100 books like The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

By Robert A. Heinlein,

Here are 100 books that The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress fans have personally recommended if you like The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Rendezvous with Rama

Wil Mccarthy Author Of Beggar's Sky

From my list on peaceful alien contact.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a science fiction writer since I was old enough to read, and I’ve spent probably way too much of my life reading and writing and researching and thinking about aliens. I’ve worked in the aerospace industry, launching rockets to the moon and Mars and Saturn, and five of the books I’ve published have touched on alien life in one way or another. I’ve worked as a contributing editor for WIRED magazine and the science and technology correspondent for the SyFy channel, and I hold patents in seven countries, including 31 issued U.S. patents.

Wil's book list on peaceful alien contact

Wil Mccarthy Why did Wil love this book?

Of all of Clarke’s works, this one had, for me, the grandest sense of adventure and mystery. We never do find out who the aliens are or what their goals might be, but we get to join them for part of their journey.

There are puzzles to solve, wonders to behold, and dangers bravely faced. I first read the book when I was nine years old, and it communicated to me just as clearly then as it does today.

By Arthur C. Clarke,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Rendezvous with Rama as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the year 2130, a mysterious and apparently untenanted alien spaceship, Rama, enters our solar system. The first product of an alien civilisation to be encountered by man, it reveals a world of technological marvels and an unparalleled artificial ecology.

But what is its purpose in 2131?

Who is inside it?

And why?


Book cover of The Lord of the Rings

Claudia Amendola Alzraa Author Of The Transformational Path: How Healing, Unlearning, and Tuning into Source Helped Me Manifest My Most Abundant Life

From my list on completely transforming your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve known I was “special” since I was a child. I saw, felt, and heard things that others did not. Eventually I embraced my clairaudient mediumship gifts and turned it into a thriving business, allowing me to live a life of purpose: helping others find their passions and live their most joyful lives. But the journey never ends; I am always on a mission to transform. Consistently, literature has been where I turn when I am seeking wisdom on becoming the best version of myself. I also pursued certification as a Book Therapist - the first thing I’ll recommend to friends, family, or clients is the best book for their dilemma!

Claudia's book list on completely transforming your life

Claudia Amendola Alzraa Why did Claudia love this book?

J.R.R. Tolkien's masterful storytelling is unmatched, and The Lord of the Rings weaves together moral dilemmas and profound philosophical ideas seamlessly, encouraging me to contemplate the nature of power, the importance of preserving the natural world, and the significance of individual choices.

The book's themes of heroism, friendship, sacrifice, and the struggle between good and evil resonate deeply. In addition, each of his characters feels like an aspect of oneself; the introspection it inspires is brilliant!

The Lord of the Rings instills a sense of wonder, ignites the imagination, and imparts timeless wisdom, which heavily transformed my perspective on life, my values, and my understanding of the human condition.

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

52 authors picked The Lord of the Rings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of…


Book cover of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Kaeleb LD Appleby Author Of Crime in Me'tra

From my list on sci-fi fantasy crime stories that will blow your mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

The sci-fi/fantasy/crime genre is probably one I’ve known the least about, and I only really started to dive down the rabbit hole when I began writing my series. I’m glad I did. The world-building and lore that is woven into this genre truly sets it apart from the usual stuff. On top of needing an intricate technological imagination that has some grounding in the real world, these kinds of books also need to have characters that are believable and a narrative that is not so futuristic that it strains credulity. It’s a tough mix to get right, but when I find a story that nails these aspects it really immerses me into the world and narrative like nothing else.   

Kaeleb's book list on sci-fi fantasy crime stories that will blow your mind

Kaeleb LD Appleby Why did Kaeleb love this book?

I liked the concept of this story and the way it provokes the imagination.

The world the author creates is engrossing, and the narrative dives into the exploration of humanity's existential dilemmas. It grapples with concepts like reality vs. illusion, life vs. artificial existence, mind manipulation, intellect vs. cognitive impairment, decay vs. renewal, the significance of religion (whether genuine or imagined), and the importance of individualism vs. conformity.

