100 books like Lock In

By John Scalzi,

Here are 100 books that Lock In fans have personally recommended if you like Lock In. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Klara and the Sun

Joseph Pitkin Author Of Exit Black

From my list on fantasy-science fiction books that explore class and inequality.

Why am I passionate about this?

My science fiction and fantasy writing is concerned with the values I was exposed to growing up. As a lifelong Quaker, I have struggled—often unsuccessfully—to live out Quakerism’s non-conformist, almost utopian commitment to equality, simplicity, peace, and community. Not only have I tried to bear witness to those values in my writing, but those ideals led me to my career as an instructor at a community college, one of America’s great socioeconomic leveling institutions. My background as a speculative fiction writer has also made me into a teacher of science fiction and fantasy literature at my college, where I read and came to love the books I recommend here. 

Joseph's book list on fantasy-science fiction books that explore class and inequality

Joseph Pitkin Why did Joseph love this book?

Haunting and beautiful, it gave me a new perspective on what science fiction can accomplish: Ishiguro’s book is subtle, humane, and deeply concerned with the troubles of the real world.

This story of Klara, an “artificial friend” purchased to keep a sick little girl company, takes up questions of eugenics, artificial intelligence, and, ultimately, what it means to be a human being.

Along the way, the book explores the gulf between economic and social classes with as much care and compassion as Charles Dickens or Thomas Hardy—Klara and the Sun is some of the most inspiring science fiction I have ever read.

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked Klara and the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*The #1 Sunday Times Bestseller*
*Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2021*
*A Barack Obama Summer Reading Pick*

'A delicate, haunting story' The Washington Post
'This is a novel for fans of Never Let Me Go . . . tender, touching and true.' The Times

'The Sun always has ways to reach us.'

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges…


Book cover of Leviathan Wakes

Morgan Biscup Author Of In Spite of the Inevitable

From my list on sci-fi books moral and perspective dilemmas.

Why am I passionate about this?

In writing character-driven space fantasy, heavily influenced by my training as an electromechanical engineer, I’ve realized a love for stories with a heavy emphasis on moral dilemmas and shifts in thinking. How does a character change direction after realizing much of what they always believed was a lie? When well-trained instincts pull them backward instead of propelling them forward? I love these stories, mirroring my own messy self-discovery journey through life. The settings and stakes are more fantastical, but that makes them more appealing. A way to confront my own trials without becoming burdened by them. If the characters can do it, so can I.

Morgan's book list on sci-fi books moral and perspective dilemmas

Morgan Biscup Why did Morgan love this book?

This book's storyline unfolds from the POV of two characters with similar but incompatible morals: a jaded, alcoholic Belter cop and an excessively honest Earther from Montana now serving as executive officer of a water hauler from Saturn's rings.

Their stories converge in unexpected ways as they chase down their own mysteries. They each have strengths the other lacks and weaknesses that put them at odds with each other, heightening the weight of their interactions as they strive to save the solar system, each in their own way.

I loved so much else about this book, from the full cast of characters to the unfolding mystery behind the growing war. The ending hit me hard in the best of ways, as opposing philosophies fought and converged to yield unexpected compromises.

By James S. A. Corey,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked Leviathan Wakes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Humanity has colonized the planets - interstellar travel is still beyond our reach, but the solar system has become a dense network of colonies. But there are tensions - the mineral-rich outer planets resent their dependence on Earth and Mars and the political and military clout they wield over the Belt and beyond. Now, when Captain Jim Holden's ice miner stumbles across a derelict, abandoned ship, he uncovers a secret that threatens to throw the entire system into war. Attacked by a stealth ship belonging to the Mars fleet, Holden must find a way to uncover the motives behind the…


Book cover of The Power

Isabel Ashdown Author Of 33 Women

From my list on sinister sisters and strange sisterhoods.

Why am I passionate about this?

In both reading and writing fiction, the inciting incident – the murder, accident, or main event of a story – is less fascinating to me than the rich characters that surround it. I’m deeply interested in the lives of women and the ties between them, be they family or not. Whether we’re talking about familial sisters or sisterhood as a broader concept, the tensions, fierce loyalties, oppressions and liberations of women are where my interests will always lie. To my own sister and every one of the wise women who have cheered me on and helped shape my life so far, power to you all! I hope you enjoy these recommendations.

Isabel's book list on sinister sisters and strange sisterhoods

Isabel Ashdown Why did Isabel love this book?

