100 books like The City & the City

By China Miéville,

Here are 100 books that The City & the City fans have personally recommended if you like The City & the City. 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 Dispossessed

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?

I found this book (whose subtitle is “An Ambiguous Utopia”) one of the most thought-provoking works of fiction I have read.

The Dispossessed was my first introduction to anarchism as a political platform, and while it didn’t make an anarchist out of me, it was the book that allowed me to imagine anarchism as a coherent political philosophy. Practically every page of the book offers a critique of modern capitalism, and it’s impossible to read this book without considering the structures in our world today that ensure a system of haves and have-nots.

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the very best must-read novels of all time - with a new introduction by Roddy Doyle

'A well told tale signifying a good deal; one to be read again and again' THE TIMES

'The book I wish I had written ... It's so far away from my own imagination, I'd love to sit at my desk one day and discover that I could think and write like Ursula Le Guin' Roddy Doyle

'Le Guin is a writer of phenomenal power' OBSERVER

The Principle of Simultaneity is a scientific breakthrough which will revolutionize interstellar civilization by making possible instantaneous…


Book cover of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Austin Dragon Author Of A Cruel Cyber Summer Night

From my list on cyberpunkish sci-fi books that are worth the hype.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hello. My name’s Austin Dragon, and I’m the author of over 30 books in science fiction, fantasy, and classic horror. My works include the sci-fi noir detective Liquid Cool series, the epic fantasy Fabled Quest Chronicles, the international futuristic epic After Eden series, the classic Sleepy Hollow Horrors, and the upcoming military sci-fi Planet Tamers series. Sci-fi and mystery thrillers drew me into writing and I’m passionate about creating great stories with amazing characters in many my different worlds of fantastic fiction.

Austin's book list on cyberpunkish sci-fi books that are worth the hype

Austin Dragon Why did Austin love this book?

The late American master sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, or just PKD, wrote 44 novels and some 121 short stories. Even if you have never read one of them, you’ve seen the many movies and TV Series based on them.

This novella was the inspiration for Ridley Scott’s classic movie Blade Runner (the original). Like the movie, it portrays sci-fi as the mirror opposite of the bright Star Trekian sci-fi. Here we get cyberpunk (or tech-noir)—ubiquitous neon lights barely illuminate the dark shadows of this future world.

Mankind has been forced off-world, but those who remain on Earth collect any living creature. Those who can’t afford them can buy them from companies who create animals so realistic they are indistinguishable from the real thing–horses, birds, cats, and…sheep. But these companies can build humans, too. Earth bans these “replicants,” and our protagonist, Rick Deckard, is a bounty hunter commissioned to hunt…

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the eagerly-anticipated new film Blade Runner 2049 finally comes to the screen, rediscover the world of Blade Runner . . .

World War Terminus had left the Earth devastated. Through its ruins, bounty hunter Rick Deckard stalked, in search of the renegade replicants who were his prey. When he wasn't 'retiring' them with his laser weapon, he dreamed of owning a live animal - the ultimate status symbol in a world all but bereft of animal life.

Then Rick got his chance: the assignment to kill six Nexus-6 targets, for a huge reward. But in Deckard's world things were…


Book cover of Klara and the Sun

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?

Haunting and beautiful, it gave me a new perspective on what science fiction can accomplish: Ishiguro’s book is subtle, humane, and deeply concerned with the troubles of the real world.

This story of Klara, an “artificial friend” purchased to keep a sick little girl company, takes up questions of eugenics, artificial intelligence, and, ultimately, what it means to be a human being.

Along the way, the book explores the gulf between economic and social classes with as much care and compassion as Charles Dickens or Thomas Hardy—Klara and the Sun is some of the most inspiring science fiction I have ever read.

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked Klara and the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*The #1 Sunday Times Bestseller*
*Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2021*
*A Barack Obama Summer Reading Pick*

'A delicate, haunting story' The Washington Post
'This is a novel for fans of Never Let Me Go . . . tender, touching and true.' The Times

'The Sun always has ways to reach us.'

