73 books like The Dark and Other Love Stories

By Deborah Willis,

Here are 73 books that The Dark and Other Love Stories fans have personally recommended if you like The Dark and Other Love Stories. 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 Gideon the Ninth

Tim Pratt Author Of Heirs of Grace

From my list on fantasy with women heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been reading fantasy for 42 years and writing it for 40, and because I was raised by badass women, I've always enjoyed tales of clever, kickass, indomitable heroines. I've written a bunch of them (a dozen books in an urban fantasy series about a sorcerer named Marla Mason; four books in the Axiom space opera series about ship captain Callie Machedo and her love interest, time refugee xenobiologist Elena Oh; contemporary fantasy/romance Heirs of Grace, about an art student who discovers a magical inheritance, and more). I'm also a longtime book reviewer, editor at SF/fantasy trade magazine Locus, and frequent award juror (Bradbury Prize, Philip K. Dick Award, and more), so... I think about SF/fantasy books a lot. 


Tim's book list on fantasy with women heroines

Tim Pratt Why did Tim love this book?

Gideon the Ninth lit up the sky of the science fiction/fantasy world when it was published, launching the Locked Tomb series (which is ongoing, and great; third volume Nona the Ninth is especially lovely).

It's been described as "lesbian necromancers in space" but it's more "lesbian necromancer and swordsperson on various weird planets in the far future with a god-emperor who uses death magic to fight planet-sized spectral monsters...." for a start.

The whole series is enigmatic, complex, and laced through with humor, action, and yearning, but the first book is notable for the power of Gideon's voice.

By Tamsyn Muir,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked Gideon the Ninth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

15+ pages of new, original content, including a glossary of terms, in-universe writings, and more!

A USA Today Best-Selling Novel!

"Unlike anything I've ever read. " --V.E. Schwab

"Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!" --Charles Stross

"Brilliantly original, messy and weird straight through." --NPR

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.

Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth, first in The Locked Tomb Trilogy, unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as…


Book cover of The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror

Yvesdot Author Of Something's Not Right

From my list on LGBT-friendly SFF you absolutely should read.

Why am I passionate about this?

It took me far too long to realize that I, childhood absorber of all things fantastical, counted as an SFF fan; all the books I saw listed as “popular” or “classic” SFF were cis/het white dude parties. But SFF at its best uses the fantastical as metaphor for the mundane; imagines better (or worse) worlds; does something different, in screaming color! Who can do that better than the books lost on the fringes? To that end, I’ve organized this list based on rough reverse popularity, so if you don’t find something new by the beginning, you’ll almost certainly get it by the end. Happy reading!

Yvesdot's book list on LGBT-friendly SFF you absolutely should read

Yvesdot Why did Yvesdot love this book?

The Merry Spinster falls into my big bucket of fairytale retelling faves, but it hardly sticks to tradition: rather than simply following old plots, Lavery draws on the tone and style of classic fairy tales to create a gender-warped world where daughters use he/him pronouns and mermaids are sort of, but distinctly not, girls. Even better, the playful attitude towards gender now seems to foreshadow Lavery’s own coming out and transition, both occurring after he published this book—something that fills me with a special kind of trans-author love. Reading this for the first time, I had the sensation of slipping pleasantly into an utter dreamworld of gender/sexuality beauty, like a warm bath: I recommend you fall in, too.

By Daniel M. Lavery,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales"--Front flap.


Book cover of When I Arrived at the Castle

Yvesdot Author Of Something's Not Right

From my list on LGBT-friendly SFF you absolutely should read.

Why am I passionate about this?

It took me far too long to realize that I, childhood absorber of all things fantastical, counted as an SFF fan; all the books I saw listed as “popular” or “classic” SFF were cis/het white dude parties. But SFF at its best uses the fantastical as metaphor for the mundane; imagines better (or worse) worlds; does something different, in screaming color! Who can do that better than the books lost on the fringes? To that end, I’ve organized this list based on rough reverse popularity, so if you don’t find something new by the beginning, you’ll almost certainly get it by the end. Happy reading!

Yvesdot's book list on LGBT-friendly SFF you absolutely should read

Yvesdot Why did Yvesdot love this book?

