The best books about androids

4 authors have picked their favorite books about androids and why they recommend each book.

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

By Philip K. Dick,

Book cover of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Most will recognize this book from the title of the film adaptation: BladeRunner. Still, there’s something to be said for the originality of Dick’s title; specifically, it telegraphs to the reader that they should expect questions to ponder and their thoughts provoked. 

In my view, writers are teachers, and I love that Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is never pedantic, but, rather, it’s didactic instead. It poses questions that will make the readers question the notion of a robot or android as sentient or not, without insisting that the book knows the definitive answer. Dick is wise enough to know that he doesn’t know the answers to the extraordinarily profound questions his wonderful novel poses regarding humanity and our future A.I. creations; a humility I’ll always admire.   


Who am I?

I get to write about the most important moment in human history—and it’s quickly approaching. In fact—the advent of superhuman-level artificial intelligence will be the most important occurrence in the universe since the Big Bang, and it may even put that to shame. It’s a sci-fi writer's goldmine, but it’s also any intellectual’s dream topic. Since 2005, this topic has inspired me to write seven best-sellers, to give a TEDx (over 2 million views), to direct a short film, and to write the “bible” for a video game, all of it on the topic of A.I. and the technological singularity. 


I wrote...

Post-Human Omnibus: A Science Fiction Novel

By David Simpson,

Book cover of Post-Human Omnibus: A Science Fiction Novel

What is my book about?

What is reality? What if we could change the world with a thought? If we could climb between parallel worlds and alter our history, would we risk it? Or are we already living in a computer simulation controlled by our future selves? The Post-Human Omnibus is an adventure across space and time, through worlds full of wonder and peril.

Machines Like Me

By Ian McEwan,

Book cover of Machines Like Me

Adam is a limited edition robot who can pass for human (something I can’t do on a bad day). It takes a while for Adam to learn to be part of that world, but as time passes, he moves from being the slave of his owner Charlie to being better than him in every way (just ask his girlfriend!). I kept thinking of what would it be like to have a better version of me hanging around the house. It took slaves a long time to be recognized as people, how long for the robots?

Who am I?

I am an engineer, scientist, turned technology manager who works in the field of Artificial Intelligence, and have gotten lost in Sci-Fi since I could first read. Now I want to share the stories that keep me awake at night.


I wrote...

The Code: If Your AI Loses Its Mind, Can It Take Meds?

By Peter McAllister,

Book cover of The Code: If Your AI Loses Its Mind, Can It Take Meds?

What is my book about?

Liam, a gifted engineer, is trying to save the world, by finding a way to let industry mine for metals without the environmental disasters that make the news. Nanobots mining asteroids are the answer, and they are being tested on the dark side of the moon. But Gene, the AI tasked with helping him, spirals down the path of schizophrenia and is on track to mine the moon to dust – and without the influence of the moon, the ecosystems that mankind depends on for its survival as a species will be lost. This leaves Liam and his colleagues to battle the creation and his own demons to save humanity – who are oblivious to the potential destruction around the corner.

Genesis

By Bernard Beckett,

Book cover of Genesis

If you’re into philosophy, this is the book for you! It explores the big questions about the origins of life and human consciousness, and what is it to be human and what makes a soul. Set in a distant future, on an island republic brutally policed to keep out survivors from the ruined world beyond its shores, Anaximander is put through a grueling examination to get into The Academy. I loved how it pushed my brain and went in places I wasn’t expecting. 


Who am I?

As a writer from Aotearoa New Zealand, I’ve always been interested in social justice and human rights, and my own writing explores such issues, including who holds the power and who exerts the control. By writing about real-world issues in a speculative future, it allows us to peel back the layers of conditioning and look at ourselves and our actions through the eyes of an outsider – which forces us to examine our best and worst human traits. I love the way speculative fiction can do this, and I love that it challenges us to do better.  


I wrote...

The Nature of Ash

By Mandy Hager,

Book cover of The Nature of Ash

What is my book about?

Ash McCarthy thought he finally had it made: revelling in the freedom of student hostel life. But life is about to take a devastating turn when two police officers knock on his door. Their life-changing news forces him to return home and impels him into a shady world of political intrigue, corruption, terrorism, and lies...so many lies.

