100 books like Brave New World

By Aldous Huxley,

Here are 100 books that Brave New World fans have personally recommended if you like Brave New World. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Road

By Cormac McCarthy,

Book cover of The Road

Peter Kalu Author Of One Drop

From the list on bleak urban futures that give you a sense of hope.

Who am I?

I spent most of my childhood hiding under the table reading science fiction and fantasy books to avoid having to communicate with the weird people claiming to be my family up in the world above. After a while, the local library turned me away saying they had no more books left on those shelves, so I started writing my own. I like a mix of urban themes like in Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and dystopias like George Orwell’s 1984. That said, I love most futurist novels that have a love story at their centre, because despite everything I’m a romantic.

Peter's book list on bleak urban futures that give you a sense of hope

Why did Peter love this book?

This is a straight whisky of a dystopian novel. The prose is stark, all bones, no flesh, and the story fizzes along with a simple ‘journey’ plot. What you get along the way is skeletal poetry, honed so finely, so sparsely, so skillfully.

The prose is stripped of ornamentation, floridity, anything that detracts from the deep magnetism of this father and son’s quest through a dystopian wilderness. You end the novel breathless, praying this scenario never comes to pass, and in awe of McCarthy’s storytelling skills.

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • A searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive, this "tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful" (San Francisco Chronicle).

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if…

The Dispossessed

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Book cover of The Dispossessed

Nick Fuller Googins Author Of The Great Transition

From the 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

Why did Nick love this book?

This is the grandmother of all great utopian fiction, my favorite science-fiction novel by my favorite science-fiction author, and the number-one source of inspiration for my book.

The novel opens on a moon (not ours) where a utopian anarchist society has long existed, but is now under threat from a host of antagonists on the mother planet. The novel is masterful because it is both enormous in scope (covering entire economies and political structures) but also extremely intimate (following one man, one relationship, one family).

The novel does not have to do with the climate crisis, or Earth, but I’m including it here because of the role it played in my writing; when I set out to write a climate crisis utopia, The Dispossessed was absolutely instrumental, offering me a blueprint on how to build tension and make a utopia personal. Most of all, it will give you so much…

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the very best must-read novels of all time - with a new introduction by Roddy Doyle

'A well told tale signifying a good deal; one to be read again and again' THE TIMES

'The book I wish I had written ... It's so far away from my own imagination, I'd love to sit at my desk one day and discover that I could think and write like Ursula Le Guin' Roddy Doyle

'Le Guin is a writer of phenomenal power' OBSERVER

The Principle of Simultaneity is a scientific breakthrough which will revolutionize interstellar civilization by making possible instantaneous…

The Gates of Rome

By Conn Iggulden,

Book cover of The Gates of Rome

Trevor P. Kwain Author Of The Wynnman and the Black Azalea

From the list on turning history upside down.

Who am I?

History is nearly always relegated to heavy tomes and stuffy museum rooms. Learning about our past seems no longer important, and we keep promoting it in such uncool and unsexy ways. I feel any of our histories, with either a capital or lower case ‘h’, whether focused on big world events or local life, deserve to be told in a special kind of way, with that sprinkle of “magic realism” only fiction authors can deliver. Alternative history, historical fiction, magic fabulism, they are the sides of the same dice creating new, different stories inspired by our collective memory of things that have happened. These books touch this topic so dear to me.

Trevor's book list on turning history upside down

Why did Trevor love this book?

Reliving the lives of two famous Romans in a new fictional light is what makes this five-book series a dazzling example of magical realism. The entire settings, that is Ancient Rome during the Republic, is real and has existed in the form it is presented. The characters, though, have taken on a more personal shape, independent from the historical image we know. Caesar and Brutus become larger-than-life characters, allowing more to be told about them, their feelings, their ambitions, and giving us a version of them we may never read in history books. We become closer to them, and try to understand them more as human beings engulfed by history rather than historical figures. It is an unparalleled humanisation of history through fiction.

By Conn Iggulden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The ultimate Rome story

From the spectacle of gladiatorial combat to the intrigue of the Senate, from the foreign wars that secure the power of the empire to the betrayals that threaten to tear it apart, this is the remarkable story of the man who would become the greatest Roman of them all: Julius Caesar.

In the city of Rome, a titanic power struggle is about to shake the Republic to its core. Citizen will fight citizen in a bloody conflict - and Julius Caesar, cutting his teeth in battle, will be in the thick of the action.

The first…


By Frank Herbert,

Book cover of Dune

Kim Alexander Author Of The Sand Prince

From the list on fantasy that make you feel like you’ve been there.

Who am I?

I’m a writer of epic fantasy and paranormal romance, and my obsession is writing about the fashion, food, language, and social politics of the worlds I create. World building is vital if you intend to create a lived-in backdrop for your story, but intricate, elaborate world building will only take you so far. You (the author) must have a cast of characters equally well developed. I’ve tried to take lessons away from every book I’ve read and every author I’ve interviewed and worked to balance characters to fall in love with against places that feel absolutely alive. Their joy/terror/love/hate/experience becomes the readers. It’s that combination that makes a book unforgettable.

