100 books like The Space Between Worlds

By Micaiah Johnson,

Here are 100 books that The Space Between Worlds fans have personally recommended if you like The Space Between Worlds. 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 Gideon the Ninth

Morgan Biscup Author Of In Spite of the Inevitable

From my list on sci-fi books moral and perspective dilemmas.

Why am I passionate about this?

In writing character-driven space fantasy, heavily influenced by my training as an electromechanical engineer, I’ve realized a love for stories with a heavy emphasis on moral dilemmas and shifts in thinking. How does a character change direction after realizing much of what they always believed was a lie? When well-trained instincts pull them backward instead of propelling them forward? I love these stories, mirroring my own messy self-discovery journey through life. The settings and stakes are more fantastical, but that makes them more appealing. A way to confront my own trials without becoming burdened by them. If the characters can do it, so can I.

Morgan's book list on sci-fi books moral and perspective dilemmas

Morgan Biscup Why did Morgan love this book?

I love necromancers in space settings and opinionated characters with a strong voice, and Tamsyn Muir’s book did not disappoint. The book gradually ramps the action, emotion, and secrets until I couldn’t put it down. I was pulled into Gideon’s plight, first as she attempts to yet again escape indentured servitude to the necromancer Harrow, then as she helps Harrow navigate the deadly mysteries of Caanan House in exchange for her freedom.

I loved the fraught relationship between Harrow and Gideon as they navigated their complicated emotions and expectations of each other. The ending was particularly poignant, as their earlier assumptions were shattered in magnificent fashion, thrusting them into a situation neither wanted and revealing the true lengths they’d willingly go to for each other.

By Tamsyn Muir,

Why should I read it?

22 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 Left Hand of Darkness

Sara Jo Easton Author Of A Dream of Light

From my list on LGBTQ+ to annoy the people trying to ban them.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Sara Jo Easton, and I’m the bisexual author of the Zarder novels, a fantasy series where a race of dragon-like creatures called Onizards learns to get past their prejudices. When I was at a book signing for my third book, The Blood of Senbralni, a strange man loudly declared I was part of an agenda to turn people to homosexuality and Satan with my evil dragons. To be clear, I am not and will never be affiliated with Satan. I made a vow that every book I wrote from that point forward would have at least one LGBTQ+ romance with a happy ending to annoy people like that man.

Sara's book list on LGBTQ+ to annoy the people trying to ban them

Sara Jo Easton Why did Sara love this book?

If you’re like me, you are a sucker for stories about an outsider finding themselves in a new society and having to struggle and adapt to circumstances they don’t fully understand.

Genly Ai is a man who is sent to the planet Gethen to convince the people there to join a planetary alliance. The problem is Genly is so fixated on his manhood and personal identity that he can’t adapt culturally in a world where everyone is genderfluid.

Genly’s political mistakes get him into a lot of trouble that his lone ally Estraven tries to save him from, and it is only by learning to accept differences and listen to Estraven that Genly finally succeeds in his quest.

You can’t go wrong with the engrossing worldbuilding in this book, and as a bonus the people trying to ban LGBTQ+ books will be extremely annoyed if you read a book where…

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Ursula K. Le Guin's groundbreaking work of science fiction-winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

A lone human ambassador is sent to the icebound planet of Winter, a world without sexual prejudice, where the inhabitants' gender is fluid. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the strange, intriguing culture he encounters...

Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an…

Book cover of A Wrinkle in Time

David Mack Author Of Star Trek: Picard: Firewall

From my list on science fiction and fantasy books with a heroic female coming-of-age story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been an avid reader, ever since I was old enough to hold a book upright. Today, I’m a writer of science fiction, fantasy, and thrillers, with credits spanning novels, short fiction, television, comic books, and video games. I’m especially fond of heroic tales that feature female main characters, both in books and on-screen. Several of my nearly 40 novels have featured heroic female main characters, including my newest book, Star Trek: Picard: Firewall, which is a coming-of-age tale about Seven of Nine’s journey to becoming a Fenris Ranger.

David's book list on science fiction and fantasy books with a heroic female coming-of-age story

David Mack Why did David love this book?

I must have re-read this wonderful book half a dozen times in my youth. I first read it when I was in middle school. Though I had discovered science fiction and fantasy books a few years earlier, most of them had been heavy on action and light on ideas.

