74 books like The Last Astronaut

By David Wellington, David Wellington,

Here are 74 books that The Last Astronaut fans have personally recommended if you like The Last Astronaut. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Spin

Trevor Williams Author Of Eternal Shadow

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

Who am I?

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 Childhood's End

John L. Flynn Author Of Murder on Air Force One

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

Who am I?

I'm a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and I've been nominated for three Hugo Awards for my writing. I’ve written SF and mystery novels most of my life, and the total number of my books is 20. I've also taught creative writing at the college and university levels for 18 years, and several of my students have published out of my creative writing courses. I've also volunteered in the past to assist with the Writers of the Future contest. I was featured as a SF author in the documentary Finding the Future. I've appeared on television, notably the Sci-Fi Channel, spoken on the radio, and at science fiction conferences.

John's book list on sci-fi with superior ideas from the 1950s

John L. Flynn Why did John love this book?

This book starts with city-sized spaceships taking up residence above all the major world cities, much like the movie Independence Day. But instead of coming to conquer the Earth, they have come to help us reach the next stage in our evolution. They themselves cannot reach a higher level; they are known as the Overlords, and they look like Satan, but they are benign benefactors who wish to unify earth, eliminate poverty, and end war. They have a higher plan for Earth’s inhabitants. This book is meant to expand your mind with all of the thoughtful ideas that are presented. Fascinating.

By Arthur C. Clarke,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Childhood's End as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Arthur C. Clarke's classic in which he ponders humanity's future and possible evolution

When the silent spacecraft arrived and took the light from the world, no one knew what to expect. But, although the Overlords kept themselves hidden from man, they had come to unite a warring world and to offer an end to poverty and crime. When they finally showed themselves it was a shock, but one that humankind could now cope with, and an era of peace, prosperity and endless leisure began.

But the children of this utopia dream strange dreams of distant suns and alien planets, and…


Book cover of Devolution: A Firsthand Account of the Rainier Sasquatch Massacre

Trevor Williams Author Of Eternal Shadow

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

Who am I?

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?

In a twist of my collection of recommendations, we have a novel in which “first contact” takes the form of a famous American myth come to life. Bigfoot is among us, hidden deep in the mountains of North America—and it took the eruption of Mount Rainier to force a brutal encounter between a small colony of sasquatch and a small collective of people living the high-tech, secluded life in the middle of the forest. 

If you’ve read Max Brooks, you’ll experience his distinctive documentary-style writing which fits perfectly with this fascinating what-if. You won’t be disappointed with this sci-fi-horror mashup.

By Max Brooks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

FROM THE #1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF WORLD WAR Z

'TRUE TERROR' Guardian 'NAIL CHOMPING SUSPENSE' Total Film
______________________________________
As the ash and chaos from Mount Rainier's eruption swirled and finally settled, the story of the Greenloop massacre has passed unnoticed, unexamined . . . until now.

But the journals of resident Kate Holland, recovered from the town's bloody wreckage, capture a tale too harrowing - and too earth-shattering in its implications - to be forgotten.

In these pages, Max Brooks brings Kate's extraordinary account to light for the first time, faithfully reproducing her words alongside his own extensive investigations into…


Book cover of Saturn Run

Trevor Williams Author Of Eternal Shadow

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

Who am I?

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?

In the mid-21st century, an alien craft appears just beyond the orbit of Saturn and approaches the planet quickly before coming to a halt within its rings... and departs as fast as it arrived. The event shocks the world into a space race not unlike the Soviets and Americans fighting to be the first to put a man on the moon. As a hard science fiction novel, Saturn Run was an incredible read—an absolute joy. I personally loved every little detail provided of the space-station-turned-spacecraft, from the methods by which heat was radiated away from the ship to how it was designed for a multi-month excursion. Overall, I really enjoyed the story and would highly recommend it if you are a stickler for the kind of technical details that hard sci-fi novels should have.

By John Sandford, Ctein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Fans of Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers will eat this up.” --Stephen King

For fans of THE MARTIAN, an extraordinary new thriller of the future from #1 New York Times–bestselling and Pulitzer Prize–winning author John Sandford and internationally known photo-artist and science fiction aficionado Ctein. 
 
Over the course of thirty-seven books, John Sandford has proven time and again his unmatchable talents for electrifying plots, rich characters, sly wit, and razor-sharp dialogue. Now, in collaboration with Ctein, he proves it all once more, in a stunning new thriller, a story as audacious as it is deeply satisfying.
 
The year is 2066.…


Book cover of Jillian VS Parasite Planet

Catherine Egan Author Of Sneaks

From my list on middle-grade sci fi – with bonus aliens.

Who am I?

