100 books like Rendezvous with Rama

By Arthur C. Clarke,

Here are 100 books that Rendezvous with Rama fans have personally recommended if you like Rendezvous with Rama. 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 Dragon's Egg

John Gribbin Author Of Don't Look Back

From my list on science fiction by scientists.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Gribbin has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics and is best known as an author of science books. But he has a not-so-secret passion for science fiction. He is the award-winning author of more than a hundred popular books about science, ranging from quantum mysteries to cosmology, and from evolution to earthquakes. He has also produced a double-handful of science fiction books. He specialises in writing factual books about the kind of science that sounds like fiction (including time travel), and fictional books based on scientific fact (including climate change). His recent book Six Impossible Things was short-listed for the prestigious Royal Society prize, but he is equally proud of Not Fade Away, his biography of Buddy Holly.

John's book list on science fiction by scientists

John Gribbin Why did John love this book?

The idea of intelligent life existing on the surface of a neutron star as massive as our Sun, the size of a mountain, and with a surface gravity 67 billion times that of Earth seems like sheer fantasy but Forward presents impeccable science to make it all seem entirely plausible.

By Robert L. Forward,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dragon's Egg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“In science fiction there is only a handful of books that stretch the mind—and this is one of them.”—Arthur C. Clarke
 
In a moving story of sacrifice and triumph, human scientists establish a relationship with intelligent lifeforms—the cheela—living on Dragon’s Egg, a neutron star where one Earth hour is equivalent to hundreds of their years. The cheela culturally evolve from savagery to the discovery of science, and for a brief time, men are their diligent teachers.
 
Praise for Dragon’s Egg
 
“Bob Forward writes in the tradition of Hal Clement’s Mission of Gravity and carries it a giant step (how else?)…


Book cover of Contact

Arnie Benn Author Of The Intrepid: Dawn Of The Interstellar Age

From my list on sci-fi classics that offer insight into human nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since childhood, I have been obsessed with understanding everything — science and the universe. Now, in this age of the JWST and a burgeoning space industry, I do sub-quantum mechanics research at an international physics think-tank, The Quantum Bicycle Society. My own hard sci-fi novel is intended to help publicize these scientific advances, as well as the behavioral psychology concepts that are the subject of my next nonfiction book, The Animal In The Mirror. The books on this list represent the foundation of inspiration that propelled my formative sci-fi journey, stories that also shine the light of insight onto our shared, instinctive nature.

Arnie's book list on sci-fi classics that offer insight into human nature

Arnie Benn Why did Arnie love this book?

This is my favorite hard sci-fi classic. I love the beautiful mix of real science (wormholes excepted), compelling story, and characters, and it touches on both first contact and the way in which human nature might cause us to react to it. That is the power combo, in my opinion!

The movie of the book was very good — Robert Zemeckis is a brilliant director — although it left out some fantastic details that, as a math and science fan, I really loved! (I won’t spoil it here; it’s too good.)

By Carl Sagan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In December 1999 a multinational team journeys out to the stars, to the most awesome encounter in human history. Who - or what - is out there?


Book cover of Cosm

John Gribbin Author Of Don't Look Back

From my list on science fiction by scientists.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Gribbin has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics and is best known as an author of science books. But he has a not-so-secret passion for science fiction. He is the award-winning author of more than a hundred popular books about science, ranging from quantum mysteries to cosmology, and from evolution to earthquakes. He has also produced a double-handful of science fiction books. He specialises in writing factual books about the kind of science that sounds like fiction (including time travel), and fictional books based on scientific fact (including climate change). His recent book Six Impossible Things was short-listed for the prestigious Royal Society prize, but he is equally proud of Not Fade Away, his biography of Buddy Holly.

John's book list on science fiction by scientists

John Gribbin Why did John love this book?

At the other extreme from Contact, Greg Benford’s COSM involves very small wormholes. Or at least, a wormhole that starts out small. In his variation on the theme, an experiment on Earth accidentally opens a wormhole which in effect creates a new universe, which the experimenters can study and eventually communicate with through the wormhole. Again, real science, but technology a little (this time only a little!) beyond our present capabilities. And it raises the intriguing question of whether our Universe might have been made in this way by a race of superior beings (gods?) in another universe.

By Gregory Benford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

COSM brings the extraordinary passion, drama and politics of scientific research to life in a stunning near-future thriller.

