Zone One by Colson WhiteheadRead about the other entries on the list.
Colson Whitehead is an author of literary fiction, and in Zone One he brings his considerable talents to bear on one of the most over-used science-fiction subgenres of the past few years—the zombie apocalypse. Zone One, though, is about more than zombies and survival, or gritty anti-heroes and gory headshots; it’s about New York City, family, lost lives and halted careers, it’s about unlikely survivors, and finding a balance between survival and civility in a society that is slowly coming back from the brink of extinction.
The book follows Mark Spitz, part of a three-person team sweeping a bullet-riddled and barricaded New York City for stragglers—zombies left behind after the marines performed their massive cull of the Manhattan hordes. But Zone One spends little time in the tense and dangerous present—instead giving precedence to carefully rendered memories of times past. Literary fiction often concerns itself with meditations on the mundane, or on misplaced nostalgia, but in Zone One these wistful remembrances are made important by their distance from the harrowing reality of the apocalypse. They’re also, perhaps, one of the few ways the survivors can maintain their humanity in times of horror, death, and decay.