44 books like The Children of Men

By P. D. James,

Here are 44 books that The Children of Men fans have personally recommended if you like The Children of Men. 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 The Handmaid's Tale

Isabel Ashdown Author Of 33 Women

From my list on sinister sisters and strange sisterhoods.

Why am I passionate about this?

In both reading and writing fiction, the inciting incident – the murder, accident, or main event of a story – is less fascinating to me than the rich characters that surround it. I’m deeply interested in the lives of women and the ties between them, be they family or not. Whether we’re talking about familial sisters or sisterhood as a broader concept, the tensions, fierce loyalties, oppressions and liberations of women are where my interests will always lie. To my own sister and every one of the wise women who have cheered me on and helped shape my life so far, power to you all! I hope you enjoy these recommendations.

Isabel's book list on sinister sisters and strange sisterhoods

Isabel Ashdown Why did Isabel love this book?

Reading this novel again, almost forty years after its first publication, reminds me of the genius of its author, Margaret Atwood, in her portrayal of women's inner lives. 

In this book, we see sisters of a different kind – divided women, repressed by a brutal state, controlled by fear and enslavement. It is a dystopian novel, yet so much of the story is recognizable to us as credible representations of the past, present, and future sufferings of women. The novel is a modern horror, of sorts – but at the same time, it is a testament of hope and resistance, of sisterhood and strength. The character of Offred stayed with me long after I’d finished the book all those years ago, in fact, to this very day.

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

33 authors picked The Handmaid's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

** THE SUNDAY TIMES NO. 1 BESTSELLER **
**A BBC BETWEEN COVERS BIG JUBILEE READ**

Go back to where it all began with the dystopian novel behind the award-winning TV series.

'As relevant today as it was when Atwood wrote it' Guardian

I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.

Offred is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed in the household of The Commander, Fred Waterford -…


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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 A Canticle for Leibowitz

Perry Kivolowitz Author Of Get Off My L@wn: How a Computer Geek and His Wife Survived the Zombie Apocalypse

From my list on inspiring depressing books Science Fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Science Fiction can explore many themes, including relationships, philosophy, politics, and more. While this is common to many genres, SF is unique in that it also focuses on science-based “what ifs.” What if we could travel to distant stars? What if we could visit the past? The theme of “what if” hinges upon the forward progress of science. This explores the realm of the possible… a realm for which I am passionate.

Perry's book list on inspiring depressing books Science Fiction

Perry Kivolowitz Why did Perry love this book?

This is a classic that I read about at about 10 years old, a decade after its first publication. It was absolutely formative of my future preferences in that it paints on a huge canvas spanning 1800 years.

This book presents much for both religionists and atheists to ponder. Cynics and nihilists will find themselves smiling. The book is presented as three semi-distinct novellas separated by 600 years. Similar to my book, the way the drama unfolds contains no element that appears out of left field. Things make sense.

Despite being written on a fairly high level, the text is breezy and easy to binge-read. It's still one of my favorite books!

By Walter M. Miller, Jr.,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked A Canticle for Leibowitz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the depths of the Utah desert, long after the Flame Deluge has scoured the earth clean, a monk of the Order of Saint Leibowitz has made a miraculous discovery: holy relics from the life of the great saint himself, including the blessed blueprint, the sacred shopping list, and the hallowed shrine of the Fallout Shelter.

In a terrifying age of darkness and decay, these artifacts could be the keys to mankind's salvation. But as the mystery at the core of this groundbreaking novel unfolds, it is the search itself—for meaning, for truth, for love—that offers hope for humanity's rebirth…


Book cover of Implosion

Tony Benson Author Of An Accident of Birth

From my list on sci-fi exploring societal control of the human body.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always had a passion for story-telling, particularly when it involves a moral tale, or a strong moral theme. After a successful career in science and engineering, spanning more than three decades, I left the corporate world to make stringed instruments and to write fiction and non-fiction. I wrote my first novel, An Accident of Birth, after reading a scientific study showing a generation-on-generation decline in male fertility. My second novel is the space opera, Galactic Alliance: Betrayal, and I’ve written a non-fiction reference book Brass and Glass: Optical Instruments and Their Makers. I live in Kent, England with my wife, Margo, and our cat.

Tony's book list on sci-fi exploring societal control of the human body

Tony Benson Why did Tony love this book?

Published in the 1960s, this is the earliest book on my list, and the storytelling will keep you hooked. A biological attack on Britain renders most people infertile. Fertile women are kept in camps where they are forced to breed. When the minister of health discovers that his wife is fertile, he is faced with a dilemma. The story is about how his approach to this dilemma shows shows the character of the man, and how his wife hardens to her situation and finds her strength. The end comes with some unexpected twists.

By D. F. Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Breeding machines and fertility camps.

When a foreign power puts a sterility drug in Britain's reservoirs, the result is all too predictable.

The birth-rate plummets and the country's future looks bleak. There is only one way to save the nation; all women with a natural immunity to the drug must be placed in special camps where they can be bred from like prize cattle.

