100 books like Extraordinary Machine

By Kelly Sue DeConnick,

Here are 100 books that Extraordinary Machine fans have personally recommended if you like Extraordinary Machine. 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 The Grey Bastards

Jeremy Szal Author Of Stormblood

From my list on SFF books about brotherhood and male friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young man who deals with issues of loneliness, depression, and melancholy, I’ve always been drawn to platonic male friendships in fiction. Seeing acts of brotherly courage and heroism on the page has always resonated with me, especially when my own friendships in the real world have felt lacking. Men aren’t the best at discussing their emotions, especially not with each other, and I’ve desperately sought out stories where even the most grizzled male heroes are, deep down, in need of a friend. In writing Stormblood, I wanted to have a strong sense of brotherhood and unity between the male cast members as they battle enemies and face their personal demons.

Jeremy's book list on SFF books about brotherhood and male friendships

Jeremy Szal Why did Jeremy love this book?

Did someone say a brotherhood of half-orcs? Sign me the hell up.

I’ve always loved non-human characters, whether monsters, aliens, ghouls, or whatever. I’ve always strongly identified with the “other.” When monsters do show up, they’re often depicted as just that: monsters. This is especially true of orcs.

But in The Grey Bastards, we get to see these mutts as so much more than drooling, mindless beasts. Their loyalty and brotherhood is what keeps them alive. When they’re riding out into battle, it’s not their tactics or strategy that gives them the edge, it’s knowing that whether they live or they die, their brothers will be fighting fiercely by their side. And that’s the sort of thing that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

By Jonathan French,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Grey Bastards as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'AN ADDICTIVELY READABLE - AND UNDENIABLY COOL - FANTASY MASTERWORK' Kirkus

BRING ON THE ORCS . . .

Jackal is proud to be a Grey Bastard, member of a sworn brotherhood of half-orcs. Unloved and unwanted in civilized society, the Bastards eke out a hard life in the desolate no-man's-land called the Lots, protecting frail and noble human civilization from invading bands of vicious full-blooded orcs.

But as Jackal is soon to learn, his pride may be misplaced. Because a dark secret lies at the heart of the Bastards' existence - one that reveals a horrifying truth behind humanity's tenuous…


Book cover of Switch Bitch

Jackson Ford Author Of The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t with Her Mind

From my list on swear words in the title.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jackson Ford is the author of The Frost Files series, including The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t with Her Mind and Random Sh*t Flying Through the Air. He may or may not be the alter ego of author Rob Boffard, a South African author based in Vancouver, but he is definitely 100% a jackass.

Jackson's book list on swear words in the title

Jackson Ford Why did Jackson love this book?

The book may not have much swearing in it, but it has one of the best titles ever. It sounds like an insult drawn from an obscure meme. Dahl is a master of the short story, and here you get four of them, including his fabulous character Oswald Hendryks Cornelius.

By Roald Dahl,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Switch Bitch four tales of seduction and suspense are told by the grand master of the short story, Roald Dahl.

Topping and tailing this collection are The Visitor and Bitch, stories featuring Dahl's notorious hedonist Oswald Hendryks Cornelius (or plain old Uncle Oswald) whose exploits are frequently as extraordinary as they are scandalous. In the middle, meanwhile, are The Great Switcheroo and The Last Act, two stories exploring a darker side of desire and pleasure.

In the black comedies of Switch Bitch Roald Dahl brilliantly captures the ins and outs, highs and lows of sex.

'Dahl is too good…


Book cover of Badd Motherf*cker

Jackson Ford Author Of The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t with Her Mind

From my list on swear words in the title.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jackson Ford is the author of The Frost Files series, including The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t with Her Mind and Random Sh*t Flying Through the Air. He may or may not be the alter ego of author Rob Boffard, a South African author based in Vancouver, but he is definitely 100% a jackass.

Jackson's book list on swear words in the title

Jackson Ford Why did Jackson love this book?

Nothing wrong with a little bit of erotica. This one not only has one of the best titles of any book ever, it also has its tongue jammed firmly in its cheek. When your inciting incident is a jilted bride walking into a bar in Alaska, in her wedding dress—a bar that happens to be owned by eight brothers, one of whom is named Sebastian Badd– You know you're in for a good time.

