100 books like New York 2140

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Here are 100 books that New York 2140 fans have personally recommended if you like New York 2140. 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 Parable of the Sower

Joanne McLaughlin Author Of Chasing Ashes

From my list on digging out when life just buries you.

Who am I?

That moment when you realize, whew, you’ve survived the catastrophe, but the greater challenge lies ahead? That intrigues me. Maybe that’s because my grandmother was struck by a Vespa in Italy when I was five years old, and we traveled home by ship through a hurricane that rocked much of the East Coast. Stories about “What’s next?” and “How do we push the rubble away?” are my go-to now, as they were during the years I worked as a journalist, first as a reporter, then for much longer as an editor. After my husband’s death in 2011, clearing the rubble yielded the first two installments of my vampire trilogy. 

Joanne's book list on digging out when life just buries you

Joanne McLaughlin Why did Joanne love this book?

I used to be paid to ponder the end of the world as we know it: I was a health editor during the early years of the COVID pandemic; at the same time, I was editing environmental stories.

What I loved most about this book is that the worst has already occurred, and the protagonist, a teenager, chooses her own new way to navigate what’s still to come. I was engaged by the concepts of resilience as a survival skill, reinvention as a necessity, and rebirth as an act of personal and global faith.

I am not a fan of religion as such, but this book made me believe.  

By Octavia E. Butler,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked Parable of the Sower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The extraordinary, prescient NEW YORK TIMES-bestselling novel.

'If there is one thing scarier than a dystopian novel about the future, it's one written in the past that has already begun to come true. This is what makes Parable of the Sower even more impressive than it was when first published' GLORIA STEINEM

'Unnervingly prescient and wise' YAA GYASI

--

We are coming apart. We're a rope, breaking, a single strand at a time.

America is a place of chaos, where violence rules and only the rich and powerful are safe. Lauren Olamina, a young woman with the extraordinary power to…


Book cover of Zero History

Janet Stilson Author Of The Juice

From my list on novels that wonder about the future.

Who am I?

There are days when it seems like all I do is imagine what the future holds. I love reading “wonder tales,” as I’ve heard Margaret Atwood call them – novels that imagine how our world might change or fantasize about completely different realms. At the same time, they reflect on conditions in our world today. That’s what I do with my own creative writing. I was trained to think about the future as a journalist, talking with media executives about how their content and technology are evolving. My stories have appeared in Asimov's; they’ve been selected by the Writers Lab for Women; and my novel The Juice was published in February.

Janet's book list on novels that wonder about the future

Janet Stilson Why did Janet love this book?

This novel represents a sharp turn for me. Until I snapped up Zero History in an airport bookstore many years ago, the science fiction I’d read seemed like dry, intellectual exercises. The characters didn’t have depth. They never made me laugh (or cry). But Zero History unleashed a passion in me for speculative fiction, and eventually, it turned my own writing in that direction as well. To this day, it’s one of my all-time favorite novels. While it’s the third book in a William Gibson trilogy, it is entirely complete on its own. There’s a pop culture, cool vibe about it as the story taps into the lives of three people with unusual gifts – which a global marketing magnate dearly wants to use in various ways.

By William Gibson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Gibson is having tremendous fun' Independent

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THE THIRD NOVEL IN THE BLUE ANT TRILIOGY - READ PATTERN RECOGNITION AND SPOOK COUNTRY FOR MORE

Hubertus Bigend, the Machiavellian head of global ad-agency Blue Ant, wants to uncover the maker of an obscurely fashionable denim that is taking subculture by storm. Ex-musician Henry Hollis knows nothing about fashion, but Bigend decides she is the woman for the job anyway.

Soon, though, it becomes clear that Bigend's interest in underground labels might have sinister applications. Powerful parties, who'll do anything to get what they want, are showing their hand. And Hollis is…


Book cover of The Windup Girl

Mal Warwick Author Of Hell on Earth: What we can learn from dystopian fiction

From my list on dystopian since “Brave New World” and “1984”.

Who am I?

When I was twelve years old, my picture appeared in my hometown newspaper. I was holding a huge stack of books from the library, a week’s reading. All science fiction. I’ve read voraciously for the past seventy years—though much more widely as an adult. I’ve also had a life founding several small companies and writing twenty books. But I’ve continued to read science fiction, and, increasingly, dystopian novels. Why? Because, as a history buff, I think about the big trends that shape our lives. I see clearly that climate change, breakthroughs in technology, and unstable politics threaten our children’s future. I want to understand how these trends might play out—for better or for worse.

