10 Classic Survival Fiction Books you should Definitely Read

By Chaz G. T. Patto - June 2023.

Below is a list of some of the best survival fiction books ever written, along with a brief summary of why each book is important in the genre. These books showcase the diverse facets of survival fiction, exploring themes of resilience, human nature, and the indomitable spirit. They have left a lasting impact on readers and continue to inspire and engage those fascinated by tales of survival in challenging circumstances.

  • "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe: Considered one of the earliest and most influential survival stories, "Robinson Crusoe" tells the tale of a shipwrecked sailor who must learn to adapt and survive on a deserted island. It explores themes of resilience, resourcefulness, and the human spirit's capacity for survival.

  • "Hatchet" by Gary Paulsen: This young adult novel follows Brian Robeson, a thirteen-year-old boy who finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash. "Hatchet" is renowned for its vivid portrayal of survival skills, the power of the human mind, and the importance of self-reliance.

  • "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy: Set in a post-apocalyptic world, this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel depicts a father and son's journey through a bleak and desolate landscape. McCarthy's haunting prose delves into themes of survival, love, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of extreme adversity.

  • "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer: Based on a true story, this non-fiction account follows Christopher McCandless, a young man who ventures into the Alaskan wilderness in search of a raw and uncompromising existence. Krakauer's exploration of McCandless's motivations and the allure of nature resonates with readers seeking their own understanding of survival.

  • "The Martian" by Andy Weir: This science fiction novel tells the gripping story of astronaut Mark Watney, who becomes stranded alone on Mars and must rely on his ingenuity and scientific knowledge to survive. "The Martian" combines humor, suspense, and scientific accuracy to create an engaging survival tale.

  • "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding: In this classic allegorical novel, a group of young boys is stranded on an uninhabited island and must establish their own society. Golding's exploration of the inherent human nature, morality, and the thin veneer of civilization resonates with readers, making it a thought-provoking survival story.

  • "Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors" by Piers Paul Read: This non-fiction account tells the harrowing tale of the Uruguayan rugby team's plane crash in the Andes Mountains and their subsequent struggle for survival in extreme conditions. It explores the physical and emotional challenges faced by the survivors and their will to live against all odds.

  • "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel: Set in a post-apocalyptic world devastated by a global pandemic, "Station Eleven" weaves together the stories of various characters as they navigate a dangerous and unpredictable landscape. The novel explores themes of survival, the resilience of art and culture, and the interconnectedness of humanity.

  • "The Revenant" by Michael Punke: Based on a true story, this historical novel follows fur trapper Hugh Glass as he seeks revenge against those who left him for dead after a bear attack in the 1820s American frontier. "The Revenant" portrays the indomitable human spirit and the lengths one can go to survive and seek justice.

  • "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel: This philosophical and allegorical novel tells the story of Pi Patel, who finds himself stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with only a Bengal tiger for company. Martel's exploration of faith, resilience, and the power of storytelling amidst a struggle for survival has captivated readers worldwide.

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  • 10 Classic Wilderness Adventure Books you should Definitely Read

    By Chaz G. T. Patto - June 2023.

    Below is a list of some of the best Wilderness Adventure fiction books ever written, along with a brief summary of why each book is important in the genre. These books offer captivating tales of wilderness adventure, exploring the triumphs, challenges, and transformative power of the natural world. Each one immerses readers in the beauty and danger of untamed landscapes while delving into the depths of the human spirit.

  • "The Call of the Wild" by Jack London: This classic novel follows Buck, a domesticated dog who is thrust into the brutal world of the Alaskan wilderness during the Klondike Gold Rush. London's gripping portrayal of survival, the clash between civilization and nature, and Buck's transformation into a wild creature make it a cornerstone of wilderness adventure fiction.

  • "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer: Based on a true story, this non-fiction book delves into the journey of Christopher McCandless, a young man who leaves behind his comfortable life to live in the Alaskan wilderness. Krakauer explores McCandless's motivations, the allure of nature, and the consequences of venturing into the wild alone.

  • "Hatchet" by Gary Paulsen: In this young adult novel, thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson must survive alone in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash. Paulsen's vivid portrayal of wilderness survival, Brian's resourcefulness, and his coming-of-age journey have captivated readers of all ages.

  • "Deliverance" by James Dickey: This gripping novel follows four friends on a canoe trip in the remote Georgia wilderness, where they encounter unexpected dangers and confront their own primal instincts. Dickey's exploration of man's relationship with nature, the darkness within, and the brutality of survival has made it a compelling and controversial wilderness adventure.

  • "The River" by Gary Paulsen: A companion novel to "Hatchet," "The River" continues Brian Robeson's story as he embarks on another wilderness survival journey, this time alone with only a knife and a hatchet. Paulsen's gripping narrative and vivid descriptions of the challenges Brian faces make it a compelling addition to the wilderness adventure genre.

  • "The Revenant" by Michael Punke: Based on a true story, this historical novel follows Hugh Glass, a fur trapper left for dead in the American frontier wilderness. Glass's relentless quest for survival and revenge showcases the indomitable human spirit and the harsh realities of the wilderness.

  • "To Build a Fire" by Jack London: This short story portrays a man's struggle for survival in the freezing Yukon wilderness. London's vivid descriptions of the brutal environment and the protagonist's battle against nature's forces have made it a classic in wilderness adventure literature.

  • "The Mountain Between Us" by Charles Martin: In this contemporary novel, two strangers find themselves stranded in the High Uintas Wilderness after a plane crash. Martin explores their fight for survival, the emotional connection that develops between them, and the resilience of the human spirit.

  • "The Lost City of Z" by David Grann: Blending history and adventure, this non-fiction book recounts the real-life expedition of Percy Fawcett, a British explorer who disappeared while searching for a mythical city in the Amazon rainforest. Grann's gripping narrative and exploration of the allure and dangers of uncharted wilderness make it a compelling read.

  • "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed: In this memoir, Strayed recounts her solo journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, covering over a thousand miles of rugged terrain. Her introspective and emotional account of self-discovery, survival, and healing in the face of personal challenges has resonated with readers worldwide.

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