When reading books like World War Z, you are drawn into so many different disaster scenarios that they make the crazy world we actually live in seem a little less terrifying. For this reason alone, they have become a well-loved literary and film genre. They also make for compelling reading because they often depict stories of incredible bravery, tenacity, and hope like you’ve never seen before.
The Zombie Survival Guide 2 is Max Brooks’ eagerly anticipated follow-up to his popular survival guide, The Zombie Survival Guide. World War Z is a collection of first-person accounts from a United Nations Postwar Commission agent and other sources, including television interviews, diaries, and articles from around the world.
For example, these stories detail how their countries responded and dealt with a zombie epidemic as well as the subsequent re-establishment of civilisation following humankind’s triumph.
Since apocalyptic adventure novels are so popular, you’ll find a slew of great reads similar to World War Z on the list provided below.
Books like World War Z
The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
“The Road,” by Cormac McCarthy, is one of the most haunting, brilliant, and Pulitzer Prize-winning apocalyptic novels ever written.
As a father and son journey through a burned, ravaged and barren landscape, readers will experience the darkness of night, the gray snow that falls, and temperatures that are cold enough to split rocks.
Father and son are traveling to the coast, unsure of what they’ll find there, but their indelible bond keeps them going, as they avoid cannibals and bandits, not knowing who to trust and whom to believe in as they avoid bandits, cannibals, and bandits.
It’s a moving tale about the resilience of human kindness and generosity in the face of utter devastation, not just the survival of the son and his father physically.
The Road is a gripping post-apocalyptic novel that’s perfect for anyone looking for more books like World War Z on their bookshelves.
Read this chilling novel already? See if there are any other books you’d like to read that are similar to The Road.
Bird Box, by Josh Malerman
This year’s Netflix original film starring Sandra Bullock, based on Josh Malerman’s innovative and terrifying 2014 debut, Bird Box. Malorie, one of the few survivors of ‘The Problem’ that has ravaged the world, tells the story from her point of view.
When onlookers see mysterious creatures, they become irrational and violently attack others before taking their own lives.
To stay safe, Malorie and her two traveling companions — a 4-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy — must learn to live without sight while preparing for a perilous journey downriver in search of safety.
As we learn more about the enigmatic creatures as well as Malorie’s mysterious past, including how she ended up alone with these two children and why they are only referred to as “Girl” and “Boy,” the story is told in flashbacks and spanned over three time periods. The next time you’re looking for a book like World War Z, grab a copy of Bird Box and prepare to be spooked to your core.
The Stand, by Stephen King
Apocalyptic fiction, such as World War Z, is particularly potent right now because of the recent pandemic and lockdown, but none of the other books on this list has the same impact as Stephen King’s The Stand, a seminal and engrossing novel from the king of horror.
The story begins with the accidental release of a genetically engineered, incredibly deadly and contagious super flu into the world, which wipes out 99 percent of the human race within weeks, leaving only a handful of immune, panic-stricken survivors to contend with.
This is a standout in its own right, but in true King style, the pages are infused with supernatural elements, including divine intervention from an angry and vengeful Old Testament God and characters developing superpowers.
The Stand is an ambitious novel and a challenging read, but it is well worth the effort because of its complex plot and the large number of characters who form breakaway societies and fight for ultimate control.
If so, have you already read this epic novel? For more books like The Stand, take a look at our list!
The Passage, by Justin Cronin
This is a transition from World War Z to The Passage, but not quite the kind of transition you might expect. Using a virus found in a specific type of bat, Cronin’s vampires were first tested on death row inmates, but it is revealed that the military is developing a weaponized superhuman.
A group of escaped inmates discovers that they have the ability to gain superhuman strength and control over their own minds, allowing them to escape and quickly disseminate the virus throughout the world. In an attempt to fend off the relentless invading of these superhuman creatures, human communities begin to spring up all over the place.
Amy, a young girl whose immune system hasn’t matured enough to react to the virus in the same way, is among those infected by the facility. Could she be the world’s savior?
The Passage, a hefty 750-page novel that spans more than 90 years, is not for the faint of heart, but it is certain to please any fan of books like World War Z.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, by Philip K. Dick
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the book that served as an inspiration for both of the Blade Runner films, has become something of a cult classic, demonstrating the genre’s power and allure, as well as its adaptability.
A nuclear global war has left the world in ruins and renegade androids have taken up residence among humans, just like in Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi novel.
Hunter of Bounty As the man tasked with tracking down and killing the Nexus-6 model androids, Rick Deckard is the only one who can do it. It should be easy to locate the androids now that the majority of Earth’s population has relocated to colonies on other worlds. However, these androids look like humans and are being aided in their escape from Deckard by another human, John Isidore.
Could it be that androids have a secret desire for electric sheep? begins slowly, but don’t let that deter you as the story develops with so many unexpected twists and turns that it’s a thrilling read for fans of World War Z-style books.
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophesies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Good Omens by Sir Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman follows on this list of books like World War Z.
Aziraphale the angel and Crowley the demon are living a normal life in England when they learn that the date of Judgment Day has been pushed back to a later date.
So, rather than wait for it to be proven to be just another hoax (because, let’s face it, Judgement Day has already been predicted numerous times before to no effect), the two decide to take action.
For those looking for a lighter take on end-of-the-world doomsday prophecies, look no further than Good Omens, which features familiar characters like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Satan, and the Anti-Christ (who has mysteriously vanished).
Life As We Knew It, by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Our sympathies for the main character, Miranda, in Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It, are as strong as ever, and we root for her to overcome the hardships and not give up on hope. This is especially true in the novel’s post-apocalyptic setting.
In the aftermath of a meteor strike on the moon, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mom must prepare for an arctic winter as tsunamis, earthquakes, and dormant volcanoes erupt, obscuring the sun and making it impossible to see.
Using journal entries, we learn that this shift in the landscape means that farming is impossible, stores are emptied, and rations begin to run low, causing her to fear for her family’s future.
Life As We Knew It is a great choice for fans of World War Z’s method of putting together the events through various media and journals.
I am Legend, by Richard Matheson
In Richard Matheson’s post-apocalyptic horror novel, I am Legend, a plague of infectious vampires causes Robert Neville to become the last man on Earth. Vampires have taken over the world and are now on the lookout for Neville’s blood, as everyone else has succumbed to the plague.
While Neville stalks the undead during the day, at night he is forced to barricade himself inside his house, praying and wishing for the dawn to come.
While following Neville’s life after the outbreak, the novel examines how long a single person can continue to live and survive in such a state of loneliness.
It has been a huge influence on the development of vampire and zombie literature since its publication in 1954, making I am Legend a great choice for any World War Z fan.
Since its publication in 1931, it has been used in numerous popular films, including Night of the Living Dead and The Last Man on Earth.
The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells is the final book on this list of books like World War Z, which has been influencing alien invasion stories since its first publication in 1897.
An alien invasion of England is still gripping and terrifying today, thanks to the eyewitness accounts of those who witnessed the invasion, which took place more than a decade ago.
An infernal heat ray is used to incinerate everything in their path as these monstrous aliens travel around in giant three-legged machines. What can possibly stand in the way of these ruthless Martians who are destroying London at an alarming rate?
The War of the Worlds is a must-read classic that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
Apocalyptic novels depicting humanity’s struggle against aliens, infectious diseases, zombies, vampires, and robots are represented in this list, which is just as exciting and imaginative.
The list of antagonists is as long as the number of books, but these are a few of my personal favorites. Have fun reading!