90 books like The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

By Philip K. Dick,

Here are 90 books that The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch fans have personally recommended if you like The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Valis

Jeff Hopp Author Of Legend of the Mind

From my list on science fiction written by Philip K. Dick.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professional artist and musician, and I owe a huge debt to Philip K. Dick. I started to read his works at a very young age (I believe I’ve read most everything he’s written at least twice), and my love of his work has continued throughout my life and he has been the greatest inspiration to my music, writing, and art. I felt so influenced and indebted that a created a comic book to honor him and to tell my stories and ideas that have populated my imagination as a result of his books.

Jeff's book list on science fiction written by Philip K. Dick

Jeff Hopp Why did Jeff love this book?

I consider myself a very spiritual person and I believe that it is a person’s responsibility to question what it means to be spiritual in order to better understand one’s own faith.

As I am, Philip K. Dick was obviously obsessed with wanting spiritual answers. Valis is very entertaining, but it also made me question all that I believe in a way that expanded and made my spirituality stronger.

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It began with a blinding light, a divine revelation from a mysterious intelligence that called itself VALIS (Vast Active Living Intelligence System). And with that, the fabric of reality was torn apart and laid bare so that anything seemed possible, but nothing seemed quite right.

It was madness, pure and simple. But what if it were true?


Book cover of Dreaming the Biosphere

Fred Nadis Author Of Star Settlers: The Billionaires, Geniuses, and Crazed Visionaries Out to Conquer the Universe

From my list on botched space colonization efforts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated with techno-utopian schemes. Decades ago, I had conversations with a friend who believed that humanity needed to evolve and leave the planet, just as early life once left the oceans. It was an intriguing idea that I have tried to follow up, critically, in Star Settlers. My book is a history not so much of the technology and nuts and bolts of space travel (although I do cover some of that), but of the rationale behind it—the idea that humanity’s ultimate destiny is in the stars. The idea is beguiling—but, likely, wrong-headed. To write the book, I spoke with physicists, science fiction writers, and space enthusiasts of all stripes. 

Fred's book list on botched space colonization efforts

Fred Nadis Why did Fred love this book?

The Biosphere 2 project was the wackiest multimillion-dollar enterprise to emerge from the New Age movement. This book is a nonfiction account of how a New Mexico commune, with a charismatic leader, developed a plan to test the viability of off-planet living by creating a sealed-off biosphere, which would be a self-sustaining and organizing ecosystem in which humans could survive. The goal was to create not a sterile environment but one that supported life that would make off-planet living appealing. The four men and four women sequestered for two years in the 3.14-acre domed-off area outside Tucson grew into two factions that hated one another. All came close to starvation, CO2 poisoning, and madness. For readers that simply must have narrative in fiction form, T. Corraghesson Boyle’s The Terranauts is based on this same early 1990s episode. 

By Rebecca Reider,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Biosphere rises from southern Arizona's high desert like a bizarre hybrid spaceship and greenhouse. Packed with more than 3,800 carefully selected plant, animal, and insect species, this mega-terrarium is one of the world's most biodiverse, lush, and artificial wildernesses. Only recently transformed from an abandoned ghost dome to a University of Arizona research center, the site was the setting of a grand drama about humans and ecology at the end of the twentieth century.

The seeds of Biosphere 2 sprouted in the 1970s at Synergia, a desert ranch in New Mexico where John Allen and a handful of dreamers united…


Book cover of The Man in the High Castle

Christopher Brown Author Of Tropic of Kansas

From my list on a second American Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began writing speculative fiction because I was fascinated by its potential as a laboratory to imagine the world that could be. It’s a narrative form that allows us to play with revolutionary changes in society without any real people getting hurt. And it compels the author to do the hard work of imagining how others experience life in the real world as well as the imaginary one. The best SF novels balance their speculations with a grounding in the observed world, entertaining us with propulsive wonder while filling our minds with new ideas and fresh perspectives that linger long after we put the book down.

Christopher's book list on a second American Civil War

Christopher Brown Why did Christopher love this book?

This masterpiece from one of the giants of mind-blowing SF is best known as a canonical example of alternate history: set in a world where the Axis powers won World War II, and the former U.S.A. is divided between occupying forces of Imperial Japan on the West Coast and Nazi Germany. As such, the conflict in the book is really about the underground resistance forces’ efforts against the occupiers.

Lots of writers have played with similar premises, but I love Dick’s the most because of its narrative daring, from using the I Ching as a device to generate plot to the Borgesian engine of the imaginary novel within the novel on which the story’s ultimate revelations turn.