On an otherwise ordinary day not long from now, inside a massive installation of ultra-high-energy scientific equipment, something goes wrong with a brilliant young physicist's most ambitious experiment. But this is not a calamity. It will soon be seen as one of the most significant breakthroughs in history. For the explosion has left something behind: a sphere the size of a basketball, made of nothing known to science. As the forces of academia, government, theology and the mass media fight for control…


Captain James Heron First Into the Fray: Prequel to Harry Heron Into the Unknown of the Harry Heron Series

By Patrick G. Cox, Janet Angelo (editor),

Book cover of Captain James Heron First Into the Fray: Prequel to Harry Heron Into the Unknown of the Harry Heron Series

Patrick G. Cox Author Of Ned Farrier Master Mariner: Call of the Cape

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

On the expertise I claim only a deep interest in history, leadership, and social history. After some thirty-six years in the fire and emergency services I can, I think, claim to have seen the best and the worst of human behaviour and condition. History, particularly naval history, has always been one of my interests and the Battle of Jutland is a truly fascinating study in the importance of communication between the leader and every level between him/her and the people performing whatever task is required.  In my own career, on a very much smaller scale, this is a lesson every officer learns very quickly.

Patrick's book list on the Battle of Jutland

What is my book about?

Captain Heron finds himself embroiled in a conflict that threatens to bring down the world order he is sworn to defend when a secretive Consortium seeks to undermine the World Treaty Organisation and the democracies it represents as he oversees the building and commissioning of a new starship.

When the Consortium employs an assassin from the Pantheon, it becomes personal.

Captain James Heron First Into the Fray: Prequel to Harry Heron Into the Unknown of the Harry Heron Series

By Patrick G. Cox, Janet Angelo (editor),

What is this book about?

The year is 2202, and the recently widowed Captain James Heron is appointed to stand by his next command, the starship NECS Vanguard, while she is being built. He and his team soon discover that they are battling the Consortium, a shadowy corporate group that seeks to steal the specs for the ship’s new super weapon. The Consortium hires the Pantheon, a mysterious espionage agency, to do their dirty work as they lay plans to take down the Fleet and gain supreme power on an intergalactic scale. When Pantheon Agent Bast and her team kidnap Felicity Rowanberg, a Fleet agent…


Book cover of The Coming of the Quantum Cats: A Novel of Alternate Universes

John Gribbin Author Of Don't Look Back

From my list on science fiction by scientists.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Gribbin has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics and is best known as an author of science books. But he has a not-so-secret passion for science fiction. He is the award-winning author of more than a hundred popular books about science, ranging from quantum mysteries to cosmology, and from evolution to earthquakes. He has also produced a double-handful of science fiction books. He specialises in writing factual books about the kind of science that sounds like fiction (including time travel), and fictional books based on scientific fact (including climate change). His recent book Six Impossible Things was short-listed for the prestigious Royal Society prize, but he is equally proud of Not Fade Away, his biography of Buddy Holly.

John's book list on science fiction by scientists

John Gribbin Why did John love this book?

This might seem a bit off-message because Pohl dropped out of college before finishing his science degree. But he did work as a weather forecaster in the US Navy. And I can’t resist including this book, because it deals with the area of science closest to my heart – many worlds, or parallel universes. The existence of these other worlds next door to our own is the best scientific explanation of the mysteries of quantum physics, such as the famous puzzle of Schrödinger’s Cat, and Pohl wraps it all up in entertaining fashion with a story of what happens when those worlds interact. The fact that Pohl includes a version of myself (actually, several versions of me) in the story has no bearing on my choosing it. I repaid the compliment by including him as a character in my story “Untanglement”, included in my anthology Don’t Look Back' ;-).

By Frederik Pohl,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A brilliant novel of alternate universes by an award-winning science fiction master
 
A breakthrough in quantum physics has shattered the boundaries between alternate worlds. History is in chaos as billions of possible futures collide. As a conquering army mounts an invasion of neighboring realities, a handful of men and women from a dozen different timelines risk their lives to safeguard an infinity of worlds.

Blending thrilling suspense with brilliant scientific speculation, Frederik Pohl’s The Coming of the Quantum Cats is a triumph of the imagination by a Hugo and Nebula–winning master of science fiction.
 