With her singular art style and effortless storytelling skill, Emily Carroll has long been a favorite of mine. When I Arrived at the Castle is a tour de force in erotic horror, comic artistry, and, yes, a very complicated catgirl x vampiress relationship. This is one of those books I am shocked even exists, so thoroughly does it cater to my deepest desires: lush shots of catgirls in bathtubs, peeks at vampiresses through their bedroom keyholes, metaphors so subtle I always find something new when I reread. Carroll outdoes herself with suspense, sexuality, and a sexy red-black-and-grey limited color palette.

By Emily Carroll,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When I Arrived at the Castle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Like many before her that have never come back, she’s made it to the Countess’ castle determined to snuff out the horror, but she could never be prepared for what hides within its turrets; what unfurls under its fluttering flags. Emily Carroll has fashioned a rich gothic horror charged with eroticism that doesn’t just make your skin crawl, it crawls into it.


Book cover of O Human Star: Volume 1

Yvesdot Author Of Something's Not Right

From my list on LGBT-friendly SFF you absolutely should read.

Why am I passionate about this?

It took me far too long to realize that I, childhood absorber of all things fantastical, counted as an SFF fan; all the books I saw listed as “popular” or “classic” SFF were cis/het white dude parties. But SFF at its best uses the fantastical as metaphor for the mundane; imagines better (or worse) worlds; does something different, in screaming color! Who can do that better than the books lost on the fringes? To that end, I’ve organized this list based on rough reverse popularity, so if you don’t find something new by the beginning, you’ll almost certainly get it by the end. Happy reading!

Yvesdot's book list on LGBT-friendly SFF you absolutely should read

Yvesdot Why did Yvesdot love this book?

As a friend sputtered to me over a voice call: “I don’t understand. It’s free to read online; where is everybody?!” 

I agree wholeheartedly. O Human Star is that rare breed: a webcomic taken up over a decade ago, thoroughly plotted from the start, executed with masterful grace and gravitas by an author who loved it enough to do it justice. While executing this story of gay and trans self-understanding, Delliquanti themself realized they were trans, so the pronouns in my (signed!!) copies are different based on when they came out. Finding even a well-written cis gay man was hard in 2012, let alone such a deeply loving story about the entire LGBT community—and all that is to say nothing of the robots. Trans robots FTW!

By Blue Delliquanti,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Double Star

Robbie Sheerin Author Of Tales From Another Dimension: A Sci-Fi Collection

From my list on sci-fi from the 1950s.

Why am I passionate about this?

For many people, reading has been a lifesaver for their mental health. I didn't begin reading until my 20s. But I wish I had had those windows into other realities when I was younger. Having a difficult childhood molds our adult lives, and therefore we can still be haunted by childhood memories. Reading can help us see other worlds and other people, and it can ignite our imagination. Growing up in a small fishing town in Scotland is the perfect backdrop for imagination, with coastlines lined with dark, boisterous waters and castles steeped in battles, folklore, and intrigues of the past. All this has given way to my writing. 

Robbie's book list on sci-fi from the 1950s

Robbie Sheerin Why did Robbie love this book?

Double Star was particularly interesting to me due to the human aspect of prejudice and egotism, something we see every day by our fellow man.

It explores the barrier of one man’s constant pushback of what he believes is below him, or disgusting to him; aliens and political ideologies. I believe there is a fundamental goodness in all of us, and if the dust and grim of our unsavory human traits can be scrapped away, that goodness can bleed through.

The main character in Double Star must presume the identity of a man he has nothing in common with, both in life and principles, yet he plays the part perfectly. This is also a great read for non-sci-fi fans.  

By Robert A Heinlein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One minute, down-and-out actor Lorenzo Smythe was - as usual - in a bar, drinking away his troubles as he watched his career go down the tubes. Then a space pilot bought him a drink, and the next thing Smythe knew, he was shanghaied to Mars.

Suddenly he found himself agreeing to the most difficult role of his career: impersonating an important politician who had been kidnapped. Peace with the Martians was at stake - failure to pull off the act could result in interplanetary war. And Smythe's own life was on the line - for if he wasn't assassinated,…


Book cover of Red Thunder

David Lee Summers Author Of The Solar Sea

From my list on humans taking the next big step into space.

