10 Techno Thriller Books Like One Second After

Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Books

One Second After by William R. Forstchen takes place in the United States, North Carolina, and John is the main character. John is a widow. An EMP is a nuclear bomb detonated high in the Earth’s atmosphere. Your timing and everything so that you’re starting to see the hurdles and complications they must face in the book.

Before the EMP went off, John was a professor at some university. You find out that he has prior military experience, which propels and places him into a leadership role within the community. So with John being in his leadership position, you get to see how they maneuver through complex scenarios.

Books like One Second After offering a range of post-apocalyptic scenarios and explore themes of survival, love, loss, and the search for meaning in a world where everything has been destroyed. Each one is worth reading for its unique take on the genre and its ability to transport readers into a terrifying and deeply human world.

10 Books Like One Second After (Techno Thriller & Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi)

As a technothrillers lover, I read 5/7 books per month! So there are big lists of these category books in my notes. You are here because you also love Post-Apocalyptic science fiction and want to read more similarly. So here I will reveal my top 10 technothrillers books similar to One Second After, mainly war and virus-related, and cover America. So let’s start!

1. The Hunt for Red October

The mutiny on the Soviet frigate Shevell inspired Tom Clancy. The story heavily the Soviet frigate in the seventies, the store shiver, where there was a mutiny in which some Russian soldiers wanted to defect to the United States. They were going to use the frigate to do it.

That’s where Tom Clancy got his idea for this Hunt For Red October. It is about Marko Ramius, the Russian submarine captain who was put in charge of the newest technologically advanced nuclear submarine ballistic missile that the Soviets had. And they’re going to take it out on a test run.

In the first scene, Ramius steps onto the submarine with his crew and into his cabin. He breaks the guy’s neck because that guy is not on board with his plan. One guy on the sub is not on board with this plan, and he needs to get rid of that guy, so he breaks the guy’s name. Somehow the submarine takes off, and it goes rogue. Then the Americans get wind of it that there’s a Russian submarine that’s gone rogue, and it might be headed for America.

It’s full of nuclear weapons, and it’s underneath the ocean, and Americans can’t find it because it’s the most stealthily designed submarine in human history. But Russians have lost this submarine. It might be a fake or a ploy. So along comes Jack Ryan. He’s an analyst for the CIA and thinking to himself. He’s got to convince the entire government that this is what’s going on to stop a big nuclear war. You will find the leadership role similar to the After series.

Author: Tom Clancy
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Category: Technothrillers, War & Military Fiction, Military Thrillers
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

2. Alas, Babylon

This book is one of the first realistic, modern post-apocalyptic books on a small Florida community mercifully untouched in a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, published in 1959. It’s a snapshot of the world in the aftermath of World War Two, with the Cold War in full swing and the Soviets had launched the first satellite, Sputnik.

However, it’s surprisingly progressive for its time because all the characters played distinct roles in keeping their little community afloat. The opening is one of the most descriptive openings. Frank builds his characters so meticulously yet lovingly that you feel them and could be them. The way that Pat Frank writes is gorgeous. His pacing, voice, and tone form a modern literary masterpiece.

On October 6, 1961, John F. Kennedy gave a famous speech in which he urged Americans to build nuclear fallout shelters. Kennedy’s speech made the threat of nuclear attack and, therefore, atomic holocaust real for millions. Alas, Babylon is based on the idea that catastrophe could strike when the world could change irrevocably in a few seconds. The world-building and science elements are very similar to One Second After.

Author: Pat Frank
Average Rating: 4.6/5
Category: Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction, Classic Literature
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Library Binding | Kindle

3. Lucifer’s Hammer

What if a comet hits the planet? What if that comet, as it entered the Earth’s atmosphere, began to break into smaller comets, each as devastating as the next? Like One Second After, Lucifer’s Hammer is a scenario that is quite realistically portrayed.

Lucifer’s Hammer was written in 1977, so it portrayed very well what the 70s were like. In fact, a tornado was ever driven around town by people who thought it was a very cool car. It was a reflection of the era in which the book was written.