Kim's book list on fantasy that make you feel like you’ve been there

Why did Kim love this book?

Well, I suppose a few words have been devoted to Dune already, but I’m going to chime in!

I read Dune the first time as a teenager, and found some of it (Paul’s adventures, everything to do with Jessica) exciting and engrossing. On the other hand, some of it I couldn’t puzzle out—mostly politics. Now, that’s my favorite part! Honestly, I got my first and most vital lesson in world building from Dune, and it remains a huge influence on my writing.

What does it smell like, this new world? What happens if you get caught outside in a storm? What do your clothes look like and do they mark you as an outsider? What do you eat and when? And so on, ad infinitum. And I loved the quotes that open the chapters, so much that I created my own book-within-a-book just so I could similarly quote it.

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

47 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…

Power vs. Force

By David R. Hawkins,

Book cover of Power vs. Force

Joe Contrera Author Of Extraordinary Results for Life: Discover Your Path to Be UN-ordinary

From the list on transforming your business and your life!.

Who am I?

For nearly 40 years, I have studied and written about blending the business world and the spiritual side of life together. By spiritual, I mean everything to do with our purpose and why we exist. I refer to this as being ALIVE @ WORK ®. We spend countless hours at work doing a j-o-b, when what we want most is knowing that we are making a difference in our lives and the lives of others. The key is taking 100% responsibility for our lives, knowing we have the power to change them in an instant. You will find this thread woven through all of my books and those I recommend.

Joe's book list on transforming your business and your life!

Why did Joe love this book?

This book was a game-changer in helping to understand how quantum physics interacts with human behavior. It is a dense book with a great amount of research and science. That said, the point of the book is to explain, in an easily understandable way, how the practice of applied kinesiology can help guide us through life’s journey to discover simple truths.

I was introduced to this book back in 2009, and it started me on an incredible journey toward a better understanding of how the world works. It was instrumental in helping me to develop a Leadership Model in my 3rd book.  

By David R. Hawkins,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Power vs. Force as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic text explores how we as individuals can move towards our ultimate potential through understanding human behaviour and enhancing our level of consciousness.

Building on the accumulated wisdom of applied kinesiology (diagnostic muscle-testing to determine the causes of allergies and ailments) and behavioural kinesiology (muscle-testing to determine emotional responses to stimuli), David R. Hawkins MD, PhD has taken muscle-testing to the next level, in an effort to determine what makes people and systems strong, healthy, effective and spiritually sound.

Power vs. Force has become a spiritual classic and massively influential across the world. Now, Dr Hawkins reflects on his…

Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury,

Book cover of Fahrenheit 451

James Bailey Blackshear Author Of The Last Day Before Forever

From the list on technological advances having a double-edged sword.

Who am I?

I have been hooked on fantastic tales since I picked up my first Marvel Comic book. I was in on the beginning of The Fantastic Four, Spiderman, and the Hulk. Gamma rays and human angst are a powerful combination, even for an eight-year-old. From there I gobbled up the Doc Savage series before moving on to more popular books like The Exorcist and The Godfather. I have been writing since I was ten. My first publication came decades later. Non-fiction works on the history of the Southwest. Yet recently I returned my to roots, rediscovering Bradbury, Dick, and Herbert. That is when the eight-year-old boy woke up and wrote The Last Day Before Forever. 

James' book list on technological advances having a double-edged sword

Why did James love this book?

In the dystopian future that Bradbury creates, technology has eliminated the need for books.

We are not smarter in this future without history or literature, in fact, we are dumber, relying on meaningless entertainment to fill the intellectual void created by the written word’s eradication. Many successful science fiction authors are masters of the craft of writing, but Bradbury is on another level.

His stark vision of the future is propelled by ordinary characters living in extraordinary times, with each setting painted with beautiful prose that is both prophetic and thought provoking. The Dewey Decimal System has no hold on where one can find literature in a bookstore, nor do the critics.

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Fahrenheit 451 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The hauntingly prophetic classic novel set in a not-too-distant future where books are burned by a special task force of firemen.

Over 1 million copies sold in the UK.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic…

A Clockwork Orange

By Anthony Burgess,

Book cover of A Clockwork Orange

Jane Gilmartin Author Of The Mirror Man

From the list on science fiction that use an invented drug.

Who am I?

When I wrote The Mirror Man, I found that I needed a “tool” that would allow me to work within the world I had created. Specifically, I needed a way for a person’s consciousness to be transferred into the empty mind of a clone. I created Meld (a nod to the Vulcan Mind Meld in Star Trek). The drug took on a life of its own. I devised different ways to use it, touched on illegal street use, and it grew to a larger societal presence in the novel. Meld also encapsulates the essence of what I was exploring: What would it feel like to see yourself exactly as others see you? 

Jane's book list on science fiction that use an invented drug

Why did Jane love this book?

