67 books like In the Ocean of Night

By Gregory Benford,

Here are 67 books that In the Ocean of Night fans have personally recommended if you like In the Ocean of Night. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Marooned

Allen Steele Author Of Coyote

From my list on lost classics of space science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Okay, so you’ve read Dune, you’ve read Starship Troopers, you’ve read 2001: A Space Odyssey, and maybe you’ve even read From Earth to the Moon and The First Men in the Moon. Seen the movies, too (or maybe you cheat and say you’ve read the books when you’ve only seen the flicks). Bet you think that makes you an expert on science fiction about space, right? Not even close! If you want to read more than just the well-known classics everyone else has, find these books. Some have become obscure and are now out of print, but they’re not hard to find; try ABE, eBay, and local second-hand bookstores. They’re worth searching for, and then you’ll really have something to talk about.

Allen's book list on lost classics of space science fiction

Allen Steele Why did Allen love this book?

Okay, so you’ve read Dune, you’ve read Starship Troopers, you’ve read 2001: A Space Odyssey, and maybe you’ve even read From Earth to the Moon and The First Men in the Moon. Seen the movies, too (or maybe you cheat and say you’ve read the books when you’ve only seen the flicks). Bet you think that makes you an expert on science fiction about space, right? Not even close! If you want to read more than just the well-known classics everyone else has, find these books. Some have become obscure and are now out of print, but they’re not hard to find; try ABE, eBay, and local second-hand bookstores. They’re worth searching for, and then you’ll really have something to talk about.

This high-tech thriller about three astronauts stuck in Earth orbit aboard an Apollo spacecraft (in an earlier version, it was about one astronaut in a…

By Martin Caidin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Source for exciting movie of the same name, starring Gregory Peck.


Book cover of Beyond Apollo

Allen Steele Author Of Coyote

From my list on lost classics of space science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Okay, so you’ve read Dune, you’ve read Starship Troopers, you’ve read 2001: A Space Odyssey, and maybe you’ve even read From Earth to the Moon and The First Men in the Moon. Seen the movies, too (or maybe you cheat and say you’ve read the books when you’ve only seen the flicks). Bet you think that makes you an expert on science fiction about space, right? Not even close! If you want to read more than just the well-known classics everyone else has, find these books. Some have become obscure and are now out of print, but they’re not hard to find; try ABE, eBay, and local second-hand bookstores. They’re worth searching for, and then you’ll really have something to talk about.

Allen's book list on lost classics of space science fiction

Allen Steele Why did Allen love this book?

In contrast to Marooned (and, in fact, just about every other SF space novel of the ’60s and ’70s) is this short and very dark masterpiece. The first winner of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, this novel about the aftermath of a doomed mission to Venus is Malzberg’s dark answer to the over-optimistic view of space exploration that was prevalent in the post-Apollo period, and a stark reminder that the universe is an unforgiving and dangerous place.

By Barry N. Malzberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Two astronauts travel on the first manned expedition to the planet Venus. When the mission is mysteriously aborted and the ship returns to Earth, the Captain is missing and the First Officer, Harry M. Evans, can't explain what happened. Under psychiatric evaluation and interrogation, Evans provides conflicting accounts of the Captain's disappearance, incriminating both himself and lethal Venusian forces in the Captain's murder. As the explanations pyramid and the supervising psychiatrist's increasingly desperate efforts to get a straight story falter, Evans' condition and his inability to tell the "truth" present terrifying expressions of humanity's incompetence, the politics of space exploration,…


Book cover of The Descent of Anansi

Allen Steele Author Of Coyote

From my list on lost classics of space science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Okay, so you’ve read Dune, you’ve read Starship Troopers, you’ve read 2001: A Space Odyssey, and maybe you’ve even read From Earth to the Moon and The First Men in the Moon. Seen the movies, too (or maybe you cheat and say you’ve read the books when you’ve only seen the flicks). Bet you think that makes you an expert on science fiction about space, right? Not even close! If you want to read more than just the well-known classics everyone else has, find these books. Some have become obscure and are now out of print, but they’re not hard to find; try ABE, eBay, and local second-hand bookstores. They’re worth searching for, and then you’ll really have something to talk about.

