82 books like A Song for Lya

By George R. R. Martin,

Here are 82 books that A Song for Lya fans have personally recommended if you like A Song for Lya. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Fire Upon the Deep

Marc B. DeGeorge Author Of A Call to the Sky

From my list on sci-fi about unorthodox families and friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my day job, I’m immersed either with technical equipment or managing people and I enjoy the duality of both challenges. It’s difficult to say which I like best, but because part of my job is people focused, I’ve enjoyed learning to understand the social and interpersonal dynamics between coworkers and clients alike. So books with strong character relationships and stories that are driven by their wants and desires, however right or wrong they may be, are a favorite of mine. The science fiction aspect comes with my love for technology, mainly in music and film and I find many parallels between those arts and writing books. 

Marc's book list on sci-fi about unorthodox families and friendships

Marc B. DeGeorge Why did Marc love this book?

My sister and I were only close because we’re only two years apart. But recently we’ve had some tragedy in our family, and that brought us closer.

While I was making this list of books, I was reminded of this story and how much I enjoyed it, not just for the prose, which I take notice of and will drop a book if it’s bad, but for that reminder of the brother and sister story here. Not to mention the rescue crew of odd characters which reflects a belief of mine: truth is universal.

Any human or alien can understand compassion and suffering and choose the better of the two.

By Vernor Vinge,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Fire Upon the Deep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fleeing a menace of galactic proportions, a spaceship crashes on an unfamiliar world, leaving the survivors - a pair of children - to the not-so-tender mercies of a medieval, lupine race. Responding to the ship's distress signal, a rescue mission races against time to retrieve the children.


Book cover of The Crucible of Time

C. S. Friedman Author Of This Alien Shore

From my list on aliens in science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by the workings of the human mind. What instincts and influences make us who we are? This Alien Shore grew out of research I was doing into atypical neurological conditions. It depicts a society that has abandoned the concept of “neurotypical”, embracing every variant of human perspective as valid and valuable. One of my main characters, Kio Masada, is autistic, and that gives him a unique perspective on computer security that others cannot provide. What might such a man accomplish, in a world where his condition is embraced and celebrated? Good science fiction challenges our definition of “Other,” and asks what it really means to be human, all in the context of an exciting story.

C. S.'s book list on aliens in science fiction

C. S. Friedman Why did C. S. love this book?

A planet in its equivalent of the stone age is passing through a galactic debris field. An alien stargazer realizes that sooner or later some object will strike the planet and destroy it. The only hope of survival his species has is to leave the planet before that happens. But the concept is a mere abstraction to his people, the equivalent of a Neanderthal saying “we need to travel to the moon,” and the task is further complicated by the fact that their technology is biological in nature, focused on the manipulation of living tissue. It is hard to imagine how such technology could ever produce a spaceship. 

The novel--structured as a series of novellas-- follows the development of a fascinating alien species from its primitive roots to an age of high technology, each chapter focusing on a different time period. Always the stargazer’s warning is proclaimed by a few…

By John Brunner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Traces the development over milennia of a civilization of an unusual alien species, whose sense of humor, resourceful adaptibility, and metalworking skills are the strengths and the hope of their society


Book cover of Dawn

Anna McFarlane Author Of Cyberpunk Culture and Psychology: Seeing through the Mirrorshades

From my list on body horror birth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lecturer in medical humanities at the University of Leeds in England and I’m currently writing a book about the portrayal of traumatic pregnancy in fantastic literature (science fiction, horror, fantasy…). ‘Medical humanities’ is a field of study that looks at medical issues using the tools of the humanities, so it encompasses things like history of medicine, bioethics, and (my specialty) literature and medicine. Thinking about literature through the lens of traumatic pregnancy has led me to some fascinating, gory, and philosophical books, some of which I’m including on this list. 

Anna's book list on body horror birth

Anna McFarlane Why did Anna love this book?

I couldn’t finish this list without including one of the most famous examples of pregnancy in science fiction.

Humanity comes face-to-face with an alien species, the Oankali, who use gene editing, cloning, and mating to refresh their gene pools. The focus is on Lilith, a black woman taken hostage by the aliens who must learn about their plans for her and strategize her responses.

