10 books like 1984

By George Orwell,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like 1984. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

Dune

By Frank Herbert,

Book cover of Dune

I fell in love with Dune because of the worms. Never before had I read a science fiction/fantasy novel in which the world was as deeply thought out and as much a part of the story as the humans themselves. I wanted to know how Arrakis and its worms came about as much as I wanted to know what would happen to the characters. 

That package of people and place fired my imagination, and each time I re-read the story [8 times and counting], I discover something more. To me, that is the hallmark of a truly great book.

Dune

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender's Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person's lifespan to making interstellar travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world of Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of…


World War Z

By Max Brooks,

Book cover of World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

I’m always drawn to unique formats, which is exactly what World War Z is. The narrative is told through a series of fictitious interviews, detailing a zombie apocalypse and its aftermath. In this book, the zombies are secondary. The real draw is how individuals act when society starts to crumble. The book talks about everything from the military to consumerism and how the end of the world affects them all.

World War Z

By Max Brooks,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked World War Z as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginning of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse.

Faced with a future of mindless man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality. Based on extensive interviews with survivors and key players in the ten-year fight against the horde, World War Z brings the finest traditions of journalism to bear on what is…


Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury,

Book cover of Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 is the best dystopian novel of the 1950s in which firemen work as enforcers burning books rather than putting out fires because a societal mob claims that the world’s unhappiness and discord are the result of ideas expressed in books. A woke mob that prefers to watch tv rather than read books has determined what is wrong with each book. Blacks are offended by Little Black Sambo so it must be burned. Whites are offended by Uncle Tom’s Cabin so it must be burned. Cigarette companies burn books that portray cigarette smoking as dangerous. There’s bound to be something offensive in every book, so every book is burned. A fireman named Guy Montag decides to fight back. Bradbury’s imaginative work is still fresh today.

Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

10 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…


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

By Philip K. Dick,

Book cover of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

I prefer stories that are about life rather than about things that happen in life. PKD’s books are exactly that. Hollywood omitted the humour, spirituality, and craziness in their adaptations of his work and often inverted his meaning entirely; the books are so much better and far more radical. If you want literature that expands the mind try a PKD book, or at least an exact replica of one.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the eagerly-anticipated new film Blade Runner 2049 finally comes to the screen, rediscover the world of Blade Runner . . .

World War Terminus had left the Earth devastated. Through its ruins, bounty hunter Rick Deckard stalked, in search of the renegade replicants who were his prey. When he wasn't 'retiring' them with his laser weapon, he dreamed of owning a live animal - the ultimate status symbol in a world all but bereft of animal life.

Then Rick got his chance: the assignment to kill six Nexus-6 targets, for a huge reward. But in Deckard's world things were…


A Clockwork Orange

By Anthony Burgess,

Book cover of A Clockwork Orange

This is a book that had an air of danger about it when I was at school. Perhaps mostly because the excellent Kubrick adaptation had been banned (although, as I later discovered, it was ‘banned’ by the director himself because of copycat morons and threats towards his family.) The book contains an invented language. Invented words have been used by authors before, of course, from James Joyce to Lewis Carroll, and many sci-fi authors. Here, it is not only fun and poetic, but also builds a prison of alienation around the protagonists. 

A Clockwork Orange

By Anthony Burgess,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked A Clockwork Orange as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Anthony Burgess's influential nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, a teen who talks in a fantastically inventive slang that evocatively renders his and his friends' intense reaction against their society. Dazzling and transgressive, A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil and the meaning of human freedom. This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition, and Burgess's introduction, "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."


Good Omens

By Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman,

Book cover of Good Omens

Good Omens is laugh-out-loud funny from cover to cover. It is absurdist humor at its finest. It’s so endearing, in fact, that it completely changed my writing style, and hence my career. While I will continue my series, so deeply inspired and tickled was I by this apocalyptic comedy that I’ve gone a bit Patrick Rothfuss on you and have written two absurdist fantasy comedies of my own (publish very, very pending) in the interim. This tale of the war between heaven and hell will make you smile from the moment you open it until the moment you close it. 

