100 books like The War of the Worlds

By H.G. Wells,

Here are 100 books that The War of the Worlds fans have personally recommended if you like The War of the Worlds. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Rendezvous with Rama

Peter Cawdron Author Of The Artifact

From my list on classic science fiction on first contact.

Who am I?

I’m a hard (plausible) science fiction author, born in New Zealand and currently living in Australia. Over the course of my career, I’ve written 26 novels in my First Contact series, looking at all the various different ways in which First Contact might unfold. If you enjoy stories that leave you thinking long after the final page, check out my First Contact series.  

Peter's book list on classic science fiction on first contact

Peter Cawdron Why did Peter love this book?

Although the characters are wooden and the dialogue is stilted by today’s standards, the vision of Arthur C. Clarke to imagine what an interstellar spacecraft would be like is astonishing.

His understanding of the mechanics and physics involved comes through, making the story compelling. And there are unforeseen antagonists in the form of politics and religion. This book is being developed into a screenplay for adaptation by Denis Villeneuve (who also directed Arrival and Dune).

I’d highly recommend reading the book before seeing the movie.  

By Arthur C. Clarke,

Why should I read it?

7 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 Contact

Andrew Fraknoi

From my list on science fiction books that use good astronomy.

Who am I?

I am an astronomer and college professor who loves science fiction. For many years, I have kept a webpage recommending science fiction stories and novels that are based on good astronomy. I love explaining astronomy to non-scientists, and I am the lead author of OpenStax Astronomya free online textbook for beginners, which is now the most frequently used textbook for astronomy classes in the U.S. I actually learned English at age 11 by reading science fiction comics and then books for kids,  After many decades as a fan, I have recently realized a long-held dream and become a published SF author myself.

Andrew's book list on science fiction books that use good astronomy

Andrew Fraknoi Why did Andrew love this book?

I especially enjoyed this book because it was written by an astronomer (with some help from his wife, who was a science writer) and because the main character was based on a colleague of mine, Dr. Jill Tarter.

In the book, Carl Sagan tells the story of how a SETI (search for extra-terrestrial intelligence) project might actually go about finding a signal from a civilization around another star. (The book was made into a movie, where Jodie Foster played the main scientist who made the discovery. She actually came out to the SETI Institute, where Jill Tarter worked, and spent some time with Jill, learning how to portray a scientist in this field.) 

I also liked that the alien civilization we find is more advanced than we are, which is likely, given how long the stars in our Galaxy have been around, and how recently we humans evolved.

By Carl Sagan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In December 1999 a multinational team journeys out to the stars, to the most awesome encounter in human history. Who - or what - is out there?

Book cover of The Second World War

Adam Nevill Author Of Lost Girl

From my list on Armageddon and our fascination with it.

Who am I?

I'm continually asked why I write horror. But I wonder why every writer isn't writing horror. Not a day passes without me being aghast at the world and my own species, the present, past and future. Though nor do I stop searching for a sense of awe and wonder in the world either. My Dad read ghost stories to me as a kid and my inner tallow candle was lit. The flame still burns. Horror has always been the fiction I have felt compelled to write in order to process the world, experience, observation, my imaginative life. I've been blessed with a good readership and have entered my third decade as a writer of horrors. In that time two of my novels have been adapted into films and the British Fantasy Society has kindly recognised my work with five awards, one for Best Collection and four for Best Novel. I'm in this for the long haul and aim to be creating horror on both page and screen for some time to come.

Adam's book list on Armageddon and our fascination with it

Adam Nevill Why did Adam love this book?

It's too easy to dismiss the Second World War. To relegate that epochal conflict into realms of ancient history, action films, kitset models, unread Father's day gifts, and black & white footage. But we all live through the consequences of this epic global struggle. This was the last time western civilisation brought itself close to destruction and it was a close call. 60 million lives were lost and no one died easily. The war was also raging just shy of 80 years ago. In the scheme of human history, that's recent.

