Newish speculative "Rebuilding Civilization" fiction books?
June 26, 2014 12:35 PM   Subscribe

I love books where a plucky group of 'survivors' works hard to rebuild after any kind of disaster, especially the nuts and bolts of the rebuilding process. I'm familiar with and have read many of the older works (published 5 or more years ago). I'm wondering if there are any more recent works I may have missed, especially with the recent wave of YA dystopia/post apocalyptic fiction. Please recommend newer spec-fiction Rebuilding civilization books (alt history/YA/Sci-fi all ok).
posted by Sustainable Chiles to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
In order to head off any older stuff, here's a 2010 version of this question.
posted by zamboni at 12:45 PM on June 26, 2014

(Which I now notice is by Sustainable Chiles.)
posted by zamboni at 12:46 PM on June 26, 2014

Definitely "Wool" by Hugh Howey. (Also very interesting is the story behind its publication - initially self-published, huge word-of-mouth success, picked up by publisher, being made into a movie.)

The forthcoming book "California," which Stephen Colbert was using recently in his fight with Amazon, looks to be good.

I've just started reading Tom Perotta's "The Leftovers," which is being made into an HBO series that starts this Sunday, and it's really good so far.

A few suggestions in other media would include the AMAZING British TV miniseries "Survivors," as well as a new audio drama reboot of it by Big Finish.
posted by jbickers at 12:48 PM on June 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Anti-recommendation - Directive 51 was terrible.
posted by zamboni at 12:52 PM on June 26, 2014

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller is the story of a handful of survivors trying to survive/live after a massive virus outbreak.
posted by Captain_Science at 12:57 PM on June 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

For a somewhat different take outside the realm of the genre authors, you might consider Denis Johnson's Fiskadoro. It's older (mid-1980s), but it didn't make the list in the last question you linked, and the author's far enough removed from the usual suspects here that it could have been overlooked. But it shouldn't be.
posted by .kobayashi. at 1:01 PM on June 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Well colour me embarrassed... I completely forgot about my earlier question, though in my defence I'm asking about newer works this time (as weak a defence it may be)...
posted by Sustainable Chiles at 1:14 PM on June 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

A few years ago I read World Made by Hand, by James Kunstler. Regardless of attitudes toward Kunstler's peak-oil/the-sky-is-falling hobbyhorse, I thought it was a great story.

Basically it's a collapse of civilization story without any major "event" to set it off. Just a few decades of emergencies, austerity, political shocks, and retreats all due to good old fashioned Malthusian pressures. The story is set out in a little town in the northeast where people get by on barter and exchange. Political struggles are basically all local and between neighbors deciding how to keep the water running and what--if anything--to do about a new group of religious "colonists" moving into town.

Plus, just a touch of mysticism which finds room to blossom in a world where all the wifi hotspots are dead.
posted by General Tonic at 1:48 PM on June 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not specifically fiction, per se, but The Knowledge is a book/website by Lewis Dartnell that specifically covers rebuilding the modern world from scratch. he talks a lot about fiction that features these tropes on his blog.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:14 PM on June 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Anti-recommendation - Directive 51 was terrible.

It is part of a series of three books, and it is the worst of the three. The other two (daybreak zero and the last president) are interesting and build a LOT onto the world and the difficulties of rebuilding against a mysterious 'meme' like enemy. I never really finished the first one, skipped to the second and found it much better and the third just as good. Odd for a trilogy.

John Barnes also has a few other books, Mother of Storms and the Meme Wars books also touch on this subject and are MUCH better than directive 51.

For a thouroughly enjoyable, escapist, implausible series, check out the Change books and the nantucket books by S.M. Stirling.
posted by bartonlong at 2:20 PM on June 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

The shared 1632 universe started by Eric Flint has a small town in West Virginia translated to Germany in the year 1632 and has them try to push technology and civilization along at a rapid pace. The various authors have spent a reasonable amount of time making the technical stuff plausible (the social stuff is pretty ridiculous).
posted by pseudonick at 3:34 PM on June 26, 2014

Arcadium meets all of your criteria; I don't want to spoli it but the second half focuses on a re-built society after a disaster that happens to be zombies. It is YA and I really loved it.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:53 PM on June 26, 2014

Check out S.M. Stirling's Change Series.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 5:01 PM on June 26, 2014

It is a bit of a twist on what you asked but Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy is worth looking at.
Seconding "World Made By Hand" and "The Knowledge".
posted by PickeringPete at 5:21 PM on June 26, 2014

Something new since that thread: Margaret Atwood completed her trilogy with MaddAddam. Even more than the previous two novels, it's about rebuilding after the Waterless Flood.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:51 PM on June 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Martian by Andy Weir is really good. Not exactly what you asked for...but you should amazon it (kinda like googling).
posted by orangemacky at 7:56 PM on June 26, 2014

You might try "Y: The Last Man". Plague wipes out half of the life on earth: the male half, that is. Only one male human (and one male capuchin monkey) survive.

Very well thought-out exploration of what aspects of which societies would be sustainable, and what would arise afterwards. For instance, what happens to a government where 98% of the representatives die, but 51% of the citizens don't? Where are there enough female engineers to maintain infrastructure?
posted by Tara-dactyl at 2:56 AM on June 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

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