They must be given special hormone treatment and artificial insemination so that they can produce triplets, quads, quins time after time until they die of exhaustion.

They must become Nation Mums, the sole hope of a…


Book cover of Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang

Tony Benson Author Of An Accident of Birth

From my list on sci-fi exploring societal control of the human body.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always had a passion for story-telling, particularly when it involves a moral tale, or a strong moral theme. After a successful career in science and engineering, spanning more than three decades, I left the corporate world to make stringed instruments and to write fiction and non-fiction. I wrote my first novel, An Accident of Birth, after reading a scientific study showing a generation-on-generation decline in male fertility. My second novel is the space opera, Galactic Alliance: Betrayal, and I’ve written a non-fiction reference book Brass and Glass: Optical Instruments and Their Makers. I live in Kent, England with my wife, Margo, and our cat.

Tony's book list on sci-fi exploring societal control of the human body

Tony Benson Why did Tony love this book?

In this tale, the world is in post-apocalyptic decline, and human fertility has collapsed to zero. A family set up a cloning facility, hoping to overcome the odds and produce a fertile population. The clones, once mature, have other ideas. They take over the facility and marginalise the non-clones. Only rarely is a fertile clone produced, and they are kept as ‘breeders’. As the story progresses, the desire of a naturally born individual for self-determination, and conflicting values between individual and clone, lead to a tension that cannot go unresolved. The storytelling cleverly slips between omniscient in the scenes with the clones, and third person in the scenes with the individual characters.

By Kate Wilhelm,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Sumner family can read the signs: the droughts and floods, the blighted crops, the shortages, the rampant diseases and plagues, and, above all, the increasing sterility all point to one thing. Their isolated farm in the Appalachian Mountains gives them the ideal place to survive the coming breakdown, and their wealth and know-how gives them the means. Men and women must clone themselves for humanity to survive. But what then?


Book cover of The Last of the Winnebagos

S. Kirk Pierzchala Author Of Echoes Through Distant Glass

From my list on human determination to survive in the face of doom.

Why am I passionate about this?

My imagination has always been captivated and fired up by reading traditional myths and fairy tales, as well science fiction. Growing up in the ’80s, I was particularly steeped in cinematic masterpieces such as Bladerunner and The Road Warrior, but I also loved reading classic sci-fi, as well as British literature, particularly the Brontes and Jane Austen. I enjoy and write speculative fiction because I believe it offers some of the best, creative ways to explore the timeless, universal truths underlying the human experience. Whether that exploration happens in subtle scenes of interpersonal interactions, or in the epic events woven in threads of dark and light across the tapestry of history, it’s all valuable and relevant.

S.'s book list on human determination to survive in the face of doom

S. Kirk Pierzchala Why did S. love this book?

I really loved Willis’ multilayered presentation of the narrator’s past and present. Masterfully, Willis creates a deceptively simple, haunting setting, where the common but painful event of the loss of a pet becomes a symbol for the banality of extinction itself—whether of a species or entire culture. Made me think about how, even though inevitable, loss never gets easier.

Book cover of The Prophet of Yonwood

S. Kirk Pierzchala Author Of Echoes Through Distant Glass

From my list on human determination to survive in the face of doom.

Why am I passionate about this?

My imagination has always been captivated and fired up by reading traditional myths and fairy tales, as well science fiction. Growing up in the ’80s, I was particularly steeped in cinematic masterpieces such as Bladerunner and The Road Warrior, but I also loved reading classic sci-fi, as well as British literature, particularly the Brontes and Jane Austen. I enjoy and write speculative fiction because I believe it offers some of the best, creative ways to explore the timeless, universal truths underlying the human experience. Whether that exploration happens in subtle scenes of interpersonal interactions, or in the epic events woven in threads of dark and light across the tapestry of history, it’s all valuable and relevant.

S.'s book list on human determination to survive in the face of doom

S. Kirk Pierzchala Why did S. love this book?

This YA story deals with the threat of apocalyptic destruction, and shows how easily a vulnerable population can be manipulated by fear and uncertainty with only a few rumors. These themes are just as valid today as ever. I like the way DePrau’s protagonist, Nickie, is a relatable character caught in a frightening situation, but trying to make the best of it by forming bonds in her community, as they all face a terrifying future. The haunting sense of dread that permeates this simple novel has stayed with me for years.

By Jeanne DuPrau,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Prophet of Yonwood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

A prequel to the modern-day classic The City of Ember. This highly acclaimed adventure series has captivated kids and teachers alike for almost fifteen years and has sold over 3.5 MILLION copies!
 
Nickie will grow up to be one of the first citizens of the city of Ember. But for now, she’s an eleven-year-old girl whose father was sent away on some mysterious government project.
 
So when the opportunity to move presents itself, Nickie seizes it. But her new town of Yonwood, North Carolina, isn’t what she’d anticipated. It’s a place full of suspicion and mistrust, where one person’s visions…


Book cover of Lord of the World

S. Kirk Pierzchala Author Of Echoes Through Distant Glass

From my list on human determination to survive in the face of doom.