I really appreciate the way Butler’s work manages to speak to the legacy of slavery, particularly through a scene where the aliens create the circumstances for Lilith to breed with a human man in aid of their experiments. Lilith’s refusal to succumb to this animalistic treatment confronts the legacy of breeding humans during slavery.

I find Lilith (like many of Butler’s other characters) a driven character who deals with outlandish situations and the potential invasion of her own body with a pragmatic determination that invites me,…

By Octavia E. Butler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'One of the most significant literary artists of the twentieth century' JUNOT DIAZ

'Octavia Butler was playing out our very real possibilities as humans. I think she can help each of us to do the same' GLORIA STEINEM

One woman is called upon to reconstruct humanity in this hopeful, thought-provoking novel by the bestselling, award-winning author. For readers of Margaret Atwood, Toni Morrison and Ursula K. Le Guin.

When Lilith lyapo wakes in a small white room with no doors or windows, she remembers a devastating war, and a husband and child long lost to her.

She finds herself living…


Book cover of Out of the Everywhere and Other Extraordinary Visions

C. S. Friedman Author Of This Alien Shore

From my list on aliens in science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by the workings of the human mind. What instincts and influences make us who we are? This Alien Shore grew out of research I was doing into atypical neurological conditions. It depicts a society that has abandoned the concept of “neurotypical”, embracing every variant of human perspective as valid and valuable. One of my main characters, Kio Masada, is autistic, and that gives him a unique perspective on computer security that others cannot provide. What might such a man accomplish, in a world where his condition is embraced and celebrated? Good science fiction challenges our definition of “Other,” and asks what it really means to be human, all in the context of an exciting story.

C. S.'s book list on aliens in science fiction

C. S. Friedman Why did C. S. love this book?

This anthology has one of my favorite stories by Tiptree, it is called "We who stole the dream". The Joilani have long been enslaved and abused by humans. So has another race, of “delicately winged creatures”, whose sweat is a powerful intoxicant to humans. It is most potent when the donor experiences pain and fear, so humans have taken to torturing mated pairs of them, so the partners can watch each other suffer. The resulting sweat is a drug called Star Tears. Although that unnamed race plays no active role in the story, they are on my list because of the powerful manner in which they influence other species, invoking the darkest and most brutal aspects of human nature simply by existing.

The diminutive, weak, and peace-loving Joilani make a desperate break for freedom. Stealing a spaceship called The Dream, they seek out the mythical planet of their…

By James Tiptree Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Out of the Everywhere and Other Extraordinary Visions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ten tantalizing tales of man, woman and child - and their cosmic connections...

Contents:
Angel Fix (1974)
Beaver Tears (1976)
Your Faces, O My Sisters! Your Faces Filled of Light! (1976)
The Screwfly Solution (1977)
Time-Sharing Angel (1977)
We Who Stole the Dream (1978)
Slow Music (1980)
A Source of Innocent Merriment (1980)
Out of the Everywhere (1981)
With Delicate Mad Hands (1981)


Book cover of The Forerunner Factor

Kurt D. Springs Author Of Price of Vengeance

From my list on sci-fi that meld military and paranormal themes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Kurt D. Springs. If you read my back of the book bio, you’ll find I have advanced degrees in anthropology and archaeology and a focus on European prehistory. However, I’ve always been fascinated by military history. I’ve recently studied how modern warfare has changed many old paradigms. I’ve also studied modern and ancient religions, and many of the fiction works I enjoy have ESP or magic elements, especially Andre Norton’s works. I am also a fan of the HALO game universe. I like to tell people my stories are the children of Andre Norton’s Forerunner series and HALO.

Kurt's book list on sci-fi that meld military and paranormal themes

Kurt D. Springs Why did Kurt love this book?

Forerunner is the book that made me a fan of Andre Norton. I enjoyed how she mixed space travel, ESP powers, and remarkable world-building.

Andre Norton’s Forerunner influenced the paranormal part of my own world-building. The alien girl, Simsa, was a compelling character. Starting off as a streetwise orphan on the planet Kuxortal, the human spaceman Thom takes her on a journey of self-discovery.

