Good Minds Suggest: Deon Meyer's Favorite Post-apocalyptic Novels

Posted by Goodreads on September 1, 2017

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South African writer Deon Meyer has garnered fans around the world for his bestselling Benny Griessel thriller books, which have been translated from their original Afrikaans to more than two dozen other languages.

In his latest, Fever, Meyer uses his expertise as a crime and thriller author to bring a dose of suspense to this epic standalone postapocalyptic novel. The story follows Nico Storm and his father, Willem, who have survived a deadly virus known as "the Fever" that has devastated much of the world. Their strength and loyalty are tested as they struggle to create a vibrant new community in this brand-new world.

Here the writer shares his five all-time-favorite postapocalyptic novels:

Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
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"The all-time classic from 1949, the mother of all rebuilding-after-the-apocalypse novels, and perhaps the one that inspired most other authors? (Stephen King revealed that it influenced him to write The Stand.)"

The Stand by Stephen King
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"Both an apocalyptic and postapocalyptic novel (1978), and horror/fantasy, it is the great master storyteller at work. I loved how King asked questions about the nature of humankind."

On the Beach by Nevil Shute
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"(1957) Perhaps the best character study of any postapocalyptic novel? Another great book inspired by the angst of the nuclear age, with Australia as setting."

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
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"(1960) The scope of the novel was breathtaking—a thousand years of postapocalyptic rebuilding. One of the great masterpieces."

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
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"(2006) Very dark, broke my heart, but so utterly genius. Very different from McCarthy's other work, which gave me a lot of courage to write in a new and different genre. (I was also emboldened by the fact that crime authors such as P.D. James, John D. MacDonald, and Ed McBain did the same thing.)"

Honorable mentions: Down to a Sunless Sea by David Graham; Farnham's Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein; The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham; The Children of Men by P.D. James; The Death of Grass by John Christopher.

Want more book recommendations from authors? Check out our Good Minds Suggest series.

Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)

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message 1: by Beth (new)

Beth Great list! I love the genre and I've read all five on the main list and three of the Honorable Mentions. I would also add Alas, Babylon.

On the Beach was devastating to me. I finished it late at night and surprised myself by bursting into tears. The Stand remains my favorite book of all-time.

I especially love mid-century post-apocalypse books because it is fascinating to me to see the changing societal attitudes. In some of those books, women are treated as chattel. It's dismaying but I always try to read those books with keeping in mind when they were written.

message 2: by Arimathea (new)

Arimathea I would agree on Alas, Babylon, and add Station Eleven and S.M. Stirling's Emberverse series (starting with Dies the Fire) to the list. Also Diana L. Paxton's Westria series, which may be hard to find -- they've been out of print for years and I think they were only published in paperback so they aren't in the collection of many libraries.

message 3: by DOLORES HOLZ (new)

DOLORES HOLZ So sad they left out Robert McCammons book Swan Song. I thought it was better than the stand.

message 4: by J (new)

J Cook Two from the 1950's. George R. Stewart; "Earth Abides" and Pat Frank; "Alas Babylon".

message 5: by Susan (new)

Susan I loved Swan Song also but I loved The Stand just a smidge more. Both are fantastic! I reread both of these books every few years. :)

message 6: by Robert (new)

Robert I would also add Lucifers Hammer by Larry's Nevin and Jerry Pournelle.

message 7: by Rosemarie (new)

Rosemarie Hart I have not read any of these books

message 8: by Donna (new)

Donna Alas Babylon was my first introduction to post apocalyptic books.
Lucifers Hammer, The Stand and One Second After are all great reads.

message 9: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Hanson The day after the 2016 election I contacted my library system to request they dust off a copy of On the Beach and transfer to my local branch. I read the book when first published and it has haunted me all these many years. It was a wee bit of comfort to find that the library already had a waiting list - and all copies had just been checked out.

I read A Canticle for Leibowitz when it was first published, decades ago. Over the years I remembered it now and then and thought I ought to read it again, but it was out of print at the time. I don't recall that I ever met anyone else who had read it or even recognized the title. Eventually I found another copy (Thanks, Uncle Hugo) but have not squozen it into to my TBR lineup - need to do that soon. I am just blown away (probably not a good word choice in this context) to see that these are both among Deon Meyer's post-apocalyptic favorites. If there are any Goodreaders who have not read them - please do yourself that favor.

message 10: by Sheila (new)

Sheila Wojcik I read Canticle for Liebowitz decades ago and want to read it again soon. Will check with my local library for availability.

message 11: by Oldman156 (new)

Oldman156 I think Alas, Babylon needs to added to this list. One of the great nuclear nightmare novels

message 12: by Kim (new)

Kim Z. Turtenwald I have to say ON THE BEACH by Nevil Shute, ALAS BABYLON, by Pat Frank, THE LAST SHIP, by William Baldwin, THE QUIET EARTH, by Craig Harrison (along with the film), and PATRIOTS, by James Wesley Rawles, are my favorite post-apocalyptic novels. I can't understand why A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ is so popular. It is one of the most monotonous novels I've ever read, along with Samuel Delaney's DHALGREN.

message 13: by Judy (new)

Judy L DOLORES HOLZ wrote: "So sad they left out Robert McCammons book Swan Song. I thought it was better than the stand."

I agree, Dolores!

message 14: by Seantheaussie (new)

Seantheaussie Lucifer's Hammer, Dies the Fire and One Second After are my favourite apocalypse novels. I have reread all of them.

message 15: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Miller DOLORES HOLZ wrote: "So sad they left out Robert McCammons book Swan Song. I thought it was better than the stand."

I agree.

message 16: by Meg (new)

Meg This list appears gender-biased. I recommend:

"The Country of Ice Cream Star" by Sandra Newman
"Orleans" by Sherri Smith
"Santa Olivia" by Jacqueline Carey
"Who Fears Death" by Nnedi Okorafor
"After the Apocalypse" by Maureen McHugh

message 17: by Sue (new)

Sue Not so sure about gender biased @Meg, I absolutely loved The Road!

message 18: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Westgarth I agree wholehearedly with Oryx and Crake a fantastic trilogy. Also love The Stand and Swansong.

message 19: by BridgitDavis (new)

BridgitDavis I liked Paladin's Odyssey: The Hero Everyone Thought They Knew by Bruce Fottler. May I add Deon Meyer's book to this list? I loved Fever. (I admit bias of being South African so loving every detail of scene and person.)

jane h ellison-bates Glad to see Death of Grass in the honourable mentions. Looking forward to reading some of these other mentions; The Stand is a firm favourite.

message 21: by Karen (new)

Karen Meg wrote: "This list appears gender-biased. I recommend:

"The Country of Ice Cream Star" by Sandra Newman
"Orleans" by Sherri Smith
"Santa Olivia" by Jacqueline Carey
"Who Fears Death" by Nnedi Okorafor

And The Gate to Women's Country, A plague of Angels, The Waters Rising and Fishtails by Sheri S Tepper - I think she was a very under-rated writer, so sad she is dead. I read Earth Abides & A Canticle for Leibowitz years ago - the 50s & 60s were a popular time for post nuclear novels, as we in the rest of the world lived in dread of what the US & USSR might unleash. Getting that feeling again with the insane US president trying to annihilate North Korea.

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