Why am I passionate about this?

My imagination has always been captivated and fired up by reading traditional myths and fairy tales, as well science fiction. Growing up in the ’80s, I was particularly steeped in cinematic masterpieces such as Bladerunner and The Road Warrior, but I also loved reading classic sci-fi, as well as British literature, particularly the Brontes and Jane Austen. I enjoy and write speculative fiction because I believe it offers some of the best, creative ways to explore the timeless, universal truths underlying the human experience. Whether that exploration happens in subtle scenes of interpersonal interactions, or in the epic events woven in threads of dark and light across the tapestry of history, it’s all valuable and relevant.

S.'s book list on human determination to survive in the face of doom

S. Kirk Pierzchala Why did S. love this book?

Literally one of the most ‘apocalyptic’ stories ever penned, this unusual tale follows the main character of a priest as he navigates a hostile secular culture and investigates what might finally be the arrival of the long-predicted Antichrist. The story is prescient in its predictions about technology, as well as political and cultural trends. The un-ironic steampunk vibes (which would have been cutting edge at the time of writing), are a fun plus.

By Robert Hugh Benson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Benson's dystopic vision of a near future world in which religion has, by and large, been rejected or simply fallen by the wayside. The Catholic Church has retreated to Italy and Ireland, while the majority of the rest of the world is either Humanistic or Pantheistic. There is a 'one world' government, and euthanasia is widely available. The plot follows the tale of a priest, Percy Franklin, who becomes Pope Silvester III, and a mysterious man named Julian Felsenburgh, who is identical in looks to the priest and who becomes "Lord of the World".


Book cover of The Vagrant

James Dwyer Author Of The Memory of Blades

From my list on fantasy with dark humour and light entertainment.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer by day and martial arts instructor by night, so when not spending time with my wife and kids, I love nothing more than to read, write, and fight. My favourite books are the ones filled with irreverent characters, who can smirk and joke at any grim situation, laughing the light of entertainment through the darkest of ordeals. These are the type of books I’m always drawn to, both in writing and in reading, where I can imagine taking any standout character and dropping them into a completely different book, then sitting back to watch the chaos they could make.

James' book list on fantasy with dark humour and light entertainment

James Dwyer Why did James love this book?

A Newman on the scene and, atrocious pun aside, Peter Newman redefines what it is for an author to have a fresh voice, especially since his lead character in The Vagrant speaks all of one word. And that’s one word per book if you go on to read the trilogy, which you will, because this novel is amazing. 

What more can you ask for when it comes to dark humour and light entertainment than a man traversing a poisoned world – filled with tainted humans, half-breed demons, and twisted infernals – and his companions on this journey are none other than a belligerent goat and a new-born baby. None of them speak, yet all three pull you into their hearts and them into yours.

An eye opens. A book is read. A reader becomes a Newman fan.

By Peter Newman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Vagrant is his name. He has no other.

Years have passed since humanity's destruction emerged from the Breach.

Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape.

As each day passes the world tumbles further into depravity, bent and twisted by the new order, corrupted by the Usurper, the enemy, and his infernal horde.

His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war.

What little hope remains is dying. Abandoned by its leader, The Seven, and its heroes, The…


Book cover of Stories of the Apocalypse

Neil A. Cohen Author Of Exit Zero

From my list on zombie books for start and stop readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the zombie genre since I was a child. No other genre has influenced and inspired me as much. I am also a very critical consumer of zombie content, as I have great respect for the genre. I began writing my own stories to fill in gaps that I felt had not yet been addressed by previous works.  Since the release of my first novel, I have enjoyed meeting with zombie genre fans, writers, crafters, and creators at horror cons, zombie cons, comic cons and have participated in many panels and podcasts. It is a subject that I will never grow tired of discussing. The zombie genre is truly undying. 

Neil's book list on zombie books for start and stop readers

Neil A. Cohen Why did Neil love this book?

Wastelands is an anthology of short stories, all obviously focused on the apocalypse, but not all including zombies. One memorable story was titled When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth by Cory Doctorow, which features the communications between tech geeks who are safely ensconced within blast-resistant data hosting centers when the apocalypse begins. Working in server hosting centers are equipped with their own power sources, air filtering systems, and an abundance of junk food vending machines, the author creates a scenario where truly the geeks shall inherit the earth.

By John Joseph Adams (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The definitive anthology of the best post-apocalyptic literature of the last two decades. Featuring New York Times bestsellers Stephen King, George R.R. Martin and Orson Scott Card, edited by award-winning anthologist John Joseph Adams.

Prescient tales of Armageddon and its aftermath, by twenty-two of today's finest writers, including:

Paolo Bacigalupi
Neal Barrett, Jr.
Tobias S. Buckell
Cory Doctorow
David Grigg
Dale Bailey
Elizabeth Bear
Richard Kadrey
John Langan
Jerry Oltion
James Van Pelt

Together they reveal what it will mean to survive and remain human after the end of the world...


5 book lists we think you will like!

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