100 books like Recursion

By Blake Crouch,

Here are 100 books that Recursion fans have personally recommended if you like Recursion. 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 Wool

Jennifer Lauer Author Of The Girl in the Zoo

From my list on cozy sci-fi and fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sci-fi and fantasy give us permission to go places we might not go in this world. I am a big daydreamer and always have been. One of the most magical things about being a writer is that you get to design a world that lives only in your mind, and then share it with the reader. Like George R. R. Martin wrote, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

Jennifer's book list on cozy sci-fi and fantasy

Jennifer Lauer Why did Jennifer love this book?

The story of people living in an underground Silo who don’t know why they're there, and only that the outside world is toxic and they must survive.

The characters in this story are heroic and relatable. I just wanted this book to keep going, and luckily there are two more in the series – Shift and Dust. The TV series is also a great addition and keeps a similar tone to the book.

By Hugh Howey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

SOON TO BE A MAJOR APPLE TV SERIES
__________________________
'Thrilling, thought-provoking and memorable ... one of dystopian fiction's masterpieces alongside the likes of 1984 and Brave New World.' DAILY EXPRESS

In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo.

Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies.

To live, you must follow the rules. But some don't. These are the dangerous ones; these are the people who dare to hope and dream, and who infect others…


Book cover of A Fire Upon the Deep

Marc B. DeGeorge Author Of A Call to the Sky

From my list on sci-fi about unorthodox families and friendships.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my day job, I’m immersed either with technical equipment or managing people and I enjoy the duality of both challenges. It’s difficult to say which I like best, but because part of my job is people focused, I’ve enjoyed learning to understand the social and interpersonal dynamics between coworkers and clients alike. So books with strong character relationships and stories that are driven by their wants and desires, however right or wrong they may be, are a favorite of mine. The science fiction aspect comes with my love for technology, mainly in music and film and I find many parallels between those arts and writing books. 

Marc's book list on sci-fi about unorthodox families and friendships

Marc B. DeGeorge Why did Marc love this book?

My sister and I were only close because we’re only two years apart. But recently we’ve had some tragedy in our family, and that brought us closer.

While I was making this list of books, I was reminded of this story and how much I enjoyed it, not just for the prose, which I take notice of and will drop a book if it’s bad, but for that reminder of the brother and sister story here. Not to mention the rescue crew of odd characters which reflects a belief of mine: truth is universal.

Any human or alien can understand compassion and suffering and choose the better of the two.

By Vernor Vinge,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked A Fire Upon the Deep as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fleeing a menace of galactic proportions, a spaceship crashes on an unfamiliar world, leaving the survivors - a pair of children - to the not-so-tender mercies of a medieval, lupine race. Responding to the ship's distress signal, a rescue mission races against time to retrieve the children.


Book cover of 11/22/63

MJ Mumford Author Of TimeBlink

From my list on time travel books that don’t fit the sci-fi mold.

Why am I passionate about this?

At one time, whenever I heard "science fiction," my mind would jump to spaceships, aliens, and dystopian worlds. So, when it came to categorizing my time travel novel, I was surprised to learn that I’d unwittingly penned a sci-fi book. I initially resisted this classification since my story has more of a domestic thriller vibe, and the characters only travel a few years, not centuries, through time. However, I’ve since accepted that time travel is science fiction. The books on my list prove that sci-fi doesn’t necessarily mean hardcore science. It can have a more universal appeal, exploring themes of love, loss, and destiny without a time machine or extraterrestrial in sight.

MJ's book list on time travel books that don’t fit the sci-fi mold

MJ Mumford Why did MJ love this book?

While the backbone of this time-bending tale is Jake Epping's quest to stop President John F. Kennedy's assassination, it was Jake’s unexpected romance with a woman from the past that truly grabbed me. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I’m drawn to narratives where the character must choose between personal happiness and duty, and on that front, this story delivers.

Additionally, King's depiction of 1960s America is so immersive that I felt as though I’d been transported right back to the era, sharing in the burden of Jake’s critical mission.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked 11/22/63 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major TV series from JJ Abrams and Stephen King, starring James Franco (Hulu US, Fox UK and Europe, Stan Australia, SKY New Zealand).

WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11.22.63, the date that Kennedy was shot - unless . . .

King takes his protagonist Jake Epping, a high school English teacher from Lisbon Falls, Maine, 2011, on a fascinating journey back to 1958 - from a world of mobile phones and iPods to a new world of…


Book cover of City of Stairs

Scott A. Bollens Author Of ReStart: Stories of the Cairn Age

From my list on dystopia where cities pulsate with life and death.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic in rebellion. I have interviewed hundreds of urban leaders and professionals in nine divided urban areas throughout the world. I have written much on this subject, replete with footnotes and sophisticated writing. I am weary of writing more about this important topic—how people do or do not get along in urban settings—from an academic distance. I find the scholarly posture sterilized and insufficiently provocative. I entered into the fictional genre in order to reach a broader audience. I think that fictional futurist writing has the unique ability to portray extraordinary new worlds while at the same time addressing fundamental issues that we face now.

