55 books like Old Man's War

By John Scalzi,

Here are 55 books that Old Man's War fans have personally recommended if you like Old Man's War. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Grapes of Wrath

By John Steinbeck,

Book cover of The Grapes of Wrath

Robert Pagliarini Author Of Badass Retirement: Shatter the Retirement Myth & Live with More Meaning, Money, and Adventure

From the list on retirement to help you create more meaning.

Who am I?

If my early childhood was any indication, I would be the last person you would want to take financial and retirement advice from. Why? Growing up, we never had any money! Every day was a struggle for my single mom of five. At an early age, I knew I didn’t want to be poor and struggle for everything. I knew I wanted to enjoy life and experience it to the fullest. I’d watch adventure movies such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and dream of going to exotic countries and on adventures like Indiana Jones. From those early years, I’ve been committed to creating and living the best life possible for myself and my clients.

Robert's book list on retirement to help you create more meaning

Why did Robert love this book?

This is probably not a book you consider when you think of retirement, but the reason I've included it in this list is that it is a story of pursuit, hardship, sacrifice, and endurance.

Steinbeck's prose puts you in the center of the drama and action as if you are part of the Joad family.

It's hard to be unhappy and ungrateful in your own life when you read about the constant struggles throughout the book. They are underdogs. You feel for them. You root for them. And in return, you gain a new appreciation for your own life.

By John Steinbeck,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked The Grapes of Wrath as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I've done my damndest to rip a reader's nerves to rags, I don't want him satisfied.'

Shocking and controversial when it was first published, The Grapes of Wrath is Steinbeck's Pultizer Prize-winning epic of the Joad family, forced to travel west from Dust Bowl era Oklahoma in search of the promised land of California. Their story is one of false hopes, thwarted desires and powerlessness, yet out of their struggle Steinbeck created a drama that is both intensely human and majestic in its scale and moral vision.

Leviathan Wakes

By James S. A. Corey,

Book cover of Leviathan Wakes

Andrea Robertson Author Of Bound by Sword and Spirit

From the list on if you love Dungeons & Dragons and RPGs.

Who am I?

As a Gen Xer I came of age when Dungeons & Dragons was taking young imaginations by storm and creating an entirely new type of gamer. I grew up in a small town in the northwoods of Wisconsin and spent my days imagining fantasy worlds in the woods and playing D&D when the weather made the outdoors inhospitable. Those adventures of the mind are the key inspiration for my writing and the Loresmith series, which concludes with Bound By Sword and Spirit, is my love letter to D&D. I still play and am currently DMing a campaign with my family. It’s my niece’s first time playing – such a treat!

Andrea's book list on if you love Dungeons & Dragons and RPGs

Why did Andrea love this book?

The recommendation might seem out of place because Leviathan Wakes is sci-fi rather than fantasy, but James S.A. Corey’s incredible series has all the elements of an unforgettable D&D campaign – strangers thrown together to solve a mystery that threatens the very fabric of life and non-stop action full of twists.

This series is a master-class in world building and storytelling.

By James S. A. Corey,

Why should I read it?

13 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…

Project Hail Mary

By Andy Weir,

Book cover of Project Hail Mary

Ashley Weiss Author Of Cupid's Compass

From the list on to be emotionally tortured by fiction.

Who am I?

As an avid reader since childhood, I’ve always hunted for books that deliver the most epic emotional experiences. Stories that you can’t put down even when your eyelids ache for sleep or the page is blurred with tears. The ones where fiction becomes reality and the room around you disappears with every page. Cupid’s Compass was inspired by these all-consuming novels and I expect my future works will follow the same mission: to evoke laughter, tears, and the ever-expansive qualities of humanity.

Ashley's book list on to be emotionally tortured by fiction

Why did Ashley love this book?

When talking about books rich in emotion and reader investment, Project Hail Mary will always make the list.

This book is perfect for both youth and adults with easy to consume space travel science and the most perfect, platonic friendship ever written. From grinning ear to ear to sweating in stress, don’t be surprised if you find yourself fiercely praying for the side-character’s safety and well being.

I would recommend this emotional rollercoaster to any reader who wants a stand-alone novel that will leave you saying “just one more chapter” over and over until you finish the whole book.

By Andy Weir,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Project Hail Mary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space…


By Dan Simmons,

Book cover of Hyperion

Michael Brumm Author Of The Cryptid Club #1: Bigfoot Takes the Field

From the list on monster lovers (aka a "beast" for the senses).

Who am I?

On the wall in my office, I have an old newspaper article containing a recipe for Boris Karloff's guacamole. (If you're interested, the title of the article is "Boris Karloff Mad About Mexican Food.") I keep it there because it reminds me of what I love about this genre, in that monsters can contain multitudes. They're not just evil... they can also love guacamole. A good monster novel will have you both cowering in fear and feeling a pang of empathy for the creature, making it a ton of fun to read. 

Michael's book list on monster lovers (aka a "beast" for the senses)

Why did Michael love this book?

My boss raved about this book so I checked it out. He was right. It’s a truly wonderful sci-fi novel featuring a creature called the Shrike (aka Lord of Pain), who is made out of knives.