Allen's book list on lost classics of space science fiction

Allen Steele Why did Allen love this book?

A near-future space thriller, about a revolution by an orbital space colony against the governments of Earth that seek to keep it under their control, is a fast-moving blend of action, politics, and speculation. Read this and see the sort of vision of humanity’s future in space that captivated people’s imaginations at the dawn of the Space Shuttle era.

By Larry Niven, Steven Barnes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tells the story of a spaceship attacked by pirates.


Book cover of Starfarers

Allen Steele Author Of Coyote

From my list on lost classics of space science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Okay, so you’ve read Dune, you’ve read Starship Troopers, you’ve read 2001: A Space Odyssey, and maybe you’ve even read From Earth to the Moon and The First Men in the Moon. Seen the movies, too (or maybe you cheat and say you’ve read the books when you’ve only seen the flicks). Bet you think that makes you an expert on science fiction about space, right? Not even close! If you want to read more than just the well-known classics everyone else has, find these books. Some have become obscure and are now out of print, but they’re not hard to find; try ABE, eBay, and local second-hand bookstores. They’re worth searching for, and then you’ll really have something to talk about.

Allen's book list on lost classics of space science fiction

Allen Steele Why did Allen love this book?

Before writing this little gem, the author produced some of the most notable Star Trek novelizations. Then she decided to create her own version of Star Trek and do the stuff she couldn’t do there. The first volume of a series, it kicks things off when the science crew of the good ship Starfarer, upon learning that their brand-new ship is about to be turned over to the military and become a warship, decides to take matters in their own hands and hijack their own starship. Space adventure at its best. 

By Vonda N. McIntyre,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the first in the Starfarers series of novels, the commander of the Starfarer spacecraft, scientist Victoria MacKenzie, must battle her own commanders on Earth to keep on her mission to find extraterrestrial life. Reissue.


Book cover of The Mote in God's Eye

Darrell Keifer Author Of A Hope in Hell

From my list on science fiction books for grown-ups.

Why am I passionate about this?

Science fiction for grownups not only means avoiding magic and supernatural elements but grounding the stories’ “what-ifs” in hard science and/or narrative anthropology. When we (readers) are invited to a story, we come with a willing suspension of disbelief, and I have as strong a suspension of disbelief as anyone—what if dinosaurs could be grown from ancient DNA, or what if an asteroid struck the earth? However, the ground rules of what-ifs should be laid out and should not include a sweeping suspension of the laws of physics, nature, and common sense. So, no hundred-and-ten-pound woman, with toothpick arms and dressed in cleavage-revealing spandex, beating up twelve burly guys.

Darrell's book list on science fiction books for grown-ups

Darrell Keifer Why did Darrell love this book?

I loved the complex plot structure and the moral questions!

Earth discovers a sentient civilization with the potential to surpass our own. But the aliens are trapped in a solar system that they cannot escape without Earth’s faster-than-light technology. How should Earth respond? 

What would I do in that situation? 

By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mote in God's Eye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Aliens - Moties - were first contacted in AD3017 in the region of space known as the Coalsack. The eponymous mote in his eye, which has winked out, much to the distress of pious Himmists, just might have been Motie laser light. It might even indicate the position of their home planet.


Book cover of Proxima

Ian J. Miller Author Of Red Gold

From my list on sci-fi consistent with scientific principles.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a boy I was fascinated by stories about going to other planets, which has persisted even though I became a research chemist who wished to understand. I am curious where society will go, and some of my SF books strongly suggest what not to do if we go there. With my writing, I want to entertain, but leave the reader with something to think about. I hope this list will show the writing I enjoy, and maybe you will too.

Ian's book list on sci-fi consistent with scientific principles

Ian J. Miller Why did Ian love this book?