“A powerful novel of parallel worlds…


Book cover of The War of the Worlds

David E. Gates Author Of The Wretched

From my list on horror books that changed my life and could change yours.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved horror since my early teens, when I first discovered The Rats and Lair and other horror stories by James Herbert. The thing I like about horror, in particular, is that there are no holds barred, no censorship, as to what can be written. I grew up on movies like The Exorcist, Friday the 13th, Jaws, Alien, The Thing, etc., but horror writing takes you deeper and gives a more visceral experience than anything any film can do.

David's book list on horror books that changed my life and could change yours

David E. Gates Why did David love this book?

This book is why I became an author. 

I started reading this book in class at school, when I was around thirteen years of age. The class read the first two chapters, and I was so enamoured with it I couldn't wait to get home and read it. I read it in its entirety that very night. I found the language and description used within it quite breathtaking. I couldn't wait to read the next chapter. It had a lasting effect on me and led me to start writing my own stories down. 

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The War of the Worlds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

But planet Earth was not only being watched - soon it would be invaded by monstrous creatures from Mars who strode about the land in great mechanical tripods, bringing death and destruction with them. What can possibly stop an invading army equipped with heat-rays and poisonous black gas, intent on wiping out the human race? This is one man's story of that incredible invasion, from the time the first Martians land near his home town, to the destruction of London. Is this the end of human life on Earth?


Book cover of Dune

Arnie Benn Author Of The Intrepid: Dawn Of The Interstellar Age

From my list on sci-fi classics that offer insight into human nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since childhood, I have been obsessed with understanding everything — science and the universe. Now, in this age of the JWST and a burgeoning space industry, I do sub-quantum mechanics research at an international physics think-tank, The Quantum Bicycle Society. My own hard sci-fi novel is intended to help publicize these scientific advances, as well as the behavioral psychology concepts that are the subject of my next nonfiction book, The Animal In The Mirror. The books on this list represent the foundation of inspiration that propelled my formative sci-fi journey, stories that also shine the light of insight onto our shared, instinctive nature.

Arnie's book list on sci-fi classics that offer insight into human nature

Arnie Benn Why did Arnie love this book?

What I loved most about this classic series is the detailed story world the author creates. When you read beyond the first book in the series, you start to get more and more of it — cultural, anthropological, geological, and more. It is a very cool and fully immersive world.

While the new movie series has captured the imagination of many and certainly has super cool production design elements, it does take some license with the story. Allow it to merely whet your appetite for the books. They're better.

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

53 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…


Book cover of The Forever War

Nathan W. Toronto Author Of Rise of Ahrik

From my list on military science fiction and fantasy by veterans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I care about military SFF because it has the potential to contribute to a just and prosperous society by building bridges of understanding between military professionals and civilians. I've never served in the military, but I taught operations and strategy to US Army officers for six years, after which I went to Abu Dhabi as one of the founding faculty members of the UAE National Defense College. I wrote a book, How Militaries Learn, which is one of the few academic books on civil-military relations to use large-n statistical analysis. I’ve lived in ten countries and I speak four languages, including Arabic.

Nathan's book list on military science fiction and fantasy by veterans

Nathan W. Toronto Why did Nathan love this book?

When I met Joe Haldeman, I was struck by how such an unassuming, witty person could write such a gritty, visceral novel about war. Haldeman served in Vietnam, and (by his own admission) his combat experience shines through in Forever War. Yes, this novel captures combat in unflinching detail, but I’m a former professor of war, so what I really care about is the intriguing interplay of time, space, and war. As captured so well in the short story version of the novel, “Time Piece,” this novel is less about fighting and dying and more about what war over relativistic distances does to society. I love this novel because it says just as much about those who stay home as it does about those who go into combat.

By Joe Haldeman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The monumental Hugo and Nebula award winning SF classic-- Featuring a new introduction by John Scalzi

The Earth's leaders have drawn a line in the interstellar sand--despite the fact that the fierce alien enemy they would oppose is inscrutable, unconquerable, and very far away. A reluctant conscript drafted into an elite Military unit, Private William Mandella has been propelled through space and time to fight in the distant thousand-year conflict; to perform his duties and do whatever it takes to survive the ordeal and return home. But "home" may be even more terrifying than battle, because, thanks to the time…


Book cover of Spin

Trevor Williams Author Of Eternal Shadow

From my list on first contact sci-fi but with a twist.