By Jasinda Wilder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Badd Motherf*cker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, right? That’s what they say, at least. I went into that day hoping I’d get the happiest day of my life. What I got? The worst. I mean, you really can’t get any worse of a day without someone actually dying.     So…I may have gotten just a little drunk, and maybe just a tad impetuous…    And landed myself in a dive bar somewhere in Alaska, alone, still in my wedding dress, half-wasted and heart-broken.    ***    Eight brothers, one bar.    Sounds like the beginning to a bad joke,…


Book cover of Concrete Island

Leah Modigliani Author Of Counter Revanchist Art in the Global City: Walls, Blockades, and Barricades as Repertoires of Creative Action

From my list on moving through the city with newly critical eyes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since the age of seven, I've been conscious of the need to bypass how one is supposed to do things. I realized then that my grandmother could not pursue a writing career because she was also a woman and a wife; a cautionary tale I took to heart since I was already beginning to identify as an artist. I'm driven to uncover how we recognize what we see, and how forces beyond our control engender or foreclose upon new ways of being in the world. A professional life lived in the arts has allowed the fullest flexibility for exploring these ideas as one is generally encouraged to think differently.

Leah's book list on moving through the city with newly critical eyes

Leah Modigliani Why did Leah love this book?

This castaway story, about a man trapped on a concrete island under and between converging freeways on the outskirts of London, still stands the test of time.

I found it especially resonant during the imposed isolation of the global pandemic; all of us each marooned in our living rooms. The protagonist, architect Robert Maitland, has to learn to survive and thrive in reduced and restricted circumstances, and he can’t buy or build his way out of it.

When he finally discovers a way off the island he no longer really wants to leave, reminding us that we are sometimes most effectively imprisoned by our own minds and desires.  

By J.G. Ballard,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Concrete Island as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On a day in April, just after three o'clock in the afternoon, Robert Maitland's car crashes over the concrete parapet of a high-speed highway onto the island below, where he is injured and, finally, trapped. What begins as an almost ludicrous predicament soon turns into horror as Maitland-a wickedly modern Robinson Crusoe-realizes that, despite evidence of other inhabitants, this doomed terrain has become a mirror of his own mind. Seeking the dark outer rim of the everyday, Ballard weaves private catastrophe into an intensely specular allegory in Concrete Island.


Book cover of Planetfall

Andrew Sweet Author Of Southern Highlands: Obi of Mars

From my list on sci-fi featuring world-changing female badasses.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved science fiction. My father was an Asimov junkie, and our house was packed with science fiction novels and stories from Azimov to Heinlein to Wyndham and Wilhelm. I began writing science fiction in high school, yet only recently published my first 4 novels (one of which won a Bookfest award). I hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science (bioinformatics), and I stay on top of science to inform my writing. It’s through this background that I select novels, seeking out new tropes and ideas in technological advancement. Each of these novels I mention exceeded my expectations and then some. Pick one up today—you won’t be disappointed!

Andrew's book list on sci-fi featuring world-changing female badasses

Andrew Sweet Why did Andrew love this book?

Emma Watson firmly places herself in the mind of the protagonist Renata Ghali. Through this semi-reliable narrator, we learn that in this perfect planned society, a lot is happening beneath the still surface. This novel unfolds slowly, layering the pieces on scene by scene until something startling (which I don’t want to ruin for you) happens to the main character. Often in sci-fi, you see the character make some monumental decision, and then they win, and everything’s happy. This book doesn’t do that. Instead, it looks at the very real-feeling impact of said “monumental decision” on those who made it. And despite all of the character depth, Emma Watson manages to deliver a juicy, thick alien world that will leave you salivating for more! 

By Emma Newman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Emma Newman, the award-nominated author of Between Two Thorns, comes a novel of how one secret withheld to protect humanity's future might be its undoing...

Renata Ghali believed in Lee Suh-Mi's vision of a world far beyond Earth, calling to humanity. A planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown.

More than twenty-two years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at…


Book cover of The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

Ken Banks Author Of The Pursuit of Purpose: Part Memoir, Part Study - A Book About Finding Your Way in the World

From my list on living unusual, adventurous or alternative lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

From a young age, I was not only curious but obsessively driven to find some sort of purpose in life. I was also incredibly sensitive, and always felt I was put on the earth for a reason. My search took me across the world, taking many turns as I grabbed at every opportunity. Thanks to a motorbike accident in Nigeria, scattered pieces of my past suddenly began to fall into place. Finding our own purpose is exploration in its purest form, and I’ve long been fascinated by other curious minds – those that either struggle to find it, and those that find it and live it, or those that turn their back on convention. 

