64 books like The Descent of Anansi

By Larry Niven, Steven Barnes,

Here are 64 books that The Descent of Anansi fans have personally recommended if you like The Descent of Anansi. 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 Marooned

Allen Steele Author Of Coyote

From my list on lost classics of space science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Okay, so you’ve read Dune, you’ve read Starship Troopers, you’ve read 2001: A Space Odyssey, and maybe you’ve even read From Earth to the Moon and The First Men in the Moon. Seen the movies, too (or maybe you cheat and say you’ve read the books when you’ve only seen the flicks). Bet you think that makes you an expert on science fiction about space, right? Not even close! If you want to read more than just the well-known classics everyone else has, find these books. Some have become obscure and are now out of print, but they’re not hard to find; try ABE, eBay, and local second-hand bookstores. They’re worth searching for, and then you’ll really have something to talk about.

Allen's book list on lost classics of space science fiction

Allen Steele Why did Allen love this book?

Okay, so you’ve read Dune, you’ve read Starship Troopers, you’ve read 2001: A Space Odyssey, and maybe you’ve even read From Earth to the Moon and The First Men in the Moon. Seen the movies, too (or maybe you cheat and say you’ve read the books when you’ve only seen the flicks). Bet you think that makes you an expert on science fiction about space, right? Not even close! If you want to read more than just the well-known classics everyone else has, find these books. Some have become obscure and are now out of print, but they’re not hard to find; try ABE, eBay, and local second-hand bookstores. They’re worth searching for, and then you’ll really have something to talk about.

This high-tech thriller about three astronauts stuck in Earth orbit aboard an Apollo spacecraft (in an earlier version, it was about one astronaut in a…

By Martin Caidin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Source for exciting movie of the same name, starring Gregory Peck.


Book cover of Beyond Apollo

Allen Steele Author Of Coyote

From my list on lost classics of space science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Okay, so you’ve read Dune, you’ve read Starship Troopers, you’ve read 2001: A Space Odyssey, and maybe you’ve even read From Earth to the Moon and The First Men in the Moon. Seen the movies, too (or maybe you cheat and say you’ve read the books when you’ve only seen the flicks). Bet you think that makes you an expert on science fiction about space, right? Not even close! If you want to read more than just the well-known classics everyone else has, find these books. Some have become obscure and are now out of print, but they’re not hard to find; try ABE, eBay, and local second-hand bookstores. They’re worth searching for, and then you’ll really have something to talk about.

Allen's book list on lost classics of space science fiction

Allen Steele Why did Allen love this book?

In contrast to Marooned (and, in fact, just about every other SF space novel of the ’60s and ’70s) is this short and very dark masterpiece. The first winner of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, this novel about the aftermath of a doomed mission to Venus is Malzberg’s dark answer to the over-optimistic view of space exploration that was prevalent in the post-Apollo period, and a stark reminder that the universe is an unforgiving and dangerous place.

By Barry N. Malzberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Two astronauts travel on the first manned expedition to the planet Venus. When the mission is mysteriously aborted and the ship returns to Earth, the Captain is missing and the First Officer, Harry M. Evans, can't explain what happened. Under psychiatric evaluation and interrogation, Evans provides conflicting accounts of the Captain's disappearance, incriminating both himself and lethal Venusian forces in the Captain's murder. As the explanations pyramid and the supervising psychiatrist's increasingly desperate efforts to get a straight story falter, Evans' condition and his inability to tell the "truth" present terrifying expressions of humanity's incompetence, the politics of space exploration,…


Book cover of In the Ocean of Night

Allen Steele Author Of Coyote

From my list on lost classics of space science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Okay, so you’ve read Dune, you’ve read Starship Troopers, you’ve read 2001: A Space Odyssey, and maybe you’ve even read From Earth to the Moon and The First Men in the Moon. Seen the movies, too (or maybe you cheat and say you’ve read the books when you’ve only seen the flicks). Bet you think that makes you an expert on science fiction about space, right? Not even close! If you want to read more than just the well-known classics everyone else has, find these books. Some have become obscure and are now out of print, but they’re not hard to find; try ABE, eBay, and local second-hand bookstores. They’re worth searching for, and then you’ll really have something to talk about.

Allen's book list on lost classics of space science fiction

Allen Steele Why did Allen love this book?

This novel, about the discovery of an alien probe hidden within an Earth orbit-crossing asteroid and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence it provokes, is the first volume of a long, six-volume epic, the Galactic Center series, that is regarded by most critics as a landmark work. You can read this novel on its own or you can go from there with the rest of the series; in any case, it’s hard SF at its thought-provoking best.

By Gregory Benford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set in a world of lunar colonies, cybernetic miracles, fanatic cults, deadly pollution and famine, the first story in the GALACTIC CENTRE CYCLE. This world of social decay is facing hardship, but not far beyond the shores of space comes a mystery, which one man, astronaut Nigel Walmsley is about to touch. From the author of TIMESCAPE.


