The best science fiction books by autistic authors

Who am I?

I’m an autistic science fiction writer myself, and I’ve been reviewing autistic science fiction, fantasy, and horror books for over a decade on my “Autistic Book Party” blog. I’ve learned a huge amount in this time about authors like me and what we have to offer the book world. Autistic people are called unimaginative, but that description couldn’t be more wrong – many of us use our imaginations as a richly detailed escape and coping mechanism. There are many more of us out there today than anyone else realizes, from famous, award-winning names to obscure authors using their unique view of the world to create works of imagination, insight, and beauty.


I wrote...

Book cover of The Outside

What is my book about?

Humanity’s super-intelligent AI Gods brutally punish breaches in reality, as one young scientist discovers, in this intense and brilliant space opera.

Autistic scientist Yasira Shien has developed a radical new energy drive that could change the future of humanity. But when she activates it, reality warps, destroying the space station and everyone aboard. The AI Gods who rule the galaxy declare her work heretical, and Yasira is abducted by their agents. Instead of simply executing her, they offer mercy – if she’ll help them hunt down a bigger target: her own mysterious, vanished mentor. With her homeworld’s fate in the balance, Yasira must choose who to trust: the gods and their ruthless post-human angels, or the rebel scientist whose unorthodox mathematics could turn her world inside out.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of On the Edge of Gone

Ada Hoffmann Why did I love this book?

A comet is about to strike the Earth. Denise, an autistic teenager in the near-future Netherlands, struggles to secure a place for herself, her mother, and her sister on a generation ship bound to escape the coming devastation. Duyvis deconstructs myths about ableism, family relationships, survival dilemmas, and the value of human lives in this wrenching but compassionate and ultimately hopeful book.

By Corinne Duyvis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Edge of Gone 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?

A thrilling, thought-provoking novel from one of young-adult literature's boldest new talents.

January 29, 2035. That's the day the comet is scheduled to hit-the big one. Denise and her mother and sister, Iris, have been assigned to a temporary shelter outside their hometown of Amsterdam to wait out the blast, but Iris is nowhere to be found, and at the rate Denise's drug-addicted mother is going, they'll never reach the shelter in time. A last-minute meeting leads them to something better than a temporary shelter-a generation ship, scheduled to leave Earth behind to colonize new worlds after the comet hits.…


Book cover of Nophek Gloss

Ada Hoffmann Why did I love this book?

A boy named Caiden, raised a slave on a remote planet, escapes - only to find himself thrown into a battle for justice and freedom larger than he can comprehend. This sweeping, visceral space opera is full of vivid visuals, inventive technology, fantastical species, and harrowing challenges. Behind the scenes, it's also a very nuanced look at found family, trauma, and healing.

By Essa Hansen,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Nophek Gloss as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'AN EXCEPTIONAL DEBUT . . . READS LIKE A BECKY CHAMBERS NOVEL CROSSED WITH FIREFLY' Michael Mammay, author of Planetside

'A SUCKER PUNCH TO THE SENSES . . . A KILLER STORY WITH REAL HEART AND SOUL' Alastair Reynolds

In this dark, dangerous, roller coaster of a debut, a young man sets out on a single-minded quest for revenge across a breathtaking multiverse filled with aliens, mind-bending tech, and ships beyond his wildest imagining. Essa Hansen's is a bold new voice for the next generation of science fiction readers.

Caiden's planet is destroyed. His family gone. And, his only hope…


Book cover of Ninefox Gambit

Ada Hoffmann Why did I love this book?

Disgraced general Kel Cheris must work with the undead, unstable genius Shuos Jedao to defeat a fortress of calendrical heretics. Lee's fantastically inventive worldbuilding supports some of the most surreal, creative battle scenes anywhere in science fiction; the tension between Cheris and Jedao, not to mention between Cheris's loyalty to the galaxy-ruling hexarchate and its vicious, tyrannical means of maintaining control, propel this multi-award-nominated space opera forward quickly.

By Yoon Ha Lee,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ninefox Gambit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Best-Selling Author - Nominated for the 2019 Hugo Award for Best Series - Winner of the 2016 Locus Award - Nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke Awards

When Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for her unconventional tactics, Kel Command gives her a chance to redeem herself, by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles from the heretics. Cheris's career isn't the only thing at stake: if the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.

