10 books like Earth

By David Brin,

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

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Dune

By Frank Herbert,

Book cover of Dune

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

Dune

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

41 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…


American War

By Omar El Akkad,

Book cover of American War

As someone with strong American family roots, though I’m technically British, I was fascinated at school by the American Civil War. In part this interest was spurred by Margaret Mitchell’s extraordinary book Gone With The Wind, which I read in the school sanitorium while enduring a cataclysmic dose of chickenpox – but which serendipitously helped me get dazzling results in my History O-levels a few weeks later. Later, I read extensively around the subject, fascinated by Shelby Foote’s Civil War trilogy and by Ken Burns’ 1990 PBS series, Civil War. Which is a long way of building up to the reason I found American War so compelling. The central thesis is that, instead of falling out over slavery, this time the American states go to war over oil – amid attempts to rein in fossil fuels to tackle climate change. I think we are very much closer to…

American War

By Omar El Akkad,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Best Book of the Year: The Guardian, The Observer, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post.

2074. America's future is Civil War. Sarat's reality is survival. They took her father, they took her home, they told her lies . . .

She didn't start this war, but she'll end it.

Omar El Akkad's powerful debut novel imagines a dystopian future: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague and one family caught deep in the middle. In American War, we're asked to consider what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and…


The Wandering Earth

By Cixin Liu,

Book cover of The Wandering Earth

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

The Wandering Earth

By Cixin Liu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NOW A #1 BLOCKBUSTING FILM.

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

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

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


The Ministry for the Future

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Book cover of The Ministry for the Future

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

The Ministry for the Future

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

ONE OF BARACK OBAMA’S FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR

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

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


Migrations

By Charlotte McConaghy,

Book cover of Migrations

Free-spirited Franny Lynch has spent a lifetime wandering away from those she loves — and circling back again and again. A mysterious tragedy prompts her to undertake the biggest journey of all when she joins the crew of the struggling Saghani, one of the last commercial fishing vessels still operating in the midst of the long-predicted global mass extinction of animals on land and in the oceans. Franny convinces the skeptical and superstitious captain to help her track the last migration of Arctic terns to Antarctica, the longest-known bird migration in the world. Franny’s mercurial nature elegantly unfolds over the course of the story, and the devastating ending offers only as much hope as we deserve about our lonely future on this planet.

Migrations

By Charlotte McConaghy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'An extraordinary novel... as beautiful and as wrenching as anything I've ever read' Emily St. John Mandel

A dark past. An impossible journey. The will to survive.

Franny Stone is determined to go to the end of the earth, following the last of the Arctic terns on what may be their final migration to Antarctica.

As animal populations plummet, Franny talks her way onto one of the few remaining boats heading south. But as she and the eccentric crew travel further from shore and safety, the dark secrets of Franny's life begin to unspool.

Haunted by love and violence, Franny…


How Beautiful We Were

By Imbolo Mbue,

Book cover of How Beautiful We Were

What does environmental racism look like? Read How Beautiful We Were by Imobolo Mbue for a vital, searing answer. An American oil company is destroying the land and water of the fictional village of Kosawa. Children are dying. The company does this because they can, spouting only empty words about restitution. The novel narrates the village’s fight back, using alternating points of view to electric, pulsing effect.

How Beautiful We Were

By Imbolo Mbue,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked How Beautiful We Were as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A PEN/FAULKNER AWARD FINALIST

'Sweeping and quietly devastating' New York Times
'A David and Goliath story for our times' O, the Oprah Magazine

Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, this is the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of clean-up and financial reparations are made - and broken. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. But it will come at a steep price - one which generation after generation…


How Did We Get Into This Mess?

By George Monbiot,

Book cover of How Did We Get Into This Mess?: Politics, Equality, Nature

Politics, nature, society, identity, money, work, energy...Monbiot doesn't only touch a whole lot, I almost always agree with him. This selection of his best essays is like a box full of brain candy and one should treat it accordingly: do not swallow it all in one go. In one of his small-group talking rounds right after a big lecture, I witnessed his never appease-able hunger to bounce ideas off, get to the bottom of things, identify flaws in assumptions that most of us didn't even know we had. Monbiot doesn't allow social or political conventions to get in his way. His goal is clear: unpacking the reality of the world of today, no matter how dark this needs to be. 

How Did We Get Into This Mess?

By George Monbiot,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Did We Get Into This Mess? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Leading political and environmental commentator on where we have gone wrong, and what to do about it " Without countervailing voices, naming and challenging power, political freedom withers and dies. Without countervailing voices, a better world can never materialise. Without countervailing voices, wells will still be dug and bridges will still be built, but only for the few. Food will still be grown, but it will not reach the mouths of the poor. New medicines will be developed, but they will be inaccessible to many of those in need. " George Monbiot is one of the most vocal, and eloquent,…


Facing the Climate Emergency

By Margaret Klein Salamon, Molly Gage,

Book cover of Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth

I found this book to be an inspiring and practical self-help book for the 21st century, challenging us to overcome denial about the global climate emergency and honor our grief, fear, and anger, so we can better take part in the urgently needed transformation of our society and economy.

Facing the Climate Emergency

By Margaret Klein Salamon, Molly Gage,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Face the truth of climate change, accept your fears, and become the hero that humanity needs.

Facing the Climate Emergency gives people the tools to confront the climate emergency, face their negative emotions, and channel them into protecting humanity and the natural world.

As the climate crisis accelerates toward the collapse of civilization and the natural world, people everywhere are feeling deep pain about ecological destruction and their role in it. Yet we are often paralyzed by fear. Help is at hand.

Drawing on facts about the climate, tenets of psychological theory, information about the climate emergency movement and elements…


The Mushroom at the End of the World

By Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing,

Book cover of The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins

This is an academic book, but it's beautifully written, and not too, too jargony. Tsing does a kind of commodity ethnography, embedding herself in multiple parts of the lifecycle of the Matsutake Mushroom trade, while depicting the worlds of pickers, restauranteurs, mushroom traders and auctioneers, nature guides, and more. She also weaves in a critique of capitalist markets in which these kinds of natural entities now are embedded, which I dig! 

The Mushroom at the End of the World

By Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Mushroom at the End of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What a rare mushroom can teach us about sustaining life on a fragile planet

Matsutake is the most valuable mushroom in the world-and a weed that grows in human-disturbed forests across the Northern Hemisphere. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing's account of these sought-after fungi offers insights into areas far beyond just mushrooms and addresses a crucial question: What manages to live in the ruins we have made? The Mushroom at the End of the World explores the unexpected corners of matsutake commerce, where we encounter Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, Finnish nature guides, and more. These companions lead us into…


Half-Earth

By Edward O. Wilson,

Book cover of Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life

EO Wilson died just a few weeks ago, at the age of 92. It was a sad day for me, as he has always been one of my great heroes. “E.O.” was a fantastic scientist, a world authority on ants, and sometimes known as the “father of biodiversity”. In this book, he argues that we have no right to drive millions of species extinct and that our own future depends upon setting aside half the Earth for nature.    

Half-Earth

By Edward O. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Half-Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

History is not a prerogative of the human species, Edward O. Wilson declares in Half-Earth. Demonstrating that we blindly ignore the histories of millions of other species, Wilson warns us that a point of no return is imminent. Refusing to believe that our extinction is predetermined, Wilson has written Half-Earth as a cri de coeur, proposing that the only solution to our impending "Sixth Extinction" is to increase the area of natural reserves to half the surface of the earth. Half-Earth is a resounding conclusion to the best-selling trilogy begun by the "splendid" (Financial Times) The Social Conquest of Earth…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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