As if this isn’t bad enough, the whole country is imploding. While trying to protect his brother, along with strangers Travis and Jiao, his fight to uncover the truth turns into a nightmare race to save their lives. The Nature of Ash is a fast-paced thriller that explores love and loss, assumptions and prejudices, truth and fiction, and the many faces of ‘family’.

The Plus One

By Sarah Archer,

Book cover of The Plus One

If sci-fi is not really your thing, worry not! Charming robots have crept into romance too and as a romance, The Plus One doesn’t disappoint. The robot love interest, Ethan, is everything a woman could look for—attentive, handsome, intelligent. But is he too good to be true? I loved how this book took a sci-fi trope and rewrote it for a romance reader, while still addressing some of the fundamental questions raised by AI, in this instance, not just “what is human?” but also “what is love?”


Who am I?

As an avid consumer of science fiction, I’ve always been a fan of artificial intelligence in all its forms. Whether it is HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey or Data from Star Trek robots and computer minds, as well as genetically engineered humans such as the replicants from Blade Runner have always fascinated me. So much so that my first science fiction series, The Nahx Invasions, tells the story of a race of artificially created humanoids—The Nahx. Often in sci-fi, the robots and other AI are either positioned as villains or sidekicks. I wanted to put the AI front and center as the heroes and the books I’ve selected do the same.


I wrote...

Zero Repeat Forever, Volume 1

By Gabrielle S. Prendergast,

Book cover of Zero Repeat Forever, Volume 1

What is my book about?

When an invasion of murderous creatures signals the end of the world, a wayward teenage girl must band together with a dangerous ally if she’s to have a chance at survival in this high-stakes, heart-wrenching story of destruction, hope, and freedom. He has no voice or name, only a rank, Eighth. He doesn’t know the details of the mission, only the directives that hum in his mind. Dart the humans. Leave them where they fall. His job is to protect his Offside. Let her do the shooting. Until a human kills her.


Sixteen-year-old Raven is at summer camp when the terrifying armored Nahx invade. Isolated in the wilderness, Raven and her fellow campers can only stay put. Await rescue. Raven doesn’t like feeling helpless, but what choice does she have? Then a Nahx kills her boyfriend. Thrown together in a violent, unfamiliar world, Eighth and Raven should feel only hate and fear. But when Raven is injured and Eighth deserts his unit, their lives depend on trusting each other.

Mockingbird

By Walter Tevis,

Book cover of Mockingbird

A future run by robots, with one robot above all others, and his only desire to be able to die, which he cannot achieve alone. All books forgotten, humans with no memory of how to read, until one lonely man teaches himself by watching old, silent, subtitled films from centuries earlier. He meets his rebellious female counterpart, and the idea of a future free of the state drugs, public human immolations, and mind-numbing rule by dumb robot, begins to take form. Is there time left to revive a barren, childless, thoughtless, hopeless world, and bring to life again the oldest of dreams? In any case, 'Only the mockingbird sings at the edge of the woods.' 

I fear the future described in this masterpiece ever growing near, but the escape hatch from such horrors may lie here also in Tevis' pages. 


Who am I?

I've been searching for spiritual freedom since the age of four when I was sent to school. Soon I recognised books as an escape from the limitations of the physical world and into the dream world. Each of the five books below have made serious contributions to this psycho-spiritual escape plan, and have lifted my spirit to that higher dimension of freedom. I live in the Scottish Highlands, as my ancestors did, in a misted swirl of ghostly archetypes, mountains, deer, lochs, and brooding skies. Even here though, an escape tunnel is needed into the deepest realm of mind, where the stories and mystery hide away until the moment needed. 


I wrote...

The Survival of Thomas Ford

By John A.A. Logan,

Book cover of The Survival of Thomas Ford

What is my book about?

Thomas Ford is the only survivor of the car crash which killed his wife. He is also the only witness who would be willing to identify the young, reckless driver who caused the crash. But the driver has no intention of ever letting himself be identified.

The young driver’s father is Jack McCallum, the powerful entrepreneur who has built a housing empire, McCallum Homes, on the high hills surrounding the city. Robert Ferguson, the passenger who was with the young driver on the day of the crash, watches carefully to see what the universe will do about it all, and he thinks he can hear the gears and chambers of the universe’s engine, rolling terribly towards them, out of the future.