This story was the source material for the Bladerunner movies and is considered one of the best of the genre, and it is easy to see why.

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

15 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…


Price of Vengeance

By Kurt D. Springs,

Book cover of Price of Vengeance

Kurt D. Springs

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Teacher Cook Barista Guardian

Kurt's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Liam was orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin. Taken in by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, Liam was raised with their older son, Randolf in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.

As an adult, Liam becomes a soldier. After being cut off from the city, Liam finds that there is an alien intelligence behind the chitin. To defeat it, he must discover who he is and how to use his powers. Then, Liam discovers that a traitor, responsible for his birth parents' deaths, had…

Price of Vengeance

By Kurt D. Springs,

What is this book about?

"From the cover to the opening pages, Price of Vengeance grabs the reader and takes them on a wild ride. Fasten your seat belts for this book." -S. J. Francis, author of Shattered Lies

What is the Price of Vengeance? One could understand why Liam was angry. He was orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin. Taken in by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, Liam was raised with their older son, Randolf in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.

As an adult, Liam becomes a…


Book cover of Doomsday Book

Clare Broyles Author Of In Sunshine or in Shadow

From my list on spunky women in historical mayhem who nevertheless persisted.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been known to read a book a day, and I read widely: all the classics, mystery and suspense, science fiction, future fiction, and fantasy. My favorite novels in any genre take me to a place or time far away. My favorite characters are like hobbits; they are caught up in big adventures but fun to have a beer with and don’t take themselves too seriously. And all the protagonists in the novels I have chosen are women, because women my age have spent enough time reading about men who have adventures. 

Clare's book list on spunky women in historical mayhem who nevertheless persisted

Clare Broyles Why did Clare love this book?

This book is both future fiction and historical. An Oxford historian journeys back in time and ends up by accident in a plague-filled village in the Middle Ages.

What I love about this novel is the bravery of the characters and their commitment to the good. Willis makes me a believer that humans have not changed much in a thousand years. Ties of love, faith, and humor are the stronghold for confused humans in the past, present, or future, and Willis’ universe is a benevolent one that responds to reward those acts of faith.

Although this book could be classified as science fiction, it is lovingly historical with a deeply researched and rich experience of our past. I absolutely love this book. 

By Connie Willis,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Doomsday Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A tour de force" - New York Times Book Review

"Ambitious, finely detailed and compulsively readable" - Locus

"It is a book that feels fundamentally true; it is a book to live in" - Washington Post

For Kivrin Engle, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing a bullet-proof backstory. For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking calculations and careful monitoring of the rendezvous location where Kivrin would be received.

But a crisis strangely linking past and…


Book cover of The Forever War

Jools Cantor Author Of The Trellis

From my list on real-life time machines through sci fi.

Why am I passionate about this?

Science fiction lets us readers escape into space or travel through time, but I believe it is most effective when grounded in our primal anxieties. Classics like Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Handmaid’s Tale resonate because the dark futures they describe drive us to prevent their prophecy. These stories give us a window into the world that birthed them by crystalizing the authors' fears into a work of fiction. When I read each book on this list, they transported me to the time they were written. En route, they showed how much our world has changed and how much we humans haven’t.

Jools' book list on real-life time machines through sci fi

Jools Cantor Why did Jools love this book?

This book is one of the best military science fiction stories and an excellent anti-war novel. It mixes compelling action and smart science with real frustrations, emotions, and horror as the futility of war is exposed. Haldeman based the story on his own experiences in Vietnam, and the story revolves around a similar soldier who struggles to make sense of the war he is fighting and the home he no longer recognizes.

While it’s a great window into the American psyche in 1975, it is best read immediately after Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers, which reflects America's rah-rah militarism in 1959. This way, you can read a bunch of action-packed sex and violence while also telling your high-brow friends that you’re “exploring the subtextual divergence in American attitudes toward interventionism in literature through the latter half of the twentieth century” or something like that.