Ken's book list on living unusual, adventurous or alternative lives

Ken Banks Why did Ken love this book?

The very idea that someone could abandon modern life and live for so long in the middle of a wood in Maine, in the USA, for close to 30 years, without being found, I find incredible. What Christopher Knight decided to do here isn’t a million miles from Chris McCandless in my earlier book recommendation, but he lasted a lot longer and was undoubtedly more successful. It takes a very special kind of person to become a true hermit, but at some time in our lives, almost all of us will wonder what it’s like to disappear, just to leave everything behind and live the most simplest and natural of lives. Christopher may well not be the last hermit – we’ll never know how many are out there, if we’re honest – but what he achieved makes for fascinating reading, a chance to taste what this sort of mystical life…

By Michael Finkel,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Stranger in the Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER*

Could you leave behind all that you know and live in solitude for three decades? This is the extraordinary story of the last true hermit - Christopher Knight.

'This was a breath-taking book to read and many weeks later I am still thinking about the implications for our society and - by extension - for my own life' Sebastian Junger, bestselling author of The Perfect Storm

'A wry meditation on one man's attempt to escape life's distractions and look inwards, to find meaning not by doing, but by being'
Martin Sixsmith, bestselling author of Philomena…


Book cover of Waste Tide

Lavanya Lakshminarayan Author Of The Ten Percent Thief

From my list on science fiction novels exploring the near future.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a novelist and game designer from Bangalore. I’ve been a lifelong reader of science fiction and fantasy. Growing up, I almost never encountered futures that included people like me—brown women, from a country that isn’t the UK/ US, and yet, who are in sync with the rapidly changing global village we belong to. Over the last decade, though, I've found increasing joy in more recent science fiction, in which the future belongs to everyone. The Ten Percent Thief is an expression of my experiences living in dynamic urban India, and represents one of our many possible futures. 

Lavanya's book list on science fiction novels exploring the near future

Lavanya Lakshminarayan Why did Lavanya love this book?

I picked this novel because, for lack of a better phrase, it’s too real. In an entirely believable and horrifying future lies Silicon Isle, an island made of trash. It’s where the world dumps all its electronic waste, for generations of poor, marginalized people to sort through, while pollutants make the tiny world they call home uninhabitable and hostile.

It also happens to be where a powerful biological weapon is hidden, unknowingly discovered by Mimi, one of the novel’s protagonists. It transforms her. Class disparities come to the fore, leading to revolution. This is classic cyberpunk, refreshingly set in a future outside the UK/ US, translated from the original Chinese by Ken Liu.

By Chen Qiufan, Ken Liu (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Guardian Science Fiction Book of the Year.

Mimi is drowning in the world's trash.

She's a 'waste girl', a scavenger picking through towering heaps of hazardous electronic detritus. Along with thousands of other migrant workers, she was lured to Silicon Isle, off the southern coast of China, by the promise of steady work and a better life.

But Silicon Isle is where the rotten fruits of capitalism and consumer culture come to their toxic end. The land is hopelessly polluted, the workers utterly at the mercy of those in power. And now a storm is gathering, as ruthless local…


Book cover of Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea

Tyler LeBlanc Author Of Acadian Driftwood: One Family and the Great Expulsion

From my list on making you never want to step foot on a boat again.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on the tip of a peninsula jutting out into the raging Atlantic ocean. Both of my grandfathers spent their lives at sea. The power, and fear, that the ocean inspires has been a constant in my life, and most recently while working on Acadian Driftwood. Spending years working on a story so closely tied to tragedy, and the sea, I’ve consumed a lot of nautical disaster stories. While not everything on the list is a disaster (Nansen got his ship stuck in the ice on purpose) each story will make you rethink whether you ever want to head out to sea.  

Tyler's book list on making you never want to step foot on a boat again

Tyler LeBlanc Why did Tyler love this book?

