82 books like Girlfriend on Mars

By Deborah Willis,

Here are 82 books that Girlfriend on Mars fans have personally recommended if you like Girlfriend on Mars. 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 Dark and Other Love Stories

Yvesdot Author Of Something's Not Right

From my list on LGBT-friendly SFF you absolutely should read.

Why am I passionate about this?

It took me far too long to realize that I, childhood absorber of all things fantastical, counted as an SFF fan; all the books I saw listed as “popular” or “classic” SFF were cis/het white dude parties. But SFF at its best uses the fantastical as metaphor for the mundane; imagines better (or worse) worlds; does something different, in screaming color! Who can do that better than the books lost on the fringes? To that end, I’ve organized this list based on rough reverse popularity, so if you don’t find something new by the beginning, you’ll almost certainly get it by the end. Happy reading!

Yvesdot's book list on LGBT-friendly SFF you absolutely should read

Yvesdot Why did Yvesdot love this book?

This final book is the catalyst for my own: the book that, resting in my hands at the library, made me realize that I could just do this. If I loved reading short stories so much, if I so deeply enjoyed reading about gay girls with horses and game show contestants going to Mars, why couldn’t someone love my own body of work, transsexually languishing in my Google Drive? There can never be enough praise for The Dark, which delivers tonally consistent and individually unique stories that glue me to my seat every time. A big thank you to Deborah Willis, and to whoever put her book on hold that day I was volunteering at the library: I loved her work, and it inspired me to put mine out there. 

By Deborah Willis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dark and Other Love Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The characters in these thirteen masterful and engaging stories exist on the edge of danger, where landscapes melt into dreamscapes and every house is haunted. A drug dealer's girlfriend signs up for the first manned mission to Mars. A girl falls in love with a man who wants to turn her into a bird. A teenaged girl and her best friend test their relationship by breaking into suburban houses. A wife finds a gaping hole in the floor of the home she shares with her husband, a hole that only she can see. Full of longing and strange humor, these…


Book cover of Moving Mars

Bruce Balfour, PhD Author Of The Forge of Mars

From my list on science fiction about Mars colonization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I read every science fiction novel I could get when I was a kid. My worldview was shaped by Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, and other SF novelists. I want my readers to feel that same “sense of wonder.” I was fortunate to have been exposed to these big ideas early on because they got me interested in artificial intelligence, space colonization, and Big Science – resulting in my computer science work at NASA-Ames Research Center in the 1980s. My fiction and computer games also draw on these concepts, including my hard SF novels: The Forge of Mars, The Digital Dead (sequel to The Forge of Mars), and Prometheus Road, among others. 

Bruce's book list on science fiction about Mars colonization

Bruce Balfour, PhD Why did Bruce love this book?

What if you have an established culture on Mars in 2171 that wants to be independently governed? What if Mars develops a powerful new technology linking human brains to the most advanced AI ever built, giving them almost magical powers of teleportation? I like this book because it’s another great example of how to make advanced technologies and social developments believable through a small number of character perspectives. Arthur C. Clarke said that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” and I appreciate how this novel was able to accomplish that. As a social scientist, I also appreciate the political aspects of this world as shown through the female lead, who starts as a young student protestor for Martian independence and evolves into a seasoned politician.

By Greg Bear,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


She is a daughter of one of Mars's oldest, most conservative Binding Multiples--the extended family syndicates that colonized the red planet. But Casseia Majumdar has a dream of an independent Mars, born in the student protests of 2171. During those brief days of idealism she forged bonds of friendship and hatred that set the stage for an astonishing war or revolution on Mars.


Book cover of The Lady Astronaut of Mars

Daniel Robledo Author Of Cages of the Soul

From my list on speculative short stories about life.

Why am I passionate about this?

Life is a complex matter, and so sometimes you need a few aliens, werewolves, and dragons in order to make sense of it. From struggling with one’s career, to finding your identity, to finding forgiveness in myself, I’ve struggled with a lot in life, and these are all things that I tackle in my stories, because in addition to being entertaining, I also believe that what we read should also be insightful.