What if, all over the world, women suddenly discovered they now had all the power? Questions around equality are always at the center of my own writing and much of what I read, so this book went straight to the top of my reading pile when it was released!

This is a dystopian novel with a difference – it turns the status quo of millennia upon its head to create a world in which girls and women can literally dominate men with a flick of the fingers and a flash of electrocution. Bad men are overthrown, and new sisterhoods are formed, but as with all types of control, it doesn’t take long for power to turn to abuse. Everyone, men and women alike, should read it.

By Naomi Alderman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION
ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S BEST BOOKS OF 2017

'Electrifying' Margaret Atwood

'A big, page-turning, thought-provoking thriller' Guardian

----------------------------------

All over the world women are discovering they have the power.
With a flick of the fingers they can inflict terrible pain - even death.
Suddenly, every man on the planet finds they've lost control.

The Day of the Girls has arrived - but where will it end?

----------------------------------

'The Hunger Games crossed with The Handmaid's Tale' Cosmopolitan

'I loved it; it was visceral, provocative and curiously pertinent . . . The story has stayed…


Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

By K.R. Wilson,

Book cover of Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

K.R. Wilson Author Of Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Reader History enthusiast Occasional composer Sometime chorister

K.R.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

When King Priam's pregnant daughter was fleeing the sack of Troy, Stan was there. When Jesus of Nazareth was beaten and crucified, Stan was there - one crossover. He’s been a Hittite warrior, a Silk Road mercenary, a reluctant rebel in the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381, and an information peddler in the cabarets of post-war Berlin. Stan doesn't die, and he doesn't know why. And now he's being investigated for a horrific crime.

As Stan tells his story, from his origins as an Anatolian sheep farmer to his custody in a Toronto police interview room, he brings a wry, anachronistic…

Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

By K.R. Wilson,

What is this book about?

Long-listed for the 2022 Leacock Medal for Humour

When King Priam's pregnant daughter was fleeing the sack of Troy, Stan was there. When Jesus of Nazareth was beaten and crucified, Stan was there - one cross over. Stan has been a Hittite warrior, a Roman legionnaire, a mercenary for the caravans of the Silk Road and a Great War German grunt. He’s been a toymaker in a time of plague, a reluctant rebel in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, and an information peddler in the cabarets of post-war Berlin. Stan doesn't die, and he doesn't know why. And now he's…


Book cover of Dry

Frances Greenslade Author Of Red Fox Road

From my list on survival for young readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Canadian writer living in southern British Columbia. When I was young, most people thought I was too small and frail to do awesome things. It wasn’t until I got older that I began to understand that my love for wild places and adventures was at the heart of who I was, and I began to see that I was much stronger than I thought. These days, I hike, climb, kayak, cross-country ski, and snowshoe – anything that gets me outside in nature. And I've done some awesome things out there! I want to change the way people see nature, not as something to be conquered, but to be treated with affection and respect.

Frances' book list on survival for young readers

Frances Greenslade Why did Frances love this book?

This is one of the scarier disaster novels I’ve read, targeted at young adults rather than middle-grade readers.

People die in frighteningly believable ways in this story about a severe water shortage in California. I live in a semi-arid region that has been experiencing more frequent droughts in the last few years, so this novel’s premise felt plausible: the taps are literally turned off.

As well, the various characters’ reactions to the crisis reflected people I know, from preppers to climate changer deniers to those who dig deep and find kindness no matter how bad things get.

By Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

“The authors do not hold back.” —Booklist (starred review)
“The palpable desperation that pervades the plot…feels true, giving it a chilling air of inevitability.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The Shustermans challenge readers.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
“No one does doom like Neal Shusterman.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while…


Book cover of The Punch Escrow

Jacqui Castle Author Of The Seclusion

From my list on dystopian reads of the past five years.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love dystopian novels because they allow us to explore our fears and follow those pesky what-ifs floating around our heads to their most extreme conclusions. Often, when I talk to people about dystopian literature, their minds go straight to the classics such as 1984, The Handmaid's Tale, or Fahrenheit 451. While these are timeless and amazing books, there have been so many ground-breaking dystopian novels written in the past five years that you won't want to miss.

Jacqui's book list on dystopian reads of the past five years

Jacqui Castle Why did Jacqui love this book?

I adored this fast-paced near-future dystopian book by debut author Tal M. Klein. Prepare to be thrown into an innovative world where teleportation is the primary means of travel, and people don't think twice before taking advantage of this convenience. Though, as we soon find out, maybe they should. 