They must stop space pirates from plundering ancient warships. To do so, she must discover her true heritage of power and nobility.

By Andre Norton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Forerunner Factor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

On ancient port world planet Kuxortal, young Simsa grows up among garbage pickers who live upon the ancient ruins of a fallen galactic civilization - the Forerunners. But Simsa has always been different. Her skin is iridescent blue-black and she shares a telepathic bond with an alien pet, a bat-like zorsal, like no other. When Simsa's mentor dies, she must scrape a poor existence from an unyielding planet. But then Thom, a star ranger, arrives from the heavens, leading Simsa on a path to the discovery of her origins that takes both through danger to the ultimate revelation. The truth…


Book cover of The Exile Waiting

Stephanie A. Smith Author Of Asteroidea

From my list on science fiction and fantasy about or by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of English at the University of Florida, and an author of SF/F myself; I teach it both as a creative writer, and as a scholar of both American Literature and feminist thought. This is my subject and I am passionate about it, and I’ve been teaching SF/F, American literature of the 19th and 20th centuries for thirty years, so I know my topic well.

Stephanie's book list on science fiction and fantasy about or by women

Stephanie A. Smith Why did Stephanie love this book?

Vonda N. McIntyre is an often over-looked science fiction and alternate history author whose prose is lush, whose imagination is daunting, and who was unfailingly generous to the fan community, and to the community of writers she knew and supported; she was also my teacher, my mentor and my friend of thirty years, and she knew how to make you laugh! Exile is back in print after being out of print, and it is a terrifyingly beautiful, thought-provoking read.

By Vonda N. McIntyre,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Exile Waiting was the first novel by the Hugo and Nebula award-winning novelist Vonda N McIntyre, published in 1975. It introduces the world that McIntyre later made famous with her multi-award-winning Dreamsnake: a post-apocalyptic world in which Center, an enclosed domed city, is run by slave-owning families who control the planet's resources, and exile the dissidents.

It is an ordinary day. A transport arrives from off-world, piloted by two pseudosibs, a powerfully intelligent threat to Center's dominant families. A girl is punished for being in the wrong room under the gaze of the wrong person. A visiting stranger defends…


Book cover of Codey: Crossing the Multiverse

Jay Miles Author Of The Mariverse: Guardians

From my list on the multiverse that dives through worlds beyond worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

The Multiverse had been my deepest passion of interest for a long time. Experiencing crossover stories in various mediums, both official and fan-made, especially fan-made. To see how two different worlds would meet. I spent hours reading fanfictions involving crossovers, as well as conjuring up my own. I considered the multiverse as a grand bedrock to create any story, hence why I wrote The Mariverse, followed by The Mariverse: Guardians, to create my own bedrock for my writing career.

Jay's book list on the multiverse that dives through worlds beyond worlds

Jay Miles Why did Jay love this book?

For those who don’t want to read a novel length but want to experience worlds beyond worlds, this book I would recommend, a neat short story where the protagonist uses the multiverse as a form of self-discovery, experiences he would never have in his own life and considers to a change of character.

Might not be a full-blown adventure, but a calmer mundane life experience, relatable while simplifying the multiverse without any complexities. 

By Deivy Garrido,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Babel-17/ Empire Star

Mike Cooley Author Of Crystal Warrior

From my list on fantasy and science fiction with feminist themes.

Why am I passionate about this?

When writing fantasy and science fiction, I enjoy writing about strong female characters and strong female leads. I also like exploring fundamental questions such as what it means to be human. I grew up reading all the science fiction and fantasy I could get my hands on, and that vast landscape of stories has influenced my writing in many ways. I love to explore the limits of consciousness and darkness. I hope the books on this list inspire you and make you think. They have all influenced me in one way or another and made me a better writer.    

Mike's book list on fantasy and science fiction with feminist themes

Mike Cooley Why did Mike love this book?

From the strong female protagonist—who is telepathic and a poet—to the use of language as a kind of mind weapon, to the non-traditional exploration of sexuality, I found this novel to be original and interesting. It also explores the nature of perception, which is something I have always been interested in. Samuel is a genius, and I very much enjoy the way he writes. 