Beevor's history of the global conflict - and it was global - is a page-turning affair. Vivid, engaging, heartbreaking, shocking. Really fine storytelling and a first class history, encompassing the great conflicts of east and west (China's experience of the war is much overlooked in the west but not in these pages). I found myself engrossed by this monumental…

By Antony Beevor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A magisterial, single-volume history of the greatest conflict the world has ever known by our foremost military historian.

The Second World War began in August 1939 on the edge of Manchuria and ended there exactly six years later with the Soviet invasion of northern China. The war in Europe appeared completely divorced from the war in the Pacific and China, and yet events on opposite sides of the world had profound effects. Using the most up-to-date scholarship and research, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific and from…

Book cover of Solaris

Eric Kay Author Of Above Dark Waters

From my list on Sci-Fi mindbenders that will have you questioning everything.

Who am I?

For twenty years, I have worked with the data dungeons of large corporations. A synergy of people, systems, and IT. An organism that no one designed but grew haphazardly over the years. A cybernetic system. I have been a database admin, analyst, and data visualizer, and most recently, I was employed as a data scientist for a large Fortune 500 corporation. There, I am currently researching how to use large language models and which business questions can tolerate the fuzzy answers and hallucinations they bring. Despite loving these mindbenders, most of my writing features strong themes of Exploration, Technology, and Optimism (ETO).

Eric's book list on Sci-Fi mindbenders that will have you questioning everything

Eric Kay Why did Eric love this book?

For a novel on the list, I have only read once, and a long time ago, I still keep thinking about this. It asks: Can we learn about the universe without first learning about ourselves?

It also goes into the limits of science. There are simply things science cannot tell us. The planet’s colloid sea is nonlinear, the math unsolvable, and the alien is potentially hostile. I choose to believe the planet is attempting to heal some deep-forgotten hurt of the narrator. What is the purpose of bringing up a disastrous relationship? To heal or learn? Or perhaps the alien is simply toying with them?

I read it soon after changing my life's trajectory and attempting to be more peaceful, creative, contemplative, and less frantic or consumptive. I need to read this again.

By Stanislaw Lem, Steve Cox (translator), Joanna Kilmartin (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface he is forced to confront a painful, hitherto unconscious memory embodied in the physical likeness of a long-dead lover. Others suffer from the same affliction and speculation rises among scientists that the Solaris ocean may be a massive brain that creates incarnate memories, but its purpose in doing so remains a mystery . . .

Solaris raises a question that has been at the heart of human experience and literature for centuries: can we truly understand the universe around us without first understanding what…

Book cover of Collapse

Mordecai George Sheftall Author Of Blossoms In The Wind: Human Legacies of the Kamikaze

From my list on how culture makes us do self-destructive things.

Who am I?

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I woke up expecting to spend that day – and the rest of my academic career – leisurely studying the interplay of culture and individual temperament in second language acquisition. As the rest of that terrible day unfolded, however, my research up to that point suddenly seemed very small and almost decadently privileged. Recruiting the rudimentary cultural anthropology toolbox I had already amassed, I took a deep breath and plunged into the rabbit hole of studying the role of culture in human conflict. Twenty-two years later, using my Japan base and relevant language skills, my research has focused on the Japanese experience in World War II.

Mordecai's book list on how culture makes us do self-destructive things

Mordecai George Sheftall Why did Mordecai love this book?

Have you ever encountered an idea in a book that made such a lasting impression on you that, almost like the “flashbulb” memory of a life – or world-changing event, you can remember the exact circumstances of where you were when you first read it?

Jared Diamond’s Collapse – which I picked up at an airport bookshop as “light reading” for a long flight – ended up providing me with just such an experience. The book holds that culture can fatally inure us, like so many slowly (and initially comfortably) boiling frogs, to the existential threat of environmental destruction, particularly in the context of the overexploitation of natural resources.

Diamond’s account of the last days of Easter Island civilization is particularly harrowing, and has haunted me ever since.

