Here we are folks, the best post-apocalyptic audiobooks, according to Audiobooks Nest. Oh, and the apocalyptic ones too (obvs). Zombies, plagues, natural phenomena, if it means nothing is ever the same again, I'm all over it.
The apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic genre is not all adventures and thrillers (though I promise, those audio books are here). It's actually remarkably diverse. In fact, this list has everything from dystopian silos to magic worlds to character based humour. What they all have in common is that they capture the imagination. And, of course, they’re brilliantly narrated.
Best Post-Apocalyptic Audiobooks 2021
Given the mess that was 2020, it’s unsurprising that 2021 has been an excellent year for those looking for the best post apocalyptic audio books. See if you can spot them below.
Top 10 Post-Apocalyptic Audiobooks
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
This is the all-singing, all-dancing zombie saga. You might call it a zaga... (I’ll see myself out). It's no wonder this remains one of the top post apocalypse books on Audible, Amazon and pretty much everywhere else. The whole thing is written in the style of an account of the war against the undead, as told by its survivors. And it is main character Max Brooks (yes, as in the author) who travels the US to record their accounts. With seven stellar narrators, the audiobook version is just as slick and beautifully produced as the Brad Pitt blockbuster it went on to become.
Christopher Ragland, Rupert Farley, Nigel Pilkington, Jennifer Woodward, David Thorpe, Adam Sims, Robert Slade
I rarely agree with award verdicts, but this thoroughly deserves its Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It is a novel that strips bare both the Earth and literary conventions. The characters don't even have names. What is left is a tough, but moving look at the father-son relationship wrapped up to become a giant among the best post apocalyptic survival audio books. And this isn't a high literature thing. It's just good.
Bird Box (Bird Box, #1)
Close your eyes. Keep them closed. One look and you’re gone. You’re not you anymore. Oh. My. Days.. Utterly terrifying and more gripping than a sheep in a Velcro factory, this is another consistent showing on the list of top post apocalypse books on Audible. And yes, I know I should like uplifting books about the wonders of humankind, but I like this.
The Girl with All the Gifts
Next up on this highly unofficial list of survival fiction audiobooks, this dark, intricate web of a thriller tells the story of Melanie, a student in a prison/school run by the military. The vibe throughout is creepy and mysterious, twisting and turning to a shocking reveal. And even then, it keeps on truckin’. Finty Williams manages to strike a silky balance between earnestness and detached story-telling, allowing the listener enough leeway to form their own view of the characters. I love the scientific basis of the story and the fact that it poses questions about the nature of danger and the sacrifices worth making to save humankind.
Until the End of the World (Until the End of the World #1)
Sarah Lyons Fleming
I will read anything by SLF and this was my gateway book. This is classic zombie adventure perfection narrated by she-who-can-narrate-no-wrong, Julia Whelan. Main character Cassie Forrest’s dry wit, pessimism and obsession with food sing to my soul. There’s zombie fighting, society building, friendships and conflict. Everything you need from an end of the world audiobook. Even the love stories strike that perfect balance of being authentic, but not sugary sweet. The best part? This is the first of a four-part series plus another connected series.
Wool (Wool, #1)
1984, meet the end of the world. You two will get on famously in this dark imagining of an unforgiving future Earth. Howey's tale sees humanity driven underground, into silos. Life is grim and restrictive, not just because of the setting, but also the sinister control exerted by the powers that be.
Emily St. John Mandel
At the unlikely junction of pandemic adventure and literary fiction are the magnificently intertwined stories of Station Eleven. Insightful, ethereal and moving, this is a completely different specie of fiction, very much deserving of its spot on this top ten end of the world audio books.
The Apocalypse Seven
There are no plagues. There's no great war or zombie invasion. There is only the end. The Apocalypse 7 focuses on a fun, endearing cast of characters, portrayed brilliantly by a cast of narrators, as they come to terms with their predicament. And try to work out what in the world is going on.
Erin Bennett, Kiff VandenHeuvel, Juliette Goglia, Zeno Robinson, Will Collyer, Grace Rolek, Farah Merani
Robert R. McCammon
Imagine the scariest, most gruesome, darkest end to the world possible. Then add a child with visions. Oh, and monsters, both super and natural. Narrated in the deep, velvety voice of Tom Stechschulte, this is definitely on the horror side of the post apocalypse audio books scale. Terrifying and gripping and just plain good.
Best of the Rest Post-Apocalyptic Books
Phew. That was difficult. There are so many great apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories, choosing top 10 was a wrench. So here are yet more brilliant end of the world audiobooks, listed A-Z.
Gray: Part III
The perfect ending to this gripping trilogy, the final instalment of Gray sees Coral and Benjamin encounter some of the darkest survivors yet. Why on earth Coral has such a strong desire to survive under the bleak circumstances and with such a brutal vision of humanity is beyond me, but she does so impressively. As with parts 1 and 2, Cadle creates captivating scenarios that make you question how you would handle them. Coupled with excellent narration and production and it was a satisfying conclusion.
The Boy on the Bridge
I liked this, but there were too many characters and I tuned out a lot of the time. Also, having read Girl with all the Gifts I came into it knowing it was never going to be a book with a positive outlook! But still excellent writing and well woven.