10 books like Quicksilver

By Neal Stephenson,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Quicksilver. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Dune

By Frank Herbert,

Book cover of Dune

Dune is a sci-fi story that really makes you think in the abstract and it poses a lot of deep questions about leadership. While Dune is a tough read with strange protagonists, its worldbuilding is what sucks you because it’s so richly detailed. It’s an immersive book, and I consider it the sci-fi equivalent of Lord of the Rings for setting the standard for sweeping space operas. I read Dune before self-publishing my most recent book, and it made me want to retool the way resource control worked in my book’s universe.

Dune

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender's Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person's lifespan to making interstellar travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world of Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of…


Foundation

By Isaac Asimov,

Book cover of Foundation

Foundation was inspired by Gibbons’ History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and it shows. The series spans millennia, with dark ages and rediscoveries, civilization versus barbarism and naked imperial aggression. Asimov was not the first writer to create a “future history” (Olaf Stapledon’s Starmaker predates it by more than a decade) but he certainly brought the concept to popular consciousness. Thought-provoking and dizzying in scope, Foundation remains a bedrock of modern science fiction. 

Foundation

By Isaac Asimov,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first novel in Isaac Asimov’s classic science-fiction masterpiece, the Foundation series

THE EPIC SAGA THAT INSPIRED THE APPLE TV+ SERIES FOUNDATION, NOW STREAMING • Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read
 
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future—to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save humankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire—both scientists and scholars—and brings…


Master & Commander

By Patrick O'Brian,

Book cover of Master & Commander

This is the first of the 21 Aubrey/Maturin novels about the British side in the Napoleonic Wars. Read one and you’re hooked for the duration! O’Brian recreates an accurate and nuanced immersion into the age of sail and the British Navy. His characters are rich and complex with foibles and flaws, yet rise to the circumstances of their lives. His research is impeccable and exhaustive. One feels they are on the oak deck next to the crew.
The movie of the same title is far more truncated than the novel, but still a wonder in its beautifully rendered scenes.

The casual brutality, foreign intrigues, and vivid battle scenes leave the reader with racing heart and the hint of salt air in their nose. This series is a true treasure.

Master & Commander

By Patrick O'Brian,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Master & Commander as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This, the first in the splendid series of Jack Aubrey novels, establishes the friendship between Captain Aubrey, R.N., and Stephen Maturin, ship's surgeon and intelligence agent, against a thrilling backdrop of the Napoleonic wars. Details of a life aboard a man-of-war in Nelson's navy are faultlessly rendered: the conversational idiom of the officers in the ward room and the men on the lower deck, the food, the floggings, the mysteries of the wind and the rigging, and the roar of broadsides as the great ships close in battle.


Time and Again

By Jack Finney,

Book cover of Time and Again

Being a romantic I loved Time and Again (as well as the movie) for the story’s construction. I appreciate verisimilitude in historical novels and Finney has done his homework. Having briefly visited New York City twice, I do not know it personally. 

Finney makes it breathe in 1882 with fascinating detail that never bores, and by using photographs. I thought the novel was perfect, and it stuck in my head as much for production/construction values as well as the story. When I first researched Treadwell at the Alaska Historical Library in Juneau I came across dozens of photographs, and the form for the novel coalesced in my head.

In retrospect I realize the novels I loved taught me about the architecture of story as well as entertaining me.

Time and Again

By Jack Finney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Si Morley is bored with his job as a commercial illustrator and his social life doesn't seem to be going anywhere. So, when he is approached by an affable ex-football star and told that he is just what the government is looking for to take part in a top-secret programme, he doesn't hesitate for too long. And so one day Si steps out of his twentieth-century, New York apartment and finds himself back in January 1882. There are no cars, no planes, no computers, no television and the word 'nuclear' appears in no dictionaries. For Si, it's very like Eden,…


Dead Wake

By Erik Larson,

Book cover of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Dead Wake is fact that reads like fiction. Not often do I choose a book already knowing how it ends. His artistic rendering of the world in 1915 is alone worth the read. He introduces us to the passengers of the SS Lusitania, who they are, why they are on the ship, and he makes us care.

Larson limns Captains Turner of the Lusitania, and Schweiger of the U-20, the Imperial German submarine. The author carefully choreographs the final voyage of the doomed ship. The sinking is not the end of the story. 

The last third of the book is devoted to what happened after the torpedo hit. Captain Turner survives the attack as well as many of the passengers. This is a beautifully researched, but heartrending read. 

Dead Wake

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds" and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover,…


1919

By John Dos Passos,

Book cover of 1919: Volume Two of the U.S.A. Trilogy

I first read 1919 by Dos Passos when I was a teenager in the Navy. Having a yen for history since the age of eight, I was transported to an era where hopes and dreams have shattered or vanished. The author created the gritty and tawdry ambiance of characters as far out of their depth as was the reader.

