10 books like American War

By Omar El Akkad,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like American War. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Dune

By Frank Herbert,

Book cover of Dune

Dune is a sci-fi story that really makes you think in the abstract and it poses a lot of deep questions about leadership. While Dune is a tough read with strange protagonists, its worldbuilding is what sucks you because it’s so richly detailed. It’s an immersive book, and I consider it the sci-fi equivalent of Lord of the Rings for setting the standard for sweeping space operas. I read Dune before self-publishing my most recent book, and it made me want to retool the way resource control worked in my book’s universe.

Dune

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

40 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…


Earth

By David Brin,

Book cover of Earth

Earth, published in 1990, had me dog-earing many, many pages. A sense of our responsibility to the planet is shot through the book. For me this novel was very much in the spirit of a near – but warped – future that I had so enjoyed early on in books like John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar. When I wrote to Brunner to say that his dystopian view of the future struck me as likely, he replied that he was disappointed, having written it as a warning, to minimize the risk of the future being driven off the rails by over-population. 

Earth, overall, is more optimistic. Another novel on related themes by Brin was The Postman, made into a film starring Kevin Costner. Again, I interviewed David early in 2021 for our new Green Swans Observatory—and a key theme was his inspiration by the Judaic concept of…

Earth

By David Brin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's fifty years from tomorrow, and a black hole has accidentally fallen into the Earth's core. A team of scientists frantically searches for a way to prevent the mishap from causing harm, only to discover another black hole already feeding relentlessly at the core - one that could destroy the planet within two years.


The Wandering Earth

By Cixin Liu,

Book cover of The Wandering Earth

Countries tend to produce great science fiction when they are developing fast  like Britain and France did in Victorian times — think HG Wells and Jules Verne—and the US did in the post-WWII era (from Asimov to Zubrin). Given how fast China has been developing, it should come as no surprise that sci-fi has been booming there. And given how central a role China will play in the rest of the 21st century, we should be reading more of it. Like many people, I came across Liu Cixin through his novel, The Three-Body Problem. The Wandering Earth, by contrast, started out as a novella and was turned into a smash-hit film of the same name.

The Wandering Earth

By Cixin Liu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NOW A #1 BLOCKBUSTING FILM.

The Sun is dying. Earth will perish too, consumed by the star in its final death throes. But rather than abandon their planet, humanity builds 12,000 mountainous fusion engines to propel the Earth out of orbit and onto a centuries-long voyage to Proxima Centaurai...

Cixin Liu is one of the most important voices in world Science Fiction. A bestseller in China, his novel, The Three-Body Problem, was the first translated work of SF ever to win the Hugo Award.

Here is the first collection of his short fiction: ten stories, including five Chinese Galaxy Award-winners.…


The Ministry for the Future

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Book cover of The Ministry for the Future

Dystopian novels are often bleak but this ‘cli-fi’ book, recommended by the likes of Barack Obama and Bill Gates, offers possible pathways through an impending climate catastrophe. This novel is science fiction that is heavy on the science. The story imagines a Ministry for the Future that holds future generations’ rights as important as the current generation’s and launches initiatives—from a ‘carbon coin’ currency to geoengineering to prevent glaciers from melting in Antarctica. There are two protagonistsMary, who heads the ministry, and Frank, an aid worker traumatized by deadly heat waves. It’s an epic and intricate story, and author Kim Stanley Robinson has a peerless track record in climate fiction, previously writing a trilogy on colonizing Mars.

The Ministry for the Future

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Ministry for the Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR

“The best science-fiction nonfiction novel I’ve ever read.” —Jonathan Lethem
 
"If I could get policymakers, and citizens, everywhere to read just one book this year, it would be Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Ministry for the Future." —Ezra Klein (Vox)

The Ministry for the Future is a masterpiece of the imagination, using fictional eyewitness accounts to tell the story of how climate change will affect us all. Its setting is not a desolate, postapocalyptic world, but a future that is almost upon us. Chosen by Barack Obama as one of his favorite…


Parable of the Talents

By Octavia E. Butler,

Book cover of Parable of the Talents

It would be criminal not to recommend the follow-up to The Parable of the Sower. The Parable of Talent takes place years after the hard fraught ideal community is formed. You are going to want to know what happens in this perceived utopia. The unrest on the survival of Christian values is happening all around them. The effect uncovers elements that existed beneath the surface of the somewhat pleasant surroundings of the community. Therein lies the reality that a change is going to come.  

Parable of the Talents

By Octavia E. Butler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The stunning sequel to Parable of the Sower, the NEW YORK TIMES-bestselling novel.

'In the ongoing contest over which dystopian classic is most applicable to our time... for sheer peculiar prescience, Butler's novel may be unmatched' NEW YORKER

'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

---

In order for me to understand who I am, I must begin to understand who she was.

Asha was born into a broken world. There are many things she needs to know: how her country could…


The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood, Renee Nault (illustrator),

Book cover of The Handmaid's Tale: Graphic Novel

The very first time I got my hands on this book, I read it in its entirety. It was the visuals that drew me in. It was almost as though the novel that inspired the Hulu series and the pages of the graphic novel were one and the same thing. It is one of the items in my book collection that I cherish the most.

When my teenaged granddaughter picked up this book, she also read it in a single sitting. While I was milling about the house, I looked in the living room and saw that she was completely absorbed in its pages. This graphic novel tells an engrossing story, and whether you are a collector of all things GN or enjoy reading graphic novels, adding this book to your collection is an absolute necessity.