The waves were high, and the wind gusting, but it was nothing Steven Callahan’s little 21-foot sailboat hadn’t seen before. He had sailed her across the Atlantic once before and was aiming for the Caribbean when he bedded down for the night. He awoke to a cabin full of raging seawater and had only minutes to escape before the boat he had designed and built went to the bottom. He had an inflatable raft, a small amount of food and water, and a soaking-wet sleeping bag. Not much else. This raw first-person account of surviving alone in the middle of the ocean on a life raft reads like the transcript of the nightmare every sailor who heads out to sea has the night before leaving port. 

By Steven Callahan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Before The Perfect Storm, before In the Heart of the Sea, Steven Callahan’s dramatic tale of survival at sea was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than thirty-six weeks. In some ways the model for the new wave of adventure books, Adrift is an undeniable seafaring classic, a riveting firsthand account by the only man known to have survived more than a month alone at sea, fighting for his life in an inflatable raft after his small sloop capsized only six days out. “Utterly absorbing” (Newsweek), Adrift is a must-have for any adventure library.


Book cover of Down the Long Hills

Allison M. Azulay Author Of The Ghost of the Highlands

From my list on historical fiction those born in the wrong century.

Why am I passionate about this?

A psychic once told me I was born in the wrong century, and I can believe it. I have always been drawn to tales of the past, feeling a kinship for the men and women of whom I read―whether they are real or born of someone's imagination―and longing for a life not digitalized or controlled and one in which self-reliance and community are not at odds. Am I a romantic? You bet, and happy to be.

Allison's book list on historical fiction those born in the wrong century

Allison M. Azulay Why did Allison love this book?

There is a reason Louis L'Amour books remain popular. I wish I had the whole collection, and I read every one I can get my hands on. One I particularly recommend is Down the Long Hills, which is a slight departure from his usual tales. In this one, two children find themselves alone and pitted against weather, wilderness, warriors, and their own worry that they are too little for this journey. I could not help measuring my own knowledge and ingenuity against that of a seven-year-old boy and finding it wanting. Nor could I help admiring the resolve and sense of responsibility that would put most adults to shame. I'll be reading this one again, too.

By Louis L'Amour,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As part of the Louis L’Amour’s Lost Treasures series, this edition contains exclusive bonus materials!

Everyone was dead. Indian raiders massacred the entire wagon train. Only seven-year-old Hardy Collins and three-year-old Betty Sue Powell, managed to survive. With a knife, a faithful stallion, and the survival lessons his father taught him, Hardy must face the challenges of the open prairie as they head west in search of help. Using ingenuity and common sense, Hardy builds shelters, forages for food, and learns to care for Betty Sue. But their journey through this hostile wilderness is being tracked by even more hostile…


Book cover of Near the Bone

James Pack Author Of The Hook

From my list on where real-life horror meets the supernatural.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always had a greater interest in supernatural horror compared to the other subgenres of horror. Another way to describe it is fantasy horror. However, sometimes the fantasy can take away from the overall story. I find the best stories with supernatural elements also have a lot of real-life horror to balance with the fantasy. Magic realism is also a trope of Post-Modern Culture and I find myself drawn to stories with post-modern elements versus those that don’t. These are my top five pics for the best “Real-Life Horror Meets Supernatural Horror” novels.

James' book list on where real-life horror meets the supernatural

James Pack Why did James love this book?

I’ve read several of Christina Henry’s books. I enjoyed them all, but this one is my absolute favorite. Mattie lives in the mountains with her abusive husband, and she has no memory beyond the last few years, and she lives in fear of her husband’s wrath. An unknown, large creature appears and makes things more complicated. Mattie has to escape her husband and a monster in the woods and try to remember her past. This novel is one of the best horror stories I’ve ever read. It’s suspenseful and you never know what will happen next. One of my favorite things about this novel is, despite the supernatural creature, it’s not over-the-top and everything feels real including the actions and choices of the characters. This is definitely a must-read.

By Christina Henry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mattie can't remember a time before she and William lived alone on a mountain together. She must never make him upset. But when Mattie discovers the mutilated body of a fox in the woods, she realizes that they're not alone after all.

There's something in the woods that wasn't there before, something that makes strange cries in the night, something with sharp teeth and claws.

When three strangers appear on the mountaintop looking for the creature in the woods, Mattie knows their presence will anger William. Terrible things happen when William is angry.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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