And – aside from the predictable Mayan-powered storylines – it was an incredible year for apocalyptic fiction, in terms of quality as well as thematic diversity.


Some major series ended in spectacular fashion – namely Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy, Rhiannon Frater’s As the World Dies trilogy, and Sophie Littlefield’s Aftertime saga – while a bumper crop of excellent debut novelists released some extraordinary novels. In fact, almost a third of the titles on my year’s best list are from first time novelists: Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars, Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles, Steven John’s Three A.M., and Oliver Chiapco’s self-published medical thriller The Final Race.


I also found it interesting how so many of the releases on my year's best list for 2012 were virtually unsung. Novels like John's Three A.M., Evenson's Immobility, and Brian Francis Slattery's Lost Everything were powerful, courageously unique reads that should have received much more praise – and commercial success – than they did.




“The Aftertime trilogy is Littlefield’s magnum opus – just a timeless, towering work of apocalyptic fiction.”


I’ll say it right now: with the conclusion of historically significant series like Grant’s Newsflesh and Littlefield’s Aftertime, I find it hard to believe that 2013 will be as strong a year for apocalyptic fiction as ’12 and ’11. But I would love to be proved wrong!


So, without further ado, here are my favorites from 2012:



















































































































































Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can follow him on Twitter at @paulgoatallen and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.

by kimba88 on ‎12-19-2012 08:35 PM

Frater rocks, and I loved Twelve. Paul I have all of Littlefield's series based on your rec, but still haven't read them *facepalm* I was so sad Grant's trilogy ended. Did you read San Diego Browncoats, that little novella rocked too. Looks like I need to add a few more books to my wishlist, thanks for sharing these! 

by melmac77 on ‎12-19-2012 11:40 PM

I'm about halfway through listening to The Last Policeman and am really enjoying it there just something really enderaing about the earnest Hank. Not only that but I have no idea how it's going to end and as someone who usually sees the twist coming from a mile away I love that about this book. 


I've now added Aftertime to the TBR pile thanks :smileyhappy:



by Moderator dhaupt on ‎12-20-2012 09:08 AM

thanks Paul, Great list I've read a few on it and really loved The Last Policeman and The Twelve, and now it looks like I've got some reading ahead of me in 2013, oh wait. The world ends tomorrow so I guess I'd better pull an all nighter to make sure I at least get one read. :smileyhappy:



Since 1997, you’ve been coming to to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.