Good Omens

By Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Good Omens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE BOOK BEHIND THE AMAZON PRIME/BBC SERIES STARRING DAVID TENNANT, MICHAEL SHEEN, JON HAMM AND BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH

'Ridiculously inventive and gloriously funny' Guardian

What if, for once, the predictions are right, and the Apocalypse really is due to arrive next Saturday, just after tea?

It's a predicament that Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon, now find themselves in. They've been living amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and, truth be told, have grown rather fond of the lifestyle and, in all honesty, are not actually looking forward to the coming Apocalypse.

And then there's the small…


Slaughterhouse-Five

By Kurt Vonnegut,

Book cover of Slaughterhouse-Five

I can’t think of another book that bends and blends competing realities as well as Slaughterhouse-5. Vonnegut shows us the mundanity of a 9 to 5 optometrist, the horrors of war (in this case, the fire-bombing of Dresden), time-traveling sci-fi, and mental breakdown – each of these realities plays off the others until I can’t be sure where one ends and the next begins. It’s a high-wire act, in that respect, one that could easily fall flat. I think Vonnegut makes it work, not only because of his skill but also because, after trying for ages to write a book about his experiences in WW2, he found a story and structure that lets him capture all the madness and horror (and bleak, deadpan, absurdist humour) of everything he saw.

Slaughterhouse-Five

By Kurt Vonnegut,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Slaughterhouse-Five as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood,

Book cover of The Handmaid's Tale

If you ever need an illustration of why you should always fight for equality and fairness amongst all people in the real world, this is it. What I loved most about this book is how unapologetic it was at depicting the consequences of allowing inequality to rule over nations. This story single-handedly taught me how to keep fighting, both for others and for myself in life. I took the stoicism of these characters and incorporated them within myself. It is a strength that I will always thank this author for.

The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Handmaid's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

** THE SUNDAY TIMES NO. 1 BESTSELLER **
**A BBC BETWEEN COVERS BIG JUBILEE READ**

Go back to where it all began with the dystopian novel behind the award-winning TV series.

'As relevant today as it was when Atwood wrote it' Guardian

I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.

Offred is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed in the household of The Commander, Fred Waterford -…


Stories of Your Life and Others

By Ted Chiang,

Book cover of Stories of Your Life and Others

After reading “Story of Your Life” in The Year’s Best Science Fiction in 1999, I sat in my chair for a while, in wonder and tears, trying to take it all in. Many people know the basic plot, since it was filmed as The Arrival, but as good as the movie is, it can't come close to the novella. Chiang deftly tells the story in a way that reflects how the protagonist learns the language of the aliens—and how it changes her and the way she thinks, quite literally. It is probably the single best story I know for the way the narrative strategy reflects and supports the subject matter. 

Stories of Your Life and Others

By Ted Chiang,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Stories of Your Life and Others as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A science fiction genius . . . Ted Chiang is a superstar.' - Guardian

With Stories of Your Life and Others, his masterful first collection, multiple-award-winning author Ted Chiang deftly blends human emotion and scientific rationalism in eight remarkably diverse stories, all told in his trademark precise and evocative prose.

From a soaring Babylonian tower that connects a flat Earth with the firmament above, to a world where angelic visitations are a wondrous and terrifying part of everyday life; from a neural modification that eliminates the appeal of physical beauty, to an alien language that challenges our very perception of…


Death from the Skies!

By Philip Plait,

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

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.

Death from the Skies!

By Philip Plait,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death from the Skies! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in totalitarianism, dystopia, and George Orwell?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about totalitarianism, dystopia, and George Orwell.

Totalitarianism Explore 40 books about totalitarianism
Dystopia Explore 241 books about dystopia
George Orwell Explore 14 books about George Orwell