Why am I passionate about this?

After watching the moon landings as a child, I've long wondered when humans would visit a world beyond the moon and what that would be like. This led me to explore novels that imagine space travel. What's more, I pursued a career in astronomy so I could do my part to explore worlds beyond the Earth. Exploring the solar system and worlds beyond our solar system raises many questions. Some are practical, like how do we get there? Some involve what we'll learn and how the experience of visiting these worlds will change us. The books I recommend explore these themes from several different perspectives.

David's book list on humans taking the next big step into space

David Lee Summers Why did David love this book?

Set in the near future, this novel imagines that the Americans and Chinese are racing to get to Mars. Meanwhile, a group of teenagers team up with an astronaut forced to retire in disgrace. One of the teens has invented a new type of drive that might just allow them to beat both governments to Mars. The book is fast-paced, fun, and shows how a team can come together to solve a problem, without ignoring the very real dangers of space travel. It also gives a nod to how technology developed for space travel can help us right here on Earth.

By John Varley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“The heart-pounding space race is on . . . in this riveting SF thriller” from the Hugo and Nebula Award–winning author of Red Lightning and Rolling Thunder (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
 
As Chinese and US spacecraft compete to be the first to land on Mars, a former astronaut, his cousin, and four teens from Florida decide to take matters into their own hands. If they can quickly build their own space-worthy ship using scrap metal, appliances, and power tools, they have a chance to come from behind—thanks to an inventive new power source that can propel them to the Red…


Book cover of Rainbow Mars

Clayton Graham Author Of Milijun

From my list on otherworldly encounters with alien characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up I read a lot of science fiction: HG Wells, Isaac Asimov, John Wyndham; those kind of authors and their inspiring tales. In my early twenties, I penned a few short stories as I worked as an aeronautical engineer. Always being at the leading edge of technology certainly helped shape my dreams of the future. I have an interest in writing novels that place humankind within a universe [or multiverse] we are only just starting to understand. To date, I have written six novels, two of them extensive short story collections. They are light years from each other, but share the future adventures of mankind in an expansive universe as a common theme.

Clayton's book list on otherworldly encounters with alien characters

Clayton Graham Why did Clayton love this book?

A time travel novel that transcends the ages and carries a strange environmental message.

The secrets of Mars are open slather in this adventurous escape to the past of the solar system. The fact that it involves the canals of Mars lends a delicious irony to this tale, which was published in 1999, after NASA's first-ever Mars rover, dubbed Sojourner, touched down in Chryse Planitia on July 4, 1997, atop the landing vehicle, Pathfinder. 

But, of course, this novel is placed in the distant past, when Martians actually existed. Is the alien tree an enemy or is it endeavoring to spread a message?

By Larry Niven,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The year is +1108 Atomic Era. Hanville Svetz, who first appeared in Larry Niven's THE FLIGHT OF THE HORSE, is on his way back from +390, accompanied by a snake for the Secretary-General's private zoo. On his return, however, he learns that his employer has died. But his wasted journey is the least of his concerns. With the new regime comes a new role for Svetz, and hunting down extinct animals is not on the agenda. Instead, Svetz is going to be sent much further back in time. And not to Earth. For the new Secretary-General has greater ambitions. He…


Book cover of Exploration and Engineering: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Quest for Mars

Janet Vertesi Author Of Shaping Science: Organizations, Decisions, and Culture on NASA's Teams

From my list on NASA and space exploration, from a human perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

Also known as “Margaret Mead among the Starfleet,” I’m a Princeton professor who has been embedded with NASA missions for two decades as a social scientist. I’ve observed missions to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, and beyond; consulted with NASA as a sociological expert; and written two books, with a third on the way. Growing up, I always loved science and technology, but not just for the ideas: for the people behind the findings, the passion they bring to their work, and the ways in which culture and politics play a role in how science gets done. Writing about this, I hope to humanize science and make it accessible for everyday readers.

Janet's book list on NASA and space exploration, from a human perspective

Janet Vertesi Why did Janet love this book?

