Final Post-Apocalyptic Reading List and Taking a Vacation

Sharon August 17th, 2008

Hi Everyone – I’m about to head off to a combination 10th anniversary trip (3 days, no kids – Thanks Mom and MIL!!!) and trip to permaculture summer camp. So this week, the blog will be shuttered while Eric and I enjoy some time together.  The Adapting-In-Place Class and Post-Apocalyptic Book Club and various other things will resume the following week.  We’ll be talking about Sherri Tepper’s _The Gate to Women’s Country_ and a lot of neat stuff next week.

I did want to post a final list of books for the P-A book club – some people mentioned that they need more lead time than I’ve been giving.  So here’s the full and final list, except for internet fiction and movies, which I’m still putting together.

 July: Classic Guy Disasters

 Heinlein’s _The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_ and Niven/Pournelle’s _Lucifer’s Hammer_ Optional extra: TS Eliot’s ”The Wasteland”

August: The Girl’s Guide to the Apocalypse

Pfeffer’s _Life as We Knew It_ and Tepper’s _The Gate to Women’s Country Optional Extra: Derrick Jensen’s _EndGame_.

September: Energy Apocalypse Month

Books: Stirling’s _Dies the Fire_ and Johnston’s _After the Crash_ Optional Extra Muir “The Horses”

October: Reader Choice Month – You Chose…Hunter-Gatherer Novels

Books: LeGuin’s _Always Coming Home_ and Stewarts _Earth Abides_ Optional Extra: Still mulling this over.  Considering _Nisa:Biography of a !Kung Woman_ but there are other options.

November: Nuclear Holocaust Month

Books: Miller _A Canticle for Lebowitz_ and Frank _Alas Babylon_ Optional Extra: Still mulling this over.

December: Ecological Doom Month

Books: Moran _Earth of Ice_ and Robinson _Forty Days of Rain_ Optional Extra: Wordsworth “Tintern Abbey”

 January: High Culture Month

Books: McCarthy _The Road_ and Defoe’s _Journal of the Plague Year_ Optional Extra: The Worst Apocalyptic Novel Ever: I still haven’t figured this one out, since there was no overwhelming winner here.   

February: Hideous Disease Month

Books: Saramago _Blindness_, Christopher _No Blade of Grass_.  Optional Extra: Chaucer “The Pardoner’s Tale”

March: Religious Apocalypses

Books: Butler, _The Parable of the Sower_, LaHaye and Jenkins _Left Behind_  and Gaiman/Pratchett _Good Omens_ (no optional extras since we’re doing 3 books)

April: The Collapse of the State

Books: Brin “The Postman” (the short story, not the full-length novel), Roth _The Plot Against America_ Optional Extra: Achebe _Things Fall Apart_

May: Internet Fiction and Movie Apocalypses -

Texts: TBA

June: Population Apocalypse

Books: Brunner _Stand on Zanzibar_ and James _The Children of Men_ Optional Extra: Malthus, of course!

 And there you have it, a year’s worth of doom!

 Have a great week, back soon!

19 Responses to “Final Post-Apocalyptic Reading List and Taking a Vacation”

  1. Fern says:

    Enjoy your time away. I’m totally in awe of all the blogging you get done, as well as the quality of it.

  2. Have fun and stay out of trouble. I love this site…you give realistic and useful advise.

    Aron

  3. [...] Casaubon’s Book » Blog Archive » Final Post-Apocalyptic Reading List and Taking a Vacation Hi Everyone – I’m about to head off to a combination 10th anniversary trip (3 days, no kids – Thanks Mom and MIL!!!) and trip to permaculture summer camp. So this week, the blog will be shuttered while Eric and I enjoy some time together. The Adapting-In-Place Class and Post-Apocalyptic Book Club and various other things will resume the following week. We’ll be talking about Sherri Tepper’s _The Gate to Women’s Country_ and a lot of neat stuff next week. Down In The Hills Survivalist Blog: Having to bugout August 17th, 2008 [...]

  4. Greenpa says:

    A fun addition for Population Apocalypse; Larry Niven’s short story “Bordered In Black”. Has a nice, very high, “ick” factor. :-)

    And what haunts me- I’ve seen the exact parallel reality- in mice- in a genetics lab working on the genetics of behavior. Personally. I’m still working on the ick; 40 years later.