This was one of the first books I read that really made me think about how strange and wonderful the universe might really be and see how that might provide a context for telling profoundly moving human stories. It filled my young mind with awe and wonder, as well as a desire to tell my own stories.

By Madeleine L'Engle,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked A Wrinkle in Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Puffin Classics: the definitive collection of timeless stories, for every child.

We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts.

When Charles and Meg Murry go searching through a 'wrinkle in time' for their lost father, they find themselves on an evil planet where all life is enslaved by a huge pulsating brain known as 'It'.

Meg, Charles and their friend Calvin embark on a cosmic journey helped by the funny and mysterious trio of guardian angels, Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which. Together they must find the weapon that will defeat It.…

Book cover of This Is How You Lose the Time War

Ira Nayman Author Of The Dance: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction

From my list on wildly entertaining journeys around the multiverse.

Why am I passionate about this?

I, Ira Nayman, have been writing stories set in the multiverse for almost twenty years, first with the Alternate Reality News Service set of books, then with my Transdimensional Authority/Multiverse novels and, most recently, with multiverse triptychs (the spark for The Dance). One of the things that I recently realized about my writing is that a lot of it focuses on the factors that shape our lives and make us the people we are. My ongoing fascination with the multiverse is because it is a great vehicle for exploring this idea by showing us how our lives could have turned out if circumstances or our choices had been different.

Ira's book list on wildly entertaining journeys around the multiverse

Ira Nayman Why did Ira love this book?

Bigolas Dickolas Wolfwood famously rocketed this book to the top of the bestseller list four years after its publication. Whatever you’ve heard about this inventive epistolary time travel romance, I promise you that it lives up to that hype. It won me over immediately with its lyrical prose, clever sci-fi conceit, and charged romantic tension between dueling protagonists.

I love dystopian fiction, but there’s something even more impressive about well-written utopian fiction. I’m even more impressed when authors remember that our various visions of utopia can be in conflict with one another and with our own individual connections and desires. Time War weaves poetry out of the multiverse and had me sobbing over two women who would rather burn down every world than lose each other.

By Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked This Is How You Lose the Time War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF The Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella, the Reddit Stabby Award for Best Novella AND The British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novella

2020 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award
The Ray Bradbury Prize
Kitschies Red Tentacle Award
Kitschies Inky Tentacle
Brave New Words Award

'A fireworks display from two very talented storytellers' Madeline Miller, author of Circe

Co-written by two award-winning writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space.

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It…

Book cover of The Midnight Library

MJ Mumford Author Of TimeBlink

From my list on time travel books that don’t fit the sci-fi mold.

Why am I passionate about this?

At one time, whenever I heard "science fiction," my mind would jump to spaceships, aliens, and dystopian worlds. So, when it came to categorizing my time travel novel, I was surprised to learn that I’d unwittingly penned a sci-fi book. I initially resisted this classification since my story has more of a domestic thriller vibe, and the characters only travel a few years, not centuries, through time. However, I’ve since accepted that time travel is science fiction. The books on my list prove that sci-fi doesn’t necessarily mean hardcore science. It can have a more universal appeal, exploring themes of love, loss, and destiny without a time machine or extraterrestrial in sight.

MJ's book list on time travel books that don’t fit the sci-fi mold

MJ Mumford Why did MJ love this book?

Being someone who often ponders life's "what ifs," I was quick to snap this novel up. The plot revolves around a suicidal woman, Nora Seed, who finds herself in a mysterious library between life and death, where each book serves as a portal to a different version of her life had she made alternative choices.

Though the story shares thematic elements with traditional time travel narratives—such as the exploration of alternate realities—it’s not time travel in the strictest sense. Instead, it has a dreamlike quality that offers a clever means to explore the deeply personal and relatable concept of self-discovery.

As Nora samples all the different lives she could’ve lived, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own life choices and the paths I didn't take…and be grateful for the ones I did.

By Matt Haig,

Why should I read it?

35 authors picked The Midnight Library as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The #1 New York Times bestselling WORLDWIDE phenomenon

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction | A Good Morning America Book Club Pick | Independent (London) Ten Best Books of the Year

"A feel-good book guaranteed to lift your spirits."-The Washington Post

The dazzling reader-favorite about the choices that go into a life well lived, from the acclaimed author of How To Stop Time and The Comfort Book.

