The Glass Hotel
Emily St. John Mandel
In this captivating story of crisis and survival, Emily St. John Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes: campgrounds for the near-homeless, underground electronica clubs, the business of international shipping, service in luxury hotels, and life in a federal prison. Rife with unexpected beauty, The Glass Hotel is a captivating portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.
In Wendig’s twisty, satisfying and suspenseful tale, it’s not flu that unravels society, but rather a strange sleepwalking epidemic—and the fear of it. It is a teenage girl that may be the world’s last hope against nefarious players such as decadent rock star, a deeply religious radio host, and a disgraced scientist.
A Song for a New Day
In this gripping story, deadly viruses and terror have prompted the government to prohibit large public gatherings of any kind–including concerts. Luce Cannon is a musician whose career is about to take off. Rosemary Laws escapes a job in which she had no human interaction of any kind, but her new job demands that go out in public for the first time in her life–and promote Cannon’s illegal concerts.
The Age of Miracles
Karen Thompson Walker
Take the distinctive voice of Alice Sebold in The Lovely Bones and combine it with speculative fiction that recalls Margaret Atwood and you’ve got the spellbinding novel, The Age of Miaracles. In this coming-of-age tale that blends the real and the surreal, Julia wakes up on a Saturday to an earth whose rotation has mysteriously altered—and changed human behavior as we know it.
The Dog Stars
Like Mandel, Heller has cast a flu epidemic as the cause of an annihilated world. But here, the protagonist, Hig, could have walked out of a Hemingway novel, as he is armed with the accouterments and memories of hunting, fishing and flying–and his dog, Jasper. This rapturous tale of a man whose hope that life and love still exist moves him to risk everything was lauded by critics everywhere, from NPR to the Wall Street Journal to the New Yorker.
The Regional Office Is Under Attack!
Take equal parts brilliantly conceived mythology, fantastical magical powers, teenage curses, and kinetic fight scenes, let Gonzales toss it all together and voila! you’ve got yourself a rollicking and entertaining read. Here, super-powered female assassins are tasked with protecting the Regional Office—and the entire world—from annihilation.
All Our Wrong Todays
In Mastal’s humorous, time-bending story, technology has solved all of humanity’s problems; there is no war, poverty, and perhaps most importantly, no under-ripe avacadoes! But Tom has lost the girl his dreams and—lucky to have a time machine—goes back to the terrible times … and finds a new love. Now he has to decide to go back to his perfect, loveless life, or stay in our horribly flawed world, but with a soulmate by his side.
This Pulitzer-prize winning novel is a must read for all, but for fans of Station Eleven it needs to be read without a moment’s delay. Against a ravaged landscape, a father and son, “each the other’s world entire,” journey through land where lawless savages stalk the road. It is a both a brutally harsh tale of survival and a tender, elegiac story of a father and son whose love sustains them against total devastation.
The second novel from the renowned author, philosopher, and Nobel Prize-winner, The Plague, was published in 1947 but is no less relevant or captivating today, more than 70 years later. Camus’s haunting tale tells of a bubonic plague that is ravaging the population. But out of the rat-infested despair, humanity and hope faintly glimmer.
Emily St. John Mandel’s wildly popular and critically acclaimed Station Eleven tells the story of a devastating flu pandemic that wipes out 99% of the population. In it, she moves back and forth between the pre-flu years and twenty years later. But let’s not call it a “post apocalyptic novel,” a phrase so overused as to render it useless. And let’s not call it sci-fi either. It’s simply that elusive, extraordinary book that transcends genre.
They’re hard to find, so we did the legwork and found eight books like Station Eleven that explore similar territory, give you a deeply gratifying reading experience, and vie for the same top-of-the-heap status.
Featured image by Jess Mizzi