Poll Results: List Your Top Five Survival Fiction Books and Top Five Survival Movies

Here is the first batch of responses to “OSOM”‘s suggested poll: List your top five fiction books and top five fictional movies that help folks learn something useful for survival. OSOM’s comment: “Jim’s novel Patriots has been called a ‘survival manual fairly neatly dressed as a work of fiction.’ I believe that reading fictional tales is critical to prepare yourself mentally and spiritually for hard times, and helps intellectually to work out the variables in different situations.”

You will note that several reader sent only book recommendations (No movies.) It is noteworthy that several respondents mentioned the e-novel “Lights Out” by David Crawford. It is a 611 page (2.5 MB) PDF file available for free download.

Films & TV Movies
The Postman
Testament – PBS
Threads – BBC
The War Game – BBC
Jericho – TV Series (Has flaws but it is still good)

The Camulod Chronicles – Jack Whyte (A series of books about the Roman retreat from Britain. Very good for the planning and preps for the multi-generational TSHTF situation)
Alas, Babylon – Pat Frank
Lights Out – David Crawford (aka Half Fast)
Warday – Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka
The Postman – David Brin

Fictional Books:
The Road, by Cormack McCarthy
Wolf and Iron
Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse, by Mr. Rawles
The Survivalist series by Jerry Ahern, books One through Ten
Out of the Ashes series, by William W. Johnstone

Fictional Movies:
Threads (BBC TV: UUUGGGLLLYYY!! Can be seen on Google video, in its entirety)
The Road Warrior
Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
A Boy and His Dog (A can of peaches [beets] for movie admission)
The Omega Man (Charlton Heston was too cool)

Top Survival Fiction Books
Patriots (I have read it seven times)
Alas Babylon by Pat Frank
Earth Abides by George Stewart
Malevil by Robert Merle
On the Beach by Nevil Shute

Top Five Survival Movies
Panic In Year Zero
Massive Retaliation
In the Year 2889
The Omega Man
Packing It In (Comedy)
The Survivors (Comedy)

Patriots (JWR) – An entertaining primer on survival.
The Road (Cormac McCarthy) – Hard to imagine a situation this bad; great literature and an awesome display of fatherhood.
Enemies series (Matt Bracken) – Primarily a political “agenda”, but packed with good info.
Walden (Thoreau) – Basic self-reliant living in the woods; great literature.
Lord of the Flies (William Golding) – Displays the sad truth that, in the absence of an “equalizer” (weapons, tools, alliances, etc.), depraved brute force usually rules and the weak are devoured. This is a great reminder that humans are sinful and naturally take advantage of one another. Thus, don’t ever get into a situation where you are a helpless little “Piggy”, dependent on the good will of a pack of wolves for survival.


Red Dawn (Corny? Yes, but this turned a generation of 10[-to-16]-year-olds into future survivalists).
First Blood (The best modern fugitive movie).
Terminator 2 (Displays the mindset of preparing for the horrible day that may or may not come).
28 Days Later (A look at surviving in an extreme worst case scenario).
Shawshank Redemption (How to use one’s mind to survive when locked up with man’s most dangerous threat: other men).

Fiction Books:
My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George
Lights Out, by David Crawford
Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe
I need to read more!

Cast Away
The Day After Tomorrow
Behind Enemy Lines
War of the Worlds
Shawn of the Dead

Fiction Books:
Patriots by James Rawles
Wolf and Iron by Gordon Dickson
Unintended Consequences by John Ross
Earth Abides by George Stewart
Enemies Foreign and Domestic by Matthew Bracken

Outlaw Josey Wales
Empire of the Sun
Red Dawn
Enemy at the Gates
Dersu Uzala

Top Survival Novels:
Alas Babylon by Frank
Lucifer’s Hammer by Niven, Pournelle
Malevil by Merle
Tunnel In the Sky by Heinlein
Vandenberg; A Novel by Lange

Top Survival Movies:
Jeremiah Johnson
Southern Comfort
The Naked Prey
Panic In Year Zero
Red Dawn

Lucifer’s Hammer
The Stand
Patriots (JWR)

Mad Max
The Road Warrior
The Stand
The Postman
Steel Frontier

Last of the Breed by Louis L’Amour
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
King Rat by James Clavell
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

Favorite Survival Novels:
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Some Will Not Die
Fire and Ice
Unintended Consequences

Favorite Survival Movies:
The Seven Samurai
Battle Royale (BR)
The Last Valley

Lucifer’s Hammer
Alas, Babylon
Some Will Not Die
Tunnel in the Sky by Robert Heinlein
The Survivalist series by Jerry Ahern

Panic in Year Zero
Day the World Ended
Soylent Green
The Postman
Deep Impact

Tunnel in the Sky by Robert Heinlein
The Postman by David Brin (not the movie)
Earth by David Brin
The Freeman by Jerry Ahern
The Nantucket Series of 3 books by S.M. Stirling

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
I am Legend by Richard Matheson
Malevil by Robert Merle
Lights Out by David Crawford (aka “Half Fast”)

Red Dawn
Night of the Living Dead
The Omega Man

Old Paper & Pen & Miniature RPG games
Twilight 2000
The Morrow Project

Computer Role Playing Games

Last of the Breed, Louis L’Amour
The Grapes of Wrath, J. Steinbeck
The Call of the Wild, Jack London
King Rat, James Clavell
The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane (just because we read it in 5th grade don’t discount this one)

Conquistador by S.M. Stirling
Patriots by J.W. Rawles
Vandenberg by Lange
Atlas Shrugged by Rand
Lucifer’s Hammer by Niven and Pournelle

Pulling Through (not yet produced script–can be downloaded at JWR’s site)
All three Terminator movies (T2 rocks!)
The Quiet Earth
Blast From The Past (Funny)
Tremors (Very funny. The “UZI 4 U” Gummer couple are hilarious.)

Adventures of Conrad Stargard (Series), Leo Frankowski
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein
Freehold, Michael Z Williamson
Farnham’s Freehold, Robert Heinlein
Dies the Fire, S.M. Stirling
Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Patriots, James Wesley, Rawles

Apollo 13
The Road Warrior
V for Vendetta
The Matrix

Fiction Books:
Patriots – James W. Rawles
The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton
Wolf and Iron – Gordon Dickson
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch – Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Molon Labe! – Boston T. Party

Jeremiah Johnson
Red Dawn
The Seven Samurai
Saving Private Ryan

MILA 18 – Leon Uris
Trinity- Leon Uris
Alas Babylon – Pat Frank
Lucifer’s Hammer- Niven & Pournelle
The Stand – Stephen King

The Postman
Red Dawn
Jeremiah Johnson
Mad Max-Beyond Thunderdome
African Queen

The Last Ship William Brinkley
On The Beach Nevil Shute
Earth Abides George Stewart
Patriots James W Rawles
Farnham’s Freehold Robert Heinlein

Panic in the Year Zero (awful music)
The War Game British quasi documentary
The Day After

Fiction Books:
Footfall, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
Dark December by Alfred Coppel
Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
Tomorrow by Philip Wylie
The New Madrid Run by Michael Reisig

Panic In Year Zero
The Trigger Effect
The World, The Flesh, & The Devil
The Last Train (British miniseries)
Five (Arch Obelor)


  1. Can anyone help me remember the name of a survival movie where a guy and his wife are trapped in their building and he teams up with his weird prepper neighbor who helps them overcome the other residents and have to come up with ways to survive their quarantine.

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