Daniel's book list on speculative short stories about life

Daniel Robledo Why did Daniel love this book?

The Lady Astronaut of Mars takes place in a science fictional world, but like all the best sci-fi, it knows to keep its focus on its characters. There are no hour-long passages about future technologies or scientific theory. Instead it uses its setting to tell a human story about the missed opportunities in life and about growing old. Second chances are rare, and sometimes the decision about what to do isn’t so clear, but The Lady Astronaut of Mars reminded me that more often than not, experiences are worth having.

By Mary Robinette Kowal,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner: 2014 Hugo Award for Best Novelette

Thirty years ago, Elma York led the expedition that paved the way to life on Mars. For years she's been longing to go back up there, to once more explore the stars. But there are few opportunities for an aging astronaut, even the famous Lady Astronaut of Mars. When her chance finally comes, it may be too late. Elma must decide whether to stay with her sickening husband in what will surely be the final years of his life, or to have her final adventure and plunge deeper into the well of space.…


Book cover of Exploration and Engineering: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Quest for Mars

Janet Vertesi Author Of Shaping Science: Organizations, Decisions, and Culture on NASA's Teams

From my list on NASA and space exploration, from a human perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

Also known as “Margaret Mead among the Starfleet,” I’m a Princeton professor who has been embedded with NASA missions for two decades as a social scientist. I’ve observed missions to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, and beyond; consulted with NASA as a sociological expert; and written two books, with a third on the way. Growing up, I always loved science and technology, but not just for the ideas: for the people behind the findings, the passion they bring to their work, and the ways in which culture and politics play a role in how science gets done. Writing about this, I hope to humanize science and make it accessible for everyday readers.

Janet's book list on NASA and space exploration, from a human perspective

Janet Vertesi Why did Janet love this book?

If this book were episodes of Friends, it would include The One Where They Landed On Mars Before the Internet Was Invented, The One Where They Mixed Up English and Metric Units, The One Where A Lander Became A Crasher, and The One Where Everyone Fell In Love with Cute Robots.

Conway is the official JPL historian, so he has unprecedented access to the archives and the people behind NASA’s ongoing quest for Mars, and he lays each mission out with its political stakes and highs and lows in painstaking and rich detail. Reading this book reminds me that exploration is just as much about the people as it is about the machines.

By Erik M. Conway,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Although the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has become synonymous with the United States' planetary exploration during the past half century, its most recent focus has been on Mars. Beginning in the 1990s and continuing through the Mars Phoenix mission of 2007, JPL led the way in engineering an impressive, rapidly evolving succession of Mars orbiters and landers, including roving robotic vehicles whose successful deployment onto the Martian surface posed some of the most complicated technical problems in space flight history. In Exploration and Engineering, Erik M. Conway reveals how JPL engineers' creative technological feats led to major breakthroughs…


Book cover of Grandmas From Mars

Lynda Pilon Author Of The Sleepover

From my list on funny stories about grandchildren and grandparents.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved being around children, first as a primary school teacher, then as a parent and now as a grandma. The love, laughter, humour, and fun that I share with my grandkids keep me young in mind, body, and soul. My story is about the wonderful adventures we have. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the world through the eyes of a child and I am enjoying every minute of it.

Lynda's book list on funny stories about grandchildren and grandparents

Lynda Pilon Why did Lynda love this book?

I love this crazy, silly book. The plot will captivate the children’s attention as there are so many twists and turns throughout the story. Are the grandmas really grandmas or are they aliens? How will they solve this mystery? The use of rhyme adds to the flow and humour of the tale. Illustrations are imaginative and off the wall funny. The ending is priceless. I think there definitely should be a sequel.

By Michelle Robinson, Fred Blunt (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fred and Nell's grandma is babysitting and the kids couldn't be happier. But hang on, there's something not quite right about her. In fact, she's acting very strangely indeed. And is that a spare eyeball? A tail? A striped tongue? That's NOT their grandma; it's an alien ... RUUUUUUN!

Find out how Fred and Nell overcome the invasion by grandmas from Mars (and get their own grandma back!) in this completely crazy and brilliantly bonkers, fun and irreverent picture book from the talented Michelle Robinson, with illustrations by rising star Fred Blunt.