The fifth book on my list was a difficult choice; so many to exclude. I chose this because it is about the colonization of an alien world, in this case one tidally locked to a red dwarf. The description of the planet is good, although it begs the question of why the atmosphere did not freeze out on the dark side. I was struck by the highlighting of some of the sociological problems of colonizing such a strange world. It touches on the scientific aspects, the sociological aspects of being that far from home, and the economic issues. There is also a good story; I found it both entertaining and imaginative.

By Stephen Baxter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How would you survive on a planet that doesn't spin?

An awe-inspiring Planetary Romance from Terry Pratchett's co-author on the Long Earth Books

The very far future: The Galaxy is a drifting wreck of black holes, neutron stars, chill white dwarfs. The age of star formation is long past. Yet there is life here, feeding off the energies of the stellar remnants, and there is mind, a tremendous Galaxy-spanning intelligence each of whose thoughts lasts a hundred thousand years. And this mind cradles memories of a long-gone age when a more compact universe was full of light ...

The 27th…


Book cover of Childhood's End

Craig A. Falconer Author Of Not Alone

From my list on how things will change when the aliens show up.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always had a longstanding interest in space, and particularly in aliens. In researching my breakthrough novel Not Alone, I extensively read as much nonfiction content on the topic as I could find, including governmental-backed scenario analyses of how things might actually play out in a contact or invasion scenario. Naturally, I have also read widely in the sci-fi genre for my own pleasure, with most of my interest in this specific topic.

Craig's book list on how things will change when the aliens show up

Craig A. Falconer Why did Craig love this book?

This was the first major alien arrival novel I read. I recall being awestruck by Arthur C. Clarke’s masterful mixing of incisive storytelling and a deep sense of grandeur.

The Overlords are hugely memorable, but it was the exploration of human identity that had the biggest effect on me. The story endures as a classic for a very good reason.

By Arthur C. Clarke,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Childhood's End as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Arthur C. Clarke's classic in which he ponders humanity's future and possible evolution

When the silent spacecraft arrived and took the light from the world, no one knew what to expect. But, although the Overlords kept themselves hidden from man, they had come to unite a warring world and to offer an end to poverty and crime. When they finally showed themselves it was a shock, but one that humankind could now cope with, and an era of peace, prosperity and endless leisure began.

But the children of this utopia dream strange dreams of distant suns and alien planets, and…


Book cover of The Gods Themselves

Keith Stevenson Author Of Traitor's Run

From my list on novels written from an alien perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

Aliens have fascinated me since childhood. The idea of living on an alien planet with different biology, social structures, and ways of thinking has to be the ultimate act of imagination. Authors use aliens to highlight and interrogate aspects of humanity or to explore different ways of living, and the best alien novels invite me to inhabit the skin of an alien and open my mind to new thoughts and perspectives. As a science fiction writer, these stories inspire me to be more creative in my own flights of imagination. Here are five of the best alien science fiction novels to help you share my journey into the truly alien.

Keith's book list on novels written from an alien perspective

Keith Stevenson Why did Keith love this book?

Isaac Asimov rarely wrote about aliens, but this Hugo and Nebula award-winning novel contains an astounding thought experiment, not only imagining a truly alien species but placing them in a different universe with different physical laws from our own.

I first read this novel as a teenager and was blown away by Asimov’s ability to make me understand and care about the fate of such vastly different alien creatures that possessed three distinct sexes and derived their life energy from photosynthesis.

The fact that the novel inextricably links the fate of these creatures with the fate of our own universe gave me a greater appreciation of how truly diverse life can be. A fact–along with the lessons I learned from the other novels listed here–that continues to inform my own writing on aliens and alien cultures. 

By Issac Asimov,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the year 2100, the invention of the Electron Pump - an apparently inexhaustible supply of free energy - has enabled humanity to devote its time and energies to more than the struggle for survival, finally breaking free of the Earth.

But the Electron Pump works by exchanging materials with a parallel universe, and such unbalancing of the cosmos has consequences. Humans and aliens alike must race to prevent a vast nuclear explosion in the heart of the Sun - and the vaporisation of the Earth exactly eight minutes later ...