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of…

Book cover of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Paige E. Ewing Author Of Precise Oaths

From my list on sci-fi that blow raspberries at hero stereotypes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a woman in a technology field dominated by men, a person with both mental and physical problems, and I’ve studied a dozen different martial arts. I’m a mean shot with a bow and love to hurl axes and spears. None of these things are contradictory. They’re just different aspects of me. Real people don’t fit in boxes and neither should good characters. My world is filled with my Hispanic grandkids, my bi daughter, my gay foster brother, my friends and family and people I love that don’t fit the Captain Awesome stereotype. Remember that we, too, can be heroes.

Paige's book list on sci-fi that blow raspberries at hero stereotypes

Paige E. Ewing Why did Paige love this book?

This whole book, I kept expecting an epic space battle to break out. That’s how space operas work, I thought, but now I’ve been introduced to cozy science fiction.

The book explored a dozen species. Very different people kept finding common ground, something anyone living in the US right now is struggling with.

My life has been filled with people who didn’t fit the average person mold in various ways. I was moved almost to tears more than once as people who were all so different found their way into something like a family. I particularly enjoyed how the love of friends was given the same weight as romantic love. I gloried in how each relationship interwove into something greater than the parts.

By Becky Chambers,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'A quietly profound, humane tour de force' Guardian

The beloved debut novel that will restore your faith in humanity


When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The ship, which has seen better days, offers her everything she could possibly want: a small, quiet spot to call home for a while, adventure in far-off corners of the galaxy, and distance from her troubled past.

But Rosemary gets more than she bargained for with the Wayfarer. The crew is a mishmash of species and personalities, from Sissix,…

Book cover of A Darker Shade of Magic

Yvonne Kjorlien Author Of Memoirs of a Reluctant Archaeologist

From my list on kick-ass women come from screwed up families.

Why am I passionate about this?

On the surface, my childhood was characterized by 1980s unsupervised country freedom in rural Alberta. Deeper in, my history involved emotional abuse and neglect. I wanted nothing more than to be seen and loved for my true self. The library was a refuge, but the fiction section allowed me to find the community I so greatly desired. I was seen and loved by the characters I read. They showed me it was possible to be myself–loudly and audaciously–and still be accepted. I read and now write books that delve into themes of identity, autonomy, and acceptance because I still struggle with these themes today. 

Yvonne's book list on kick-ass women come from screwed up families

Yvonne Kjorlien Why did Yvonne love this book?

I believe you can choose to be kick-ass. Delilah “Lila” Bard eventually chooses to be kick-ass. Eventually, on the surface, this book is about Kell. But Lila has the true character arc. I love that Lila walks the edge: hero or anti-hero?

My own life has been defined by the choices I make. I wasn’t given a lot of opportunities. I didn’t have a lot of luck. I had to make my own luck. Lila makes her own ‘luck’. She turns surviving into an opportunity to thrive because of the choices she makes. She screws up several times, risking her life and others. Even at the end, I’m not sure if she’s a hero. She’s real and attempting to evolve out of a dim past into a bright future in her own unique way. I relate to that. 

By V. E. Schwab,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked A Darker Shade of Magic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A stunning collector's edition of the acclaimed novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab.

With an exclusive metallic ink cover, this edition will feature:

* End papers of London
* Fan art
* A glossary of Arnesian and Antari terms
* An interview between author and editor
* Original (never before seen!) tales from within the Shades of Magic world

Kell is one of the last Antari-magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons. There is Red London, where life and magic are revered, Grey London, without magic and ruled by mad King…

Book cover of The Other Me

C.J. Washington Author Of The Intangible

From my list on the fluidity of reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

My background is in computer science, specifically artificial intelligence. As a student, I was most interested in how our knowledge of the human brain could inform AI and vice versa. As such, I read as much neuroscience and psychology as I could and spent a lot of time thinking about how our minds create reality out of our senses. I always appreciate a novel that explores the fluidity of reality.

C.J.'s book list on the fluidity of reality

C.J. Washington Why did C.J. love this book?

On her 29th birthday, Kelly Holter walks through a door and into a life that barely resembles her own. And yet it is her own.

