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This Is How the World Ends: Apocalyptic SF

WARNING: This may be my last blog.  No, of course I'm not leaving my position.   It's just that... well, haven't you heard?  The world is scheduled to end this week.  Oh dear, you haven't heard, have you? According to the ancient Maya calendar, the end is due on December 21, 2012 (at 11:11 a.m. precisely, in case you need to schedule a few last appointments or polish off your bucket list before the Last Trump).  But wait, there's no cause for panic!

Because I am a librarian to the end, I've made sure that you, my loyal readers, will be properly prepared for Judgement Day (as much as I can, anyway-- your soul is your own affair).  I've thoroughly researched the topic and compiled a few reading lists on the incipient Apocalypse and what to do afterward (if you survive).  I expect you'll have many demands on your time before the big day, but it's important to stay informed!  Knowledge is power, particularly when the world is plunging into limitless chaos.  (And episodes of The Walking Dead will only save you in the case of a zombie apocalypse.)

The first list examines a variety of Armageddon scenarios in depth: global warming, exhaustion of essential resources, ice age, pandemic, widespread infertility, nuclear war, natural disaster, unnatural disaster, asteroid strike, alien invasion, ancient prophecy, attack of the undead (vampire and/or zombie), blood-hungry primordial being, angry deity, and (of course) what happens when an ancient civilization's calendar runs out (giving a whole new meaning to "End Times").  All things considered, I was tempted to leave out trilogies and series, but hey, there are some fast readers out there. 

Should you be one of the lucky (or unlucky) few to survive the Day of Reckoning, the library will still have your back, as long as you aren't foolish enough to burn our books for warmth (paper is a most inefficient source of heat, after all).  My second reading list is fiction about the post-apocalyptic world, for those who outlive the-- oh, I'm not going to repeat that whole list again.  Suffice to say there's a broad selection of catastrophes to choose from on this list, too.  (You might want to print it out-- the power and communications grids are usually the first things to fail in a global cataclysm.) 

Just to cover all the bases, I've added a third list of non-fiction reading on real-life doomsday prophecies and catastrophe science (yes, there really is such a thing).  If you need them, you'll find survival manuals shelved at 613.69 in any public library (that's still standing).  Books on self-reliant living can be found at 640.  You already know where the Speculative Fiction collection is (life can get pretty boring, holed up against the ravening zombie hordes).

Good luck, don't panic, and remember: always know where your towel is. (A Swiss Army knife and a few rolls of duct tape wouldn't go amiss, either.)  Have a happy New Year (if there IS a New Year), and if not, er... have a nice Doomsday?

The End...:

White Horse by Alex Adams (SF Adams)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (SF Adams)
Domain by Steve Alten (Fiction Alten)
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (SF Atwood)
Directive 51 by John Barnes (SF Barnes)
Devil's Wake by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due (Horror Barnes)
Flood by Stephen Baxter (Fiction Baxter)
The Asteroid Wars by Ben Bova (SF Bova)
Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? by Max Brallier (Horror Brallier)
Arctic Rising by Tobias S. Buckell (SF Buckell)
The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (SF Butler)
Ragnarok: The End of the Gods by A. S. Byatt (Fiction Byatt)
In the Courts of the Sun by Brian D'Amato (SF D'Amato)
The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan (Horror Del Toro)
The End of the World: Stories about the Apocalypse by Martin H. Greenberg, ed. (SF End)
Ice Age by Brian Freemantle (Fiction Freemantle)
Bangs and Whimpers: Stories about the End of the World by James Frenkel, ed. (SF Bangs)
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (Fantasy Gaiman)
Event: A Thriller by David Lynn Golemon (Fiction Golemon)
Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway (SF Harkaway)
Pop Apocalypse by Lee Konstantinou (SF Konstantinou)
The Rising: The Antichrist Is Born by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (Fiction LaHaye)
Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh (SF McIntosh)
Second Wave by Michael Alan Nelson and Chee (741.5973 Sec)
Gary Jennings' Apocalypse 2012 by Robert Gleason and Junius Podrug (Fiction Jennings)
SecondWorld by Jeremy Robinson (Express Fiction Robinson)
Fifty Degrees Below by Kim Stanley Robinson (SF Robinson)
The Last Man by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (SF Shelley)
2012: The War for Souls by Whitley Strieber (Horror Streiber)
This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers (YA Summers)
Supervolcano: Eruption by Harry Turtledove (Fiction Turtledove)
Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance (SF Vance)
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (Express Fiction Walker)
Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson (SF Wilson)
The Last Policeman by Ben Winters (Express SF Winters)

...And After:

Pure by Julianna Baggott (SF Baggott)
The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell (Horror Bell)
Without Warning by John Birmingham (Fiction Birmingham)
Blueprints of the Afterlife by Ryan Boudinot (SF Boudinot)
Snakeskin Road by James Braziel (SF Braziel)
The Postman by David Brin (SF Brin)
World War Z by Max Brooks (Fiction Brooks)
The Passage by Justin Cronin (Horror Cronin)
After by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, eds. (YA Short Stories After)
The Unit by Terry DeHart (SF DeHart)
Immobility by Brian Evenson (Horror Evenson)
One Second After by William R. Forstchen (Fiction Forstchen)
First Days by Rhiannaon Frater (Horror Frater)
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (Express Fiction Heller)
The Children of Men by P. D. James (SF James)
Wasteland: The Apocalyptic Edition by Antony Johnston and Christoper Mitten (741.5942 Johns)
After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress (SF Kress)
World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler (Fiction Kunstler)
Bar None by Tim Lebbon (Horror Lebbon)
Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield (Horror Littlefield)
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (Horror Matheson)
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Fiction McCarthy)
After the Apocalypse: Stories by Maureen F. McHugh (SF McHugh)
America Pacifica by Anna North (Fiction North)
Salvation City by Sigrid Nunez (Fiction Nunez)
Dying to Live by Kim Paffenroth (Horror Paffenroth)
Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (YA Pfeffer)
The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers (SF Rogers)
On the Beach by Nevil Shute (Fiction Shute)
Dies the Fire by S. M. Stirling (Fiction Stirling)
Summer of the Apocalypse by James Van Pelt (SF Van Pelt)
Monster Island by David Wellington (Horror Wellington)
Zone One by Colson Whitehead (Horror Whitehead)
Spin by Robert Charles Wilson (SF Wilson)
The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson (SF Winterson)

How Will We Know If It's REALLY the End?:

The Mystery of 2012: Predictions, Prophecies & Possibilities by Gregg Braden (133.3 Myste)
X-Events: The Collapse of Everything by John L. Casti (Express 303.483 Casti)
Armageddon Science: The Science of Mass Destruction by Brian Clegg (Express 303.483 Clegg)
The Real History of the End of the World by Sharan Newman (202.309 Newma)
Death from the Skies!: These Are the Ways the World Will End by Philip Plait (520 Plait)
The Order of Days: the Maya World and the Truth about 2012 by David Stuart (529.3297 Stuar)
2012 and the End of the World: The Western Roots of the Maya Apocalypse by Matthew Restall and Amara Solari (236.9 Resta)
The Life and Death of Planet Earth by Peter Douglas Ward (525.01 Ward)
The World without Us by Alan Weisman (304.2 Weism)
Armageddon Now: The End of the World A to Z by Jim and Barbara Willis (001.9 Wil)

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