We meet many limned characters with engaging flaws and hopes. The point-of-view shifts constantly and the narrative is spaced with advertising jingles from period radio programs and magazines to promote visualization.

The USA trilogy never left me. After pursuing art and making my living as a commercial artist for 15 years I turned to writing. I realized I wanted to create an immersive portrait of Juneau using similar tactics. I believe I succeeded.

1919

By John Dos Passos,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked 1919 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A Depression-era novel about American tumult has—perhaps unsurprisingly—aged quite well.”—The New Yorker

In 1919, the second volume of his U.S.A. trilogy, John Dos Passos continues his “vigorous and sweeping panorama of twentieth-century America” (Forum).

Employing a host of experimental devices that would inspire a whole new generation of writers to follow, Dos Passos captures the many textures, flavors, and background noises of the era with a cinematic touch and unparalleled nerve.1919 opens to find America and the world at war, and Dos Passos’s characters, many of whom we met in the first volume, are thrown into the snarl. We follow…


The Van Rijn Method

By Poul Anderson,

Book cover of The Van Rijn Method

This omnibus collects eleven short stories about space merchant Nicholas Van Rijn. Van Rijn (no coincidence that he’s Dutch) is literate, clever, eccentric in speech, archaic in dress, and occasionally valiant in battle – but he’d much rather trade than fight, and although he describes trade as “swindling each other,” he characteristically strikes deals that benefit all parties.

Van Rijn’s trade-in spices (he is CEO of the Solar Spice and Liquors Company) is a callout to the history of the Dutch East India Company. The great early modern companies (and specifically, the British East India Company) are one of the inspirations in my book: they founded some fortunes and give to startling adventure stories, but the contradictions inherent in their nature also led to corruption and oppression.

The Van Rijn Method

By Poul Anderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Follow the exploits of Nicholas Van Rijn, one of Science Fiction's most popular characters, as told by Science Fiction's Grand Master, Poul Anderson, in Volume 1 in the Complete Technic Civilization Series.


The Pride of Chanur

By C.J. Cherryh,

Book cover of The Pride of Chanur

In The Pride of Chanur, a human prisoner escapes from the alien kif, who are interrogating him and who have killed his shipmates. The human stows away aboard a hani merchant vessel (the hani are non-human sentients; think large humanoid cats); when discovered, he talked the ship’s captain into making him part of the (otherwise female and hani) crew. The kif attempt to bully the hani into giving up their human crewmate, but they refuse and retreat, until the kif are overextended and have to return home. This is a psychologically rich and entertaining novel that is about spaceships, but whose action is all subterfuge, negotiation, and diplomacy, rather than shooting.

The Pride of Chanur

By C.J. Cherryh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Excellent Book


Never Say Die

By Anthony Horowitz,

Book cover of Never Say Die: Alex Rider

Alex Rider is the series that first introduced me to YA spy novels. They are a defining part of my childhood and adolescence… I don’t have a favorite

After thinking the series was over, Never Say Die was the unexpected sequel I needed. I didn’t need to reread the books to be re-immersed in Alex Rider’s world—it was almost as if I’d never left.

But why choose this one? For a character that could be defined as a reluctant spy, I enjoyed seeing him use the skills that had been forced upon him for something he wanted to do for once. It taught me that we might not always have control over what skills and talents we acquire, but we do have a choice in how we use them.

Never Say Die

By Anthony Horowitz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Never Say Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alex Rider is now an IMDb TV/Amazon Original Series!

The world’s greatest teen spy is back in action in a thrilling new mission: destroy once and for all the terrorist organization SCORPIA. Americans may have purchased more than 6 million copies of Alex's adventures, but now, more than ever, we all need his heroics.

Following the events of Scorpia Rising, Alex relocates to San Francisco as he slowly recovers from the tragic death of his best friend and caregiver, Jack Starbright, at the hands of terrorists working for SCORPIA. With Jack gone, Alex feels lost and alone, but then, out…


Remarkables

By Margaret Peterson Haddix,

Book cover of Remarkables

This book is a great stand-alone but thankfully is a series. It is a story about moving away and learning to integrate but also a young girl discovering strange things in the woods and finding herself immersed in a mystery you will not believe. I read this to my boys but I found myself more intrigued every chapter 

Remarkables

By Margaret Peterson Haddix,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author Margaret Peterson Haddix, the master of cliffhangers, delivers a pulse-pounding mystery perfect for fans of Jacqueline West and Kat Yeh, full of secrets, surprises, and the power of family.

One minute they’re there: laughing and having fun at the house next door. The next minute, the teens are gone. Like magic. Marin can’t believe her eyes. Who are they? Can anyone else see them? What makes them so happy?

Marin is lonely in this new town of hers and eager to figure out more. Then she meets Charley, who reveals that he knows about them,…


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