Is her reality wrong? Or are her memories wrong? Or are they both somehow correct? Part sci-fi, part thriller, all-consuming, The Other Me explores how the decisions we make influence the person we become, or don’t. The novel raises many fascinating questions and provides plenty of unexpected answers.

By Sarah Zachrich Jeng,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Who hasn't wondered what alternate versions of their lives might look like?...As relatable as it is suspenseful cleverly exploring adulthood, identity, and shifting realities.”
—Margarita Montimore, USA Today bestselling author of Oona Out of Order

An inventive page-turner about the choices we make and the ones made for us.

One minute Kelly’s a free-spirited artist in Chicago going to her best friend’s art show. The next, she opens a door and mysteriously emerges in her Michigan hometown. Suddenly her life is unrecognizable: She's got twelve years of the wrong memories in her head and she's married to Eric, a man…

Book cover of Dark Matter

Luke Mitchell Author Of Red Gambit

From my list on sci-fi character journeys you’ll probably never forget.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an ex-neuroengineer turned sci-fi pen monkey (turned melted heap of goo on the floor). More than anything, though, I’m a guy who simply could NOT get enough Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Indiana Jones as a kid, and it’s probably somewhere between those formative years and all the amazing books and movies I’ve gobbled down since that the writing bug seeped into my veins. Much as my writing has changed the way I read, this list constitutes 5 of the types of stories that made me fall so deeply in love with fiction (and good characters!) that I couldn’t help but eventually pick up the pen myself.

Luke's book list on sci-fi character journeys you’ll probably never forget

Luke Mitchell Why did Luke love this book?

One of my favorite things in the world is listening to a good audiobook, start to finish, on a long road trip. Having moved back and forth across the country more times than I care to count, I’ve done this a fair number of times, and my favorite memory by far is the experience I had when listening to this book for the first time.

I’ve enjoyed most of Blake Crouch’s books for their tight pacing and titillating, mind-candy premises (in Dark Matter, it’s a neat mechanic for hopping alternate realities), but what really hit me with this one in particular was how monumentally hard this book drove home this feeling of losing (like literally losing) the one you love the most, and what you might do, what life you might choose, to find them again. It’s hardly ground that no one’s covered before, but without spoiling anything, I’ll just…

By Blake Crouch,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Dark Matter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Brilliant. . . I think Blake Crouch just invented something new' - Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher series.

From Blake Crouch, the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human - a relentlessly surprising thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we'll go to claim the lives we dream of, perfect for fans of Stranger Things and Ready Player One.

'Are you happy in your life?'
Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.
Before he awakes to find…

Book cover of In the Key of Us

Jas Hammonds Author Of We Deserve Monuments

From my list on stories by Black authors to give you all the feels.

Why am I passionate about this?

When people ask me what makes me fall in love with a book, good characters will always be my first answer. And by good, I don’t mean perfect individuals who make no mistakes. I mean characters who make me feel something, whether it’s rage or hope or longing or disgust. As an author, I like filling my stories with messy, desperate characters who aren’t afraid to show emotion. And as an introverted flight attendant, I spend a lot of time observing people and I’m often fascinated by what I discover. The best stories—like people—have layers and depth to their characters. I like finding out what’s underneath.

Jas' book list on stories by Black authors to give you all the feels

Jas Hammonds Why did Jas love this book?

I love books that make me feel like a teenager again. That makes me remember the swoon of first love and how vulnerable it can be figuring out who you are. In the Key of Us not only accomplishes this once, but twice through the dual-POV narration of Andi and Zora, two of the only Black girls at a summer music camp. This middle grade novel tackles topics such as death and anxiety and mental health with such delicacy and warmth. This book felt like a crackling bonfire, lighting up young aches that I’d forgotten were there.

By Mariama J. Lockington,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked In the Key of Us 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?

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Andi is grappling with grief following the death of her mother. Zora is exhausted by trying to please her success-oriented parents. Both feel very much alone. Until a summer music camp brings them together.

The only two Black girls at camp in a sea of white children, Andi and Zora slowly begin to connect and reveal their deepest fears and dreams. While Andi is a natural on trumpet, Zora doesn't know if she wants to be a floutist since she also loves to dance.

As Andi and Zora struggle to figure out who they really are,…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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