By Jared Diamond,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive is a visionary study of the mysterious downfall of past civilizations.

Now in a revised edition with a new afterword, Jared Diamond's Collapse uncovers the secret behind why some societies flourish, while others founder - and what this means for our future.

What happened to the people who made the forlorn long-abandoned statues of Easter Island?
What happened to the architects of the crumbling Maya pyramids?
Will we go the same way, our skyscrapers one day standing derelict and overgrown like the…

Book cover of The Road

C.L. Lauder Author Of The Quelling

From my list on dystopian novels to make you cling to your duvet and worship your walls.

Who am I?

I am a young adult fantasy author and paranoid survivalist. I have spent years curating items for my end-of-days go-bag, and nothing gives me greater pleasure than hanging out in universes that are about to go bang! 

C.L.'s book list on dystopian novels to make you cling to your duvet and worship your walls

C.L. Lauder Why did C.L. love this book?

This father and son duo set up residence in my heart.

I recall some scenes with such clarity that I still see them that way, even after subsequently watching the movie. Imagine having the sum of your possessions piled up in a shopping cart, and you’re on the road, excruciatingly aware that at any point, everything you have could be taken from you, including your loved ones.

If that thought doesn’t inspire a bout of enthusiastic wall-worshipping, then maybe you should read the book.  

By Cormac McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

28 authors picked The Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • A searing, post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son's fight to survive, this "tale of survival and the miracle of goodness only adds to McCarthy's stature as a living master. It's gripping, frightening and, ultimately, beautiful" (San Francisco Chronicle).

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if…

Book cover of The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming

Lewis H. Ziska Author Of Greenhouse Planet: How Rising CO2 Changes Plants and Life as We Know It

From my list on climate and plants, from forests to farms.

Who am I?

I have always been fascinated with plants. Their shapes, their colors, their beauty, even the plants that are known to be harmful to humans (poison ivy, puncture vine) had appeal to me. Plants are, by far, the most prolific, the biggest, the oldest, the most complex of organisms. And yet, as a pre-med student, classes on botany were never recommended. Sad. These books delve into the complexity, the wonder of plants, and how they interact with humans. From the sheer poetic pronouncements of Michael Pollan to the straightforward prose of Richard Manning, here is a chance to see the breadth and depth; our rewards and struggles with the plant kingdom.  

Lewis' book list on climate and plants, from forests to farms

Lewis H. Ziska Why did Lewis love this book?

A well-written erudite work that explores all aspects of civilization relative to the degree and rate of global warming. It illustrates a broad and compelling narrative of all the plant aspects, from Hunger to Policy. It uses language that is incredibly descriptive, and very relatable to bring the impact of climate change home to readers who may be unfamiliar with all of the complexities of climate change.

By David Wallace-Wells,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


'An epoch-defining book' Matt Haig
'If you read just one work of non-fiction this year, it should probably be this' David Sexton, Evening Standard

Selected as a Book of the Year 2019 by the Sunday Times, Spectator and New Statesman
A Waterstones Paperback of the Year and shortlisted for the Foyles Book of the Year 2019
Longlisted for the PEN / E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award

It is worse, much worse, than you think.

The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says…

Book cover of Dune

Mark Joyner Author Of Simpleology: The Simple Science of Getting What You Want

From my list on self-help books masquerading as sci-fi.

Who am I?

I'm an author, inventor, military veteran, (mostly) self-taught scholar, and an entrepreneur. Every internet-connected person interacts with things I invented (the tracking pixel, the ebook, etc) every day, but I'm best known for my books about business and personal development. As I write this, I'm serving as the Founder and CEO of a software platform called "Simpleology." It's designed to solve what I think is one of mankind's greatest threats to survival as a species:  "The Complexity Gap." It's the gap between the amount of information in the world and our ability to navigate it. It solves this by guiding you to focus on what we call "HIME" (high impact, minimal effort).

Mark's book list on self-help books masquerading as sci-fi

Mark Joyner Why did Mark love this book?