Book cover of Star Trek: Picard: Rogue Elements

Bernd Perplies Author Of Star Trek Prometheus: Fire with Fire

From my list on Star Trek novels that will warp you into hyperspace.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a Star Trek fan and storyteller all my life. The first stories I wrote at school, the first Star Trek episodes I watched as The Next Generation debuted on German TV. Many years have gone by since then. I watched hundreds of Star Trek episodes and professionally penned dozens of fantasy and science fiction novels for children and adults, like Drachengasse 13 (“Dragon’s Alley 13”, not translated) or Der Drachenjaeger (“Black Leviathan,” Tor Books). The culmination of both being a fan and a writer came in 2016 when, with Star Trek: Prometheus, I was allowed to add my own small part to the ever-growing Star Trek literary universe.

Bernd's book list on Star Trek novels that will warp you into hyperspace

Bernd Perplies Why did Bernd love this book?

Honestly, I couldn’t put this book down. I read Rogue Elements during a summer vacation on a lovely North Sea island and I had to force myself to have a break and go out for some bicycling and beach fun.

John Jackson Miller just had me hooked with his tale of dashing (but also sad and often drunken) ex-Starfleet officer Cristóbal Rios – introduced in Star Trek: Picard – living through a hilarious adventure while at the same time trying to find a new purpose in life after being cashiered out of his career because of some fishy diplomatic affair.

Grumpy gangsters, a dangerous woman, strange new crew members, and the hunt for a secret treasure keep Rios on the run throughout the whole novel. 

By John Jackson Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A thrilling untold adventure based on the acclaimed Star Trek: Picard TV series!

Starfleet was everything for Cristobal Rios-until one horrible, inexplicable day when it all went wrong. Aimless and adrift, he grasps at a chance for a future as an independent freighter captain in an area betrayed by the Federation, the border region with the former Romulan Empire. His greatest desire: to be left alone.

But solitude isn't in the cards for the captain of La Sirena, who falls into debt to a roving gang of hoodlums from a planet whose society is based on Prohibition-era Earth. Teamed against…


Book cover of Solaris

Eric Kay Author Of Above Dark Waters

From my list on Sci-Fi mindbenders that will have you questioning everything.

Why am I passionate about this?

For twenty years, I have worked with the data dungeons of large corporations. A synergy of people, systems, and IT. An organism that no one designed but grew haphazardly over the years. A cybernetic system. I have been a database admin, analyst, and data visualizer, and most recently, I was employed as a data scientist for a large Fortune 500 corporation. There, I am currently researching how to use large language models and which business questions can tolerate the fuzzy answers and hallucinations they bring. Despite loving these mindbenders, most of my writing features strong themes of Exploration, Technology, and Optimism (ETO).

Eric's book list on Sci-Fi mindbenders that will have you questioning everything

Eric Kay Why did Eric love this book?

For a novel on the list, I have only read once, and a long time ago, I still keep thinking about this. It asks: Can we learn about the universe without first learning about ourselves?

It also goes into the limits of science. There are simply things science cannot tell us. The planet’s colloid sea is nonlinear, the math unsolvable, and the alien is potentially hostile. I choose to believe the planet is attempting to heal some deep-forgotten hurt of the narrator. What is the purpose of bringing up a disastrous relationship? To heal or learn? Or perhaps the alien is simply toying with them?

I read it soon after changing my life's trajectory and attempting to be more peaceful, creative, contemplative, and less frantic or consumptive. I need to read this again.

By Stanislaw Lem, Steve Cox (translator), Joanna Kilmartin (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface he is forced to confront a painful, hitherto unconscious memory embodied in the physical likeness of a long-dead lover. Others suffer from the same affliction and speculation rises among scientists that the Solaris ocean may be a massive brain that creates incarnate memories, but its purpose in doing so remains a mystery . . .

Solaris raises a question that has been at the heart of human experience and literature for centuries: can we truly understand the universe around us without first understanding what…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in close encounters, asteroids, and extraterrestrial life?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about close encounters, asteroids, and extraterrestrial life.

Close Encounters Explore 52 books about close encounters
Asteroids Explore 14 books about asteroids
Extraterrestrial Life Explore 225 books about extraterrestrial life