Book cover of The Mars Challenge: The Past, Present, and Future of Human Spaceflight

David Hitt Author Of Homesteading Space: The Skylab Story

From my list on for a graphic novel exploration of space.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was five years old, my father sat down with me in front of the television and we watched together as the Space Shuttle Columbia launched for the first time. Four decades later, I’ve authored a history of those early shuttle missions, been a part of developing future space missions, and, most importantly of all, watched several space firsts with my own son. Space exploration is humanity at its greatest – working together using the best of our abilities to overcome incredible challenges and improve life here on Earth – and I’m always grateful for the opportunity to share that inspiration with others.

David's book list on for a graphic novel exploration of space

David Hitt Why did David love this book?

The first three books on this list are focused on the history of space exploration; The Mars Challenge is all about the future. Told us a conversation between an ambitious student and a more experienced space professional mentor, The Mars Challenge explores just that – the numerous challenges humanity will have to overcome before we can take the first steps on the Red Planet. In doing so, it threads a needle brilliantly – doing justice to the complexity of these challenges, but presenting them in a way that a lay reader can understand. The book is perfect for inspiring the next generation of explorers, and provides a fun read for adults who’d like an overview of the challenges of space.

By Alison Wilgus, Wyeth Yates (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nadia is a teenager with a dream: to be the first woman on Mars. But there are a lot of obstacles in her way: gravity wells, interplanetary trajectories, space weather, and that pesky rocket equation. It's a good thing Nadia's friend Eleanor is a space wiz.

Eleanor explains how scientists are working to overcome the numerous challenges involved in a manned mission to Mars. Eye-catching illustrations and detailed diagrams bring to light the scientific concepts and complex machinery of interplanetary travel. The challenges are great, but not insurmountable. Humans can reach Mars in our lifetime, and this book explains how…


Book cover of The Machineries of Joy: Short Stories

Harrison Demchick Author Of Reptiles: A Short Story

From my list on short horror stories on why my brain works this way.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm perhaps the inevitable result of a lifetime spent on a steady diet of magical realism, literary fiction, science-fiction, and Spider-Man comics. Fortunately I’ve been able to channel my simultaneous loves of storytelling and structure into a life as a developmental editor. And where my own work is concerned, I’ve been able to do a lot of those things my childhood self might have hoped for: a novel in The Listeners, a feature film in Ape Canyon, and a litany of strange and usually distressing short stories. These days I do those things from my Washington, D.C. apartment with my wife and our two cats with a combined seven legs.

Harrison's book list on short horror stories on why my brain works this way

Harrison Demchick Why did Harrison love this book?

"The One Who Waits," one of my favorite stories in this collection, would be regarded more commonly as science fiction, as it takes place during an Earth expedition to Mars. But Ray Bradbury’s story also pioneers the classic horror trope of a small group of people falling one by one to a mysterious creature they cannot see—and with a means of disguise highly imaginative, beautifully written, and fundamentally terrifying. Bradbury is a phenomenal writer and it’s difficult to recommend any one story without feeling certain you’ve dropped the ball in not recommending another--you really can't go wrong with this entire collection--but the quick, clever, nuanced "The One Who Waits" is one of the best sci-fi/horror hybrids ever written.

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Machineries of Joy Short Stories


Book cover of Double Star

Robbie Sheerin Author Of Tales From Another Dimension: A Sci-Fi Collection

From my list on sci-fi from the 1950s.

Why am I passionate about this?

For many people, reading has been a lifesaver for their mental health. I didn't begin reading until my 20s. But I wish I had had those windows into other realities when I was younger. Having a difficult childhood molds our adult lives, and therefore we can still be haunted by childhood memories. Reading can help us see other worlds and other people, and it can ignite our imagination. Growing up in a small fishing town in Scotland is the perfect backdrop for imagination, with coastlines lined with dark, boisterous waters and castles steeped in battles, folklore, and intrigues of the past. All this has given way to my writing. 

Robbie's book list on sci-fi from the 1950s

Robbie Sheerin Why did Robbie love this book?