The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood, Renee Nault (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author 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 stunning graphic novel adaptation • A must-read and collector’s item for fans of “the patron saint of feminist dystopian fiction” (New York Times).
 
Look for The Testaments, the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale
 
In Margaret Atwood’s dystopian future, environmental disasters and declining birthrates have led to a Second American Civil War. The result is the rise of the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian regime that enforces rigid social roles and enslaves the few remaining fertile women. Offred is one of these, a Handmaid bound to produce children for one of Gilead’s commanders. Deprived of her husband, her child, her…


Perfected

By Kate Jarvik Birch,

Book cover of Perfected

I enjoyed Perfected because it was a very, very soft and gentle take on dystopia where young girls are genetically engineered in labs and trained with special traits as young girls only to be sold to wealthy families as pets. They’re treated as puppies who are dressed in fancy clothes, paraded through events, sat on pretty couches and chairs, and very, very few make it through without being manipulated and used in worse ways. When she falls in love with her owner’s son, and he starts to fall for her, bad things happen. I love putting twists on dystopian worlds so this one was a brilliant, unusual concept that brought such a unique look into the genre and its possibilities and gave me permission to do the same.

Perfected

By Kate Jarvik Birch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Kate Birch's PET melds the feel of The Handmaid's Tale with the historic underground railroad and wraps it in a glamorous-and dangerous-bow.

Man's best friend just got a little prettier.

Ever since the government passed legislation allowing people to be genetically engineered and raised as pets, the rich and powerful can own beautiful girls like sixteen-year-old Ginger as companions. But when Ginger moves in with her new masters and discovers the glamorous life she's been promised isn't at all what it seems, she's forced to choose between a pampered existence full of gorgeous gowns and veiled threats, or seizing her…


Life

By Rebecca Belliston,

Book cover of Life

In this dystopian novel, the apocalyptic event is the financial collapse of the United States. In the neighborhood of Logan Pond, the neighbors must work together to survive while hiding from the tyrannical government which has usurped authority after the collapse. I loved this book because the characters were so genuine, I almost believed they were real. If it weren't for the horrifying situation these characters found themselves in, I think I would actually enjoy the challenge of living off-grid in a community like this. The ending of the story was satisfying, not exactly a happy ending, mind you, but a hopeful one all the same. This is a must-read for anyone who likes the post-apocalyptic/dystopian genre or is worried about the financial stability of our country. Highly recommended! 

Life

By Rebecca Belliston,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A powerful, realistic story about life and love and the resilience of the human spirit. Just the right mix of action, drama, and romance." - Readers' Favorite

IN A WORLD WITHOUT MONEY, THE FIGHT TO SURVIVE BEGINS . . .

The economy crashed, the country is floundering, and Carrie Ashworth struggles to keep her siblings alive. She has two jobs in her newly-formed, newly-outlawed clan: grow crops to feed thirty-six people and maintain contact with Oliver Simmons, their local patrolman. Carrie’s life is almost content when Greg Pierce shows up.

A man with the ambition to help them survive. A…


Red Rock

By Kate Kelly,

Book cover of Red Rock

I’m a sucker for a good opening and this book intrigued me from the beginning. Kelly does a great job in building the tension and setting her world up in the seemingly normal reactions of her characters and it was this that kept me reading. Even though the main character is only 14, and it’s targeted at young adults, I still enjoyed it as an adult. It does some great cli-fi storytelling without being preachy, which is great! 

Red Rock

By Kate Kelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The ice caps have melted. The coastal areas we once knew are gone, and only 'scavvers' now live in the flooded towns. The world has changed, but as 14-year-old Danni Rushton soon discovers, it isn't the first time...Living with her uncle after the tragic death of her parents, Danni's world is turned upside down when her aunt is assassinated. With her dying breath, she entrusts Danni with a strange, small rock. Danni must not tell a soul that she has it. But what is the rock for, and to what lengths must Danni go to keep it safe? This action-packed…


The Incal

By Alejandro Jodorowsky, Jean Giraud (illustrator),

Book cover of The Incal

The Incal follows John DiFool, an everyday goofball, as he is swept away on the most metaphysical, surrealistic, galactic adventure possible. Written and drawn by two of the wildest, most ingenious imaginations to ever grace the page, Jodorowsky and Moebius guide the reader gracefully to the edge of existence and back – without confusing or pandering to its audience. 

This book works so well because, first, Moebuis’ art is an absolute delight to look at, and second, because using the common-man-character of DiFool as the protagonist, the reader can learn alongside the story in a way that feels smooth and natural – in a world that would otherwise be beyond the understanding of mere mortals.

The Incal

By Alejandro Jodorowsky, Jean Giraud (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Moebius' and Alejandro Jodorowsky's Sci-Fi masterpiece collected in one epic volume. Lose yourself in the in the story that inspired many legendary filmakers including George Lucas and Ridley Scott.

John Difool, a low-class detective in a degenerate dystopian world, finds his life turned upside down when he discovers an ancient, mystical artifact called "The Incal." Difool's adventures will bring him into conflict with the galaxy's greatest warrior, the Metabaron, and will pit him against the awesome powers of the Technopope. These encounters and many more make up a tale of comic and cosmic proportions that has Difool fighting for not…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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