There are so many fun tidbits in this novel such as nanotechnology and genetically engineered mosquitoes that help clean the air. You'll also find plenty of nostalgic references for fans of books such as Ready Player One. Prepare for engaging characters, unique worldbuilding, thought-provoking philosophical questions, and plenty of twists to keep you guessing.

By Tal M. Klein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dubbed the “next Ready Player One,” by former Warner Brothers President Greg Silverman, and now in film development at Lionsgate.

"Featuring themes similar to Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter, the dense sci-fi feel of a Michael Crichton thriller and clever Douglas Adams-like charm, the book posits an intriguing future that is both inviting and horrific." ―Brian Truitt, USA TODAY

It's the year 2147. Advancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We’ve genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. And teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport―the…


Book cover of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been captivated by interesting people since I was a kid. Family members always thought I asked too many questions of people, trying to learn more about who they are. For that reason, when I started reading fiction, I looked for characters with originality who opened new horizons and who I wanted to hang out with. (That’s also why I host the Novelist Spotlight podcast.) I agree 100 percent with novelist Larry McMurtry, who said: “For me, the novel is character creation. Unless the characters convince and live, the book’s got no chance.” The books I placed on my list reflect this belief. I hope you dig them.

Mike's book list on character-driven books with colorful, eccentric and dysfunctional protagonists and antagonists

Mike Consol Why did Mike love this book?

One of the most comedic books I’ve ever read. Actually, I listened to the audiobook, which is expertly read by the author, the late great Douglas Adams.

Between his British accent and speedy and offhanded reading style, Adams whistles listeners through this book. I hit “pause” or “rewind” many times to laugh or to re-listen to his cavalcade of hysterical situations and dialogue. Dirk Gently is truly an original character. Otherworldly and somewhat metaphysical, this is one of my all-time favorite novels. The audacity of Douglas Adams. I love it.

By Douglas Adams,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Douglas Adams, the legendary author of one of the most beloved science fiction novels of all time, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, comes a wildly inventive novel of ghosts, time travel, and one detective’s mission to save humanity from extinction.

DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY
We solve the whole crime
We find the whole person
Phone today for the whole solution to your problem
(Missing cats and messy divorces a specialty)

Douglas Adams, the “master of wacky words and even wackier tales” (Entertainment Weekly) once again boggles the mind with a completely unbelievable story of ghosts, time travel,…


Book cover of The Last Policeman

Patrick Forsyth Author Of Once A Thief

From my list on surprisingly unconventional crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I worked for many years in business consultancy (writing many books like the bestselling “Successful Time Management [Kogan Page]) before branching into other genres, including fiction and light-hearted travel writing (e.g., Beguiling Burma [Rethink Press]). My five novels all involve ordinary people caught up in situations that involve mystery or crime (or both). Like most fiction writers, I find it difficult to recognize where ideas come from, though I do draw on various aspects of my own life; for example, Long Overdue [Stanhope Books] involves sailing and a missing person. Certainly, I relate to sailing and, for many years, owned a boat. 

Patrick's book list on surprisingly unconventional crime

Patrick Forsyth Why did Patrick love this book?

Another unusual premise. An asteroid has been spotted on a collision course with Earth, and civilization appears doomed, yet our hero remains set on solving his current case, a death originally dismissed as suicide, which is, in fact, a murder.

Surprisingly, the two themes are made to sit well together, and the intent to solve the crime never seems inappropriate in dire circumstances. This is a real page-turner, which I loved.

By Ben H. Winters,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Last Policeman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In THE LAST POLICEMAN, Edgar Award winner and New York Times bestselling author Ben H. Winters, offers readers something they've never seen before: A police procedural set on the brink of an apocalypse. What's the point in solving murders when we're going to die soon, anyway? Hank Palace, a homicide detective in Concord, New Hampshire, asks this question every day. Most people have stopped doing whatever it is they did before the asteroid 2011L47J hovered into view. Stopped selling real estate; stopped working at hospitals; stopped slinging hash or driving cabs or trading high-yield securities. A lot of folks spend…


Book cover of Ubik

Why am I passionate about this?

 I’ve always loved a good mystery that doesn’t give you all the details upfront. My favourite stories growing up were those where I had little epiphanies along the way until I got to the end, where everything finally fell into place. But perhaps why I’m most drawn to these types of stories is because they parallel learning about your surroundings in the real world. After living in several different countries, I’ve come to learn many situations piece by piece, where some ended in danger, while others were more humorous events that I can now laugh about. 

