The best books to read if you enjoy being scared of the future

Who am I?

I’ve worked in journalism, politics, and public policy for 30-plus years and watched as the extreme voices gained the most traction on either side of a debate. On social media, these minority views often dominate the discussion. 48 States is a stand-alone novel highlighting the problems of extremist viewpoints in a civil society. I also have another book series that features a political consultant who discovers she's a witch and joins a secret society that uses magic to manipulate elections to protect humanity. Bottom line: if I can’t fix political discourse for a living, I can write science fiction novels that contemplate how to do it.

I wrote...

48 States

By Evette Davis,

Book cover of 48 States

What is my book about?

Widow, single mother, and Army veteran Jennifer “River” Petersen works as a truck driver in Energy Territory No. 1, formerly known as North Dakota. Forced to enlist after her father’s death, the lines of River’s life have been redrawn. Living in a motel room with nothing but her books and a Glock handgun, River is weeks away from returning home when an injured man standing in the middle of the highway upends her plans. From the moment he encounters River, Finn Cunningham knows he must conceal his identity or be left for dead. His deception draws them into a megalomaniac's deadly conspiracy to ignite a civil war and overthrow the government. 48 States is a one-of-a-kind dystopian thriller about the dangers of extremism and the power of love and forgiveness.

The books I picked & why

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By José Saramago,

Book cover of Blindness

Why this book?

I remember reading this book so intently that I almost bumped into someone while I was walking down the street. One day, a sickness wafts across humanity rendering people blind wherever they are. It’s frightening to read about the characters as blindness overtakes them without warning; humans are reduced to grasping for help in the sudden darkness. And then of course there is the fact that blindness is a metaphor. A brilliant piece of literature.

The Passage

By Justin Cronin,

Book cover of The Passage

Why this book?

When COVID first arrived on the scene and the press was focused on the origins of the virus, I remembered The Passage. It opens with scientists conducting government research involving a virus derived from bats on humans, ostensibly to find a cure for cancer. Instead, they create a lethal virus that turns most of humanity into supercharged vampires who kill almost everyone on the planet reigning down terror for 100 years. I have to confess I did not read the entire trilogy, but the first book was captivating.

Resistant: A Novel

By Rachael Sparks,

Book cover of Resistant: A Novel

Why this book?

I came across this little gem of a novel through Libby, the app I use to borrow ebooks from the San Francisco Public Library. What I liked about the story's premise was the idea of bacteria evolving beyond what modern antibiotics can manage and how that could turn a simple paper cut into a deadly injury. 

The Giver

By Lois Lowry,

Book cover of The Giver

Why this book?

How often have we wished as humans to be free of pain, to be free of anger, or despair? But that is really not living, as the young protagonist of this novel comes to learn. A frequent favorite of those who like to ban books, The Giver deals with uncomfortable subjects connected to age, frailty, and death. The way the story unravels its layers to reveal a society that on its surface looks serene but is actually dystopian is brilliant.

Station Eleven

By Emily St. John Mandel,

Book cover of Station Eleven

Why this book?

Even before the pandemic, this novel was poetic and timely and elegantly portrayed humanity's desire to survive. Something about the traveling performers captivated me from the first moment, thinking about how art links us to generations past. Centuries of people sitting for the same Shakespeare play; and wouldn't the playwright love reading about his work being performed by a troupe of deadly actors—a drama being performed within another. It’s not surprising it was made into a television series; the scenes jump off the pages. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dystopia, human subject research, and time travel?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dystopia, human subject research, and time travel.

Dystopia Explore 233 books about dystopia
Human Subject Research Explore 19 books about human subject research
Time Travel Explore 154 books about time travel

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Plague, Invisible Cities, and Awakenings if you like this list.