Book cover of Starfarers

Allen Steele Author Of Coyote

From my list on lost classics of space science fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

Okay, so you’ve read Dune, you’ve read Starship Troopers, you’ve read 2001: A Space Odyssey, and maybe you’ve even read From Earth to the Moon and The First Men in the Moon. Seen the movies, too (or maybe you cheat and say you’ve read the books when you’ve only seen the flicks). Bet you think that makes you an expert on science fiction about space, right? Not even close! If you want to read more than just the well-known classics everyone else has, find these books. Some have become obscure and are now out of print, but they’re not hard to find; try ABE, eBay, and local second-hand bookstores. They’re worth searching for, and then you’ll really have something to talk about.

Allen's book list on lost classics of space science fiction

Allen Steele Why did Allen love this book?

Before writing this little gem, the author produced some of the most notable Star Trek novelizations. Then she decided to create her own version of Star Trek and do the stuff she couldn’t do there. The first volume of a series, it kicks things off when the science crew of the good ship Starfarer, upon learning that their brand-new ship is about to be turned over to the military and become a warship, decides to take matters in their own hands and hijack their own starship. Space adventure at its best. 

By Vonda N. McIntyre,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the first in the Starfarers series of novels, the commander of the Starfarer spacecraft, scientist Victoria MacKenzie, must battle her own commanders on Earth to keep on her mission to find extraterrestrial life. Reissue.


Book cover of Anansi Boys

Prashanth Srivatsa Author Of The Spice Gate: A Fantasy

From my list on fantasy novels with quests and crafty gods.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am instantly drawn to stories with voyages, spices, and trade. But as much as these, I love meddlesome and crafty gods. I’m not a religious person, but I love to understand how people behave around religion, how it influences their choices, and how our world’s history can be chronologized as a series of fanatical events and conquests. Fantasy gives me the option to explore characters and worlds where gods are not only inherently intrusive but also cast a long shadow on people’s nature, giving birth to folklore, myths, and, of course, great stories to tell. They drive destinies, but more importantly, they drive the resistance against being puppeteered.

Prashanth's book list on fantasy novels with quests and crafty gods

Prashanth Srivatsa Why did Prashanth love this book?

A trickster god dies, leaving his two sons to squabble with each other and, in that process, identify. At once immersive, magical, and memorable, Gaiman took me through the problems and conflicts of his characters with a potpourri of gravitas, humour, and smartness that only he can conjure with such ease.

Despite the lack of profundity that he's known for amid the scribbled sorcery, I got a lukewarm feel at the end, an all's well that ends well moment that’s an underappreciated and recently overlooked ethic of good-ol’ fantasy.

By Neil Gaiman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From bestselling storytelling legend Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Anansi Boys is a kaleidoscopic journey deep into myth that will thrill Game of Thrones devotees and Terry Pratchett fans alike. 'Exhilarating and terrifying' Independent.

Fat Charlie Nancy is not actually fat. He was fat once but he is definitely not fat now. No, right now Fat Charlie Nancy is angry, confused and more than a little scared - right now his life is spinning out of control, and it is all his dad's fault.

If his rotter of an estranged…


Book cover of The Talking Vegetables

Kari Percival Author Of How to Say Hello to a Worm: A First Guide to Outside

From my list on for toddlers on why and how to grow a food garden.

Why am I passionate about this?

When offered a plot at the community garden, I thought it would be fun to invite other families to learn to grow food together. As a science teacher, I knew that for toddlers, digging in the dirt and growing plants for food could plant seeds for a life-long love of exploring nature, hands-on science inquiry, environmental stewardship, and joy in healthy eating. As we gardened, I noticed what questions children and their parents had, and how we found the answers together. I wrote the picture book How to Say Hello to A Worm: A First Guide to Outside to inspire more kids and their parents to get their hands dirty. 

Kari's book list on for toddlers on why and how to grow a food garden

Kari Percival Why did Kari love this book?

Why garden at all? Isn't it a lot of work? I can always count on The Talking Vegetables, a retelling of a traditional African story, to delight toddlers and preschoolers. They revel in Spider's laziness as he shirks helping neighbors grow food at the community garden, and are just as delighted when he gets his comeuppance as the insulted vegetables refuse to let him get away without contributing to the team effort.

By Won-Ldy Paye, Margaret H. Lippert, Julie Paschkis (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Talking Vegetables as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

A wonderful folktale from the award-winning authors of Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile The villagers are planting a garden, but Spider refuses to help. He has plenty of rice to eat, so why should he do all that hard work? Then one day Spider gets tired of plain rice and decides to pick some of the delicious produce. Imagine his surprise when the vegetables start talking!
The talented team that created the award-winning titles Mrs. Chicken and the Hungry Crocodile and Head, Body, Legs join together once again for a laugh-out-loud funny Liberian story. The Talking Vegetables is a…


Book cover of Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti

Kwame Nyong'o Author Of A Tasty Maandazi

From my list on what life is like in Africa for children.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Kenyan/American raised in both countries, I noticed growing up that there was very little creative content about Africa. Whilst in Kenya, I experienced much joy and fun in the culture and felt that other people in other parts of the world would also enjoy it. Loving reading, drawing, comics, and movies, I felt it would be useful to create such content about Africa. I was very fortunate to study arts at an undergraduate and graduate level in the US. This formal training, combined with extensive travel around Africa and the diaspora, has informed my sense of book and film creation and appreciation. I hope you enjoy this book list that I’ve curated!

