100 books like Brainwave

By Poul Anderson,

Here are 100 books that Brainwave fans have personally recommended if you like Brainwave. 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 Atlas Shrugged

Mark Burgess Author Of Slogans: The end of sympathy

From my list on a vision of a near future society in trouble.

Who am I?

I am a scientist and technologist, trained in theoretical quantum physics, who became an Emeritus Professor of Network Technology from Oslo’s metropolitan university. I’ve strenuously tried to communicate the wonder of science to students and industry throughout my career. I’m also a long-standing fan of science fiction who grew up with heroes in both fact and fiction. The idea of future society has haunted me my whole life. I’m an optimist, who looks to the darker tales as warnings of futures we hope to avoid. Read these tales with a determination for us all to do better.

Mark's book list on a vision of a near future society in trouble

Mark Burgess Why did Mark love this book?

This book was a forerunner and inspiration to the big society science fiction of the John Brunner era, and (like much of her writing) should properly be understood as an alternative reality science fiction, imitated by many writers including Brunner and Robert Silverberg.

Rand became a controversial figure because of the cult that grew up around her, promoting elitist ideas, and driven mainly by her husband. Yet Rand herself was a brilliant writer and thinker who wanted to be a philosopher. The writing is not only deeply intellectual, it was deeply character driven.

As a non-native English speaker, her writing style is rich and could be the envy of native writers. Perhaps too long, this book is nevertheless a must read for any science fiction fan. 

By Ayn Rand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged was Ayn Rand's greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatizes her unique philosophy through an intellectual mystery story that integrates ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics, and sex. Set in a near-future U.S.A. whose economy is collapsing as a result of the mysterious disappearance of leading innovators and industrialists, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life-from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy...to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction...to the philosopher who becomes a pirate...to the woman who…


Book cover of Animal Farm

Ben H. Winters Author Of The Bonus Room

From my list on malevolent beasts.

Who am I?

I’ve written across genres, including mysteries like The Last Policeman and big works of alternate history like Underground Airlines. But Bedbugs—now republished as The Bonus Room—was one of my first books, and very dear to my heart. I’ve always loved books that pit a single, relatively helpless protagonist against some inexplicable force that he or she cannot begin to fathom. A force that can’t be reasoned with or bargained with. You just have to beat it. Perhaps that’s why I love these books about man vs. beast—the natural world is our friend, and animal are subservient to us…until suddenly, terrifyingly, they’re not.   

Ben's book list on malevolent beasts

Ben H. Winters Why did Ben love this book?

When we think of scary animals we think of gnashing teeth and tearing claws, but obviously Orwell’s famous parable presents a very different kind of malevolence: that of overweaning ambition and our deep-seated instinct to control.

The pigs that present themselves as heroes and then slowly, greedily, inexorable turn into murderous dictators, forcing the other animals to do their bidding and then slaughtering them when they become too old, are of course not really pig-like at all—they are human-like, and therefore all the more terrifying. 

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Animal Farm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The perfect edition for any Orwell enthusiasts' collection, discover Orwell's classic dystopian masterpiece beautifully reimagined by renowned street artist Shepard Fairey

'All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.'

Mr Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm. Vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard, the renamed Animal Farm is organised to benefit all who walk on four legs. But as time passes, the…


Book cover of Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus

Bob Zeidman Author Of Animal Lab

From my list on dystopian books that are great lessons for today.

Who am I?

While every single attempt at socialism in human history has failed, usually leading to the murder of millions of people, it is being revived by those who think they can “do it right this time.” I’ve been writing about American principles and American values for newspapers and magazines for years. The threat to the exceptional American experiment that has led so many people of all backgrounds to success and happiness, led me to write this novel. I hope that it is fun enough and interesting enough that many readers will enjoy it, and more importantly learn from it. And take action to preserve the values and principles of America that have uplifted and inspired so many for over two centuries.

Bob's book list on dystopian books that are great lessons for today

Bob Zeidman Why did Bob love this book?