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behaviour of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges…


Book cover of Foucault's Pendulum

Martin Treanor Author Of The Logos Prophecy

From my list on indulge the metaphysical mind and cultivate a mystery.

Why am I passionate about this?

Through both a former career as an engineer and my writing, I have developed a craving (bordering on obsession) for all things scientific, historical, archaeological, metaphysical, and a more than avid interest in quantum physics which I like to introduce into my books and stories. I also have a fondness for the dark and macabre, for the bizarre, the wondrous, and the plain out there. The weirder the concept – the more I like it… get consumed by it.

Martin's book list on indulge the metaphysical mind and cultivate a mystery

Martin Treanor Why did Martin love this book?

I have read Foucault’s Pendulum several times and never tire of reading it again. The book takes me – through the main character, Casaubon – on a quest, delving into a place where the maybe possible, even probable, becomes reality and into that mysterious world where conspiracy theory laps around the edges of the real world.

It is a thought experiment, of sorts, and the perfect example of being careful what you wish for… or expect… or deem to be true. It’s also a fantastic read – as you might expect from Umberto Eco.

By Umberto Eco,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Three book editors, jaded by reading far too many crackpot manuscripts on the mystic and the occult, are inspired by an extraordinary conspiracy story told to them by a strange colonel to have some fun. They start feeding random bits of information into a powerful computer capable of inventing connections between the entries, thinking they are creating nothing more than an amusing game, but then their game starts to take over, the deaths start mounting, and they are forced into a frantic search for the truth


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 Kindred

Hajar Yazdiha Author Of The Struggle for the People's King: How Politics Transforms the Memory of the Civil Rights Movement

From my list on understanding revisionist history politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I studied forty years of the political misuses of the memory of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement as a sociologist at USC and the daughter of Iranian immigrants who has always been interested in questions of identity and belonging. My interest in civil rights struggles started early, growing up in Virginia, a state that celebrated the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday alongside Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. I wanted to understand how revisionist histories could become the mainstream account of the past and how they mattered for the future of democracy.

Hajar's book list on understanding revisionist history politics

Hajar Yazdiha Why did Hajar love this book?

I am, to put it lightly, obsessed with the way Octavia Butler revolutionizes the timescape and invites us to speculate about worlds that could be. In this and so many of her books, her vision of Afrofuturism is one that reminds us that our ancestral pasts and our imagined futures are always connected. 

I thought a lot about the future when I wrote my book, and I share Butler’s conviction that there is collective healing and liberation in revisiting and reimagining the past.

I also love that my neighborhood library in Pasadena is the one Octavia Butler used to frequent!

By Octavia E. Butler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of Parable of the Sower and MacArthur “Genius” Grant, Nebula, and Hugo award winner

The visionary time-travel classic whose Black female hero is pulled through time to face the horrors of American slavery and explores the impacts of racism, sexism, and white supremacy then and now.

“I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm.”

Dana’s torment begins when she suddenly vanishes on her 26th birthday from California, 1976, and is dragged through time to antebellum Maryland to rescue a boy named Rufus, heir to a slaveowner’s plantation. She soon…


Book cover of The Silence of the Lambs

Kate Robards Author Of Only The Guilty Survive

From my list on thrillers inspired by real events.

Why am I passionate about this?

My new thriller centers around a small, mysterious cult and their shocking demise. For years, I’ve read true crime books on the subject, and I wanted to infuse the reality and truth of real-life events into my fictional novel. In a similar vein, these books represent a range of thrillers inspired by true events, ranging from cults to serial killers to teenage criminals. I hope you find these books as gripping and haunting as I do.

Kate's book list on thrillers inspired by real events

Kate Robards Why did Kate love this book?

I’m fascinated by the in-depth character development and details in this book. The film is a classic, but I think the book is even better. Many people think of Hannibal Lecter as the obvious villain of Silence of the Lambs, forgetting that Clarice and the FBI were seeking his guidance to find “Buffalo Bill,” a fictional serial killer attacking women.