This book presents perhaps the most prescient and today-relevant sci-fi premise ever: how could technology evolve without thinking machines?

After reading this book, I finally understood that my thinking does not have to be constrained by the "scientific consensus" of the day. The book presents a future so radically different from what most futurists are envisioning that it not only freed my thinking about science and futurism...it freed my mind of all constraints.

Even further, it beckoned me to explore the limits of my own human potential.

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender's Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person's lifespan to making interstellar travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world of Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of…

Book cover of The Three-Body Problem

Matthew O. Jackson Author Of The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviors

From my list on fiction driven by rich historical context.

Who am I?

As a lover of both fiction and nonfiction, I find that the ultimate pleasure in reading is when the author combines the two without short-changing either. These are books that provide accurate and deep historical background, but also tell stories shaped by that context. These are also books that have intricate, unusual, and effective narrative structures.   

Matthew's book list on fiction driven by rich historical context

Matthew O. Jackson Why did Matthew love this book?

This book is set in motion in the cultural revolution in Chinaa background that profoundly shapes the main characters’ choices and destinies.

A young scientist who has witnessed her father’s persecution ends up at a science center looking for radio-wave evidence of extra-terrestrial life. Not only does she find it, but she figures out how to communicate with it.

Couple the scientist’s views of humanity with those of a disillusioned heir to an oil fortune, and the stage is set for an epic novel with a unique take on first contact. This book—the first of a trilogyprovides frightening insights into how history can shape humanity’s future.   

By Cixin Liu, Ken Liu (translator),

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Three-Body Problem as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Read the award-winning, critically acclaimed, multi-million-copy-selling science-fiction phenomenon - soon to be a Netflix Original Series from the creators of Game of Thrones.

1967: Ye Wenjie witnesses Red Guards beat her father to death during China's Cultural Revolution. This singular event will shape not only the rest of her life but also the future of mankind.

Four decades later, Beijing police ask nanotech engineer Wang Miao to infiltrate a secretive cabal of scientists after a spate of inexplicable suicides. Wang's investigation will lead him to a mysterious online game and immerse him in a virtual world ruled by the intractable…

Book cover of World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

Damon P. Coppola Author Of Introduction to International Disaster Management

From my list on expanding your thinking on disaster risk management.

Who am I?

As a professional emergency and risk management practitioner, I’ve spent my career supporting and shaping emergency management policy and practice in every context from the village to global levels. What I’ve found to be most rewarding are those opportunities where I’ve been able to translate this knowledge and practice into training the next generation of emergency managers. The textbooks I’ve written, which include the first comprehensive book on emergency management (Introduction to Emergency Management, currently in its 7th edition) and the first book on homeland security in the United States (Introduction to Homeland Security, currently in its 6th Edition), are currently in use at hundreds of universities worldwide.

Damon's book list on expanding your thinking on disaster risk management

Damon P. Coppola Why did Damon love this book?

The ‘zombie apocalypse’ scenario has been used for years by risk management professionals to make the examination of possible societal breakdowns more fun and/or interesting.

By focusing on a hazard people know, like hurricanes or wildfires, audiences come to the discussion with pre-existing biases and, in many cases, first-hand experience. This forces the communicator to counter such bias before getting to key messages.

There’s never been an actual zombie apocalypse (nor is there likely to ever be one…), which means the zombie scenario adequately ‘levels the field’. It forces audiences to think beyond their go-to assumptions and introduces levels of uncertainty and unknown that are typical of major disasters.

This book, written without obvious heroes and heroines, in a documentary style, makes a perfect proxy for a disaster exercise scenario. I also believe it does a great job illustrating how different forms of governance result in different response strategies, which…

By Max Brooks,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked World War Z as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginning of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse.

Faced with a future of mindless man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality. Based on extensive interviews with survivors and key players in the ten-year fight against the horde, World War Z brings the finest traditions of journalism to bear on what is…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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