Thanks to the “books that stayed with you” thing going around Facebook now, I learned of a book that, I’ll admit, I’d never heard about before. On the Beach by Nevil Shute is a post-apocalyptic novel written in 1957 and set in 1963 Australia after the Northern Hemisphere basically nuked itself into oblivion.
I’m over a quarter of the way through it (although I know how it ends because, yes, I’m one of THOSE kind who skim the ending before I read the book because I don’t want to waste my time on an unsatisfactory book). I started it last night before bed (mistake) and had haunting dreams of struggling to survive through a mysterious illness killing off mankind. LOL
I can equate this book to Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank, which I read in the early 80’s in junior high and high school. That novel haunted and stayed with me for several reasons, the first being that it was before the days of, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” and that I lived in Florida, where it was set.
Another book that I hadn’t read until recently was Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo. WOW. Talk about intense.
As disturbing as these books are, they’re cathartic, in a way. The thing that hasn’t happened, yet could, but hopefully won’t. I get the same kind of feeling watching the TV series Life After People.
My post-apocalyptic series that I’m working on, The Great Turning, is one where I am shooting for that exact same kind of feeling, although with more hope at the end. LOL My calamity is a comet hitting the earth and wiping out a sizable section of the Asian continent and what happens afterwards.
So what books have disturbed you, or stayed with you like that? Not in a warm, fuzzy kind of way, but in a “I really need to compile a survival kit” kind of way, or a “I REALLY hope that never happens to me” kind of way? Sound out in the comments. And it doesn’t even have to be that exact kind of scenario. Any book that sort of creeped you out, or disturbed you, but that you enjoyed because (or in spite of) that fact.