Jon's book list on dark horror stories that slowly unravel their mysteries piece by piece, letting you figure out along the way

Jon Vassa Why did Jon love this book?

I loved this book for the new concepts it brought to me about psychic abilities, specifically telepaths that could block other’s psychic abilities.

After this, I was drawn to the book for the way it blurred the lines of reality, making me question alongside the main character if anything they were experiencing was real. I also thought the idea of the UBIK drug that kept people in a 'half-life' was fascinating and a different way to show addiction and its consequences.

Lastly, the ending was quite thrilling and kept me reading into the wee hours of the morning, even though I had work the next day! 

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A classic science fiction tale of artifical worlds by one of the great American writers of the 20th century

Glen Runciter is dead.

Or is he?

Someone died in the explosion orchestrated by his business rivals, but even as his funeral is scheduled, his mourning employees are receiving bewildering messages from their boss. And the world around them is warping and regressing in ways which suggest that their own time is running out.

If it hasn't already.

Readers minds have been blown by Ubik:

'Sheer craziness, a book defying any straightforward synopsis . . . a unique time travel adventure…


Book cover of Until Proven Safe: The History and Future of Quarantine

Jonathan Charteris-Black Author Of Metaphors of Coronavirus: Invisible Enemy or Zombie Apocalypse?

From my list on the human reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I founded Critical Metaphor Analysis, an approach that has become well known in English language studies. My books Corpus Approaches to Critical Metaphor Analysis, Politicians and Rhetoric: The persuasive power of metaphor, and Analysing Political Speeches have over 5,000 citations. I am also ranked first on Google Scholar on political rhetoric. I have always tried (though not always successfully) to write in an accessible style to reach out to audiences beyond academia. As well as lecturing, I assist in the training of Westminster speechwriters. I love languages and speak French, Spanish, Moroccan Arabic, and Malay with varying degrees of incompetence; I have rediscovered the pleasure of watercolour painting.

Jonathan's book list on the human reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic

Jonathan Charteris-Black Why did Jonathan love this book?

I found this a fascinating account of the origins and history of quarantine, stretching from medieval times right up to the Covid-19 pandemic, the authors take us on a tour of the many different forms that quarantine has taken in different parts of the world. Quarantine is about finding out what may be hidden within the body but this book reveals much about the different cultural and historical settings where quarantine has been employed. The book helped me understand why the responses to Covid-19 were so diverse in spite of the fact that governments were dealing with the same illness.

By Geoff Manaugh, Nicola Twilley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Manaugh and Twilley shed illuminating light on a phenomenon that seems utterly of the present moment.' Financial Times' Best Books of the Year

'Startlingly timely, authoritatively researched, and electrifyingly written.' Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

Quarantine has shaped our world, yet it remains both feared and misunderstood. It is our most powerful response to uncertainty, but it operates through an assumption of guilt: in quarantine, we are considered infectious until proven safe. An unusually poetic metaphor for moral and mythic ills, quarantine means waiting to see if something hidden inside of…


Book cover of Ready Player One

Dave Buschi Author Of Reality Recoded

From my list on science fiction books with an everyman hero.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a house of books. Bookcases in almost every room. At an early age, I discovered some great ones that were usually recommended by my dad. The Odyssey. Tarzan of the Apes. Princess of Mars. It is a long, long list, and I won’t give you all my faves—but one thing about it: I was drawn to books with heroes, particularly when those heroes were clearly good. There are no shades of gray for me. I like my heroes to have honor and humility and to always strive to do the right thing.

Dave's book list on science fiction books with an everyman hero

Dave Buschi Why did Dave love this book?

I love stories where the hero is a normal guy that we can all identify with in some way or another and where there is an arc to the story that transforms that normal guy into something extraordinary. 

With just wits and creativity, our hero, Wade Watts, finds a way to survive against all odds. And no matter how bad things get, he never quits. He embodies the best of the human spirit—and by the end of the book, you’re cheering for him. Because he is you (or who you want to be), the "everyman" who stands up to injustice, unfairness, and those powers that are wrecking humanity (which in this case happens to be a trillion-dollar Mega Corporation).

By Ernest Cline,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Ready Player One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE DIRECTED BY STEVEN SPIELBERG

It's the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We're out of oil. We've wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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