If this book were episodes of Friends, it would include The One Where They Landed On Mars Before the Internet Was Invented, The One Where They Mixed Up English and Metric Units, The One Where A Lander Became A Crasher, and The One Where Everyone Fell In Love with Cute Robots.

Conway is the official JPL historian, so he has unprecedented access to the archives and the people behind NASA’s ongoing quest for Mars, and he lays each mission out with its political stakes and highs and lows in painstaking and rich detail. Reading this book reminds me that exploration is just as much about the people as it is about the machines.

By Erik M. Conway,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Although the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has become synonymous with the United States' planetary exploration during the past half century, its most recent focus has been on Mars. Beginning in the 1990s and continuing through the Mars Phoenix mission of 2007, JPL led the way in engineering an impressive, rapidly evolving succession of Mars orbiters and landers, including roving robotic vehicles whose successful deployment onto the Martian surface posed some of the most complicated technical problems in space flight history. In Exploration and Engineering, Erik M. Conway reveals how JPL engineers' creative technological feats led to major breakthroughs…


Book cover of The Machineries of Joy: Short Stories

Harrison Demchick Author Of Reptiles: A Short Story

From my list on short horror stories on why my brain works this way.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm perhaps the inevitable result of a lifetime spent on a steady diet of magical realism, literary fiction, science-fiction, and Spider-Man comics. Fortunately I’ve been able to channel my simultaneous loves of storytelling and structure into a life as a developmental editor. And where my own work is concerned, I’ve been able to do a lot of those things my childhood self might have hoped for: a novel in The Listeners, a feature film in Ape Canyon, and a litany of strange and usually distressing short stories. These days I do those things from my Washington, D.C. apartment with my wife and our two cats with a combined seven legs.

Harrison's book list on short horror stories on why my brain works this way

Harrison Demchick Why did Harrison love this book?

"The One Who Waits," one of my favorite stories in this collection, would be regarded more commonly as science fiction, as it takes place during an Earth expedition to Mars. But Ray Bradbury’s story also pioneers the classic horror trope of a small group of people falling one by one to a mysterious creature they cannot see—and with a means of disguise highly imaginative, beautifully written, and fundamentally terrifying. Bradbury is a phenomenal writer and it’s difficult to recommend any one story without feeling certain you’ve dropped the ball in not recommending another--you really can't go wrong with this entire collection--but the quick, clever, nuanced "The One Who Waits" is one of the best sci-fi/horror hybrids ever written.

By Ray Bradbury,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Machineries of Joy Short Stories


Book cover of The Red Planet: A Natural History of Mars

Ginger Marin Author Of Monster on Mars

From my list on mars and imaginative worlds in and about space.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an actor and writer who has been delving deep into my imagination for as long as I can remember. I’m originally from New York where I studied film/TV and acting, and worked in the less imaginative world as a writer/producer at NBC News. After moving to Los Angeles, I became a long-time member of the respected "Theatre East", while performing in a number of theater productions, and then went full tilt into film and TV. I also write screenplays of varying genres and in fact my two books are also in screenplay format as I would love to see them on the big and small screens. 

Ginger's book list on mars and imaginative worlds in and about space

Ginger Marin Why did Ginger love this book?

Be transported to Mars in this simply told yet factual history of the Red Planet.

You’ll discover the weather, the atmosphere, what it’s like to walk amidst the dusty clay ground and what it would be like to traverse it via a rover. But from that point, the author conjectures how Mars came to be in its place in our solar system.

Highly readable for all ages. A necessity if you think you’d want to move there someday.

By Simon Morden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Uncover the mysteries, wonders and natural history of Mars: as close as you'll get to an eye-witness perspective of the incredible 'Red Planet'.


'Impassioned and thought-provoking, it's a highly readable work of popular science' The Observer


'A book of titanic clashing elements, stupendous impacts, cataclysmic eruptions, devastating forces, planet-wrenching seisms... You'll never look at that red dot in the sky the same way again.' Ian McDonald, author of Luna: Moon Rising


The history of Mars is drawn not just on its surface, but also down into its broken bedrock and up into its frigid air. Most of all, it stretches…


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