Tuesday, November 6, 2012

10 Best Survival Books (Fiction)

Activist Post

Dies the Fire: An advanced EMP takes out all electronics and even disables gun powder, sending America into the Iron Age where previous strangers must band together for survival. Excellent storytelling and characters who work to rebuild tribal civilizations and defend themselves. This is the first book in a series of eight that evolve into a post-modern Game of Thrones.

Lights Out: An EMP hits America and a small group of unprepared office workers organize their community for survival.  The story is an enjoyable ride following the main characters through vital decisions and heroic bravery. They have a healthy skepticism of the government and propaganda following the attack which allows them to adopt a plan to be self-sufficient.  Much can be gained from the many realistic survival situations and circumstances that play out in this story.

Lucifer's Hammer: A new comet is heading to Earth and is not anticipated to hit.  However, a newsman works with NASA to promote the discovery to gain more funding to explore the comet. While doing so people begin to fear that the comet will actually hit, which it does. Some are prepared and others must band together and organize to survive. But no one was quite ready to handle the barrage of tsunamis, wild storms, and the creeping ice age.  Solid practical survival information, but it's also a compelling story.

The Postman: The Postman is a classic that was made into a lackluster movie. The post-apocalyptic setting is 16 years after the Doomwar that brought nuclear devastation and various forms of dangerous bandits. The story follows a loner, Gordon, who is a wanderer in search of some shred of hope that humanity can live in peace.  By luck and circumstance he casts himself in the role of a leader trying to re-establish the US Mail to give hope to surviving villages. Wonderful read, but somewhat lacking in practical survival advice.

One Second After: An EMP hits a totally unprepared America. The story focuses on a small town in North Carolina struggling to survive and weigh life and death. Good storytelling and a believable account of what would unfold in this scenario. This book contains some good practical survival advice while also being an enjoyable read, but it relies heavily on the government ultimately coming to the rescue. That may be the only unrealistic aspect to this novel.

77 Days in September: An EMP terrorist attack hits the continental Unites States stranding the main character 1500 miles from his wife and children.

The book is a narrow tale of his journey to walk from Texas to Montana to get to his family. Scattered throughout is a general idea of how society would break down after such an event, but little in the way of practical survival information.

This story is also unabashedly trusting of the government's official version of events and optimistically hopes for the federal savior to come.

Distant Eden: This is the best book in terms of practical survival information with just enough of a story to keep you reading. The main characters are expert survivalists who have prepared for the EMP that takes down America.  It involves a tight-knit family in Texas who make their way to their safe haven location at their father's country house. This is a must-read for the useful prepping information alone.

The Survivors (Series): These captivating books follow a band of survivors of a multi-city nuclear attack perpetrated by rogue elements inside the United States. They must overcome radiation, violent storms, EMP fallout, gangs of cannibals and each other to begin forming a community. To add to the intrigue, the community's leader is from an Illuminati bloodline and the son of the Vice President who was responsible for the attack.  He is of pure heart and in search of other "special" survivors to build the future. Excellent story and solid survival tips.

Boca Chita: Prepare. Escape. SurviveThis first book will be part of a trilogy that is an all-encompassing look at the aftermath of a the "NOEL" plague released by terrorists on Christmas. The plague has a mortality rate of 99.9%. The few "immunes" who do remain find themselves battling the elements, cholera, their own skill limitations, and each other in a search for the four main sources of safety: food, water, shelter and fuel. It is a frightening and compelling read told in a unique "snapshot" manner with a multitude of sardonic and witty asides, social commentary, and historical notes.

The book's central character is well-placed on a 46-foot trawler off the coast of Florida and is the epitome of a survivalist. As he seeks a safe place away from the contact of anyone infected, he finds the island of Boca Chita to be his perfect secluded outpost. As he forms a safety zone, the reader is treated to just the right combination of fast-paced storytelling and the essential minutiae that all preppers and survivalists must focus on. This new addition to both the island and survival genres is sure to please the casual reader and hardcore survivalist alike. Gaye Levy at Backdoor Survival has just conducted a revealing interview with the book's author, Lance Long, as well as a book giveaway.

Patriots: Patriots is an excellent account of what would happen to America during a monetary collapse.  The story follows a small band of preppers through their training and extensive prepping. As the economic collapse unfolds and grips the unprepared nation, even this well-prepared group must face tremendous challenges. The story is not as exciting as some of the other novels on this list, but the detailed practical survival information is worth the read.

Please add your nominations in the comment section below.

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Mikey Freethinker said...

Another book to look at along the lines of fiction (and this is some real, good old-fashioned sci-fi) is The Alien Years by Robert Silverburg. The setting starts in these modern times when an alien race comes and takes over the planet, in one day (more or less). The story itself revolves around a tight-knit family that lives off their own land, trying everything they can to divorce themselves from the system while looking for weaknesses in the alien defenses. Four generations of family members are followed in this enthralling story, probably Silverburg's greatest masterpiece. Although not superstrong in survival techniques, nonetheless it really focuses on the strength of family in times of crisis, and that living off even a modest piece of land can be practical.

