The best books about mad scientists

Christopher Rankin Author Of Ann Marie's Asylum (Master and Apprentice Book 1)
By Christopher Rankin

The Books I Picked & Why

Oryx and Crake

By Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake

Why this book?

One of the darkest portrayals of what can happen when science is divorced from all ethics, Margaret Atwood’s 2003 novel, Oryx and Crake shows just how much damage once mad scientist can do. Crake is a genius by every measure, excelling in math, science, and engineering but he has a troubled soul.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control

By Stephen Kinzer

Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control

Why this book?

The historical accounts of the rise and reign of chemist Sidney Gottlieb seem like deep YouTube conspiracy theory. How could a trusted government official, a scientist, be drugging unwitting subjects, civilians, even his own coworkers? This is one of the most bizarre and important tales from American cold war history.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Altered States: A Novel

By Paddy Chayefsky

Altered States: A Novel

Why this book?

This story of a scientist becoming obsessed with the psychedelic world was part of the inspiration for writing Ann Marie’s Asylum. The sensory deprivation tank, the electrodes to the head, and the hallucinogenic potion made from exotic jungle plants were bits that just had to make it into one of my books. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Boys from Brazil: A Novel

By Ira Levin

The Boys from Brazil: A Novel

Why this book?

Doctor Josef Mengele, the worst of the mad scientists, is in hiding after the war but planning a comeback, heading a secret project to genetically reincarnate Hitler. The most frightening part about his plan to bring back the Nazi Fuhrer is the degree of scientific rigor in the biology and psychology underlying the design.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography

By John C. Lilly

The Scientist: A Metaphysical Autobiography

Why this book?

John Lilly, a Caltech and University of Pennsylvania trained doctor who also probed the murkiest waters of the psychedelic experience, was the inspiration for Dade Harkenrider in my book, Ann Marie’s Asylum. Lilly was a genius, who crossed over the edge more than once.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Random Book Lists