This is one of the least-known books by science fiction writer Orson Scott Card, but it’s my favorite. In a dying future, scientists are sent back to the past to initially transcribe history and later to change it when they discover that possibility. Time travel books can either be an interesting intellectual exercise or a jumble of logical impossibilities. This is the former, but it is also a great historical description of the discovery of the New World including all of the wonders and atrocities. It confronts the disturbing roots of European and American slavery as well as the barbarism of native American cultures. It is a well-written, exciting, emotional experience full of fascinating personalities, high adventure, historical narratives, and serious questions about morality.

By Orson Scott Card,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After a scientific innovation allows researchers to open a window on the past, a young woman sends an individual onto a slightly different path in life, interference that has unexpected repercussions for the present and future.


Book cover of Planet of the Apes

Bob Zeidman Author Of Animal Lab

From my list on dystopian books that are great lessons for today.

Who am I?

While every single attempt at socialism in human history has failed, usually leading to the murder of millions of people, it is being revived by those who think they can “do it right this time.” I’ve been writing about American principles and American values for newspapers and magazines for years. The threat to the exceptional American experiment that has led so many people of all backgrounds to success and happiness, led me to write this novel. I hope that it is fun enough and interesting enough that many readers will enjoy it, and more importantly learn from it. And take action to preserve the values and principles of America that have uplifted and inspired so many for over two centuries.

Bob's book list on dystopian books that are great lessons for today

Bob Zeidman Why did Bob love this book?

The book and the original 1968 movie are worthwhile experiences that examine our society, our treatment of animals, and our treatment of each other by creating a planet in which the roles of humans and apes are swapped. The screenplay was written by Oscar-winner Michael Wilson and Emmy-winner Rod Serling and adds a legendary ending that was the talk of the neighborhood kids when I was growing up. It created a powerful symbol of mankind’s possible eventual destruction that stayed with me over the years.

The 2001 remake of the movie stayed fairly true to the original movie but was a bit slow because of its many side stories. The second remake in 2011 had amazing special effects but made the disturbing point that humans have become a destructive society that must be abolished by the apes. While the original message was to treat animals and each other better, the…

By Pierre Boulle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a spaceship that can travel at the speed of light, Ulysse, a journalist, sets off from Earth for the nearest solar system. He finds there a planet which resembles his own, but on Soror humans behave like animals, and are hunted by a civilised race of primates. Captured and sent to a research facility, Ulysse must convince the apes of their mutual origins. But such revelations will have always been greeted by prejudice and fear...


Book cover of Last Man Standing

Douglas Phillips Author Of Quantum Space

From my list on hard science fiction published this century.

Who am I?

As a scientist, I love hard science fiction, especially when the story makes me think about the true nature of reality or takes me on an adventure to places unknown. We’ve all read the classics from Clarke, Heinlein, Bear, or Asimov. But books written decades ago are becoming increasingly dated as society progresses into a new century. (Will people of the future really chain smoke? And why are all the characters men?) Never fear, modern hard sci-fi is alive and well. Here are five recent books that tell an intriguing, uplifting, or awe-inspiring story. Even better than the classics, it’s hard sci-fi for the 21st century!

Douglas' book list on hard science fiction published this century

Douglas Phillips Why did Douglas love this book?

I normally avoid dystopian, but this story doesn’t dwell in misery like so many apocalyptic stories do.

Last Man Standing is more like Andy Weir’s book, The Martian, because it’s about one man’s survival under extreme conditions. A scientist is stranded on a space station after an attack that has killed everyone else onboard. What happened, and why? He doesn’t know, but he’ll do anything to stay alive and find a way to get back to Earth despite a thousand obstacles in his path and little knowledge of spaceflight.

This story can be intense, but the character stays positive and has a lot of heart.

By Craig A. Falconer,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Storm Girl

Stuart Aken Author Of An Excess Of ...

From my list on character-driven novels.

Who am I?

I’ve been reading for 69 years, writing fiction for 43 years. I’ve read many more than 10,000 books. In my own writing, I begin with characters I create from combinations of traits and personalities I’ve met in life. I get to know them as friends. I then put them into the setting I’ve devised and given them free rein to develop the story. I know the destination, but the route is left to them. This involves much re-writing once the story is down on paper, but allows me to experience the excitement, concern, fear, love, and delights felt by the characters as I write the tale.