Mal's book list on dystopian since “Brave New World” and “1984”

Mal Warwick Why did Mal love this book?

Climate change aside, what scares me the most about technology today is the capacity for bioengineering to run amok.

What happens when scientists monkey around with deadly viruses—and one escapes from the lab? What if some rogue researcher creates an entirely new lifeform that proves toxic to humans? Or some experimental microbe—an effort to save the world’s butterflies, for instance—proves to kill off bees instead?

This novel, which won major awards, depicts a frightening future world wrought by bioengineering. And you wouldn’t want to live there anymore than I do. 

By Paolo Bacigalupi,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Windup Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE HUGO, NEBULA, LOCUS, JOHN W. CAMPBELL AND COMPTON CROOK AWARDS

The Windup Girl is the ground-breaking and visionary modern classic that swept the board for every major science fiction award it its year of publication.

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's calorie representative in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, he combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs long thought to be extinct. There he meets the windup girl - the beautiful and enigmatic Emiko - now abandoned to the slums. She is one of the New People, bred to suit the whims of…


Terra Blanca - Insurrection: Gaia Prequel

By Zoe Routh,

Book cover of Terra Blanca - Insurrection: Gaia Prequel

Zoe Routh Author Of The Olympus Project

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Leadership futurist Adventurist Former bellydancer Historical and speculative fiction nut Marathoner

Zoe's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A test of leadership, loyalty, and legacy. Rylie Addison faces the greatest leadership challenge of her life. As climate change ravages the world, leaving millions displaced, Rylie is handpicked by the enigmatic Maja Garcia of Gaia Enterprises to govern Terra Blanca, an unprecedented man-made island community for climate refugees.

As the stakes rise and the fragile foundations of Terra Blanca begin to crumble, Rylie is forced to confront her own beliefs and faces a leadership decision that could change the course of history. Can she find the strength to make the right choice, or will her actions lead to the downfall of the very people she has vowed to protect?

Terra Blanca - Insurrection: Gaia Prequel

By Zoe Routh,

What is this book about?

Rylie Addison faces the greatest leadership challenge of her life. As climate change ravages the world, leaving millions displaced, Rylie is handpicked by the enigmatic Maja Garcia of Gaia Enterprises to govern Terra Blanca, an unprecedented man-made island community for climate refugees.


Thrust into a new world of power and responsibility, Rylie must navigate the treacherous waters of team dynamics and power struggles as she fights to make Terra Blanca a beacon of hope amidst the chaos. But her mission takes a sinister turn when a secret agent infiltrates the community, hell-bent on testing the innovative governance and social structures…


Book cover of Never Let Me Go

Suzanne Heywood Author Of Wavewalker: A Memoir of Breaking Free

From my list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out.

Who am I?

I'm fascinated by these books about coming of age because they all share elements of my own experience. While I was growing up, I was told by my parents that my life on board our boat Wavewalker was ‘privileged’ and that I was lucky not to live a ‘boring’ life like other children. It took me a long time to question this view, and even longer to find an escape. As an adult looking back, I now know that many of the things I was told by my parents were not true. That experience of growing up and discovering that what you have been told is not right is deeply disturbing, while also being liberating.

Suzanne's book list on coming-of-age that will rip your heart out

Suzanne Heywood Why did Suzanne love this book?

I love Kazuo Ishiguro’s work and this is my favourite book of his.

Never Let Me Go is the fictional story of a childhood that initially seems acceptable, despite the early indications that something strange is going on. As the story proceeds, however, it becomes clear that this is a horrific world, one in which children are being grown for their organs.

But the power of the story for me is not the revelation itself but the way in which it is revealed, layer by layer, as the characters become older and more knowing. That experience of becoming aware that all is not right with your world, and then trying to come to terms with that, is something I can resonate with.

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Never Let Me Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most acclaimed novels of the 21st Century, from the Nobel Prize-winning author

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize

Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, Never Let Me Go is charged throughout with a sense…


Book cover of Perdido Street Station

Noah Lemelson Author Of The Sightless City

From my list on fantasy about weird and wonderful cities.

Who am I?

Growing up in Los Angeles, I am well familiar with strange, grotesque, illogical, and wonderful cities. My love of fantasy has always been for the odd ones out, less the bucolic farmlands and forest, more for those that present a twisted mirror of modern urban life. As an amateur lover of history, I love to study the evolution, mutation, and decay of cities. I find most interesting cities, in both real life and fantasy, to be those shaped by not one single culture, but by many over history and space.

Noah's book list on fantasy about weird and wonderful cities

Noah Lemelson Why did Noah love this book?

