10 Books You Should Read About Outbreaks, Plagues, And Epidemics

From a time travel to the black plague to an epic masterpiece, here are the best books to help you realize nothing is new under the corona sun.

Roi Berger
Created by Roi Berger
On Oct 24, 2021

The Stand - Stephen King

Considered by many to be the epitome of plague books, this epic tale (which was adapted to a mini-series, a comic book and a soon to air TV show) takes place all over the US during and following an army made outbreak. The story evolves from a battle against a plague to a fight between good and evil. Let's hope it stays a work of fiction.


The Fireman - Joe Hill

Just like his father, Stephen King, Joe Hill wrote a book about a very weird plague which causes people to spontaneously combust. And like his father, the plague is just a way for Hill to say something about human nature.


Wanderers - Chuck Wendig

This book is the most recent addition on this list. Just like King and Hill, Wanderers deals with a strange epidemic - sleepwalkers. It's a massive book, but also a very personal one, and since its release in July 2019 it received many praises and comparisons to other works such as The Stand.


The Plague - Albert Camus

An existentialist classic by one of the masters of the movement. Camus's book is sort of a homage to Kafka's The Trial, and takes place in the French city of Oran, a place which had its share of plagues.


Unlocked / Lock In / Head On - John Scalzi

The new master of science fiction's on going series takes place after a mysterious epidemic breaks out. The disease (known as Hayden Syndrome) leaves the affected paralyzed, but fully conscious, which leads to the invention of androids that are given the minds of the sick. While Unlocked is a short story that tells how it all came to be, Lock In and Head On are detective stories, with a main character (who's gender is unknown to the readers) who suffers from the disease.


The Masque Of The Red Death - Edgar Ellen Poe

We're cheating a bit with this one, as it's a short story and not a book. Poe's Gothic tale from 1842 features a prince who tries to avoid a plague (The Red Death) by gathering his rich friends and secluding all of them in his abbey. He hosts a masquerade ball in his castle, only to have a mysterious figure appear and turn things for the worse.


Doomsday Book - Connie Willis

A history student from the 21st century travels back in time to the days of the Black Plague in the 14th century for research purposes. What can go wrong? everything. Willis is known for her emphasis on the science in science fiction and her unique sense of humor. You should expect nothing less from a book that many consider it to be her greatest work so far.


Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel

A beautiful tale of an actors company that is traveling across America to perform classic Shakespeare plays, a lost comic book, and the connections between a few people trying to make sense of a post plague world. Emily St. John Mandel proves that even the end of the world can bring hope.


The Girl With All the Gifts - M.R. Carey

A plague turns most of the human population into blood thirsty zombies. We've heard it all before, right? Wrong. Carey's book will take you for a ride through many emotions and by the end of it you might find yourselves questioning your own morals. Not for the faint of heart.


The Zombie Survival Guide - Max Brooks

To finish with a smile, check out this hilarious mock survival guide. Max Brooks (Son of comedic genius Mel Brooks) shows us what are the best methods to prepare for the zombie apocalypse, including which weapons are most efficient, the diffrence between slow and fast zombies and scientific reports of the initial outbreak (which he later adapted to another great book: World War Z). It might be totally fake, but your laughter will be as real as it gets.

Which book are you gonna pick up first?

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