By Joe Haldeman,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Forever War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The monumental Hugo and Nebula award winning SF classic-- Featuring a new introduction by John Scalzi

The Earth's leaders have drawn a line in the interstellar sand--despite the fact that the fierce alien enemy they would oppose is inscrutable, unconquerable, and very far away. A reluctant conscript drafted into an elite Military unit, Private William Mandella has been propelled through space and time to fight in the distant thousand-year conflict; to perform his duties and do whatever it takes to survive the ordeal and return home. But "home" may be even more terrifying than battle, because, thanks to the time…


Book cover of Darwinia

Don Kinney Author Of The Darkdrift

From my list on sci-fi for newbies, from a newbie sci-fi writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by science and space since I was a child and naturally gravitated toward science fiction. In many respects, it was a form of escapism, as I didn’t enjoy school. I always preferred escaping into another world or being taken on a journey to another world. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that most great science fiction is a commentary on our own world and the issues we face daily. Science fiction, more than any other genre, does a better job of exploring and dissecting aspects of our world, which in turn helps us better understand our world and our relationship with it.

Don's book list on sci-fi for newbies, from a newbie sci-fi writer

Don Kinney Why did Don love this book?

Darwinia was the first novel I read by Robert Charles Wilson, who I believe is the best modern-day science fiction writer. Darwinia was a novel I had to read twice to really grasp how brilliantly Wilson had woven everything together. This is one of those novels where the ending can sneak up on you and blow you away and you weren’t even remotely prepared, which is preferred over any ending that I can predict.

By Robert Charles Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In an alternative history of the twentieth century, Europe is replaced by a land of nightmarish jungle and monsters that contains the secret of human destiny.


Book cover of Red Mars

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?

Another work spanning more than a hundred years and featuring many rich characters, crises, and drama, the Mars Trilogy makes a great summer read. At a little more than 1600 pages, the trilogy is like three seasons of a really engrossing television series.

The trilogy contains ample portions of science, science fiction, politics, and explorations of the human condition. There’s even some boom-boom for those who like a few explosions in their stories. Like my other preferences, there’s little “magic” in the Trilogy’s universe; instead, things mostly make sense after accepting a couple of assumptions. The richness of the characters really stood out for me, helped by the fact that the characters, by and large, experience long lifetimes!

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Red Mars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first novel in Kim Stanley Robinson's massively successful and lavishly praised Mars trilogy. 'The ultimate in future history' Daily Mail

Mars - the barren, forbidding planet that epitomises mankind's dreams of space conquest.

From the first pioneers who looked back at Earth and saw a small blue star, to the first colonists - hand-picked scientists with the skills necessary to create life from cold desert - Red Mars is the story of a new genesis.

It is also the story of how Man must struggle against his own self-destructive mechanisms to achieve his dreams: before he even sets foot…


Book cover of Stranger in a Strange Land

John Walters Author Of The Misadventures of Mama Kitchen

From my list on celebrating the psychedelic sixties.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became a young man near the end of the sixties, and I have always been enthralled by the era's various idiosyncrasies, both good and bad. For instance, I loved the complex yet pleasant rock music and the freewheeling lifestyle. On the downside, the war in Vietnam cast its pall over the times, and I narrowly escaped being drafted and sent off to Southeast Asia. Overall, it was an era in which good and evil were starkly defined, and many people were attempting to create a better, more peaceful world. There is still much we can learn from this time.

John's book list on celebrating the psychedelic sixties

John Walters Why did John love this book?

Although this book is ostensibly set in the future, countercultural enthusiasts of the sixties were quick to claim it for their own, with its references to transcendental enlightenment, out-of-body experiences, communal living, and free sex.

It became a best-selling phenomenon as contemporary young people reacted positively to its iconoclastic attitudes. That's what happened to me, too, when I came across the book shortly before the move to the Bay Area that opened my eyes to the reality of the psychedelic sixties.