Scott's book list on dystopia where cities pulsate with life and death

Scott A. Bollens Why did Scott love this book?

What could be more fun than Gods getting involved in city planning? Spy story wrapped inside a grand and mysterious history of once-supreme Gods now dormant (or not). Memorable characters. Don’t mess with the giant grunt Sigrud. Divine power with 6 Gods (light bearer, judge, warrior, seed-sower, trickster, and builder). Imagine holding a committee meeting with this group. Magical portals that enable back-and-forth between current gritty and past majestic city. A thought-provoking conclusion that speaks to worldwide conflict in real life today. 

By Robert Jackson Bennett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Robert Jackson Bennett deserves a huge audience' - Brent Weeks, New York Times bestselling author of The Black Prism

In the city of stairs, nothing is as it seems.

You've got to be careful when you're chasing a murderer through Bulikov, for the world is not as it should be in that city. When the gods were destroyed and all worship of them banned by the Polis, reality folded; now stairs lead to nowhere, alleyways have become portals to the past, and criminals disappear into thin air.

The murder of Dr Efrem Pangyui, the Polis diplomat researching the Continent's past,…


Book cover of Annihilation

Dwain Worrell Author Of Androne

From my list on suspenseful science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

To be honest, and this will sound strange, but suspense is the air I breathe. I’m a pretty calm, boring human being, and the only thing that gets my heart pumping are films, TV, books, and video games in this genre. Suspense and thrillers are genres that make up ninety percent of the entertainment that I consume, and one hundred percent of the entertainment that I write.

Dwain's book list on suspenseful science fiction

Dwain Worrell Why did Dwain love this book?

What can I say about Annihilation? It’s a novel where the reader isn’t quite sure what is going on, nor can any two readers agree on what they just read and that’s the amazing part about it.

Hypnosis, genetic deviation, and something utterly alien make this such an intense read. And that suspense is heightened because there is a level of mystery and weirdness in Jeff VanderMeer’s world, where things aren’t quite grounded in the reality that we are used to.

By Jeff VanderMeer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A contemporary masterpiece' Guardian

THE FIRST VOLUME OF THE EXTRAORDINARY SOUTHERN REACH TRILOGY - NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY ALEX GARLAND (EX MACHINA) AND STARRING NATALIE PORTMAN AND OSCAR ISAAC

For thirty years, Area X has remained mysterious and remote behind its intangible border - an environmental disaster zone, though to all appearances an abundant wilderness.

The Southern Reach, a secretive government agency, has sent eleven expeditions to investigate Area X. One has ended in mass suicide, another in a hail of gunfire, the eleventh in a fatal cancer epidemic.

Now four women embark on the…


Book cover of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Benoit Lanteigne Author Of The Cyborg's Crusade

From my list on sci-fi books with strange settings.

Why am I passionate about this?

Some people like realism in their stories, but I prefer something more out there. I enjoy it when a story takes place in a fictional world, be it in a fantasy land like Lord of the Rings or something sci-fi. So, it’s not surprising that when I started writing my own series, The Cyborg Crusade, I decided to invent a new world. This required a ton of work and gave me a further appreciation for the effort it takes to come up with a strange new setting. This is why I decided to make this list of books featuring either a unique world or a twist on the existing one.

Benoit's book list on sci-fi books with strange settings

Benoit Lanteigne Why did Benoit love this book?

When I was young, I quickly developed a taste for sci-fi. Thanks to my father, I also learned to love murder mysteries. I still remember us watching Columbo together.

My love for those genres makes it feel like The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle was written for me. At first glance, the setting is normal, a country house in the 1920s. The twist is that there’s a time loop, and the only way to break it is for the protagonist to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle.

Even better, for every loop, the protagonist has his consciousness awakening in a different body, allowing him to experience the events through multiple points. This setting allows for a complex, dazzling narrative filled with twists and turns. I can’t recommend it enough.

By Stuart Turton,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Pop your favorite Agatha Christie whodunnit into a blender with a scoop of Downton Abbey, a dash of Quantum Leap, and a liberal sprinkling of Groundhog Day and you'll get this unique murder mystery." ―Harper's Bazaar

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a breathlessly addictive mystery that follows one man's race to find a killer, with an astonishing time-turning twist that means nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again,…


Book cover of All You Need Is Kill

Aaron Dennis Author Of Beyond the End of the World: Lokians 1

From my list on sci-fi books with a good dose of science.

Why am I passionate about this?

Who am I to be an expert? I'm not. I know what I like and why, and I also know what I dislike. I have no idea what you like or dislike, and I don't presume to know more than anyone else. I do not have a passion for sci-fi; I have a predilection for it. I've been writing creatively all my life. Sci fi is not all I read or write either. At the end of the day, I only need to know that I've given life my best shot.

Aaron's book list on sci-fi books with a good dose of science

Aaron Dennis Why did Aaron love this book?

This book doesn't really need a reason to be recommended. I mean, c'mon, we've all seen The Edge of Tomorrow, and admittedly, I did not read the novel until after I saw the movie. Most Americans don't know much about, less yet come across, Japanese graphic novels unless they're already into that kind of stuff.