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Man in the High Castle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Dick's best work, and the most memorable alternative world tale...ever written' SCIENCE FICTION: THE 100 BEST NOVELS

It is 1962 and the Second World War has been over for seventeen years: people have now had a chance to adjust to the new order. But it's not been easy. The Mediterranean has been drained to make farmland, the population of Africa has virtually been wiped out and America has been divided between the Nazis and the Japanese. In the neutral buffer zone that divides the two superpowers lives the man in the high castle, the author of an underground bestseller, a…


Alpha Max

By Mark A. Rayner,

Book cover of Alpha Max

Mark A. Rayner Author Of Alpha Max

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Human shaped Pirate hearted Storytelling addict Creatively inclined

Mark's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Maximilian Tundra is about to have an existential crisis of cosmic proportions.

When a physical duplicate of him appears in his living room, wearing a tight-fitting silver lamé unitard and speaking with an English accent, Max knows something bad is about to happen. Bad doesn’t cover it. Max discovers he’s the only human being who can prevent the end of the world, and not just on his planet! In the multiverse, infinite Earths will be destroyed.

Alpha Max

By Mark A. Rayner,

What is this book about?

★★★★★ "Funny, yet deep, this is definitely worth venturing into the multiverse for."

Amazing Stories says: "Snarky as Pratchet, insightful as Stephenson, as full of scathing social commentary as Swift or Voltaire, and weirdly reminiscent of LeGuin, Alpha Max is the only multiverse novel you need this month, or maybe ever."

Maximilian Tundra is about to have an existential crisis of cosmic proportions.

When a physical duplicate of him appears in his living room, wearing a tight-fitting silver lamé unitard and speaking with an English accent, Max knows something bad is about to happen. Bad doesn’t cover it. Max discovers…


Book cover of Hull Zero Three

Fred Nadis Author Of Star Settlers: The Billionaires, Geniuses, and Crazed Visionaries Out to Conquer the Universe

From my list on botched space colonization efforts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated with techno-utopian schemes. Decades ago, I had conversations with a friend who believed that humanity needed to evolve and leave the planet, just as early life once left the oceans. It was an intriguing idea that I have tried to follow up, critically, in Star Settlers. My book is a history not so much of the technology and nuts and bolts of space travel (although I do cover some of that), but of the rationale behind it—the idea that humanity’s ultimate destiny is in the stars. The idea is beguiling—but, likely, wrong-headed. To write the book, I spoke with physicists, science fiction writers, and space enthusiasts of all stripes. 

Fred's book list on botched space colonization efforts

Fred Nadis Why did Fred love this book?

This book has the ideal traits I appreciate in science fiction—as with H.G. Wells’s classic tales, it’s reasonably short and can be read as pure adventure or allegory. We meet the archetypal figure of the “Teacher” birthed by a bioprinting machine on a starship soon to terraform an exoplanet. The Teacher has to grapple with survival, his purpose, the ship’s mission, and his realization that everything is haywire in this high-tech Eden full of monsters. Hull Zero Three is a detective tale with philosophical undertones as the Teacher slowly makes sense of the chaos that surrounds him, contends with his earlier clones, and undergoes a quest. Anyone who has ever experienced the drudgery of actual teaching will appreciate Bear’s creation of the Teacher as a mythic archetype.  

By Greg Bear,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Trapped on a mysterious spaceship, the only way to escape is to survive. A thrilling novel from the Hugo and Nebula award-winning Greg Bear.

A starship hurtles through the emptiness of space. Its destination - unknown. Its purpose? A mystery. Its history? Lost.

Now, one man wakes up. Ripped from a dream of a new home, a new planet and the woman he was meant to love in his arms, he finds himself wet, naked, and freezing to death. The dark halls are full of monsters but trusting other survivors he meets might be the greater danger.

All he has…


Book cover of Aurora

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?

Quite possibly one of the most divisive SF novels of recent years, this starts with a familiar scenario: the launch of a generation ship to transport thousands of colonists – and, ultimately, their descendants – to a distant habitable world. Despite having written Red Mars, one of the best novels about colonizing another world, Robinson has disparaged the idea that any such thing is, in fact, possible or even desirable. In Aurora, he confronts the question of what happens when those descendants, born on a ship they didn’t choose to be passengers on, decide they have a quite different idea of where they should go, and why.

By Kim Stanley Robinson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'What a saga! Scifi with honest, complex humanity, physics, biology, sociology' - Tom Hanks

'Aurora is a magnificent piece of writing, certainly Robinson's best novel since his mighty Mars trilogy, perhaps his best ever' - Guardian

Our voyage from Earth began generations ago.