By Robert A. Heinlein,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Stranger in a Strange Land as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The original uncut edition of STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND by Hugo Award winner Robert A Heinlein - one of the most beloved, celebrated science-fiction novels of all time. Epic, ambitious and entertaining, STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND caused controversy and uproar when it was first published and is still topical and challenging today.

Twenty-five years ago, the first manned mission to Mars was lost, and all hands presumed dead. But someone survived...

Born on the doomed spaceship and raised by the Martians who saved his life, Valentine Michael Smith has never seen a human being until the day a…


Book cover of 2001

K. Van Kramer Author Of Modified

From my list on science fiction with A.I. and sweeping new worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved science fiction because it offers a hope, a dream, or a future that we just haven't seen yet. When I write my stories, I feel there is no better use of my imagination, than to contemplate a new world, a new civilization, or future technology. At the same time, I hope to entertain readers and spark young imaginations. Inside Modified, I reached into a distant future with off-world colonies that float in the clouds of Venus, while robots toil on the planet’s surface. Of course, in such a future, when advanced modifications and recursive designs are used, leads one to wonder if my robot can love too.

K.'s book list on science fiction with A.I. and sweeping new worlds

K. Van Kramer Why did K. love this book?

This book seems a bit strange at first, when the story begins with Moon-Watcher, the leader of a tribe of early ape-man, who struggles for survival during the brutal Pleistocene ice age. After an alien monolith appears, it seems to advance the way he thinks, leading him to develop crude weapons. When the same monolith is discovered in the future, we seem fated to find the answers behind the eerie structure. Skipping to a team of astronauts who travel aboard a ship to further investigate, things take an unexpected turn when the ship’s A.I. called HAL-9000, gets very confused about keeping secrets. Something about the way it remains so polite while it deceives the crew, is enough to give anyone a nightmare.

By Arthur C. Clarke,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked 2001 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written when landing on the moon was still a dream, and made into one of the most influential films of all time, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY remains a classic work of science fiction fifty years after its original publication.

The discovery of a black monolith on the moon leads to a manned expedition deep into the solar system, in the hope of establishing contact with an alien intelligence. Yet long before the crew can reach their destination, the voyage descends into disaster . . .

Brilliant, compulsive and prophetic, Arthur C. Clarke's timeless novel tackles the enduring theme of mankind's…


Book cover of Sphere

Johnny B. Truant Author Of Dead City

From my list on Sci-Fi real science that justifies unreal things.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I was an author, I was a scientist pursuing a PhD in molecular genetics. When I left the lab and started writing, that scientist’s need for real-world sense stuck with me and became a theme in everything I write. The authors I like understand that “suspension of disbelief” is a limited resource, so they’d better only ask readers for it when it counts. Get the baseline facts and logic right, and I’ll believe and enjoy the fantastical stuff spun from it so much more. 

Johnny's book list on Sci-Fi real science that justifies unreal things

Johnny B. Truant Why did Johnny love this book?

This is one of my go-to re-reads. I love the quiet and isolation of it: just a small crew trapped beneath the ocean, weathering something heretofore unknown. That’s what I like first and foremost: the mood of it all. 

But atop that is how believable it is for me. I always feel like I learn something when I read Michael Crichton. He had a knack for using real science and then twisting it just enough to create wonderful fictional situations. I’m not joyless enough to require learning to like a book, but I’ll put it this way: The less often an author asks me to suspend disbelief, the more willing I am to go for the ride when they finally do. 

By Michael Crichton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Ingenious and beguiling.”
—Time

“Crichton keeps us guessing at every turn in his best work since The Andromeda Strain.”
—Los Angeles Times

“Sphere may be Crichton’s best novel, but even if it ranked only second or third, it would be a must for suspense fans.”
—Miami Herald

A classic thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Crichton, Sphere is a bravura demonstration of what he does better than anyone: riveting storytelling that combines frighteningly plausible, cutting edge science and technology with pulse-pounding action and serious chills. The gripping story of a group of American scientists sent to the…


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