By Samuel R. Delany,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Babel-17/ Empire Star as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Nebula Award Winner: “By looking at a typical space opera adventure from a different angle, Delany . . . give[s] us a weird, welcoming book” (Tor.com).

 At twenty-six, Rydra Wong is the most popular poet in the five settled galaxies. Almost telepathically perceptive, she has written poems that capture the mood of mankind after two decades of savage war. Since the invasion, Earth has endured famine, plague, and cannibalism—but its greatest catastrophe will be Babel-17.
 
Sabotage threatens to undermine the war effort, and the military calls in Rydra. Random attacks lay waste to warships, weapons factories, and munitions dumps,…


Book cover of The Quantum Thief

Theodore Irvin Silar Author Of Sex Quests: Two Tales of Futures Possible

From my list on literary science fiction with style and is well plotted.

Why am I passionate about this?

First off, I have a PhD in English from Lehigh University. I’m particularly interested in seeking out literary science (and speculative) fiction, SF that has style, that is well-written, well-plotted, SF that avoids the flat characters and cliched writing to which the genre can be all too prone. Some readers find genre fiction in general off-putting, associating it with poor style. Literary genre fiction thus gets sequestered beside its less-felicitous brethren and sistren. Which is too bad. Because plenty of stylistically-adept SF exists. One just needs someone to sift through the detritus for one, prize out the pearls, and display them in fine settings for one’s perusal.

Theodore's book list on literary science fiction with style and is well plotted

Theodore Irvin Silar Why did Theodore love this book?

It is a truism that Science Fiction dates itself. SF stories that were written only a few years previous often fail to foresee technological innovations ̶ cell phones, GPS, gene-splicing ̶ that seem obvious and inevitable to hindsight-blessed present-day readers. Those disconcerted by such, let us call them “backwards anachronisms,” should find Quantum Thief a welcome relief for decades to come, because the novel is set so far in the future that hi-tech things like, say, cell phones seem quaint curios out of far-distant days of yore. Long-distance communications in Quantum Thief are effected by something more like telepathy (although the word is never used).

“Quantum” is the operative term in this novel, make no mistake.

Be forewarned: Quantum Thief is chock-full of coined terminology. But have no fear. You have a choice. Either use the online glossary - or you can just read for the story and absorb the…

By Hannu Rajaniemi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The solar system's greatest thief is wanted for murder. To prove his innocence, he needs to pull off a heist even he thought was impossible . . .

The Quantum Thief is a dazzling hard SF novel set in the solar system of the far future - a heist novel peopled by bizarre post-humans but powered by very human motives of betrayal, revenge and jealousy. It is a stunning debut.

Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy - from breaking…


Book cover of The Chrysalids

TP Wood Author Of 77° North

From my list on stirring your heart and imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

It’s Saturday, 5 p.m. If you could peer back in time to the late ’60s, you’d find me plunked in front of our new colour RCA Victor, a Swanson TV dinner steaming before me, and the theme…da-da-DAAA-da-da-da-da-DAAAA, announcing my favourite show: Star Trek. I absorbed the logic of Mr. Spock, the passion of Dr. McCoy, and the fantastical world of Klingons, wormholes, and warp drives. Add to that a degree in history and English, and it set the stage for my passion to read and write in genres of science fiction and magical realism. I hope you find these books as stimulating and thought-provoking as I did.  

TP's book list on stirring your heart and imagination

TP Wood Why did TP love this book?

The Chrysalids – my inaugural dive into science fiction in the late sixties – hooked me from the first paragraph.

Wyndham creates a dystopian world of post-nuclear destruction where genetic mutations abound, and if discovered, culled from a civilization steeped in a stark biblical ideology. The Chrysalids track protagonist David Strorm as he safeguards his six-toed friend, Sophie, and ultimately connects with a band of telepaths offering new world hope.

I loved this book because of its adolescent hero and his defiance against a society that was morally corrupt. 

By John Wyndham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the community of Waknut it is believed mutants are the products of the Devil and must be stamped out. When David befriends a girl with a slight abnormality, he begins to understand the nature of fear and oppression. When he develops his own deviation, he must learn to conceal his secret.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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