Dr. Jack Lambert said...

George R. Stewart's Earth Abides has been a classic from its publication in 1949. It is an exceptionally detailed story, set in the Bay area, of a man and his wife who survive a world-wide disease caused by a viral plague that kills nearly everybody. One of the best novels integrating normal, everyday human needs and habits with the omnipresent processes of the biological environment.

BigSofty said...

Wow, tried to order one of David Crawford's books from Kobo - "Not available internationally".

Censorship of Ebooks?


Anonymous said...

For me, and not particular message on survival, but preventing the growth of totalitarian rule, is John Ross's "Unintended Consequences". A half fiction/non fiction account of how to return this Country back onto the road to being a constitution republic. Although I read it 14 years ago, its message is as clear as if I had read it yesterday.

Anonymous said...

As alluded to above, I would certainly add "Unintended Consequences" by John Ross to the list, which is also available online in pdf format.

But to add even more, I'd highly recommend the other two books in James Wesley, Rawles series (now a trilogy) which continue the story in "Patriots." These two additional books are setup in a concurrent format rather than as sequels. The 2nd book is "Survivors" and the third is "Founders" (which was just released about two months ago.)

Although there truly are many other good books I could add to this list (I have probably 70 such books in my collection), another of my absolute favorites is Mathew Bracken's "Domestic Enemies" trilogy. Bracken not only serves up some invaluable food for thought, but is one of the best writers I've ever read. These really are seat of your pants page turners.

Lastly, I'm glad to see that you're shedding light upon the importance of reading survival related novels. Most folks merely suggest the acquisition of the myriad "how to" books, such as "Dare to Prepare" and "Encyclopedia of Country Living," etc. Yes, these are of great importance to have on one's shelf as reference guides. However, they are simply that: reference materials. The survival novels have a different, yet equally important purpose, which is to help enlighten the reader's mind as to the perils they are likely to face in the even of any type of collapse. They're far better at preparing your mindset and as such, you will be be much more likely to focus your preparations correctly for your given situation. So many people waste their valuable time and resources on preparing in insignificant ways. Just how many ways should one need to master with regards to learning how to make a fire? (Hint: stock up on Bic Lighters!) Being a long-time survivalist I get asked about this topic frequently and I always tell those who ask to get the few important "how to" books, but ALSO get a good supply of these important novels as well. You'll learn far more from them about what to expect in a SHTF situation.

These novels will help you become prepared CORRECTLY & EFFICIENTLY. :o)

Great Post

Ed in Texas

The Obama Timeline said...

I read "One Second After" and found it entertaining and interesting, but some of the grammar was atrocious. I cringed every time I encountered "should of" in place of "should have." It seemed as though the book was published without anyone having performed any editing.

Interestingly, the "Little House on the Prairie" books are good "survival" books. They include enormous amounts of detail about how things were done "in the old days." The books are not at all like the television series, and quite a bit of survival information can be learned from their pages.


Paul said...

"Earth Abides" truly deserves to be at the top of this list. A real classic. I have read it multiple times.

"Alien Years" was also good, but not as memorable.

It's amazing how EMP-heavy this list is. I suppose the notion of turning off civilization like a lamp switch is irresistable to authors. But economic collapse is far more likely, and in fact is probably in our near future.

Anonymous said...

alas babylon @ 1959 is a wee bit dated, but well worth a notable mention.

Anonymous said...

what about Alas Babylon, by Pat Franks. Noted that it is required reading at a local school

Anonymous said...

Operation Phoenix is a gripping novel by Allen Currie of Canada. You can read the first 11 chapters on www.thetexasring.com. You can also read a sample on Allen's website at www.allencurrie.ca. Of course the book is for sale on his website, as well.

Anonymous said...

"War Day" is a good one too.

GARY said...

Might add No Blade of Grass to the list.

Anonymous said...

Stacey's Quest: how EMP forces a suburban teen to face reality for the first time to mature and lead her family to salvation.

Anonymous said...

Scarlet Plague by Jack London written in 1915 is a great read also. Setting is 2013, the likenesses to todays world is uncanny.

The Melinda said...

Read Snow Crash and A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer by Neil Stephenson. From the early 90's and picks up some compelling themes on aftermath.

Ken Warner said...

Pulling Through by Dean Ing tells the story of surviving the attack and 1st year after a limited nuclear war. Mr. Ing is an accomplished engineer, and has written for a survivalist magazine, as well as a number of best selling thrillers and science fiction novels.
He uses the scenario of the attack and fallout to illustrate many survival techniques. I highly recommend it.

bill said...

Nobody's a Heinlein fan? I was surprised to see nobody mention Farnham's Freehold.

pdxr13 said...

RAH on-Earth scenario from "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" is one of food shortages and whirrled gubmint. Loonies eat better and live better than most Earthworms.

Anonymous said...

Going home by the angry American and things fall apart by Fred heIser!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the Ash series by William Johnstone

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