Stuart's book list on character-driven novels

Stuart Aken Why did Stuart love this book?

I have written speculative fiction, and the protagonist, Angel, a feisty, courageous, enigmatic, curious survivor is placed into such a setting. Climate change, one of my personal concerns, has wreaked havoc with the geographical, and therefore the political world, as we know it. It deals with the way elites take what they see as the necessary action to continue their privileged lifestyles.

The author managed to make me empathize with almost all the characters on some level, regardless how selfish, wicked, good, generous, or courageous they may be. I encountered elderly heroes and heroines, resourceful individuals and communities, victims, self-serving demagogues, cruel leaders, uncaring servants, unquestioning followers, and a group of talented and determined resistance fighters bent on turning a terrifying world into a just and equable future.

By Linda Nicklin, Ramon Marett (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Linda Nicklin's eco-thriller Storm Girl charts a dystopian near future. Planet earth has largely drowned under rising seas, disease is rife, society has broken down. Everything is now owned by the super-rich and exploited for their own personal gratification, including the people still struggling to live on what land remains... Angel, the Storm Girl of the title, has been harvested by a gang of Reapers and is frantic to escape what she knows to be a death sentence. Her only way out is through the treacherous waters of a drowned city. From depths of despair, she begins to find glimmers…


Book cover of Greybeard

Prentis Rollins Author Of The Furnace: A Graphic Novel

From my list on dystopian sci-fi that are dear to my heart.

Who am I?

I’ve been hooked on science fiction since I saw Westworld in its first run in 1973, at age 7 (it’s the first movie I saw in a theatre). I started drawing my own sci-fi comics at age 11, when the first Star Wars came out, and kept it up through adolescence. Eventually, my love of sci-fi led me to a passion for philosophy, which I majored in in college. And the philosophy I learned has since informed my later choices in sci-fi reading, and even more my sci-fi writing and illustration. The books I talk about below are very dear to my heart—I’m sure you won’t regret checking them out.

Prentis' book list on dystopian sci-fi that are dear to my heart

Prentis Rollins Why did Prentis love this book?

Late in the 20th Century, an ‘accident’ occurred whereby nuclear bombs detonated in orbit above earth—the resulting radiation has rendered mankind sterile. Algy Timberlane—aka ‘Greybeard’—is in his mid-50’s, a veritable stripling in an increasingly geriatric world. He, his wife Martha, and a few aging friends set off on an odyssey down the river Thames, to explore what’s left of their crumbling, dying world—and maybe find some spark of hope for the future.

Greybeard is a marvel to behold.  It’s one of the few books that’s not only about the hideous injustices of growing old, but also about a world that’s grown old and is facing death. What would people do if they knew that theirs was literally the last generation, that there would be no one to carry on their work? It’s an unsettling question to wrap your mind around—but Greybeard faces it without flinching, and with moving, thought-provoking…

By Brian W. Aldiss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Human reproduction has ceased and society slowly spirals in this “adult Lord of the Flies” by a Grand Master of Science Fiction (San Francisco Chronicle).

After the “Accident,” all males on Earth become sterile. Society ages and falls apart bit by bit. First, toy companies go under. Then record companies. Then cities cease to function. Now Earth’s population lives in spread‑out, isolated villages, with its youngest members in their fifties. When the people of Sparcot begin to make claims of gnomes and man‑eating rodents lurking around their village, Greybeard and his wife set out for the coast with the hope…


Book cover of Burning: Prequel, After the Thaw

Sue-Ellen Pashley Author Of The Rise

From my list on dystopian books with watery issues.

Who am I?

As an author who, in my ‘other’ life, has studied psychology and social work, I love to write about the impact of change on individuals and communities – what do my characters grieve, what relationships become important to them, what are the roles or goals that motivate them now and what do they need to do to survive, both individually and in their new society. And I love to be able to write about a place – a location – that I know well, hence the Sunshine Coast Hinterland as a setting for The Rise. I hope you enjoy the books that I’ve recommended as much as I have!

Sue-Ellen's book list on dystopian books with watery issues

Sue-Ellen Pashley Why did Sue-Ellen love this book?