When I was bored or stressed out at school as a kid, I used to pretend that I was an alien posing as a person and that I’d come to earth to learn about humans. It was fun and helped me to relax. (Look, we all have our own ways of relaxing, I don’t know why “pretending to be an alien” isn’t on more self-care lists these days). Given my tendency to drift toward other worlds, it’s amazing that it took me so long to write a book featuring aliens! The trouble-making Sneaks provide the action in my most recent MG book, which also deals with very real middle-school struggles with friendships and family.  

Catherine's book list on middle-grade sci fi – with bonus aliens

Catherine Egan Why did Catherine love this book?

On Take Your Kid To Work Day, Jillian is thrilled that she gets to go to space with her parents. The routine trip goes terribly wrong, their shuttle crashes, and Jillian has to figure out how to survive – and save her injured parents – with only her own ingenuity and the help of a sarcastic, TV-loving AI nanobot swarm called SABRINA. 

The bantering Jillian-Sabrina relationship is the highlight of the book, and Jillian is a pitch-perfect MG protagonist. It was a delight to read about a super anxious kid solving problems in the absolute worst of situations. 

The Aliens: Primarily, a very creepy parasite – but the descriptions and fictional-science behind all the various life forms on the planet are fantastic.

By Nicole Kornher-Stace, Scott Brown (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Can an anxious eleven-year-old find her chill and save her family from creepy aliens? Only if she’s the most awesome, super-brave astronaut since Spaceman Spiff! So take a deep breath, grab your sidekick, and blast off with Jillian to Parasite Planet.

Eleven-year-old Jillian hates surprises. Even fun ones make her feel all panicky inside. But, she’s always dreamed of joining her space-explorer parents on a mission. It’s Take Your Kid to Work Day, and Jillian finally has her chance to visit an alien world!

The journey to Planet 80 UMa c is supposed to be just a fun camping trip.…


Book cover of Lagoon

Carl Abbott Author Of Imagining Urban Futures: Cities in Science Fiction and What We Might Learn from Them

From my list on science fiction with really cool cities.

Who am I?

I discovered science fiction at age nine with Rocketship Galileo and Red Planet and have never lost my love for speculative worlds, even after growing up to follow a career teaching and writing about the history of cities and city planning. In recent years, I’ve also begun to write about the field of SF. So it is one-hundred-percent natural for me to combine the two interests and explore science fiction cities. I try to look beyond the geez-whiz technology of some imagined cities to the ideas of human-scale planning and community that might make them fun places to visit or live in if we could somehow manage to get there.  

Carl's book list on science fiction with really cool cities

Carl Abbott Why did Carl love this book?

I get bored when aliens always seem to land on the National Mall in Washington or hover over Los Angeles, so I was delighted to discover that at least one alien ship prefers to land in the lagoon off Lagos, Nigeria.

It’s a city as big or bigger than New York, after all. There is the challenge of dealing with very enigmatic visitors, but the time is the present and readers get a whirlwind tour of one of the world’s megacities. It’s like having the most highspeed guide you can imagine… who happens to be one of the most compelling SF writers today.

By Nnedi Okorafor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Three strangers, each isolated by his or her own problems: Adaora, the marine biologist. Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa. Agu, the troubled soldier. Wandering Bar Beach in Lagos, Nigeria's legendary mega-city, they're more alone than they've ever been before.

But when something like a meteorite plunges into the ocean and a tidal wave overcomes them, these three people will find themselves bound together in ways they could never imagine. Together with Ayodele, a visitor from beyond the stars, they must race through Lagos and against time itself in order to save the city, the world... and themselves.

'There was…


Book cover of Zita the Spacegirl

Mark Leiknes Author Of Quest Kids and the Dark Prophecy of Doug

From my list on middle grade to inspire you to draw comics.

Who am I?

I started drawing comics in the first grade and have never stopped. My syndicated comic strip, Cow & Boy, ran for eight years, and now I write and draw the middle-grade fantasy series Quest Kids. I am so fortunate to have cobbled together my love of comics into a career and to have been inspired by so many talented people along the way. Below is a collection of some of the best.

Mark's book list on middle grade to inspire you to draw comics

Mark Leiknes Why did Mark love this book?

Ben Hatke can build worlds, and then some. Zita’s character design is amazingly detailed, yet also spontaneous and never out of reach for any kid looking to create operatic space comics of their very own.

I read this with my own children and I couldn’t say which one of us had more fun.

By Ben Hatke,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Zita the Spacegirl 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?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Zita's life took a cosmic left turn in the blink of an eye. When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero. Before long, aliens in all shapes and sizes don't even phase her. Neither do ancient prophecies, doomed planets, or even a friendly con man who takes a mysterious interest…


Book cover of The Wrong Stars

J. S. Fields Author Of Ardulum: First Don

From my list on space lesbians.

Who am I?