Now, we approach our destination.

A new home.

Aurora.

Brilliantly imagined and beautifully told, Aurora is the work of a writer at the height of his powers.

'An accessible novel packed with big ideas, wonders, jeopardy and, at the end, a real emotional punch' SFX

'Aurora is Robinson's best book yet . . . Heart-wrenching, provocative' Scientific…


Book cover of The Stars My Destination

Why am I passionate about this?

 I’ve always loved a good mystery that doesn’t give you all the details upfront. My favourite stories growing up were those where I had little epiphanies along the way until I got to the end, where everything finally fell into place. But perhaps why I’m most drawn to these types of stories is because they parallel learning about your surroundings in the real world. After living in several different countries, I’ve come to learn many situations piece by piece, where some ended in danger, while others were more humorous events that I can now laugh about. 

Jon's book list on dark horror stories that slowly unravel their mysteries piece by piece, letting you figure out along the way

Jon Vassa Why did Jon love this book?

This book blew my mind! It changed my life and gave me food poisoning; well, maybe it was some lousy shrimp that did that, but it came around the same time anyhow.

I loved the initial point of revenge, how the main character was abandoned to die in a broken spaceship in the middle of nowhere. I, too, would be pissed if a ship flew by me without stopping to save my butt.

I was happy that the book also played with metaphysical notions and cranked up the ending to a glorious finish that broke from the standard good-guy wins trope.

By Alfred Bester,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Stars My Destination as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gully Foyle, Mechanic's Mate 3rd Class, is the only survivor on his drifting, wrecked spaceship. When another space vessel, the Vorga, ignores his distress flares and sails by, Gully Foyle becomes a man obsessed with revenge. He endures 170 days alone in deep space before finding refuge on the Sargasso Asteroid and then returning to Earth to track down the crew and owners of the Vorga. But, as he works out his murderous grudge, Gully Foyle also uncovers a secret of momentous proportions...


Book cover of Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

Luke Coulter Author Of City of Mann

From my list on seeing the world how it’s never been seen before.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in Ireland with a lot of Pink Floyd records, an active imagination, and no TV, I was almost destined to have a seemingly endless number of questions about the universe, our existence, and the purpose of it all. Finding that much could be learned from the tip of a pen (including that blue flavor is the best one) I began to read and make shapes and draw words of my own. Then, questioning the reasons I had questions, and seeking what could not be found, I found the answer to a single one—that there is far more to this world than we can ever see, and we indeed, are not alone.

Luke's book list on seeing the world how it’s never been seen before

Luke Coulter Why did Luke love this book?

Leaving me equally tickled as it did in awe, Flatland is easily one of my favorite books of all time.

Delving into concepts quite difficult to think about, let alone explain in such a delightful way, it expanded my mind into not only a better understanding of ‘dimensions’ but also the possibility, and even, the probability, that there is much more in existence than our rather limited little human brains can comprehend.

As weird as it is wonderful, I found myself stopping at various points to either laugh or to try to explain to someone else (to their annoyance I’m sure!) the profound details it explained to me. And when it was all over I was left humbled, and pondered what greater beings there may be all around me, that I simply cannot see.

By Edwin A. Abbott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This masterpiece of science (and mathematical) fiction is a delightfully unique and highly entertaining satire that has charmed readers for more than 100 years. The work of English clergyman, educator and Shakespearean scholar Edwin A. Abbott (1838-1926), it describes the journeys of A. Square, a mathematician and resident of the two-dimensional Flatland, where women-thin, straight lines-are the lowliest of shapes, and where men may have any number of sides, depending on their social status.
Through strange occurrences that bring him into contact with a host of geometric forms, Square has adventures in Spaceland (three dimensions), Lineland (one dimension) and Pointland…


Book cover of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

A. R. Davis Author Of Schroedinger's Cheshire Cats

From my list on sci-fi that explores the nature of reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a teacher and a professor who showed generations of students how to find x, how to prove figure 1 was similar to figure 2, how to make a machine search through millions of bits of data for an answer. An inspiration for a story struck me one day early in retirement as I was daydreaming. I began to write and have never stopped. It turns out that “if-then” is not so different from “what if.” The first is more like destiny, the second like free will. One is science, the other is fiction. “What if” has led me into strange lands.