This is the book that got me into Science Fiction in the first place and it remains, perhaps, my favorite novel. The setting is a near-future dystopian society where a subculture of young, roving gangs control the streets through extraordinarily violent antics (ultra-violence). This violent behavior is enhanced by “milk plus,” a drink laced with synthetic drugs available at the Korova Milk Bar, which is where we first encounter our main character, Alex, a 15-year-old gang leader.

When Alex is arrested for murder, he is selected to undergo an experimental therapy (The Ludovico Technique) designed to wean him off violent behavior forever, after which his sentence will be commuted. During these treatments, he is injected with (yet another) drug called Serum 114. This drug induces extreme nausea while he is made to watch horribly violent films. Utterly changed, Alex is released back onto the streets to a world in which…

By Anthony Burgess,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked A Clockwork Orange as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Anthony Burgess's influential nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, a teen who talks in a fantastically inventive slang that evocatively renders his and his friends' intense reaction against their society. Dazzling and transgressive, A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil and the meaning of human freedom. This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition, and Burgess's introduction, "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."

Jesus' Son

By Denis Johnson,

Book cover of Jesus' Son

Michael Keenan Gutierrez Author Of The Swill

From the list on bars where I'd like to get a drink.

Who am I?

I loved bars before I could drink. Maybe it was a steady diet of Cheers reruns as a child. Or perhaps it was growing up in Los Angeles, a city without a center, a city of cars, a city that seemed—at least when I was a child—to lack real community. Bars, in my imagination, provided that. So when I started actually finding myself in bars—and often working in them—I also found myself writing fiction, and those bars ended up in that fiction. In each of my novels, a bar is a gathering place for those wanting a church sans theology, a place, where, yes, everyone knows your name.  

Michael's book list on bars where I'd like to get a drink

Why did Michael love this book?

On any given day, this is my favorite book with one of my favorite bars, The Vine, a dive that Johnson describes as “like a railroad club car that had somehow run itself off the tracks into a swamp of time where it awaited the blows of the wrecking ball.” Is it a nice place? No. Would you take a date here? Not if you wanted them to respect you. Could you find yourself in mortal danger? Absolutely. But amongst the addicts and runaways, the small-time crooks and ne’er do wells, you’ll find moments of beauty that transcend the pain of everyday life, becoming, in its best moments, like reading scripture.

By Denis Johnson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Jesus' Son as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jesus' Son is a visionary chronicle of dreamers, addicts, and lost souls. These stories tell of spiralling grief and transcendence, of rock bottom and redemption, of getting lost and found and lost again. The narrator of these interlinked stories is a young, unnamed man, reeling from his addiction to heroin and alcohol, his mind at once clouded and made brilliantly lucid by these drugs. In the course of his adventures, he meets an assortment of people, who seem as alienated and confused as he; sinners, misfits, the lost, the damned, the desperate and the forgotten. Our of their bleak, seemingly…

Book cover of The Island of Doctor Moreau

Ben H. Winters Author Of The Bonus Room

From the 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

Why did Ben love this book?

Wells is one of the great early masters of science fiction, creator of The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds, but with Moreau he was also one of the masters of what David Cronenberg fans know as body horror—the gross, startling, and menacing intermingling of the human body with exterior elements.

In this case, pumas, pigs, you name it. With characters like Ape-Man and Sloth-Man, there is a definitely campiness here, but never enough to distract from the fact that it’s deeply, resonantly disturbing.  

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Island of Doctor Moreau as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Island of Doctor Moreau has inspired countless homages in literature, film and television.

The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood,

Book cover of The Handmaid's Tale

Rachel Lehmann-Haupt Author Of Reconceptions: Modern Relationships, Reproductive Science, and the Unfolding Future of Family

From the list on women’s relationship with technology and reproductive justice.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by the influence technology and science on culture and our lives, especially women’s lives. The history of women’s rights, in many ways, is a story of science and technology’s influence on women’s evolution towards having more freedom (and now less) to control our bodies. As a science writer, these themes influence many of the stories that I choose to read and tell, including both my books, In Her Own Sweet Time: Unexpected Adventures in Finding Love, Commitment and Motherhood and Reconceptions: Modern Relationships, Reproductive Science and the Unfolding Future of Family. I also love to read both fictional and non-fiction stories about the nuances of personal identity. 

Rachel's book list on women’s relationship with technology and reproductive justice

Why did Rachel love this book?

The Handmaid's Tale is a futuristic dystopian novel set in a near-future New England in a totalitarian patriarchal state known as the Republic of Gilead.

The leaders of Gilead have overthrown the United States government and placed all women of childbearing age in the role of handmaids, conceiving and giving birth for mothers of the ruling class. After the overturning of Roe v. Wade, this novel is an ominous reminder of the delicacy of a woman’s body sovereignty.

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

28 authors picked The Handmaid's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Go back to where it all began with the dystopian novel behind the award-winning TV series.

'As relevant today as it was when Atwood wrote it' Guardian

I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.

Offred is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed in the household of The Commander, Fred Waterford -…

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