The best science fiction books explore how technological advances come with a double-edged sword

James Bailey Blackshear Author Of The Last Day Before Forever
By James Bailey Blackshear

Who am I?

I have been hooked on fantastic tales since I picked up my first Marvel Comic book. I was in on the beginning of The Fantastic Four, Spiderman, and the Hulk. Gamma rays and human angst are a powerful combination, even for an eight-year-old. From there I gobbled up the Doc Savage series before moving on to more popular books like The Exorcist and The Godfather. I have been writing since I was ten. My first publication came decades later. Non-fiction works on the history of the Southwest. Yet recently I returned my to roots, rediscovering Bradbury, Dick, and Herbert. That is when the eight-year-old boy woke up and wrote The Last Day Before Forever. 

I wrote...

The Last Day Before Forever

By James Bailey Blackshear,

Book cover of The Last Day Before Forever

What is my book about?

Archodial Bragen is in trouble with the truth. A truth related to bones found in a cave on Apollis. This Synthon’s discovery puts his life in danger, for it has been designated an “unthought.” With the help of an old mentor, Bragen travels back and forth through time, moving from his own dystopian otherworld to a place where children are more than fables and the past is never over.

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

The books I picked & why


By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,

Book cover of Frankenstein

Why did I love this book?

I get it. This topic is low-hanging fruit, yet classic science fiction is always worth revisiting, particularly when it is the first of the genre. And the first was written by a woman.

It was 1818 when Mary Shelley explored what can happen when a laboratory experiment goes wrong. In this case, an experiment that eliminates the need for human propagation. Taking such an experiment to its logical conclusion eliminates the need for women. Or men for that matter. The prose holds up surprisingly well.

I recommend it because it illustrates why science fiction is as much an art form as anything Rembrandt produced. And perhaps more impactful. A literary masterpiece, Frankenstein considers a future where technology succeeds, but humanity fails.

By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World'

'That rare story to pass from literature into myth' The New York Times

Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley on Lake Geneva. The story of Victor Frankenstein who, obsessed with creating life itself, plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, but whose botched creature sets out to destroy his maker, would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity. Based on the third…

Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury,

Book cover of Fahrenheit 451

Why did I love this book?

In the dystopian future that Bradbury creates, technology has eliminated the need for books.

We are not smarter in this future without history or literature, in fact, we are dumber, relying on meaningless entertainment to fill the intellectual void created by the written word’s eradication. Many successful science fiction authors are masters of the craft of writing, but Bradbury is on another level.

His stark vision of the future is propelled by ordinary characters living in extraordinary times, with each setting painted with beautiful prose that is both prophetic and thought provoking. The Dewey Decimal System has no hold on where one can find literature in a bookstore, nor do the critics.

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Fahrenheit 451 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The hauntingly prophetic classic novel set in a not-too-distant future where books are burned by a special task force of firemen.

Over 1 million copies sold in the UK.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic…


By George Orwell,

Book cover of 1984

Why did I love this book?

I do not recommend 1984 because it is one of the most powerful books ever written. Readers know that. I love this book for its artful prescience.

While Yevgeny Zamyatin’s Me normally gets credit for being the first dystopian novel, Orwell perfected the genre. The novel becomes more important with each passing decade. Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth altering documents for the government.

Catchphrases like “doublethink” and “thought police,” coupled with the pervasive use of surveillance technology highlight why science fiction shines a light on a future our “betters” had just as soon we not see and does so in a spare, literary style that is both eloquent and to the point. 

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

37 authors picked 1984 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


1984 is the year in which it happens. The world is divided into three superstates. In Oceania, the Party's power is absolute. Every action, word, gesture and thought is monitored under the watchful eye of Big Brother and the Thought Police. In the Ministry of Truth, the Party's department for propaganda, Winston Smith's job is to edit the past. Over time, the impulse to escape the machine and live independently takes hold of him and he embarks on a secret and forbidden love affair. As he writes the words 'DOWN WITH BIG…

Brave New World

By Aldous Huxley,

Book cover of Brave New World

Why did I love this book?

Reading the first pages of Brave New World is like falling down an elevator shaft. Once you begin, you cannot stop.

The people readers meet in Brave New World are, so to speak, content, fat, and happy. Enter John, someone who grew up outside the dystopian utopia and is not happy. Instead, he is disturbed by the swarm of narcissists that surrounds him. He feels loss. Loss of nature. Loss of simple kindness.

Like all the movie adaptions of this great work, he sees prolific vacuousness. Huxley uses John to illuminate the dark places of a future that uses technological advances to shape a culture that has extracted everything that is human from the souls of those who invite him into their world.     

By Aldous Huxley,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Brave New World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**One of the BBC's 100 Novels That Shaped Our World**

EVERYONE BELONGS TO EVERYONE ELSE. Read the dystopian classic that inspired the hit Sky TV series.

'A masterpiece of speculation... As vibrant, fresh, and somehow shocking as it was when I first read it' Margaret Atwood, bestselling author of The Handmaid's Tale.

Welcome to New London. Everybody is happy here. Our perfect society achieved peace and stability through the prohibition of monogamy, privacy, money, family and history itself. Now everyone belongs.

You can be happy too. All you need to do is take your Soma pills.

Discover the brave new…

That Hideous Strength

By C. S. Lewis,

Book cover of That Hideous Strength

Why did I love this book?

The third book of the Space Trilogy combines lore of medieval England, Merlin the magician, myth, academic snobbery, the status of marriage, God, and scientists determining what the rules are for the rest of society.

This science fiction tale compares to the best of Jules Verne, with a little bit of Mary Shelley and Ray Bradbury thrown in for good measure. Lewis’s imagination and literary talent are on full display in this swipe at elitism, technocracy, and ambition, all of which points toward the elimination of biological life and the artificial horror that will replace it.

Many may be surprised that this Christian apologist wrote several science fiction books. For those who love this genre, I highly recommend giving this one a try.

By C. S. Lewis,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked That Hideous Strength as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Just as readers have been transfixed by the stories, characters, and deeper meanings of Lewis's timeless tales in The Chronicles of Narnia, most find this same allure in his classic Space Trilogy. In these fantasy stories for adults, we encounter, once again, magical creatures, a world of wonders, epic battles, and revelations of transcendent truths.

That Hideous Strength is the third novel in Lewis's science fiction trilogy. Set on Earth, it tells of a terrifying conspiracy against humanity. The story surrounds Mark and Jane Studdock, a newly married couple. Mark is a sociologist who is enticed to join an organization…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in totalitarianism, good and evil, and monsters?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about totalitarianism, good and evil, and monsters.

Totalitarianism Explore 46 books about totalitarianism
Good And Evil Explore 119 books about good and evil
Monsters Explore 139 books about monsters