The best mind-bending dystopian science fiction

Who am I?

Realms of the imagination have always called to me. My father had shelves of Astounding Science Fiction and Galaxy magazines. The covers alone were enough to streak me to far-off worlds, aliens, and spaceships. Here, I discovered Robert E. Howard, creator of sword and sorcery. A walk in the woods was a quest to find pixies in a magic kingdom. And a much-loved babysitter read every Oz book to me, easing me to sleep. With all this to get lost in, it’s a wonder I earned a PhD in psychology. Or not. The mind is a limitless universe. Who knows what we might discover in our dreams?


I wrote...

Shadow House

By A. R. Silverberry,

Book cover of Shadow House

What is my book about?

Elimination. The sentence of New Earth's Supreme Council rings in Johari's ears. Innocence won't spare him, but the House might. With no options left, Johari enters, only to find the guy who set him up cozy with the girl he loves. As if that isn't enough, something is stalking them. 

Shrouded in mystery, the House is a rite few return from. Running for his life, and questioning his heart, Johari is about to learn why.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Hunger Games

A. R. Silverberry Why did I love this book?

This is the book that inspired me to write a dystopian novel. It’s highly original, gripping, and filled with heart. What could be more dystopian than young people fighting each other to the death on live TV? Author Suzanne Collins provides the right balance between the action and the love story. Both culminate powerfully in the final book. Katniss Everdeen’s spirit and compassion are unforgettable.

By Suzanne Collins,

Why should I read it?

41 authors picked The Hunger Games as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before - and survival, for her, is second nature. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever...


Book cover of Elsewhere

A. R. Silverberry Why did I love this book?

Dean Koontz has influenced my writing more than any other author. For decades, his books have been at the top of my reading list. Year after year, he consistently writes top-tier, inventive page-turners. His villains are evil. His heroes and heroines are likable and easy to relate to. He gets that one can’t traverse a frightening world without humor, and by analogy, neither can we. Elsewhere is one of his best in a long time. Equal parts bone-chilling, creepy, nerve-racking, and sinister, balanced by love, compassion, loyalty, and second chances, it doesn’t get better than this. 

By Dean Koontz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Elsewhere as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fate of the world is in the hands of a father and daughter in an epic novel of wonder and terror by Dean Koontz, the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense.

Since his wife, Michelle, left seven years ago, Jeffy Coltrane has worked to maintain a normal life for himself and his eleven-year-old daughter, Amity, in Suavidad Beach. It’s a quiet life, until a local eccentric known as Spooky Ed shows up on their doorstep.

Ed entrusts Jeffy with hiding a strange and dangerous object—something he calls “the key to everything”—and tells Jeffy that he must never…


Book cover of The Maze Runner

A. R. Silverberry Why did I love this book?

I love books that combine mystery, science fiction, high stakes, adventure, and sizzling plots. The Maze Runner does it all. From the opening pages, I wanted to know how Thomas got there, and why? Why was his memory wiped? What’s the purpose of the maze? Who’s behind it all? And most important, is there a way out? Well worth the read.

By James Dashner,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Maze Runner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The first book in the New York Times bestselling Maze
Runner series - now a series of major movies starring Dylan O'Brien!

SEE THE FILMS. READ THE BOOKS. ENTER THE MAZE ...

When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers
is his first name. But he's not alone.

He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade - a
walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone
maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they came to
be there - or what's happened to the world outside.

All…


Book cover of 11/22/63

A. R. Silverberry Why did I love this book?

King’s work has had a tremendous impact on me—showing me how to be fearless as a writer. 11/22/63 is my favorite of his books and a masterpiece of speculative fiction. Take the premise: stopping JFK’s assassination. Talk about a hook! It doesn’t stop there. He whips you hither and yon as you journey through the past, reliving the America of a bygone era, as you race to the date. A time portal, a love story, Lee Harvey Oswald, and a cast of unforgettable characters collide in this mind-bender.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked 11/22/63 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major TV series from JJ Abrams and Stephen King, starring James Franco (Hulu US, Fox UK and Europe, Stan Australia, SKY New Zealand).

WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11.22.63, the date that Kennedy was shot - unless . . .

King takes his protagonist Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, 2011, on a fascinating journey back to 1958 - from a world of mobile phones and iPods to a new world of…


Book cover of Ficciones

A. R. Silverberry Why did I love this book?

I read these short stories when I was twelve, reread them countless times as an adult, and was forever changed. Entering these pages is like journeying through the looking glass, only to enter a labyrinth of mystery, secrets, and chance. It may seem like an outlier from the books above. Yet Borges was a pioneer in speculative fiction and one of a kind. One of the stories has been called the greatest ever written. Just saying.

By Jorge Luis Borges, Anthony Bonner (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ficciones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The seventeen pieces in Ficciones demonstrate the gargantuan powers of imagination, intelligence, and style of one of the greatest writers of this or any other century.

Borges sends us on a journey into a compelling, bizarre, and profoundly resonant realm; we enter the fearful sphere of Pascal's abyss, the surreal and literal labyrinth of books, and the iconography of eternal return. More playful and approachable than the fictions themselves are Borges's Prologues, brief elucidations that offer the uninitiated a passageway into the whirlwind of Borges's genius and mirror the precision and potency of his intellect and inventiveness, his piercing irony,…


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Shahrazad's Gift

By Gretchen McCullough,

Book cover of Shahrazad's Gift

Gretchen McCullough Author Of Confessions of a Knight Errant: Drifters, Thieves, and Ali Baba's Treasure

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Traveler Lover of the quirky Cairene Texan

Gretchen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Shahrazad’s Gift is a collection of linked short stories set in contemporary Cairo — magical, absurd, and humorous.

The author focuses on the off-beat, little-known stories, far from CNN news: a Swedish belly dancer who taps into the Oriental fantasies of her clientele; a Japanese woman studying Arabic, driven mad by the noise and chaos of the city; a frustrated Egyptian housewife who becomes obsessed by the activities of her Western gay neighbor; an American journalist who covered the civil war in Beirut who finds friendship with her Egyptian dentist. We also meet the two protagonists of McCullough's Confessions of a Knight Errant, before their escapades in that story.

These stories are told in the tradition of A Thousand and One Nights.

Shahrazad's Gift

By Gretchen McCullough,

What is this book about?

Shahrazad's Gift is a collection of linked short stories set in contemporary Cairo-magical, absurd and humorous. The author focuses on the off-beat, little-known stories, far from CNN news: a Swedish belly dancer who taps into the Oriental fantasies of her clientele; a Japanese woman studying Arabic, driven mad by the noise and chaos of the city; a frustrated Egyptian housewife who becomes obsessed by the activities of her Western gay neighbor; an American journalist who covered the civil war in Beirut who finds friendship with her Egyptian dentist. We also meet the two protagonists of McCullough's Confessions of a Knight…


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Interested in dystopian, survival, and amnesia?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dystopian, survival, and amnesia.

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