100 books like American War

By Omar El Akkad,

Here are 100 books that American War fans have personally recommended if you like American War. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Dune

Mark Joyner Author Of Simpleology: The Simple Science of Getting What You Want

From my list on self-help books masquerading as sci-fi.

Who am I?

I'm an author, inventor, military veteran, (mostly) self-taught scholar, and an entrepreneur. Every internet-connected person interacts with things I invented (the tracking pixel, the ebook, etc) every day, but I'm best known for my books about business and personal development. As I write this, I'm serving as the Founder and CEO of a software platform called "Simpleology." It's designed to solve what I think is one of mankind's greatest threats to survival as a species:  "The Complexity Gap." It's the gap between the amount of information in the world and our ability to navigate it. It solves this by guiding you to focus on what we call "HIME" (high impact, minimal effort).

Mark's book list on self-help books masquerading as sci-fi

Mark Joyner Why did Mark love this book?

This book presents perhaps the most prescient and today-relevant sci-fi premise ever: how could technology evolve without thinking machines?

After reading this book, I finally understood that my thinking does not have to be constrained by the "scientific consensus" of the day. The book presents a future so radically different from what most futurists are envisioning that it not only freed my thinking about science and futurism...it freed my mind of all constraints.

Even further, it beckoned me to explore the limits of my own human potential.

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

51 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…


Book cover of Earth

John Elkington Author Of Green Swans: The Coming Boom in Regenerative Capitalism

From my list on green sci-fi books.

Who am I?

I have long been fascinated by history – and by the future. As a Boomer, born in 1949, I have surfed successive environmental, green, and sustainability waves. Since 1978, I have co-founded four businesses in the field, all of which still exist. I am now Chief Pollinator at Volans. I have served on some 80 boards and advisory boards and spoken at nearly 2000 major events worldwide. And I have authored or co-authored 20 books, including the million-selling Green Consumer Guide series from 1988. Science fiction has been a constant inspiration. The books I have picked are generally optimistic, in contrast to dystopias like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Finally, given the richness of this area of fiction, we can be sure that there are many many other green sci-fi shortlists out there waiting to be published, including ones featuring women like Ursula K. Le Guin and Margaret Atwood.

John's book list on green sci-fi books

John Elkington Why did John love this book?

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…

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.


Book cover of The Wandering Earth

John Elkington Author Of Green Swans: The Coming Boom in Regenerative Capitalism

From my list on green sci-fi books.

Who am I?

I have long been fascinated by history – and by the future. As a Boomer, born in 1949, I have surfed successive environmental, green, and sustainability waves. Since 1978, I have co-founded four businesses in the field, all of which still exist. I am now Chief Pollinator at Volans. I have served on some 80 boards and advisory boards and spoken at nearly 2000 major events worldwide. And I have authored or co-authored 20 books, including the million-selling Green Consumer Guide series from 1988. Science fiction has been a constant inspiration. The books I have picked are generally optimistic, in contrast to dystopias like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Finally, given the richness of this area of fiction, we can be sure that there are many many other green sci-fi shortlists out there waiting to be published, including ones featuring women like Ursula K. Le Guin and Margaret Atwood.

John's book list on green sci-fi books

John Elkington Why did John love this book?

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.

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.…


Book cover of The Ministry for the Future

Nick Fuller Googins Author Of The Great Transition

From my list on ward away your global warming anxiety.

Who am I?

I was working installing solar panels in rural Maine when I first had the idea to write a climate crisis novel. I grew up in the woods of New England, and have always loved nature, but I was feeling pretty despondent about global warming. I started to wonder: what would it feel like to be part of a mass mobilization installing solar, wind, and so on, to save the planet? Those were the seeds of the novel. When I’m not writing, I’m a fourth grade teacher. I worry about the planet my students will inherit, and if I’m doing enough to make that world as hopeful as possible.

Nick's book list on ward away your global warming anxiety

Nick Fuller Googins Why did Nick love this book?

I read this novel when I was about three-quarters finished with my novel, and was just blown away by the attention to detail, possibilities, and hope between the pages.

This is another hopeful near-future novel, in which humanity is trying its best to overcome the worst of climate change. Unlike my novel, however, which is told from the perspective of one family, Ministry for the Future is a truly global story, with dozens and dozens of narrators, many unnamed, who give us snapshots everywhere from the Arizona border to Antarctica to Switzerland to India, all coalescing into what becomes a global movement to try to save the planet.