The cover drew me in but I loved the worldbuilding in this book, both in the premise of what happened to our world (toxic oceans, anyone?) but also how characters now need to live and survive. And with great rising tension and twists, this was a book that left me reading much later in the night than I should have! 

I was drawn in by the 4 main characters – even when I wanted to slap them, I still wanted to know what was going to happen to them. And the way the society was set up really tore at my sense of ethics – a great thing to have in a dystopian book, I think…how does the new society sit with you?

By Heidi Catherine, Tamar Sloan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Only the chosen shall breed.

In a new world isolated by a rising, toxic sea, a single bridge connects Askala to the Outlands. Those who remain will need to pass a Proving to determine if they have the intelligence and heart to champion the future of their broken Earth.

Those who succeed will become Bound, the ones chosen to breed.

Those who fail, are Unbound. Free of responsibility, but robbed of their ability to bear children.

Four young lives are born into this world. Magnus and Callix, two brothers determined to uphold this new order. Two brothers in love with…


Book cover of Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds

Marlena Frank Author Of The Seeking

From my list on dark fantasy with unique monsters.

Who am I?

I love reading about monsters as much as I love writing about them. Unfortunately, it also means I’m super picky about the dark fantasy I read. These authors don’t disappoint. Dark fantasy is a genre that I continue to return to, whether it’s aimed at teens or adults. I’ve had to deal with many monsters in my life and I understand that they can take many shapes and forms. These books are some of the very best I’ve read and I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I have. 

Marlena's book list on dark fantasy with unique monsters

Marlena Frank Why did Marlena love this book?

A dystopian novella that seems confusing at first but makes sense as you continue along. It requires piecing together broken memories, broken friendships, and flashes of emotion that are rarely understood. Each glimpse lasts only eight minutes and thirty-two seconds. It’s quite an incredible feat of storytelling. I read this in one sitting with the sun setting outside and me barely even noticing that time existed. I was fortunate enough to know and work alongside Salomon before his recent passing and this was a book I was privileged to provide a blurb for. I was blown away by the story that unraveled before me. I promise you will be too. 

By Peter Adam Salomon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over eight billion people died when the world ended. Two survived.L and M don’t know why they’re alive. They don’t remember what happened. Addicted to a drug that kills them for eight minutes and thirty-two seconds, they risk the end of humanity in order to learn the truth.


Book cover of The Boy at the End of the World

Juliana Brandt Author Of The Wolf of Cape Fen

From my list on fantasy to escape into when life is overwhelming.

Who am I?

For me, books have always been an incredible way to escape, most especially when life is overwhelming. I read books as an escape when I was young, and now as an author, I write books to escape as well. My favorite books to escape into always include heart pounding adventure, fantastical magic, and characters I wish I could know in real life. These are the sorts of books I write; ones that give readers the chance to exist as someone else in another place, perhaps go on a wild adventure. My hope as an author is that my books allow readers to leave their own world and their own worries behind.

Juliana's book list on fantasy to escape into when life is overwhelming

Juliana Brandt Why did Juliana love this book?

Set in a post-apocalyptic world where the last human left alive is a young boy, Fisher, this dystopian, fast-paced adventure story lets us glimpse a future where people tried...and failed...to save humanity. Determined to find out what happened, Fisher heads out on a wild journey with his robot, Click. This is one of the most unexpectedly laugh-out-loud middle grade novels I’ve ever read, and it combines the hilarity with incredible action scenes and a truly creepy “bad guy.” I devoured it in one sitting—this is a book I wish I could read for the first time again.

By Greg Van Eekhout,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Boy at the End of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

This is what he knew:


His name was Fisher.


The world was dangerous.


And he was alone.


Fisher is the last boy on Earth - and things are not looking good for the human race. The carefully crafted survival dome where Fisher and dozens of other humans have been sleeping for millenia has been destroyed. Through a lucky accident, only Fisher survived.


The world Fisher wakes up in is a lot like ours - but it's changed, too. After the human race wiped itself out, nature took over, and wild creatures evolved into barely familiar beasts. Fisher must face them…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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