In my day job I’m a professor in a hard science and, unsurprisingly, a lesbian. I love sapphic fiction, especially speculative sapphic fiction, but it can be hard to find as the books are seldom labeled as such. Because I write in this genre I’ve been able to ferret out a lot of them, and have made it a mini mission to read as many as possible. I’m particularly drawn to those that get science right (bad science to a science professor is like nails on a chalk board), and those that have at least a little bit of kissing.

J.'s book list on space lesbians

J. S. Fields Why did J. love this book?

Good space opera is built on time-honored tropes, and Pratt hits them all on the head. Space princess? Check. Ragtag crew? Check. Strange, otherworldly aliens and a dash of romance? Double check. The Wrong Stars is space opera at its finest, with a classic adventure between humans and aliens, good versus evil, and technological innovation that makes you stop and consider current trends. 

The romance line is sapphic, age gap, flirtatious and commanding. Callie is our commanding captain, cool and in charge. Elena has been in cryosleep on a generational ship that was attacked by violent aliens and has some trauma to work out. Who better to help than Callie? And of course the whole crew needs to go investigate these new aliens. The fate of the galaxy is at stake!

By Tim Pratt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The shady crew of the White Raven run freight and salvage at the fringes of our solar system. They discover the wreck of a centuries-old exploration vessel floating light years away from its intended destination and revive its sole occupant, who wakes with news of First Alien Contact. When the crew break it to her that humanity has alien allies already, she reveals that these are very different extra-terrestrials... and the gifts they bestowed on her could kill all humanity, or take it out to the most distant stars.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Adrift | Liar Liar | Golden…


Book cover of Bone Rider

Casey Wolfe Author Of A Mage's Power

From my list on LGBTQ fantasy and science fiction.

Who am I?

A member of the LGBTQ community, I set out to write books about people that looked like me, that were under-represented in the media. I’m disabled, living with multiple medical conditions and mental health issues, which also inform my writing. I self-identify as a “full-time geek” – I have a passion for history and science, as well as being an avid gamer. My reading (and writing) time is spent wandering through fantasy realms, traveling the outer reaches of space, or delving into historical time periods.

Casey's book list on LGBTQ fantasy and science fiction

Casey Wolfe Why did Casey love this book?

This sci-fi adventure seems insane when you read the premise – a cowboy, a hitman, and an alien AI armor? Somehow, this manages to actually work, and becomes a thrilling adventure, with a pretty unique romance and fun world-building. It’s just one of those books you need to read to believe.

By J. Fally,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Riley Cooper is on the run. Misha Tokarev, the love of his life, turned out to be an assassin for the Russian mob, and when it comes to character flaws, Riley draws the line at premeditated murder. Alien armor system McClane is also on the run, for reasons that include accidentally crashing a space ship into Earth and evading U.S. military custody. A failed prototype, McClane was scheduled for destruction. Sabotaging the ship put an end to that, but McClane is dubbed a bone rider for good reason―he can’t live without a host body. That’s why he first stows away…


Book cover of The True Meaning of Smekday

Catherine Egan Author Of Sneaks

From my list on middle-grade sci fi – with bonus aliens.

Who am I?

When I was bored or stressed out at school as a kid, I used to pretend that I was an alien posing as a person and that I’d come to earth to learn about humans. It was fun and helped me to relax. (Look, we all have our own ways of relaxing, I don’t know why “pretending to be an alien” isn’t on more self-care lists these days). Given my tendency to drift toward other worlds, it’s amazing that it took me so long to write a book featuring aliens! The trouble-making Sneaks provide the action in my most recent MG book, which also deals with very real middle-school struggles with friendships and family.  

Catherine's book list on middle-grade sci fi – with bonus aliens

Catherine Egan Why did Catherine love this book?

I haven’t seen the 2015 animated movie Home, which is based on The True Meaning of Smekday, but my kids assure me that the book is better. The world is taken over by aliens in the opening chapters, and protagonist Gratuity (“Tip”) teams up with a rogue Boov who has named himself J.Lo, figuring that’s a common Earth name, to find her missing mother. The plot zig zags across the country and is full of clever twists and turns.

Tip’s voice, and the relationship between Tip and J.Lo, give the book its real charm. This is an often hilarious read, with stakes that feel real and weighty.

The Aliens: There are many, and they come in many flavors: funny, scary, brutal, BFF material…

By Adam Rex,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The True Meaning of Smekday 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?

The glorious leader of the Boovs, Captain Smek, has called for the invasion of Earth. But the plan goes very wrong when a cute and cuddly - and utterly hopeless - Boov makes a huge mistake. Now something much more dangerous is heading their way . . . Will human girl, Tip, be able to save her home?

The original and hilarious comic sci-fi adventure that inspired the major Dreamworks film, HOME.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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