The comet is discovered by a multimillionaire guy who’s an amateur astronomer. He has the money to build his observatory on a mountain in California. As he realizes what he has discovered, he tells different friends and people in his social circles. For the reader, the comet doesn’t hit until about 25 to 30 percent of the way through the book. Until that point, it’s coming.

There is massive, unbelievable flooding and not flooding, but brand-new seas created where seas didn’t exist before. Oceans that have the island cover entirely thousands of miles of coastline. After all, there aren’t many survivors, and the author, Larry, an evidentiary perennial, portrayed a pretty realistic picture of what life would be like and how people would react.

Author: Larry Niven
Narrator: Marc Vietor
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Category: Adventure Science Fiction
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Mass Market Paperback

4. The Road

The Road was a perfect exercise in the obliteration of hope. When first released in 2006 by Cormac McCarthy, it was widely praised as a grim, dark fictional story of a time segment with a boy and his father that breaks. Traditional storytelling doesn’t have a normal arc regarding what happens, but it feels like you’re witnessing a time segment with this boy and his father. It’s incredibly nontraditional and stood out from other dystopian, miserable future novels similar to One Second After.

With the ending of this story, we’ve followed this boy and his father through some horrific, disturbing, monstrous experiences they have to go through living in this post-apocalyptic world. An exciting narrative choice is made here where we never thoroughly learn what caused this apocalypse. No wider theme of humanity causing its downfall or something like that would distract from the actual message happening here. The message is pinned home at the very end.

So the Road ends after following these two and experiencing the bond between them. This strange bond between father and son during the apocalypse, the father dies. He dies slowly, not in a climactic gun battle or anything that can even be remotely heroic.

The boy stays with his father’s dead body for three days until another man with a shotgun tells the boy he’s one of the good guys and to come with them. The boy eventually decides to leave his father, covering him in a blanket and moving on to this new family, where he briefly discusses God. There’s something of a fire talked about and some glimpses of hope possibly being given to the reader.

There are false glimpses of hope in this new family dynamic that are slightly different from the one he had with his father. None of them seem to have any real faith in this horrific setting. They still have to deal with monstrous people roaming around, exploring the worst parts of the human mind.

The basement scene, in particular, still sticks with me, so in this broader context, the boy will probably have the same experiences in the future. That’s where the title of the book comes in. The Road is the path this boy will continue down forever, living in a world of absolute terror and misery, losing people. He cares about the only glimpses of love he will find as the monsters rule this post-apocalyptic, desolate wasteland. At the beginning of the book, with the father in the Sun, a life of struggle will continue. It’s rare to frequently see an artist go all-in on an idea like this.

Author: Cormac McCarthy
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Science Fiction, Literary Fiction
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

5. Origin

In terms of the story, Dan Brown is the only thing that does connect. Even though he doesn’t develop between books, Robert Langdon is the main character, from book to book. Robert Langdon’s former student, Edmond Kirsch, makes a groundbreaking discovery about the Origin of humans.

Also, he answers the two questions Where do we come from, and where do we go? Where are we going as a species, life in general? He’s about to announce it, and then he gets murdered. That’s a typical Dan Brown opening.

However, this doesn’t happen right at the beginning of the book. Like One Second After, there’s a build-up towards this more like a quarter of the way through the book. In this situation, he wants to do his former student justice by finding out what the announcement was and revealing it to the world. So on that note, he finds out that there’s a backup copy of this big announcement that his former student wanted to make.

He needs to find a password that is forty-seven characters long, so there’s not much in terms of puzzle-solving. There’s a bit of history, but it’s more on the fly. He has to use his knowledge of symbology a bit, but it’s not as prevalent as in the other books. Also, the focus isn’t solely on Robert Langdon. There are multiple parties involved.

Multiple things are happening at once. There’s the Spanish monarchy involved. So much as Origin is more of a murder mystery and more of Robert Langdon and some other characters trying to do justice for the man killed, find his discovery, and reveal it to the world.

Author: Dan Brown
Average Rating: 4.4/5
Category: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Technothrillers
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

6. Station Eleven

The message of the end of the world in this book is about a virus that spreads pretty quickly. So Station Eleven starts during a performance of King Lear, where the leading actor dies on stage, and someone from the audience jumps up and tries to give him CPR. But he dies. Then, at the end of the chapter, it says this will be the last regular day on Earth. From there, it jumps to 20 years.

