Adams, John Joseph, ed. Wastelands: stories of the Apocalypse
A collection of 22 short stories about human survival at the end of the world by authors including Orson Scott Card, Elizabeth Bear, Octavia Butler, Jonathan Lethem, and Stephen King.
Brin, David. The Postman
A survivor traveling across the post-apocalypse United States assumes the role of a "Restored United States" postal inspector, restoring hope and uniting other desperate survivors.
Butler, Octavia. Parable of the Sower
In a dystopian future in which the world is ravaged by global warming, disease and racial tensions, a young woman suffers from hyperempathy syndrome, a condition that causes her to feel the pain of others as though it is her own. When she is forced to leave her home she spends her journey recruiting others to her new faith, becoming a prophet who holds hope for a new world.
Hoban, Russell. Riddley Walker
Written in a strange yet familiar pidgin English, a story about life in Britain after nuclear holocaust which has reduced humanity to a semi-literate iron age.
King, Stephen. The Stand
A mutating super flu wipes out over 99% of the world's population, leaving the survivors in a battle between good and evil that will determine the future of the planet. This lengthy, complex, and detailed novel contains a cast of richly-drawn characters and metaphysical and philosophical themes.
King, Stephen. Cell
A fast-paced novel in which cell phones turn people into zombies, and those few untouched by this technological warfare band together to protect themselves while helping one man search for his young son.
McCammon, Robert. Swan Song
Frequently compared to The Stand for it's post-apocalyptic themes of good vs. evil and it's strong characters, this novel takes place in a world ravaged by nuclear holocaust.
McCarthy, Cormac. The Road
It doesn't get any more desolate or bleak than this. A man, his son, and their shopping cart travel south after an unnamed catastrophe has destroyed the US, and possibly the world, headed towards an uncertain future.
Miller, Walter M. A Canticle for Leibowitz
This scifi classic takes place after the Simplification, a nuclear holocaust that plunges the world back into the dark ages. Following a group of monks in a Utah abbey, the novel spans hundreds of years to illustrate the cycles of humanity, and emphasize that those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.
Pfeffer, Susan Beth. Life As We Knew It
When an asteroid knocks the moon out of its orbit and closer to Earth, severe weather wreaks havoc on the world's population. One teenage girl chronicles her life with her family as they struggle to survive in the aftermath. (Pfeffer's forthcoming companion novel is called The Dead and the Gone.)
Rosoff, Meg. How I Live Now
15-year-old Daisy leaves Manhattan to stay with her cousins at a remote farm in England, during which a world war breaks out. Her aunt, traveling in Norway, is unable to return as terrorists take over the country, including the farmhouse, and begin a years-long occupation.
Shute, Nevil. On the Beach
A classic novel of nuclear annihilation. A group of friends in Australia bide their time until the fallout reaches their shores to kill them all.
Stewart George R. Earth Abides
A plague has wiped out almost all humans, and Ish Williams becomes the leader of a small band of survivors in California. Although they escaped death, Ish realizes that the world they knew is gone forever.
Zelazny, Roger. Damnation Alley
The last surviving Hells Angel faces a choice of life in prison, or a job driving a case of antiserum across country to the plague-ridden people of Boston. He chooses the road trip across a war-destroyed America in which the population has moved to the coasts, leaving the interior of the country a dangerous wasteland.