audience for book/media recommendations.

I've read a lot of end-of-world, apocalyptic stories, and I enjoy them, but I've always wanted to know, "What happened next?" as very few of the tales I read actually ended up with everyone dying.

In high school, one of my favourite genres was dystopian fiction, as it answered a lot of those what-happen-next questions, but ever since I read my first one (Brave New World), I wanted an origin story. I wanted to know how they got from "our world" to the end of the world, and then to thought crime and telescreens. 

So, I asked The Listserve members for suggestions. What follows is their recommendations, sorted by how many times each was suggested. I think I've listed each suggestion that I received, but I got a lot of them!


  • Station Eleven by Emily Mandel
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller
  • World War Z
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Earth Abides by John Stewart
  • Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
  • Engine Summer by John Crowley
  • Ill Wind by Doug Beason and Kevin J Anderson
  • One Second After
  • Oryx and Crake
  • Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
  • The Handmade's Tale
  • The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
  • The Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler
  • The Postman by David Brin
  • The Silo (series) by Hugh Howey


  • Maze Runner
  • Snowpiercer


  • Nether by Jennifer Haley

TV Shows

  • The 100
  • Arrow
  • Dollhouse
  • Falling Skies
  • In The Flesh
  • Survivors
  • The Leftovers

Video games

  • Fallout
  • The Last of Us


  • Zombies Run