Double Star was particularly interesting to me due to the human aspect of prejudice and egotism, something we see every day by our fellow man.

It explores the barrier of one man’s constant pushback of what he believes is below him, or disgusting to him; aliens and political ideologies. I believe there is a fundamental goodness in all of us, and if the dust and grim of our unsavory human traits can be scrapped away, that goodness can bleed through.

The main character in Double Star must presume the identity of a man he has nothing in common with, both in life and principles, yet he plays the part perfectly. This is also a great read for non-sci-fi fans.  

By Robert A Heinlein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One minute, down-and-out actor Lorenzo Smythe was - as usual - in a bar, drinking away his troubles as he watched his career go down the tubes. Then a space pilot bought him a drink, and the next thing Smythe knew, he was shanghaied to Mars.

Suddenly he found himself agreeing to the most difficult role of his career: impersonating an important politician who had been kidnapped. Peace with the Martians was at stake - failure to pull off the act could result in interplanetary war. And Smythe's own life was on the line - for if he wasn't assassinated,…


Book cover of Red Mars

Perry Kivolowitz Author Of Get Off My L@wn: How a Computer Geek and His Wife Survived the Zombie Apocalypse

From my list on inspiring depressing books Science Fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Science Fiction can explore many themes, including relationships, philosophy, politics, and more. While this is common to many genres, SF is unique in that it also focuses on science-based “what ifs.” What if we could travel to distant stars? What if we could visit the past? The theme of “what if” hinges upon the forward progress of science. This explores the realm of the possible… a realm for which I am passionate.

Perry's book list on inspiring depressing books Science Fiction

Perry Kivolowitz Why did Perry love this book?

Another work spanning more than a hundred years and featuring many rich characters, crises, and drama, the Mars Trilogy makes a great summer read. At a little more than 1600 pages, the trilogy is like three seasons of a really engrossing television series.

The trilogy contains ample portions of science, science fiction, politics, and explorations of the human condition. There’s even some boom-boom for those who like a few explosions in their stories. Like my other preferences, there’s little “magic” in the Trilogy’s universe; instead, things mostly make sense after accepting a couple of assumptions. The richness of the characters really stood out for me, helped by the fact that the characters, by and large, experience long lifetimes!

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Red Mars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first novel in Kim Stanley Robinson's massively successful and lavishly praised Mars trilogy. 'The ultimate in future history' Daily Mail

Mars - the barren, forbidding planet that epitomises mankind's dreams of space conquest.

From the first pioneers who looked back at Earth and saw a small blue star, to the first colonists - hand-picked scientists with the skills necessary to create life from cold desert - Red Mars is the story of a new genesis.

It is also the story of how Man must struggle against his own self-destructive mechanisms to achieve his dreams: before he even sets foot…


Book cover of The War of the Worlds

David E. Gates Author Of The Wretched

From my list on horror books that changed my life and could change yours.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved horror since my early teens, when I first discovered The Rats and Lair and other horror stories by James Herbert. The thing I like about horror, in particular, is that there are no holds barred, no censorship, as to what can be written. I grew up on movies like The Exorcist, Friday the 13th, Jaws, Alien, The Thing, etc., but horror writing takes you deeper and gives a more visceral experience than anything any film can do.

David's book list on horror books that changed my life and could change yours

David E. Gates Why did David love this book?

This book is why I became an author. 

I started reading this book in class at school, when I was around thirteen years of age. The class read the first two chapters, and I was so enamoured with it I couldn't wait to get home and read it. I read it in its entirety that very night. I found the language and description used within it quite breathtaking. I couldn't wait to read the next chapter. It had a lasting effect on me and led me to start writing my own stories down. 

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

But planet Earth was not only being watched - soon it would be invaded by monstrous creatures from Mars who strode about the land in great mechanical tripods, bringing death and destruction with them. What can possibly stop an invading army equipped with heat-rays and poisonous black gas, intent on wiping out the human race? This is one man's story of that incredible invasion, from the time the first Martians land near his home town, to the destruction of London. Is this the end of human life on Earth?


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