Dystopian and Apocalyptic Books – Free & Bargain Priced!

Dystopian and Apocalyptic Fiction is one of the newest categories we’ve added to Bookzio recently. And there was a good reason for it, too: Zombies. Now, let me back up a little, here — there was already a problem, but it was the zombies that made us deal with it. We began getting zombie novels submitted and each time we’d think: ‘where should this go?’ Of course, it could go in horror, but zombies aren’t specifically horror, they’re about a futuristic state in which the world is changed. But they’re not sci fi either. In fact, this happened with a few different titles and we’d always be hit with the same problem — so, we finally created a new category: the zombies made us do it!

What is a ‘Dystopian or Apocalyptic’ Book?

Dystopian and Apocalyptic novels are set in the future, but they’re not science fiction because their story isn’t about future technology, it’s about society and how it has changed, or is changing. All science fiction genre stories are technology-based: or they rely upon technology for their story to occur. Dystopian and Apocalyptic stories may involve futuristic technology, but that isn’t the driving force of the story.

So, that’s why they’re not Sci Fi — but what are they?

What is Apocalyptic Fiction? Quite simply, it’s any story that is located in a time after the end of civilization as we know it. Some kind of ‘apocalyptic’ event has taken place — usually a nuclear war or an alien invasion or a massive meteor strike — and the story is about what comes after, whether it’s set on a barren post-nuclear earth or in an abandoned space station. The apocalypse has happened.

What is Dystopian Fiction? Quite simply, it’s the lead up to the Apocalypse or the world in decline. Civilization has taken a turn for the worse and things have gone ‘pear-shaped’ for everyone. If the Apocalypse is the end of the material world as we know it, Dystopia is the end of the intellectual and civilized world as we know it. In theory, Zombies could appear in either scenario — darn them!

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction explains that dystopian fiction depicts a negative view of ‘the way the world is supposedly going in order to provide urgent propaganda for a change in direction’. As such, dystopian stories have their roots firmly in a political ideology, which is inevitably expressed once an author sets about dissing on civilization as we know it.

Although some earlier authors were a little more overt in their politics, in areas other than their fiction writing, such as George Orwell, the author of Animal Farm and 1984 and renowned for his polemics against totalitarianism and authoritarianism, both of which are the topics of his fiction. Similarly, Jonathan Swift , author of, perhaps, once of the first dystopian novels Gulliver’s Travels (1726) was a avid political pamphleteer, satirist, and essayist, criticizing the politics of his time and extending his criticisms through the events of his novels.

In recent years there has seen a surge of popular dystopian young adult literature and blockbuster films.[38][37] Theo James, actor in Divergent, notes that “young people in particular have such a fascination with this kind of story”, saying “It’s becoming part of the consciousness. You grow up in a world where it’s part of the conversation all the time – the statistics of our planet warming up. The environment is changing. The weather is different. There are things that are very visceral and very obvious, and they make you question the future and how we will survive. It’s so much a part of everyday life that young people inevitably — consciously or not — are questioning their futures and how the Earth will be. I certainly do. I wonder what kind of world my children’s kids will live in.”

Dystopian and apocalyptic landscapes have had a surge in popularity, of late: in films, television, and books. Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale was turned into a movie in 1990, and became a TV series in 2017. Comic book series The Walking Dead became a blockbuster tv series boasting 15 million viewers per episode in its 5th season (zombies, again!). And these are just the tip of a very large iceberg.

Theo James, the actor who portrayed the role of Tobias “Four” Eaton in the movie adaptation of the ‘Divergent’ series of movies (three science fiction films set in a dystopian society) says that “young people in particular have such a fascination with this kind of story… It’s becoming part of the consciousness. You grow up in a world where it’s part of the conversation all the time – the statistics of our planet warming up. The environment is changing. The weather is different. There are things that are very visceral and very obvious, and they make you question the future and how we will survive. It’s so much a part of everyday life that young people inevitably — consciously or not — are questioning their futures and how the Earth will be. I certainly do. I wonder what kind of world my children’s kids will live in.”

Science Fiction Books - Dune by Frank Herbert

Epic Zombie Dystopian Book World War Z by Max Brooks

Science Fiction Books - Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

A Modern Literary Classic of Dystopian Fiction The Road by Cormac McCarthy

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Max Brooks Discusses World War Z and Dystopian / Apocalyptic Fiction

I enjoyed this 5 minute monologue by Neil Gaiman on the 3 books which changed his life. Briefly, it’s The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, Michael Moorcock’s ‘Stormbringer’, and Alan Moore’s comic series ‘Swamp Thing’ — which is not really a book but Gaiman was a comic writer, too. But it’s more than just 3 books, it’s a reflection on a life of reading. Worth a watch if you like Neil Gaiman, or simply if you like books and enjoy ‘bonding’ with other booklovers, by listening to how their lives, like yours, have been affected by the books they read.

Want to find even more Bestselling books? Take a look at our other non-fiction and reference categories:

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Ghosts in the Glass

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The Bionics

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Stealing Silence

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Against Time

USA Today bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith introduces his galaxy-spanning Seeders Universe with a new novel.Paleontologist Callie Sheridan spent a few days deep in the Oregon Caves on a dig with three students from the University of Oregon. When they emerged, they...

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Serious Crimes

Policing Post-Apocalyptic Britain.They called them Artificial Intelligences. Sentient viruses were closer to the truth. They spread throughout the world until every networked circuit was infected. Then they went to war. Millions died in the nuclear holocaust that...

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Do you have what it takes to survive?Ben Davis was prepared for disaster. He just didn’t know it would come so soon.He and his teenage son, Joel, are miles deep in the backcountry of the San Juan Mountains when high-altitude nuclear electromagnetic detonations light...

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Octagon (Octagon Series, Book 1)

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Bio-chemistry whiz Everly Jax wants one thing: to know who her parents are. Raised with other repo kids in InKubator 9, she has pinned her hopes on Reunion Day, the annual event where sixteen-year-olds can meet or reunite with their parents. When her Reunion Day goes...

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Frontier Justice

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It’s been three years since Lee Harden emerged from his bunker into a world gone mad. Governments have fallen. And new ones have taken their place. In the United Eastern States, Lee and his team of battle-hardened operatives walk a tightrope of survival, keeping their...

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The Purge of District 89

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One man. Two worlds. Last Chance.On the edge of a far frontier rests a place of gentle manners and common civility--Last Chance. Threats of war change all of that. A hero is needed. A Savior. Meet Aaron Turner, the unassuming man who runs the Last Chance General...

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The Pulse

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