Kwame's book list on what life is like in Africa for children

Kwame Nyong'o Why did Kwame love this book?

Anansi the Spider is one of the classic African stories that inspired me to go into storytelling as a career. Reading this book, and watching its animated counterpart as a child, totally enthralled me. The combination of the bright, bold colours and graphical aesthetic, with the mystique of the folklore felt just like magic to me. The fable told here comes off as profound yet funny and quirky. This book is a must for anyone interested in fables and African folklore in particular.

By Gerald McDermott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anansi the Spider as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Anansi, one of the great folk heroes of the world, is saved from a terrible fate by his six sons in this traditional tale from West Africa.


Book cover of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Landra Jennings Author Of Wand

From my list on middle grade with fresh takes on portal fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Middle grade always takes a big portion of my TBR pile. I love the hopefulness that kids this age have. And for a child reader, a book can be a way to work out big emotions in a place far removed from their own life. I love the function of a portal in taking the reader that much further away from their reality. As a child, the fantasy A Wrinkle in Time got me through a difficult period. This love of fantasy and children’s literature is the reason I started writing in the first place. And why I got an MFA in writing specifically for children and young adults. 

Landra's book list on middle grade with fresh takes on portal fantasy

Landra Jennings Why did Landra love this book?

As in Philip Pullman’s The Subtle Knife, our protagonist in Tristan Strong has the ability to create his own portal, versus stumbling upon one already in existence (as in the wardrobe in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).

I love the empowerment implicit in that and haven’t seen it very often in portal fantasies. I also am from the U.S. South and lived for over a decade in Chicago so I connected with a lot of things in this novel.

By Kwame Mbalia,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Kwame Mbalia's epic fantasy, a middle grade American Gods set in a richly-imagined world populated with African American folk heroes and West African gods.

*"Mbalia expertly weaves a meaningful portrayal of family and community with folklore, myth, and history―including the legacy of the slave trade―creating a fast-paced, heroic series starter."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Seventh grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading…


Book cover of The Mercenary

William C. Dietz Author Of Red Ice

From my list on military science fiction books that inspired me.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of more than sixty published novels, most of which are military science fiction, or near-future alternative history fiction, so I have an abiding interest in the subgenre, and the authors who helped to shape it.

William's book list on military science fiction books that inspired me

William C. Dietz Why did William love this book?

As with my other recommendations, I am making this one based on the impact the book had on me. From this novel, as well as the others that Jerry wrote, I learned how important it is to build a comprehensive world-universe when planning a book. And, when I sat down to pen the first book in what would become the Legion of the Damned series, I attempted to build a reality as fully realized as the CoDominium universe is.  

By Jerry Pournelle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a future universe in which prisoner colonists are shipped to strange worlds for a corrupt alliance of Earth nations, John Christian Falkenberg gives up a brilliant military career and makes a monumental sacrifice


Book cover of Jem

Gary Gibson Author Of Echogenesis

From my list on cynical takes on space colonisation.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I was exposed to the same influences as most other SF writers of my generation – Clarke, Heinlein, and Asimov. But I was also exposed to the more nuanced, more psychologically realistic work of writers like Harlan Ellison, Norman Spinrad, Ursula K. LeGuin, and J.G. Ballard, none of whom shared the unquestioning techno-utopianism of an earlier generation of writers. They taught me not to automatically respect power or authority, and to always question ideas that might otherwise be taken for granted. It’s an approach that’s carried over into my own writing ever since.

Gary's book list on cynical takes on space colonisation

Gary Gibson Why did Gary love this book?

I first read Pohl’s Jem when I was a kid, and his fatalistic, even cynical take on first contact and interstellar colonization, along with the works of Harlan Ellison, Philip K. Dick, and Ursula LeGuin, greatly informed my developing views on politics and society. A near-future Earth divided into three major power blocs discovers a world ripe for exploitation and populated by not one, but three, sentient species, It’s not long before each bloc is currying the favor of different species in order to set each against the other, with absolutely no one thinking beyond their own immediate needs or with any concern about the consequences of their actions.

By Frederik Pohl,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A cynical and compelling tale of politics, exploitation and colonisation on another planet

The discovery of another habitable world might spell salvation to the three bitterly competing power blocs of the resource-starved 21st century; but when their representatives arrive on Jem, with its multiple intelligent species, they discover instead the perfect situation into which to export their rivalries.

Subtitled, with savage irony, 'The Making of a Utopia', JEM is one of Frederik Pohl's most powerful novels.


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