The novel tells the story of 7 travelers, and each tale is more gripping, interesting, and heartbreaking than the next. There are multiple timelines, kids that grow in reverse, and, again, a creature made out of knives. Sci-fi + monsters = a pretty winning combo.

By Dan Simmons,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A book of mystery, legend, romance and violence.

Red Rising

By Pierce Brown,

Book cover of Red Rising

Spencer Wolf Author Of After Mind

From the list on survival that even non-sci-fi fans will love.

Who am I?

My favorite books are a mix of classics, scientific, and recent thrills. They are relatable, underdog personal stories of survival and how we fit into our world, which I think match well with After Mind. Many years ago, after reading the adapted screenplay for Blade Runner from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, I fell in love with the idea of living a lot longer than humans are supposed to. Since then, I’ve worked in movie marketing, engineering design, and construction. Basically, I think humans need more time for all our dreams. I hope you enjoy these books for our road ahead. We’re on a lifelong journey and there’s a long way to go.

Spencer's book list on survival that even non-sci-fi fans will love

Why did Spencer love this book?

Red Rising is fast-paced science fiction that follows the journey of Darrow, a low-caste member of a society divided by color, as he rises up against the tyrannical rulers of his world. There’s a single sentence on the first page that I think bridges sci-fi with human emotion in such a striking way that I had to stop and say out loud, “If I were a publisher, I would buy this book right here, on this crazy-good concept alone because whatever comes next has got to be amazing.” The writing is engaging and immersive, and while set on Mars, the world-building is rich and detailed, and the characters are well-developed and complex. I read this book not only as a sci-fi story, but as a tale of real personal drama.

By Pierce Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Pierce Brown's heart-pounding debut is the first book in a spectacular series that combines the drama of Game of Thrones with the epic scope of Star Wars.


'Pierce Brown's empire-crushing debut is a sprawling vision . . . Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow' - Scott Sigler, New York Times bestselling author of Pandemic

'[A] top-notch debut novel . . . Red Rising ascends above a crowded dystopian field' - USA Today


Darrow is a Helldiver. A pioneer…

At the Mountains of Madness

By H. P. Lovecraft,

Book cover of At the Mountains of Madness

Nicholas Binge Author Of Ascension

From the list on horror that build a deep and unshakeable sense of dread.

Who am I?

As well as being an author of horror and thriller fiction, I’ve been a teacher for over a decade. Over the years, I’ve played to my strengths, selecting and teaching some of the very best in both classic and contemporary horror. The power of narratives to hold and horrify is one of the most undying features of storytelling, from Ancient Greek theatre to modern thrillers, and I’m always on the lookout for authors who achieve this in new and innovative ways. The books on this list all instill dread in very different ways, but they all have one thing in common: they’ll stick with you long after you put them down.

Nicholas' book list on horror that build a deep and unshakeable sense of dread

Why did Nicholas love this book?

This book is the best and most accessible touchstone for Lovecraft’s particular brand of cosmic horror and, certainly, the sheer madness he exposes us to by the end of the book is something to behold.

But where it really shines is in the opening chapters, where it at first seems like this is to be a simple Arctic expedition. The isolation and bleakness of the setting combine perfectly with the unknown to make some of the most ambitious ideas in all horror become fiercely believable and all the more terrifying for it. 

By H. P. Lovecraft,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked At the Mountains of Madness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the Mountains of Madness is a science fiction-horror novella by American author H. P. Lovecraft.

An expedition to Antarctica goes horribly wrong as a group of explorers stumbles upon some mysterious ancient ruins, with devastating consequences. At the Mountains of Madness ranks among Lovecraft's most terrifying novellas, and is a firm favourite among fans of classic horror.


By Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons (illustrator),

Book cover of Watchmen

Austin Grossman Author Of Crooked

From the list on set in alternate histories.

Who am I?

I'm a lot of things. I design games. I study literature and theater. I write novels that are messy fusions of literary and genre fiction. I'm endlessly curious. Each of my books starts with when I hear in my head, the voice of a character asking a question. It's always a silly question, and it's always the one that matters more to them than anything else in the world. "Why does being superintelligent make you evil?" became Soon I Will Be Invincible. "What are people who play video games obsessively really looking for?" became You. Answering the question isn't simple, but of course that's where the fun starts.

Austin's book list on set in alternate histories

Why did Austin love this book?

This is the book that forever changed how superheroes were written.  

In Watchmen, masked vigilantes started as a craze in the 1930s, and history got slightly bent in the process. We won the Vietnam War, Nixon stayed president, and...you'll have fun picking out all the bits of altered history in the background.

The heart of the book is its unforgettable characters - slightly over-the-hill superheroes brought out of retirement by the murder of one of their own, to face an ever-deepening mystery and their own midlife crises.

By Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A hit HBO original series, Watchmen, the groundbreaking series from award-winning author Alan Moore, presents a world where the mere presence of American superheroes changed history--the U.S. won the Vietnam War, Nixon is still president, and the Cold War is in full effect.