Only one percent of humanity has survived 20 years in the future. People travel around or live in small settlements following the symphony. They travel around, perform Shakespeare plays, and play music. Many flashbacks and characters are related to each other differently.

So obviously, this book has some of my dream combinations: A deadly virus at the end of the world and Shakespeare cults. One of the things I loved was when one of the characters had to lock himself in a flat with someone else. He discovers the virus is going around in this apartment building while outside, and the world is slowly dying. You’re safe if you can stay hidden until the virus is gone.

So seeing him look outside and slowly see the world die down, not knowing when he opens the door. If anyone is alive, it’s in different variations with different characters. Then there’s a significant bit where a group of people lives in an airport.

You think the leading actor that dies initially will be the end. But no, you get to learn lots and lots about a story, and many of the things are tied up very neatly in the end, which is good.

Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Average Rating: 4.3/5
Category: Literature & Fiction, Dystopian Science Fiction
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

7. On The Beach

After a brief nuclear war in the northern hemisphere, a deadly radiation cloud spreads worldwide. An American submarine captain is among the survivors in Australia, preparing with the locals for the inevitable. Then a faint Morse code signal is detected coming from somewhere near Seattle. It is quite a disturbing story, and it’s powerfully written. This was published in 1957, set in 1963, after a nuclear war.

So the Cold War produced some fantastic science fiction. It was an exciting time for writing, but modern science fiction doesn’t have that threat of instant nuclear armageddon hanging over it as this science fiction does. Like Forstchen’s One Second After, many similar plots and situations are the real war scene.

Everyone in this book is aware of what will happen and when. Yet, nothing changes. People carry on with their day-to-day lives. People plan for the future, plan out gardens for a few years, tend livestock on farms, and go through courses. Yet, they all do it knowing they will die in three months.

People are falling out of pubs and clubs drunk, falling asleep on the street, and wine cellars are systematically emptied of costly wines. Slowly towards the end, people start abandoning their life. The characters are all well-created with a range of responses.

They all know what will happen to them, but they react differently. There’s an outright denial with slow, grudging acceptance. American submarine captain asserts that he knows his family could not have survived, yet he still buys presents in Australia. So the last chapter of On the Beach was chilling.

Author: Nevil Shute
Average Rating: 4.3/5
Category: Dystopian & Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction, Classic Literature
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle

8. The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand is a post-apocalyptic novel originally published in 1978 and considered one of King’s greatest works. Like One Second After, the book tells the story of a deadly virus that wipes out most of the world’s population, leaving only a handful of survivors behind. The story is divided into three parts, and it follows the journeys of several characters. They try to struggle in a world without order or civilization.

The survivors are divided into two factions: those who follow Mother Abagail and those who follow Flagg. The book raises questions about the nature of good and evil and the role of faith and spirituality in the face of disaster. It has inspired numerous adaptations, including a successful TV series.

9. The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

This novel is set in a world where a flu pandemic has wiped out most of humanity. The protagonist, Hig, is a pilot who lives with his dog in a small airport in Colorado. The Dog Stars explores loneliness, grief, and the search for meaning in a world where everything has been destroyed. The prose is lyrical and evocative, and the relationship between Hig and his dog is particularly poignant.

10. The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

This mystery novel is set in a world where a massive asteroid is about to collide with the Earth, causing an extinction-level event. The protagonist, Detective Hank Palace, is one of the few people still trying to maintain order in the face of the impending disaster.

The Last Policeman is the first book in a trilogy and has won multiple awards, including the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original. This series has a similar scenario in the After series or One Second After book.

Last Words

If you enjoyed One Second After, you’d enjoy these books, also. They are driven by characters who are pushed to their limits, and the stakes are high as they struggle to survive in a world turned upside down.

Post-apocalyptic books explore how people react to extreme circumstances and form new societies after a disaster. These books can provide insight into what makes us human and what drives us to survive. They can challenge readers to think about their values and beliefs and what they would do in a similar situation.

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Pauline Jackson

I like to talk about popular books. My book review inspires you to read and save time. Also, I summarize the book and give you the best lessons or ideas that can change your life. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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