This novel is a little lighter on plot, but fascinating as a menu of hopeful options and possibilities for what could be done if humanity really got its act together. 

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Why should I read it?

19 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…


Book cover of The Windup Girl

Mal Warwick Author Of Hell on Earth: What we can learn from dystopian fiction

From my list on dystopian since “Brave New World” and “1984”.

Who am I?

When I was twelve years old, my picture appeared in my hometown newspaper. I was holding a huge stack of books from the library, a week’s reading. All science fiction. I’ve read voraciously for the past seventy years—though much more widely as an adult. I’ve also had a life founding several small companies and writing twenty books. But I’ve continued to read science fiction, and, increasingly, dystopian novels. Why? Because, as a history buff, I think about the big trends that shape our lives. I see clearly that climate change, breakthroughs in technology, and unstable politics threaten our children’s future. I want to understand how these trends might play out—for better or for worse.

Mal's book list on dystopian since “Brave New World” and “1984”

Mal Warwick Why did Mal love this book?

Climate change aside, what scares me the most about technology today is the capacity for bioengineering to run amok.

What happens when scientists monkey around with deadly viruses—and one escapes from the lab? What if some rogue researcher creates an entirely new lifeform that proves toxic to humans? Or some experimental microbe—an effort to save the world’s butterflies, for instance—proves to kill off bees instead?

This novel, which won major awards, depicts a frightening future world wrought by bioengineering. And you wouldn’t want to live there anymore than I do. 

By Paolo Bacigalupi,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Windup Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE HUGO, NEBULA, LOCUS, JOHN W. CAMPBELL AND COMPTON CROOK AWARDS

The Windup Girl is the ground-breaking and visionary modern classic that swept the board for every major science fiction award it its year of publication.

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's calorie representative in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, he combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs long thought to be extinct. There he meets the windup girl - the beautiful and enigmatic Emiko - now abandoned to the slums. She is one of the New People, bred to suit the whims of…


Book cover of Oryx and Crake

Lauren Yero Author Of Under This Forgetful Sky

From my list on seeking hope after the end of the world.

Who am I?

Can stories bring a human scale to something as all-encompassing as climate change? In 2011, I began an MA in Literature and Environment with this question weighing on my mind. I finished my degree two years later with a draft of my debut novel, Under This Forgetful Sky. I’ve come to understand the climate crisis, in many ways, as a crisis of imagination. Its enormity tests the limits of the imaginable. What if the world as we know it ends? What would life look like on the other side? The books on this list reckon with the fears these questions bring while also gesturing beautifully, unsentimentally, courageously toward hope. 

Lauren's book list on seeking hope after the end of the world

Lauren Yero Why did Lauren love this book?

This book is light on hope, but if you’re on the hunt for cli-fi dystopias, Oryx and Crake is a must-read.

The novel’s protagonist, Snowman (previously known as Jimmy), finds himself alone (sort of) after a global societal collapse. His story unfolds on either side of this collapse as he searches for answers about what has happened to the world and why.

This book brings together runaway climate change, an apocalyptic pandemic, uncontrolled genetic engineering, mass extinction, and more, dealing with nostalgia for what’s been lost and reckoning with each person’s individual culpability for that loss. And yet it somehow manages to also be a thrilling puzzle box of a story that ends on a note of cautious hope.

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Oryx and Crake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By the author of THE HANDMAID'S TALE and ALIAS GRACE

*

Pigs might not fly but they are strangely altered. So, for that matter, are wolves and racoons. A man, once named Jimmy, lives in a tree, wrapped in old bedsheets, now calls himself Snowman. The voice of Oryx, the woman he loved, teasingly haunts him. And the green-eyed Children of Crake are, for some reason, his responsibility.

*

Praise for Oryx and Crake:

'In Jimmy, Atwood has created a great character: a tragic-comic artist of the future, part buffoon, part Orpheus. An adman who's a sad man; a jealous…


Book cover of This Perfect Day

Mal Warwick Author Of Hell on Earth: What we can learn from dystopian fiction

From my list on dystopian since “Brave New World” and “1984”.

Who am I?

When I was twelve years old, my picture appeared in my hometown newspaper. I was holding a huge stack of books from the library, a week’s reading. All science fiction. I’ve read voraciously for the past seventy years—though much more widely as an adult. I’ve also had a life founding several small companies and writing twenty books. But I’ve continued to read science fiction, and, increasingly, dystopian novels. Why? Because, as a history buff, I think about the big trends that shape our lives. I see clearly that climate change, breakthroughs in technology, and unstable politics threaten our children’s future. I want to understand how these trends might play out—for better or for worse.

