The best books on the future of the human race

The Books I Picked & Why

Stories of Your Life and Others

By Ted Chiang

Stories of Your Life and Others

Why this book?

This book of short stories gave me the inspiration to finish writing Soulwaves, a novel I first drafted 15 years and 15 other books ago. The film Arrival is based on the short story in the title. I love his writing as it’s similar to mine. He takes technology and turns it on its head and he loves playing with time, as I do. The alien encounter in the book and film is like no other. No ray guns or planetary takeover, just communication and a deep message for mankind.


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Death from the Skies!: The Science Behind the End of the World

By Philip Plait

Death from the Skies!: The Science Behind the End of the World

Why this book?

This is not a fiction book per se but each chapter sets out a possible future, in a story-like form, of how life as we know it might be terminated on Earth. We know for a fact that mass extinctions have happened before but this time, we may well have the smarts to do something about it. This book inspires us to look up not down and marvel at the cosmos that made us but that also might unmake us. It is a clarion call for us to become planetary caretakers, rather than planetary abusers.


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1984

By George Orwell

1984

Why this book?

So we’ve just experienced a global pandemic where it is likely the exact truth has not been revealed about what started it. Media and governments are mistrusted in equal measure. When a politician speaks these days, often we feel they are from the Ministry of Truth. In the Western world, for the most part, we can challenge the powers that be and the status quo. Sadly, a large number of people live under the shadow of authoritarian regimes where what they say might lead them to be incarcerated in Room 101. Orwell’s novel and Winston’s Smith fate are enduring and as relevant now as when the book was written in 1949.


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Brave New World

By Aldous Huxley

Brave New World

Why this book?

Just like Orwell, Huxley was a visionary who was ahead of his time. This dystopian tale is precautionary and a warning of what could happen to society if we lose our way and our rhyme and reason. Again much of the technology that he writes about in the book has become a reality. We are capable of creating and manipulating the creation of life at a genetic level these days. The hope, as always, is that this ability is used for the right reasons.


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Cosmic Memory: The Story of Atlantis, Lemuria, and the Division of the Sexes

By Rudolph Steiner

Cosmic Memory: The Story of Atlantis, Lemuria, and the Division of the Sexes

Why this book?

This might sound like a weird choice as it really is an alternate view of human history and evolution. At the very end of the book, Steiner gives some pointers about where we might be heading and how we could evolve. When I read this, I felt intuitively that it gave a truer picture of how we may have got here than one held as gospel by materialistic science. Again, Steiner was a visionary and a meta-scientist. If you do read it, be mindful not to take some of the language literally. When he writes about the Saturn Phase, think accretion disc for example.


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