Why am I passionate about this?

My parents always encouraged me to explore the world and express myself. I also grew up in a home where the bookshelves were lined with Stephen King novels, encyclopedias, and VHS tapes containing episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. So it came as little surprise that my interests in astronomy, orbital mechanics, and fantastical technology concepts (who doesn't like the idea of a ringworld?) dominated my life. I also love history and the drive for exploring the endless possibilities behind the question "what if." Science fiction is, at its core, about exploring the human condition—this is where you’ll find my writing and the adventures I bring to you.

Trevor's book list on first contact sci-fi but with a twist

Trevor Williams Why did Trevor love this book?

A science fiction novel that has as much focus on fleshed-out character development as the science? Amazing. The plot of this fascinating novel, even more so. Imagine a world where all the stars you see in the night sky suddenly go out. How would you react when you learned the reason for this was a world-spanning barrier which is not only blocking out the starry night but is also vastly increasing the rate at which time passes beyond the barrier—to the point where the sun ages billions of years in a matter of decades.

From exploring the implications of this time-bending device to witnessing the world as it copes with this new reality, this is one story that—after reading it decades ago—still holds a fond place in my heart.

By Robert Charles Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After witnessing the onset of an astronomical event that has caused the sun to go black and the stars and moon to disappear, Tyler, Jason, and Diane learn that the darkness has been caused by a time-altering, alien-created artificial barrier and that the sun will be extinguished in less than forty years. Reprint.


Book cover of Darwin's Radio

Arri Eisen Author Of The Enlightened Gene: Biology, Buddhism, and the Convergence That Explains the World

From my list on science in accurate and creative ways.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scientist with a love for fiction, and I’m very intrigued by and like to explore the intersections of science with the rest of the world— art, fiction, race, religion, life, and death.  I bring these intersections into my teaching and writing. Over the past 30 years, I’ve taught Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns, undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, physicians and professors at Emory University, cadets at the Air Force Academy, and the general public. Why does science matter? Why is it beautiful? Dangerous? It’s the novelists who tell us best.

Arri's book list on science in accurate and creative ways

Arri Eisen Why did Arri love this book?

I guess this book is officially qualified as ‘science fiction’ but I think of it instead as great fiction that appreciates and then grabs the very edges of our current knowledge and extends them like a wild rubber band in ways that captivate. Bear takes some of the guesses and hints about what lies within the 95% of our DNA that at first seems to have no clear ‘purpose’ and imagines it is part of a sensor that is able to catalyze the creation of new versions of life in response to the kinds of dramatic stressors— climate change, etc— that humans have made for ourselves. 

By Greg Bear,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Darwin's Radio as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A 2000 HUGO AWARD NOMINEE

Ancient diseases encoded in the DNA of humans wait like sleeping dragons to wake and infect again--or so molecular biologist Kaye Lang believes. And now it looks as if her controversial theory is in fact chilling reality. For Christopher Dicken, a "virus hunter" at the Epidemic Intelligence Service, has pursued an elusive flu-like disease that strikes down expectant mothers and their offspring. Then a major discovery high in the Alps --the preserved bodies of a prehistoric family--reveals a shocking link: something that has slept in our genes for millions of years is waking up.

Now,…


Book cover of Darwinia

Don Kinney Author Of The Darkdrift

From my list on sci-fi for newbies, from a newbie sci-fi writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by science and space since I was a child and naturally gravitated toward science fiction. In many respects, it was a form of escapism, as I didn’t enjoy school. I always preferred escaping into another world or being taken on a journey to another world. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that most great science fiction is a commentary on our own world and the issues we face daily. Science fiction, more than any other genre, does a better job of exploring and dissecting aspects of our world, which in turn helps us better understand our world and our relationship with it.

Don's book list on sci-fi for newbies, from a newbie sci-fi writer

Don Kinney Why did Don love this book?

Darwinia was the first novel I read by Robert Charles Wilson, who I believe is the best modern-day science fiction writer. Darwinia was a novel I had to read twice to really grasp how brilliantly Wilson had woven everything together. This is one of those novels where the ending can sneak up on you and blow you away and you weren’t even remotely prepared, which is preferred over any ending that I can predict.

By Robert Charles Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In an alternative history of the twentieth century, Europe is replaced by a land of nightmarish jungle and monsters that contains the secret of human destiny.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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