Mal's book list on dystopian since “Brave New World” and “1984”

Mal Warwick Why did Mal love this book?

The news is full of stories about chilling developments in artificial intelligence.

And you don’t have to venture into the fantasy world of killer robots to be terrified. Already, “chatbots” are blurring the lines between human and machine intelligence.

It’s gotten to the point that you can’t trust what you see or read online—because it may have been created by some AI designed to cheat or scare you into doing something you really don’t want to do.

Ira Levin’s novel, published in 1970, shows us a world ruled by artificial intelligence. It’s dystopia in the truest sense—and it’s likely to frighten you, as it did me.

By Ira Levin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked This Perfect Day as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Marvellously entertaining. A cross between Brave New World and Doctor Who' Look Magazine

Considered one of the great dystopian thrillers - alongside A Clockwork Orange and Brave New World- Ira Levin's terrifying glimpse into the future continues to fascinate readers even forty years after publication.

Set in a seemingly perfect global society, where uniformity is the defining feature, one man leads the resistance against UniComp - a central computer that has been programmed to keep every single human on the surface of the earth in check. All ethnic groups have been eugenically merged into a single race called 'The Family',…


Book cover of Feed

Mal Warwick Author Of Hell on Earth: What we can learn from dystopian fiction

From my list on dystopian since “Brave New World” and “1984”.

Who am I?

When I was twelve years old, my picture appeared in my hometown newspaper. I was holding a huge stack of books from the library, a week’s reading. All science fiction. I’ve read voraciously for the past seventy years—though much more widely as an adult. I’ve also had a life founding several small companies and writing twenty books. But I’ve continued to read science fiction, and, increasingly, dystopian novels. Why? Because, as a history buff, I think about the big trends that shape our lives. I see clearly that climate change, breakthroughs in technology, and unstable politics threaten our children’s future. I want to understand how these trends might play out—for better or for worse.

Mal's book list on dystopian since “Brave New World” and “1984”

Mal Warwick Why did Mal love this book?

I’m troubled by the way young people today seem to live their lives glued to smartphone and computer screens.

M. T. Anderson gives us a hint of what this might lead to in Feed. It’s one of the scariest books I've read in many years. The six teenagers partying in this novel live in a world of constant distractions. Fashions may change by the hour.

A powerful future version of Virtual Reality allows them to experience novelty and excitement at any time without special equipment—and without pausing for reflection.

And that’s how they live, closed off from life in the real world. As I said, scary.

By M.T. Anderson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Feed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Identity crises, consumerism, and star-crossed teenage love in a futuristic society where people connect to the Internet via feeds implanted in their brains. Winner of the LA Times Book Prize.

For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon - a chance to party during spring break and play around with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a…


Book cover of Parable of the Talents

Iris Bolling Author Of S.I.B.s: The Society of Intellectual Beings

From my list on saving mankind from itself using fantasy elements.

Who am I?

I’m a Black woman who writes stories that will give readers an insight into areas of corporate and governmental politics, with a touch of reality, suspense, humor, and romance. Oh, let me add…a touch of fantasy. At times, I will mix the genres simply because that is where the story takes me. Writing is a passion; messaging is a responsibility (I aim to intrigue you!), and humor is my way of balancing the intense topic. I have a degree in Organizational Management, 30 years of working in state agencies, and a vivid imagination to share. I'm enjoying the second chapter of my life by doing what I love…writing stories that entice your mind.  

Iris' book list on saving mankind from itself using fantasy elements

Iris Bolling Why did Iris love this book?

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.  

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…


Book cover of Perfected

K.M. Robinson Author Of Jaded

From my list on swoony dystopia that aren’t Hunger Games.

Who am I?

I love dystopian stories because these are tales that could actually happen if a particular series of steps fall into place over the course of the next decade, century, etc. Dystopia is set in our real world, just in the future. There’s no unbelievable magic…just what our real world could be generations from now. The evolution or devolution of science, law, law enforcement, medicine, education, etc is fascinating to explore…especially since I’m an incredibly techy person. I love exploring what could happen in our future if we follow certain paths, good, bad, or otherwise. Asking “what if” is my favorite question.

K.M.'s book list on swoony dystopia that aren’t Hunger Games

K.M. Robinson Why did K.M. love this book?

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.

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. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

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…


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