Buffalo Bill is an amalgamation of real serial killers, including Ted Bundy, Ed Gein, and Gary Heidnik. By cherry-picking the methods and traits of real killers, I think Harris created a truly terrifying villain. I find the characters, and especially the villain, to be rooted in reality, making them stick in your mind long after the last page.

By Thomas Harris,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked The Silence of the Lambs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As part of the search for a serial murderer nicknames "Buffalo Bill," FBI trainee Clarice Starling is given an assignment. She must visit a man confined to a high-security facility for the criminally insane and interview him.

That man, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is a former psychiatrist with unusual tastes and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind. His intimate understanding of the killer and of Clarice herself form the core of Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs--an unforgettable classic of suspense fiction.


Book cover of The Drop

James Fouche Author Of Jack Hanger

From my list on crime mysteries with unconventional characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a crime author and screenwriter, I’m fascinated by the consequences of crime and how it impacts feasible characters. I try to illustrate this obsession by creating realistic stress situations for my characters, then showcasing how it affects their decision-making process. In writing the protagonist for Jack Hanger, I consulted two different psychologists to research the protagonist and to capture the severity of his circumstances in detail. For King of Sorrow, I created an unconventional antagonist, with the aim of showing readers how ambition and greed can corrupt the most rational mind. I believe it is my job to challenge conventions and entertain readers from the opening page.

James' book list on crime mysteries with unconventional characters

James Fouche Why did James love this book?

After a lonely barman, Bob, rescues an abused puppy from a trashcan, his mundane world is turned upside down. He befriends an emotionally scarred woman, which puts him at odds with her ex, and unknowingly gets drawn into a con against the Chechen Mafia that uses the bar for money drops.

Lehane is masterful at creating flawed characters that pins readers to the text. As a short novel, The Drop is loaded with punchy dialogue, rapid characterisation, and off-beat humour. However, it’s barman Bob’s stoic presence that makes this such a fascinating read. He fades sublimely into the gloomy Boston crime scene in a profound way, which makes him one of the most unconventional protagonists caught on paper.

By Dennis Lehane,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane's The Drop is a crime story, a love story, and ultimately a journey of faith, set in Boston's underworld.

"[A] gritty gem...a stark and moving short novel." - Publishers Weekly

Two days after Christmas, Bob Saginowski, a lonely bartender looking for a reason to live, rescues an abused and abandoned pit bull puppy from a trash can and meets a damaged woman named Nadia Dunn looking for something to believe in.

As their relationship grows, they cross paths with the Chechen mafia, who have taken over his cousin Marv's bar and use it…


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 The Caves of Steel

Guy Morpuss Author Of Black Lake Manor

From my list on speculative crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up reading the crime and thriller books on my parents’ bookshelves. As a teenager I got into science fiction, reading everything I could. Speculative crime fiction mixes the best of both genres. You twist one aspect of the real world, add a dead body, and play with the consequences. I have written two novels that do this: in my first, I imagined a world in which five people share a body, and one of them is trying to kill the others; in my second, a killer who can turn back time. I love books that toy with reality in this way, and read all that I can.

Guy's book list on speculative crime

Guy Morpuss Why did Guy love this book?

I grew up reading Isaac Asimov, and it must be at least forty years since I first read this.

Far in the future, a New York detective is partnered with a robot to investigate the murder of a leading citizen. At the heart of the book is an intriguing murder mystery. However, what makes this a favourite of mine is the growing relationship between the two investigators.

Asimov wrote this to prove that crime and science fiction are not incompatible genres – and succeeded brilliantly, paving the way for those who have followed him.

By Isaac Asimov,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Isaac Asimov's Robot series - from the iconic collection I, Robot to four classic novels - contains some of the most influential works in the history of science fiction. Establishing and testing the Three Laws of Robotics, they continue to shape the understanding and design of artificial intelligence to this day.

In the vast, domed cities of Earth, artificial intelligence is strictly controlled; in the distant Outer Worlds, colonists and robots live side by side.

A Spacer ambassador is found dead and detective Elijah Baley is assigned to find the killer. But with relations between the two cultures in the…


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