I read A LOT of Post-Apocalyptic books. A lot. This is a list of some of the things that these books seem to miss. Obviously not every book, but a lot of them seem to miss these major things.

1) The search for water.

For some reason – this is usually skipped completely over.  Water is essential – a lot of books will cover the first week or so of water (mostly collecting it before it goes away from the tap).  Some will talk about rainwater collection (very few) but the majority of these books will just gloss over the search for water and the overwhelming need that it would cause. 

2) Restroom needs/usage/disposal

If our survivors find a camp – they just poop and it magically disappears? Seriously, I’m sure that talking about poop in a novel isn’t the best thing but it’s real and needs to be talked about.  If you are in a camp and keep going in the same place it will be awful.  A lot of authors get around this with working septic systems in the bug out locations – but even then – septics need to be cleaned and maintained. 

3) Feminine hygiene needs

As a guy, I cannot go into the number of things that are missing from books but a book I recently finished finally covered this.  I’ve read probably 100 books in this genre, many of them with female leads.  This is never talked about.  The apocalypse happened and all of a sudden women just don’t have an issue anymore? I don’t buy it and I feel like they are being lazy for not covering it or even bringing up the search for (or workarounds) these products.

4) Bullet scarcity

I’ll go into scarcity in depth next – but I need to call this out.  Normally – bullet scarcity is something that the good guys worry about.  But nine times out of ten the bad guys in the book do not care about this at all.  I know that this is a long-running thing that happens in almost every movie/tv show you’ve watched or books you’ve read but it just drives me nuts.  The main characters know they only have so many bullets but the bad guys shoot holes in buildings and signs for fun.

5) Scarcity of goods

This is always covered but not in a specific way.  They always talk about how supermarkets will run empty in 3 days if the trucks can’t get there.  What I’m talking about is a couple weeks down the road.  Everything would be scarce.  You would have a harder and harder time finding things. If you were searching your local area you would have to search further and further to get the things that you needed.  Clothing is a big one in this category (and in the next too).  They rarely ever seem to look for new clothes unless it’s relevant to the story, but without washing machines and normal human hygiene – you would need new clothes pretty often.  Shoes as well – shoes do not last very long and would wear out quickly.

6) Things break

Wait, what? Products break?  Usually, the only product that’s covered in these books that break is cars (if they are running).  But things break – and the survivors would have to deal with the break (and hopefully not a fire or other issue from it breaking). In a world where everything is going to be used in new and unique ways – things are bound to break and probably break more often than the books talk about.

7) Gas goes bad/siphoning is almost impossible in new vehicles

I almost didn’t include this one because the split is about 50/50 to books that talk about “bad gas” or old gas – but gas goes bad.  I don’t know how long (I think it’s 6 months), but it does.  So, our survivors would only have less than 6 months to gather and treat this gas before it went bad.  But a lot of books just pretend that gas isn’t going to ever go bad.  The second part of this is that most books will bring up that new cars have anti-siphoning protection (I admit I know nothing about it, but I’m going to learn about it now).  It’s either not mentioned (if it’s not talked about it doesn’t exist) or it’s mentioned and “easily” beaten. 

Well, that’s all I can think of.  Are there any that I missed that bug you? Let me know in the comments, please? I’m sure that they bug me too, I just couldn’t think of them.

Bonus: the series that did not gloss over most of these was the Commune series by Joshua Gayou.

4 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Seven Things Missing From Post-Apocalyptic Books

  1. Interesting. Maybe most post-apocalyptic writers are more interested in getting to the juicier parts of the plot and don’t want to slow down the story with mundane details, though I would like to read a book that addresses these. Perhaps survivalist books address these issues more seriously. Something like ‘The Martian’ addresses the more gritty parts of survival. That and Life of Pi, come to mind first.

    1. Sure, I get that (and appreciate it). But there are so many little things you could cover and not just gloss over them.

  2. Apocalypse ever comes, I’m stocking up on diva cups. 12 of them would keep me for a whole year. Screw pads and tampons.

    The gas thing has always bugged me in post apocalyptic books.

    1. The irony is that was the product I had in my head when I was thinking about this topic. I couldn’t imagine trying to continuously find something that you throw away after a few hours. I would invest in something like that for a bugout bag without even blinking though.

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