Frances and the Monster

By Refe Tuma,

Book cover of Frances and the Monster

A visual and cinematic adventure that sweeps you through a pre-WWII version of Switzerland, this Frankenstein-inspired story is jam-packed with action and humor. The primary characters are all idiosyncratic in a memorable way—Frances, who lost an ear in a car crash; Fritz, the monkey juiced up on intelligence serum; and Hobbes, the android tutor. Even the secondary characters are crafted with heart and colorfully distinct in their own respects. The cliff-hangers and twists pushed the action along and I’m sure this will be a story kids read late into the night wanting to find out what happens next. I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Who am I?

I love to read a good action-adventure story. I’ve also written a few. And I know that no matter how high the stakes, if there’s no heart in the characters then there’s very little engagement to make it any more memorable than a temporary thrill. I love thrills, but the stories that stick with you after the excitement of the moment is over, those are the true gems. Besides the fun of reading that type of book, maybe you even learn something about yourself or the world and come out a wee bit wiser than when you went in. And isn’t that a fantastic use of our imaginative powers?!


I wrote...

The Eye of Ra

By Ben Gartner,

Book cover of The Eye of Ra

What is my book about?

Exploring a mysterious cave in the mountains behind their house, John and his sister Sarah are shocked to discover they’ve time traveled to ancient Egypt!

Now they must work together to find a way back home from an ancient civilization of golden desert sand and a towering new pyramid, without parents to save them. The adventures abound—cobras, scorpions, a tomb robber, and more! The two kids have to trust each other, make friends who can help, and survive the challenges thrown at them . . . or be stuck in ancient Egypt forever.

Sapo Saga

By Tony Laplume,

Book cover of Sapo Saga

The recurring idea in Sapo Saga is that everyone wants to be remembered, or deserves to be.
“Iris” is the story in the book I enjoyed the most, because of the deep philosophy. It also has the character to which I could best relate.

It's a book that is easy to read and enjoy. I recommend it to readers ready for something different. There is a complexity to the story. The ending brings everything together, making it more enjoyable with a second read. The uncommon storytelling boomerangs the story plot. All of the fascinating characters make this book hard to put down.


Who am I?

I have taken part in the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge #atozchallenge since 2014. I volunteered on A to Z founder Arlee's group early on. I was elevated to co-host in 2017 and became the Team Captain in 2018. In 2019, I ran the "#AtoZChallenge Book Reviews, Tour, and Blog Hop!" My own book, Writing Book Reviews As An Author: Inspiration To Make It Easier, was created because of the challenge. I used my method of writing book reviews, broken down alphabetically, to create a month of blog posts. Then compiled those posts into a book. Authors depend on book reviews, but struggle to write them for others.


I wrote...

Writing Book Reviews as an Author: Inspiration to Make It Easier

By J Lenni Dorner,

Book cover of Writing Book Reviews as an Author: Inspiration to Make It Easier

What is my book about?

This book aims to provide inspiration to encourage people to write more book reviews. It is written for authors, though any reader can benefit.

We Can Remember It for You Wholesale and Other Classic Stories

By Philip K. Dick,

Book cover of We Can Remember It for You Wholesale and Other Classic Stories

I was back and forth for a while on which Philip K. Dick story I wanted to recommend, and I finally decided on "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" (which inspired the movie Total Recall). What I love about Dick's fiction is the way it plays with questions of identity, while managing to repeatedly surprise the reader, and "We Can Remember it For You Wholesale" is one of his best stories for messing with the protagonist's—and the reader's—brain.  


Who am I?

Since discovering Ursula K. Le Guin in high school, I have loved the kind of science fiction that is more about thought experiments than rocket ships and space exploration. When I went on to get a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, I often encountered skepticism regarding this predilection, but I continued studying and teaching speculative fiction anyway. Now I am no longer in academia, and I write science fiction and fantasy myself. Looking Through Lace is my attempt at the kind of thought experiment I've been such a fan of for so long.


I wrote...

Looking Through Lace

By Ruth Nestvold,

Book cover of Looking Through Lace

What is my book about?

As the only woman on the first contact team, xenolinguist Toni Donato expected her assignment on Christmas would be to analyze the secret women's language—but then the chief linguist begins to sabotage her work. What is behind it? Why do men and women have separate languages in the first place? What Toni learns turns everything she thought they knew on its head.

Originally published in Asimov's in 2003, "Looking Through Lace" was a finalist for the Tiptree and Sturgeon awards. The Italian translation won the Premio Italia for best work of speculative fiction in translation in 2007.

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