A.R.'s book list on sci-fi that explores the nature of reality

A. R. Davis Why did A.R. love this book?

I loved this book because it has mathematics to the nth degree! Some of it in the form of inside jokes like “easy to use partial differential equations” that made me laugh out loud. Some of it, such as “equations that had sadness as a constant,” are in a “techno-poetic” style that I strive to achieve in my own writing. But this “meta-science fiction” novel is also filled with musings on writing and creativity. The self-referential recursion of a book within a book within a book makes the paradoxes of time travel even more interesting. The “reality portions” in which the main character pursues his quest to “find his father” are as deep and well done a theme as any I have read in sci-fi.

By Charles Yu,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brimming with alternative universes, futuristic landscapes and gleeful metaphysics... Yu's spirit of invention is infectious. - Sunday Times

Highly inventive and hilarious - The Times

_______________________________________________________________________________________

With only TAMMY - a slightly tearful computer with self-esteem issues - a software boss called Phil - Microsoft Middle Manager 3.0 - and an imaginary dog called Ed for company, fixing time machines is a lonely business and Charles Yu is stuck in a rut.

He's spent the better part of a decade navel-gazing, spying on 39 different versions of himself in alternate universes (and discovered that 35 of them are total jerks).…


Book cover of Roadside Picnic: Volume 16

A. R. Davis Author Of Schroedinger's Cheshire Cats

From my list on sci-fi that explores the nature of reality.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a teacher and a professor who showed generations of students how to find x, how to prove figure 1 was similar to figure 2, how to make a machine search through millions of bits of data for an answer. An inspiration for a story struck me one day early in retirement as I was daydreaming. I began to write and have never stopped. It turns out that “if-then” is not so different from “what if.” The first is more like destiny, the second like free will. One is science, the other is fiction. “What if” has led me into strange lands.

A.R.'s book list on sci-fi that explores the nature of reality

A. R. Davis Why did A.R. love this book?

What is it? A first contact story. Sort of. They were aliens? Yeah, Russians. What are they like? Don’t know. They’re gone now. Did you find anything good? Lots and lots. What’s that? The God hypothesis. It allows you to have an unparalleled understanding of absolutely everything while knowing absolutely nothing. Can you show me something else? No. You gotta go yourself. Can I really go into the Zone? If you’re old enough. And brave enough. Is it dangerous? People don’t come back. Is it legal? No, but you can sneak in.

By Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky, Olena Bormashenko (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Red Schuhart is a stalker, one of those young rebels who are compelled, in spite of extreme danger, to venture illegally into the Zone to collect the mysterious artifacts that the alien visitors left scattered around. His life is dominated by the place and the thriving black market in the alien products. But when he and his friend Kirill go into the Zone together to pick up a “full empty,” something goes wrong. And the news he gets from his girlfriend upon his return makes it inevitable that he’ll keep going back to the Zone, again and again, until he…


Book cover of Ubik

Why am I passionate about this?

 I’ve always loved a good mystery that doesn’t give you all the details upfront. My favourite stories growing up were those where I had little epiphanies along the way until I got to the end, where everything finally fell into place. But perhaps why I’m most drawn to these types of stories is because they parallel learning about your surroundings in the real world. After living in several different countries, I’ve come to learn many situations piece by piece, where some ended in danger, while others were more humorous events that I can now laugh about. 

Jon's book list on dark horror stories that slowly unravel their mysteries piece by piece, letting you figure out along the way

Jon Vassa Why did Jon love this book?

I loved this book for the new concepts it brought to me about psychic abilities, specifically telepaths that could block other’s psychic abilities.

After this, I was drawn to the book for the way it blurred the lines of reality, making me question alongside the main character if anything they were experiencing was real. I also thought the idea of the UBIK drug that kept people in a 'half-life' was fascinating and a different way to show addiction and its consequences.

Lastly, the ending was quite thrilling and kept me reading into the wee hours of the morning, even though I had work the next day! 

By Philip K. Dick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A classic science fiction tale of artifical worlds by one of the great American writers of the 20th century

Glen Runciter is dead.

Or is he?

Someone died in the explosion orchestrated by his business rivals, but even as his funeral is scheduled, his mourning employees are receiving bewildering messages from their boss. And the world around them is warping and regressing in ways which suggest that their own time is running out.

If it hasn't already.

Readers minds have been blown by Ubik:

'Sheer craziness, a book defying any straightforward synopsis . . . a unique time travel adventure…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Mars, immortality, and space colonization?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Mars, immortality, and space colonization.

Mars Explore 71 books about Mars
Immortality Explore 44 books about immortality
Space Colonization Explore 38 books about space colonization