Cheris's best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that…


Book cover of The Deep

Ada Hoffmann Why did I love this book?

Mermaid-like creatures called wajinru, descendants of pregnant Africans thrown overboard from slave ships, choose one girl as a "historian" to carry the terrible weight of their traumatic past. But the burden of the historian's role is too much for one autistic wajinru to handle. This Nebula award-winning book goes to dark places, but emerges with a sense of community, healing, and hope.

By Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson , Jonathan Snipes

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Deep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE LAMBDA LITERARY LGBTQ SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY/HORROR AWARD

The water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society-and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future in this brilliantly imaginative novella inspired by the Hugo Award-nominated song "The Deep" from Daveed Diggs's rap group clipping.

Yetu holds the memories for her people-water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners-who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one-the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on…


Book cover of Failure to Communicate

Ada Hoffmann Why did I love this book?

Xandri Corelel, one of the few autistic people born in a eugenics-obsessed future, has spent her life learning to decode the ways neurotypicals communicate. Now she roams the galaxy using that skill as a professional interpreter of alien language. Xandri is hands down the most relatable protagonist I've ever encountered in fiction, and her adventures are exciting and uplifting.

By Kaia Sønderby,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As one of the only remaining autistics in the universe, Xandri Corelel has faced a lot of hardship, and she's earned her place as the head of Xeno-Liaisons aboard the first contact ship Carpathia. But her skill at negotiating with alien species is about to be put to the ultimate test.The Anmerilli, a notoriously reticent and xenophobic people, have invented a powerful weapon that will irrevocably change the face of space combat. Now the Starsystems Alliance has called in Xandri and the crew of the Carpathia to mediate. The Alliance won't risk the weapon falling into enemy hands, and if…


You might also like...

The Warlock's Curse

By C.B. Oresky,

Book cover of The Warlock's Curse

C.B. Oresky Author Of The Warlock's Curse

New book alert!

Who am I?

Since childhood, the library was a wondrous place filled with magical tales and epic stories about strange realms that I could take home…devour…and get lost in. I grew up dancing to enchanting classical music…as an adolescent I painted majestic unicorns…my best friends are my enchanting pets. I often retreat into the deep silent woods or walk along the crashing waves of the ocean to find solace in the magical beauty of nature. Now, as a writer I hope to bring the wonder I’ve found in this world into the strange places and unique characters I create. I hope you enjoy a few of my favorite fantasies: worlds that I truly fell in love with.

C.B.'s book list on fantasy filled with so much magic and wonder

What is my book about?

Clara and Angelica Grace have never met ghosts. They’ve never sailed on a tall ship, ridden wild unicorns, or fought with magical weapons. Instead, the teenage twins have a wretched existence, ignored by their troubled parents in a rundown home and tormented by the town’s snobs.

Everything turns topsy-turvy all of a sudden when the discovery of an ancestor’s hidden journal with an odd key to an unknown door leads them into an entirely different realm.

The girls go on a thrilling oceanic voyage to search for mysterious whales, train with a seasoned warrior, and are befriended by a wise Master. But all is not a bouquet of lovely lilies…they are hunted by a cunning warlock and must rid themselves of The Warlock’s Curse.

The Warlock's Curse

By C.B. Oresky,

What is this book about?

Clara and Angelica Grace have never met ghosts. They’ve never sailed on a tall ship, ridden wild unicorns, or fought with magical weapons. Instead, the teenage twins have a wretched existence, ignored by their troubled parents in a rundown home and tormented by the town’s snobs.

Everything turns topsy-turvy all of a sudden when discovery of an ancestor’s hidden journal with an odd key to an unknown door leads them into an entirely different realm.

The girls go on a thrilling oceanic voyage to search for mysterious whales, train with a seasoned warrior, and are befriended by a wise Master.…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in space warfare, autism, and Autism spectrum disorder?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about space warfare, autism, and Autism spectrum disorder.

Space Warfare Explore 42 books about space warfare
Autism Explore 62 books about autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder Explore 36 books about Autism spectrum disorder