Books about Climate Change

A selection of the best novels set in worlds dramatically altered by environmental change.

From J. G. Ballard's 1962 classic The Drowned World to Megan Hunter's haunting debut The End We Start From, here's a list of our favourite novels set in worlds dramatically altered by environmental change. 

The Road

Book cover for The Road

A father and his young son walk alone through burned America, heading slowly for the coast. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. They have nothing but a pistol to defend themselves against the men who stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food - and each other. Cormac McCarthy won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for The Road in 2006.

The Drowned World

by J. G. Ballard

Book cover for The Drowned World

Fluctuations in solar radiation that have melted the ice caps and London in 2145 is a tropical swamp filled with lush tropical vegetation and primaeval reptiles. This classic novel confirmed J. G. Ballard as one of Britain's great science fiction writers when it was published in 1962.

The Year Of The Flood

by Margaret Atwood

Book cover for The Year Of The Flood

The waterless flood - a manmade plague - has ended the world, and destroyed everything. Two young women have survived: Ren, a young dancer trapped where she worked, in an upmarket sex club (the cleanest dirty girls in town); and Toby, who watches and waits from her rooftop garden. Is anyone else out there, and what will become of the human race? The Year of the Flood is the final book in Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy.

The End We Start From

by Megan Hunter

Book cover for The End We Start From

In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. Megan Hunter's debut novel is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting: a familiar world made dangerous and unstable, its people forced to become refugees.


by Julie Bertegna

Book cover for Exodus

Exodus is a startling vision of a dystopian future ravaged by global warming. It is 2099 - and the world is gradually drowning, as mighty Arctic ice floes melt, the seas rise and land disappears forever beneath the waves. Packed into tiny boats, fifteen year old Mara and her community begin a terrifying journey to a bizarre city that rises into the sky, built on the drowned remains of the ancient city of Glasgow. To save her people, Mara must not only find a way into the city, but also search for a new land and a new home . . .


by Ian McEwan

Book cover for Solar

This 2010 novel by Ian McEwan follows Micheal Beard — a Nobel-winning physicist whose dysfunctional personal life and cynical ambition see him pursuing a solar-energy based solution for climate change. Ranging from the Arctic Circle to the deserts of New Mexico, Solar is darkly satirical and highlights the impact of climate change.

The Bone Clocks

by David Mitchell

Book cover for The Bone Clocks

David Mitchell's Booker-shortlisted sixth novel presents a post-climate change world which is both terrifying and believable. The Bone Clocks follows the life of Holly Sykes as the consequences of a decision she made as a teenager unfold and draw her into a world far beyond her imagining. As life in the near future turns perilous due to the effects of climate change, the pledge she made to a stranger years ago becomes the key to her and her family's survival.