  5. lisavark says:

    Thank you, thank you, for the full list! Off to the library website to place holds for August books…yep, I’m behind, but now at least I can catch up!

  6. laura says:

    For a possible November optional extra, I’d suggest Children of the Dust by Louise Lawrence. I still shudder every time I go past it, and I read it over twenty years ago. (Of course, I suppose it’s possible it might not affect me that way today, but I haven’t been brave enough to find out.)

  7. Hummingbird says:

    As Aron says, realistic and useful, with some humor thrown in to lighten the seriousness of it all. That’s what makes this blog so valuable. Enjoy your “time off”, tho it doesn’t exactly sound like a vacation.

    Thanks for the final reading list.

  8. Sarah says:

    I second “Children of the Dust”…I actually thought that book was fun when I read it, but I was a kind of weird little kid.

  9. When I was a boy, we were taught that each generation had responsibilities to assume and duties to perform with regard to the acknowledgement and acceptance of the challenges that are presented to us, so that the next generation can have a chance at a better life. Under no circumstances, would it be correct to pose as willfully blind, hysterically deaf or electively mute in the face of any challenge, as many too many in my not-so-great generation are doing in these days.

    What has happened to the misguided leaders of my generation? So many in the elder generation have determined to let the looming challenges in our time fall into the laps of our children. At least to me, today’s leaders show an astonishing unwillingness to examine the prospects of a good life for those who directly follow us, let alone coming generations.

    After my single, not-so-great generation finishes the `missions’ (ie, fools’ errands) the leading, self-proclaimed “masters of the universe” among us have set before the human community, what resources will be left for our children to consume; how many more people will have to share what remains of the dissipated and degraded resources; where will they find clean air to breathe, clean water to drink? I shudder when thinking about what our children might say about what we have done so poorly and failed to do so spectacularly, all for sake of selfishly fulfilling our insatiable desires for endless material possessions and freedom without responsibility…..come what may for the children, coming generations, global biodiversity, the environment and Earth’s body.

    How could one generation go so wrong? Here are some of the ways.

    First, the leaders in my generation of elders wish to live without having to accept limits to growth of seemingly endless economic globalization, of increasing per capita consumption and skyrocketing human population numbers; our desires are evidently insatiable. We choose to believe anything that is politically convenient, economically expedient and socially agreeable; our way of life is not negotiable. We dare anyone to question our values or behaviors.

    We religiously promote our widely shared and consensually-validated fantasies of `real’ endless economic growth and soon to be unsustainable overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities, and in so doing deny that Earth has limited resources and frangible ecosystems upon which the survival of life as we know it depends.

    Second, my not-so-great generation appears to be doing a disservice to everything and everyone but ourselves. We are the “what’s in it for me?” generation. We demonstrate precious little regard for the maintenance of the integrity of Earth; shallow willingness to actually protect the environment from crippling degradation; lack of serious consideration for the preservation of biodiversity, wilderness, and a good enough future for our children and coming generations; and no appreciation of the vital understanding that humans are no more or less than magnificent living beings with “feet of clay.”

    Perhaps we live in unsustainable ways in our planetary home; but we are proud of it nonetheless. Certainly, we will “have our cake and eat it, too.” We will own fleets of cars, fly around in thousands of private jets, live in McMansions, exchange secret handshakes, frequent exclusive clubs and distant hideouts, and risk nothing of value to us. We will live long, large and free. Please do not bother us with the problems of the world. We choose not to hear, see or speak of them. We are the economic powerbrokers, their bought-and-paid-for politicians and the many minions in the mass media. We hold much of the world’s wealth and the extraordinary power great wealth purchases. If left to our own devices, we will continue in the exercise of our `inalienable rights’ to outrageously consume Earth’s limited resources; to recklessly expand economic globalization unto every corner of our natural world and, guess what, beyond; and to carelessly consent to the unbridled global growth of human numbers so that where there are now 6+ billion people, by 2050 we will have 9+ billion members of the human community and, guess what, even more people, perhaps billions more in the distant future, if that is what we desire.