Considered the greatest graphic novel in the history of the medium, the Hugo Award-winning story chronicles the fall from grace of a group of superheroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the superhero is dissected as an unknown assassin stalks the erstwhile heroes.

This edition of Watchmen, the groundbreaking series from Alan Moore,…

Lucifer's Hammer

By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle,

Book cover of Lucifer's Hammer

Michael C. Bland Author Of The Price of Safety

From the list on a future we probably want to avoid.

Who am I?

My father wanted to be an astrophysicist, and as a kid I caught his passion for the future from the many science fiction books he’d left throughout our house. As an adult, the advances in technology have brought the future envisioned in those books closer than ever. My passion for what awaits us led me to write The Price of Safety, which contains innovations that are right around the corner—and have already started to come true (which is freaky), between Elon Musk’s cranial implants to DNA tracking. The world we live in is becoming more like the world in my books. I hope we’re ready! 

Michael's book list on a future we probably want to avoid

Why did Michael love this book?

The oldest book on the list, Lucifer’s Hammer seems to be an end-of-the-world tale. And it is to a degree: the world is forever altered after a comet enters the earth’s atmosphere and breaks apart, the huge pieces slamming into the West Coast.

It’s the aftermath, though, where things get interesting. How do people survive? How much of their humanity survives with them? This is the story Niven and Pournelle tell, with a level of realism that echoes people’s attitudes and actions witnessed during the COVID pandemic.

With a clash between rival forces leading to a showdown that dictates the survivors’ future, Lucifer’s Hammer has continued to resonate with me years after reading it.

By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Lucifer's Hammer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“The first satisfying end-of-the-world novel in years . . . an ultimate one . . . massively entertaining.”—Cleveland Plain-Dealer

The gigantic comet had slammed into Earth, forging earthquakes a thousand times too powerful to measure on the Richter scale, tidal waves thousands of feet high. Cities were turned into oceans; oceans turned into steam. It was the beginning of a new Ice Age and the end of civilization.

But for the terrified men and women chance had saved, it was also the dawn of a new struggle for survival—a struggle more dangerous and challenging than any they had ever known.…

Children of Time

By Adrian Tchaikovsky,

Book cover of Children of Time

Laura Krantz Author Of Is There Anybody Out There?: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life, from Amoebas to Aliens

From the list on the search for alien life.

Who am I?

I was never going to hack it as a scientist. So I became a journalist instead. After all, both careers stem from a sense of wonder about the world and asking questions, looking for answers, and accepting that there might not be any. In 2018, I started my narrative podcast Wild Thing, which let me explore some of our weirder collective fascinations (like aliens) using science, history, psychology, and humor. I’d never aimed the podcast at kids, but I realized that all those big open-ended questions that I had about everything were the same kinds of questions that kids had - which really set me up to write the Wild Thing book series. 

Laura's book list on the search for alien life

Why did Laura love this book?

If you’re searching for aliens, you have to think about the time and distances involved in space travel—and what might happen to us as we head out into the great unknown. Tchaikovsky’s fantastic science fiction novel cleverly plays with the concepts of evolution, intelligence, faith, and survival.

This book is full of smart, mind-blowing ideas and made me realize that, despite our egocentric view of humanity’s place in the cosmos, ours may not be the only species with intergalactic potential. I couldn’t put it down. 

By Adrian Tchaikovsky,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Children of Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 30th anniversary Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Novel

Adrian Tchaikovksy's critically acclaimed, stand-alone novel Children of Time, is the epic story of humanity's battle for survival on a terraformed planet.

Who will inherit this new Earth?

The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age - a world terraformed and prepared for human life.

But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the…

The Inheritance Trilogy

By N. K. Jemisin,

Book cover of The Inheritance Trilogy

Chris McKinney Author Of Midnight, Water City

From the list on science fiction with badass protagonists.

Who am I?

I’m a Korean, Japanese, Scottish American writer born and raised in Hawaii who likes to create badass sci-fi characters of mixed backgrounds while blending cultures and genres as well. I also lean on tropes like sniper, detective, scientist, and genetically modified or cybernetically enhanced individuals, but I try to build symbolism or meaning into each archetype—for example, a sniper who is myopic in general, or a scientist whose life work is creating a new religion. I suppose I enjoy characters full of contradictions. When it comes to the badasses I like, it’s practically a requirement. 

Chris' book list on science fiction with badass protagonists

Why did Chris love this book?

Not only is Essun a woman, which, unfortunately, is not common when it comes to the history of badass sci-fi protagonists (thankfully this is becoming less true because of writers like N.K. Jemisin), but she’s a middle-aged mother of two living, or I should say, hiding, out in the cut. When her daughter goes missing, Essun hits the road to find her and reveals her, literally, Earth-shaking abilities. If we threw the badasses on this list into a single universe and had them duel, ten-ringer Essun would clean the clocks of every other protagonist. Or more accurately, turn them to ice. I absolutely loved this series, and Essun is the main reason why. 

By N. K. Jemisin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After her mother's death, a young woman is summoned to the floating city of Sky to claim a royal inheritance she never knew existed in this epic fantasy trilogy from the NYT bestselling author of The Fifth Season.

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.

The Inheritance Trilogy…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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