Regardless, reading the book after seeing the movie was a pleasant surprise. It's like reading Dreamcatcher by Stephen King after seeing the movie. The movies never do the books justice.

By Hiroshi Sakurazaka,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked All You Need Is Kill as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the alien Gitai invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many raw recruits shoved into a suit of battle armour and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to find himself reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On the 158th iteration though, he sees something different, something out of place: the female soldier known as the Bitch of War. Is the Bitch the key to Keiji's escape, or to his final death?


Book cover of The City & the City

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?

This tightly-plotted murder mystery takes place in one of the most compelling imagined settings I’ve ever encountered: a double city somewhere in the Balkans where the inhabitants of each half are required by law not to see the inhabitants of the other half.

Equal parts Kafka and Philip K Dick, Miéville’s The City and the City offers a thought-provoking meditation on the haves and have-nots, as well as life in the Balkanized cities of the world, those “double places” where one-half of the population conspires not to notice the other half.

By China Miéville,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The City & the City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984, the multi-award winning The City & The City by China Mieville is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.

'You can't talk about Mieville without using the word "brilliant".' - Ursula Le Guin, author of the Earthsea series.

When the body of a murdered woman is found in the extraordinary, decaying city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks like a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he probes, the evidence begins to point to…


Book cover of The Book of Strange New Things

Sam Taylor Author Of The Two Loves of Sophie Strom

From my list on making the impossible feel real.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved stories that rearrange reality in some simple, allusive way, including movies like Groundhog Day or The Truman Show. They remind me of a quote about Italo Calvino that I first read when I was a teenager and have loved ever since: ‘He holds a mirror up to life, then writes about the mirror.’ I tend not to be attracted to stories that simply depict reality and even less so to stories that completely abandon reality for an invented fantasy world. All my favorite fictions take place somewhere in between, in the blending of the real and the impossible. 

Sam's book list on making the impossible feel real

Sam Taylor Why did Sam love this book?

Part of what I love about this novel is that its basic premise–an English pastor is sent to a distant planet to preach the Christian gospel to aliens–sounds so absurd that it’s hard to imagine it feeling real. But Faber does a wonderful job of taking the glamor out of space travel and foreign worlds.

The atmosphere of this novel is all empty cafeterias and unpleasant humidity–I love the banality of it all! In its portrait of a loving but strained marriage (with the husband getting excited over aliens and the wife struggling to hold it together on a dying Earth), the novel is dryly funny while also being genuinely moving.

By Michel Faber,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Book of Strange New Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I am with you always, even unto the end of the world . . .'

Peter Leigh is a missionary called to go on the journey of a lifetime. Leaving behind his beloved wife, Bea, he boards a flight for a remote and unfamiliar land, a place where the locals are hungry for the teachings of the Bible - his 'book of strange new things'. It is a quest that will challenge Peter's beliefs, his understanding of the limits of the human body and, most of all, his love for Bea.

The Book of Strange New Things is a wildly…


Book cover of American Estrangement: Stories

Scott A. Bollens Author Of ReStart: Stories of the Cairn Age

From my list on dystopia where cities pulsate with life and death.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic in rebellion. I have interviewed hundreds of urban leaders and professionals in nine divided urban areas throughout the world. I have written much on this subject, replete with footnotes and sophisticated writing. I am weary of writing more about this important topic—how people do or do not get along in urban settings—from an academic distance. I find the scholarly posture sterilized and insufficiently provocative. I entered into the fictional genre in order to reach a broader audience. I think that fictional futurist writing has the unique ability to portray extraordinary new worlds while at the same time addressing fundamental issues that we face now.

Scott's book list on dystopia where cities pulsate with life and death

Scott A. Bollens Why did Scott love this book?

I am a big fan of the author’s nuanced and powerful writing style. The best-written book on my list. Collection of short stories that interweave personal details and idiosyncrasies with broader themes and omens. In “Scenic Route” (‘they have me up hard against the hood of the Cadillac Escalade, which is covered in the dust and dead insects of a thousand back roads’) and “Fairground” (‘school buses lined up like ducks at the crosswalk, waiting for the light to turn green, the faces of the secured population looking through the windows with indifference and resignation’), individuals dealing with internal tumult confront in matter-of-fact ways the stark presence of territories and people divided by check-point partitions. Sectoral partitions, segregated populations. Stark divisions in urban life normalized and routinized.

By Saïd Sayrafiezadeh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Said Sayrafiezadeh has been hailed by Philip Gourevitch as "a masterful storyteller working from deep in the American grain." His new collection of stories-some of which have appeared in The New Yorker, the Paris Review, and the Best American Short Stories-is set in a contemporary America full of the kind of emotionally bruised characters familiar to readers of Denis Johnson and George Saunders. These are people contending with internal struggles-a son's fractured relationship with his father, the death of a mother, the loss of a job, drug addiction-even as they are battered by larger, often invisible, economic, political, and racial…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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