    We are the reigning, self-proclaimed masters of the universe. We enjoy freedom and living without limits; of course, we adamantly eschew any talk of the personal responsibilities that come with the exercise of personal freedoms or any discussion of the existence of biophysical limitations of any kind.

    We deny the existence of human limits and Earth’s limitations.

    Please understand that we do not want anyone presenting us with scientific evidence that we could be living unsustainably in an artificially designed, temporary world of our own making….a manmade world filling up with gigantic enterprises, virtual mountains of material possessions, and boundless amounts of filthy lucre.

    Third, most of our top rank experts appear not to have found adequate ways of communicating to the family of humanity what people somehow need to hear, see and understand: the rapacious dissipation of Earth’s limited resources, the relentless degradation of the planet’s environment, and the approaching destruction of the Earth as a fit place for human habitation by the human species, when taken together, appear to be proceeding at breakneck speed toward the precipitation of a catastrophic ecological wreckage of some sort unless, of course, the world’s colossal, ever expanding, artificially designed, manmade global political economy continues to speed headlong toward the monolithic ‘wall’ called “unsustainability” at which point the runaway economy crashes before Earth’s ecology is collapsed.

    Who knows, perhaps we can realistically and hopefully hold onto the expectation that behavioral changes in the direction of sustainable production, per human consumption, and propagation are in the offing…..changes that save both the economy and the Creation.

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population, est. 2001
    http://sustainabilitysoutheast.org/index.php

  10. Have a great time. Any time away from kids can be a vacation no matter what you are doing.

    I will be preparing for my own disaster here as Tropical storm Faye heads up Florida. I get excited when big storms come.

    Cindy in FL

  11. Christine L says:

    under ‘nuclear’ I would add “Z for Zacharia”, and for general effects of a collapse try John Wyndham’s “The day of the Triffids”.

  12. Rosa says:

    Happy anniversary, Sharon!

  13. Sylvia says:

    Question on one of the books: I can’t find “After the crash” by Johnston. Not in the NYC Public Library system, not on Amazon. Are you sure that’s the exact title?

  14. Sylvia says:

    Aha, found it. It’s self-published, so you can find it here: http://www.lulu.com/content/2033772
    It’s $14.95.

    Also, just figured out that “The Horses”, by Edwin Muir, is a poem, not a book. You can find it here: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-horses/

  15. Ecclescake says:

    For Nuclear Holocaust Month, how about _Riddley Walker_ by Russell Hoban? The narrative voice alone is enough to make it stick in your head for years.

    And for Population Apocalypse Month, though I know you’re full up, it would be fun to include _Y: The Last Man_ by Brian K Vaughan and Pia Guerra. It’s a comic book series, which would be an interesting variation. Every male mammal on the planet has died except for one man and his monkey. Great plot and insightful examination of what the world would be like if all the men suddenly ceased to be.

    Thanks so much for your blog and this book club. (Although reading these books while starting my basic peak oil reading and working on a movie about a meteor coming to Earth makes me wonder each night whether I’ll wake up the next day.)

  16. Jim says:

    Sharon,

    For “Weird Apocalypse” month (if there is one), try Flood and Ark by Stephen Baxter. Water covers the Earth, and people….survive, or they don’t. Recommended, and I reviewed it on my blog if you have time for such things.

  17. caelids says:

    Hey, lone Catholic voice here. For “religious apocalypse” month, try ‘Pierced by a Sword’ by Bud Macfarlane, from the Mary Foundation. It’s a sign of the times that people don’t want to buy literature with Catholic themes–you have to practically give it away–but this is still a thought-provoking, ripping good novel which will keep you up at night and thinking for days afterwards. If you write the Mary Foundation directly, they will send you a copy for free.

    Oh, and a small rejoinder for everyone who thinks we need to implement drastic population-control measures in order to survive…how many laws of God did we violate in order to get here? And how many laws are we prepared to violate to get back? And will it work? Just look at our track record to see…

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  19. jollymoon says:

    You mention quite a few Post Apocalyptic novels in your post for your book club. I am a huge fan as well as time travel…

    So what else is on your list. Have you tried:
    “Wolf and Iron” ?

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