New Crobuzon is a city as weird as its name sounds, inhabited by avian Garuda, cactus-skinned Cactacae, and the scarab beetle-headed Kephri, among many other fantastical creatures.

It’s a grimy city that if you squinted might just look a bit like Victorian-era London, albeit with more frog-people, airships, and statues crafted from harden spit. And at its center, the titular Perdido Street Station, a towering immense skyrail station, too large and labyrinthine to ever map out.

Miéville crafts a fantasy city unlike any other, plagued by government corruption, organized crime, and labor disputes, that makes New Crobuzon feel real and grounded, despite being one of the strangest cities ever put to ink.

By China Miéville,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Perdido Street Station as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the August Derleth award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Perdido Street Station is an imaginative urban fantasy thriller, and the first of China Mieville's novels set in the world of Bas-Lag.

The metropolis of New Crobuzon sprawls at the centre of its own bewildering world. Humans and mutants and arcane races throng the gloom beneath its chimneys, where the rivers are sluggish with unnatural effluent, and factories and foundries pound into the night. For more than a thousand years, the parliament and its brutal militia have ruled over a vast array of workers and artists, spies, magicians,…


Book cover of Lagoon

Carl Abbott Author Of Imagining Urban Futures: Cities in Science Fiction and What We Might Learn from Them

From my list on science fiction with really cool cities.

Who am I?

I discovered science fiction at age nine with Rocketship Galileo and Red Planet and have never lost my love for speculative worlds, even after growing up to follow a career teaching and writing about the history of cities and city planning. In recent years, I’ve also begun to write about the field of SF. So it is one-hundred-percent natural for me to combine the two interests and explore science fiction cities. I try to look beyond the geez-whiz technology of some imagined cities to the ideas of human-scale planning and community that might make them fun places to visit or live in if we could somehow manage to get there.  

Carl's book list on science fiction with really cool cities

Carl Abbott Why did Carl love this book?

I get bored when aliens always seem to land on the National Mall in Washington or hover over Los Angeles, so I was delighted to discover that at least one alien ship prefers to land in the lagoon off Lagos, Nigeria.

It’s a city as big or bigger than New York, after all. There is the challenge of dealing with very enigmatic visitors, but the time is the present and readers get a whirlwind tour of one of the world’s megacities. It’s like having the most highspeed guide you can imagine… who happens to be one of the most compelling SF writers today.

By Nnedi Okorafor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Three strangers, each isolated by his or her own problems: Adaora, the marine biologist. Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa. Agu, the troubled soldier. Wandering Bar Beach in Lagos, Nigeria's legendary mega-city, they're more alone than they've ever been before.

But when something like a meteorite plunges into the ocean and a tidal wave overcomes them, these three people will find themselves bound together in ways they could never imagine. Together with Ayodele, a visitor from beyond the stars, they must race through Lagos and against time itself in order to save the city, the world... and themselves.

'There was…


Book cover of Terminal World

Carl Abbott Author Of Imagining Urban Futures: Cities in Science Fiction and What We Might Learn from Them

From my list on science fiction with really cool cities.

Who am I?

I discovered science fiction at age nine with Rocketship Galileo and Red Planet and have never lost my love for speculative worlds, even after growing up to follow a career teaching and writing about the history of cities and city planning. In recent years, I’ve also begun to write about the field of SF. So it is one-hundred-percent natural for me to combine the two interests and explore science fiction cities. I try to look beyond the geez-whiz technology of some imagined cities to the ideas of human-scale planning and community that might make them fun places to visit or live in if we could somehow manage to get there.  

Carl's book list on science fiction with really cool cities

Carl Abbott Why did Carl love this book?

Two fantastic cities are even better than one.

At the center of the story is Spearpoint, the tallest skyscraping megabuilding that you could imagine. It is so enormous that it is divided into segments from bottom to top with different levels of technology (Horsetown and Steamville at the bottom, cybertowns, and then the fantastic Celestial Levels at the top). But wait, there’s more.

Roaming the rest of the planet is the Swarm, hundreds of giant aircraft that function together as the neighborhoods of a “distributed city” much like the fleet in Battlestar Galactica. The very different cities do not play well together, and you get to choose which one you’d rather live in. I like flying, myself.

By Alastair Reynolds,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Spearpoint, the last human city, is an atmosphere-piercing spire of vast size. Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different - and rigidly enforced - level of technology. Horsetown is pre-industrial; in Neon Heights they have television and electric trains ...Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue. But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, Quillon's world is wrenched apart one more time, for the angel is a winged posthuman from Spearpoint's Celestial Levels…


Book cover of The City, Not Long After

Carl Abbott Author Of Imagining Urban Futures: Cities in Science Fiction and What We Might Learn from Them

From my list on science fiction with really cool cities.

Who am I?

I discovered science fiction at age nine with Rocketship Galileo and Red Planet and have never lost my love for speculative worlds, even after growing up to follow a career teaching and writing about the history of cities and city planning. In recent years, I’ve also begun to write about the field of SF. So it is one-hundred-percent natural for me to combine the two interests and explore science fiction cities. I try to look beyond the geez-whiz technology of some imagined cities to the ideas of human-scale planning and community that might make them fun places to visit or live in if we could somehow manage to get there.  

Carl's book list on science fiction with really cool cities

Carl Abbott Why did Carl love this book?

For much of my academic career, I’ve battled the stereotype that cities are dangerous and deadening places, and certainly not where you want to be caught after plague decimates the population.

Pat Murphy is on my side. She imagines a post-plague San Francisco where the few remaining residents are artists, not bunkered survivalists. Her city “not long after” a plague is a place of creative eccentrics who defend themselves against outsiders with performance art.

Without the excitement of cities, there would be few new ideas, and it is great to find a science fiction book that agrees.

By Pat Murphy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The City, Not Long After 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?

Jax and Danny-Boy, scrambling to get by in a near-future San Francisco ravaged by plague, become fellow artists in their united struggle to stop a tyrannical general from taking over


Book cover of The Swimmers

Una Mccormack Author Of Star Trek: Picard: Second Self

From my list on speculative fiction crackling with feminist themes.

Who am I?

I’m a science fiction writer who loves my chosen genre for the promises it makes for the worlds that we can have—and the warnings that it offers for the worlds that might be ours if we don’t take care. I’ve picked books for people who like their thinking to be challenged, and who also long for the world to be a much better place. These are the kinds of books I love to readand the kinds of books I try to write. 

Una's book list on speculative fiction crackling with feminist themes

Una Mccormack Why did Una love this book?

Earth has suffered devastating environmental collapse and is now a world of jungles and monsters. The last remnants of humanity are split between those clinging to the surface, and those who have removed themselves to the upper atmosphere. We follow Pearl, living in an isolated forest region, suddenly taken to the stars. A vivid and luscious reimagining of Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea

By Marian Womack,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A richly imagined eco-gothic tale." - The Guardian

"Exquisitely realised." - The Times

After the ravages of the Green Winter, Earth is a place of deep jungles and monstrous animals. The last of the human race is divided into surface dwellers and the people who live in the Upper Settlement, a ring perched at the edge of the Earth s atmosphere.

Bearing witness to this divided planet is Pearl, a young techie with a thread of shuvani blood, who lives in the isolated forests of Gobari, navigating her mad mother and the strange blue light in the sky. But Pearl…


Book cover of One Small Hop

Laura Shovan Author Of The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

From my list on to inspire kid activists.

Who am I?

When I was a kid, I often felt powerless. I felt like adults made the decisions and children were often told to be “seen and not heard.” Then, when I was in high school, I went to a United Nations-sponsored summer camp where I met teens from around the world. My friends were refugees who had escaped from wars. They came from cities like Belfast, where they lived under the threat of political violence. Their experiences were so different from my own that their stories made a lasting impression on me. Ever since, I have loved reading and writing stories–real and fictional–about kids who are working to repair our world.

Laura's book list on to inspire kid activists

Laura Shovan Why did Laura love this book?

This middle-grade satire was one of my favorite reads of 2021! In the not-too-distant future, seventh-grader Ahab and his friends discover what just might be the last living bullfrog in the United States. Hoping to save the species, they decide not to give Alph the frog to authorities. Instead, the crew takes off on a not-quite legal bike trip to find a mate for Alph. In the process, author Madelyn Rosenberg shows us the world as it might be, if we don’t make an effort to save the climate. A bumbling environmental police force and indoor theme park/recreation center had me giggling, even as I got the message of this brilliant climate fiction novel.

By Madelyn Rosenberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Small Hop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Perfect for fans of Carl Hiaasen's classic Hoot, this humorous adventure story set in a not-so-distant future celebrates the important differences we can make with small, brave acts.

When Ahab and his friends find a bullfrog in their town -- a real, live bullfrog, possibly the last bullfrog in North America -- they have several options:A. Report it to the Environmental Police Force. Too bad everyone knows the agency is a joke.B. Leave it be. They're just a bunch of kids -- what if they hurt it by moving it?C. Find another real, live bullfrog on the black market. Convince…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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