The most recommended biological warfare books

Who picked these books? Meet our 35 experts.

35 authors created a book list connected to biological warfare, and here are their favorite biological warfare books.
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Book cover of The Stand

Christopher Calvin Author Of Pendant of God

From my list on that were adapted into worse movies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up a child of the movies, open to watching anything at least once and countlessly rewatching the movies I loved. When not in front of a television, I was instead in front of a book, playing the words of the page out in my imagination. Now I write thrillers of multiple varieties (action, techno, paranormal, etc.), still visualizing words as movies playing out in my mind. Over the years, I’ve seen the quality of novel adaptations grow (e.g., Harry Potter, The Martian, etc.), and yet these staples of my youth have always stuck with me as lost opportunities to deliver a superior work to the general movie-watching audience.

Christopher's book list on that were adapted into worse movies

Christopher Calvin Why did Christopher love this book?

At a whopping 1,152 pages, Stephen King’s The Stand was just too much to capture in a single movie.

That’s why, in 1994, CBS adapted it across four, ninety-minute episodes of a limited run “mini-series” (a fancy way of saying “a really long movie”). In all fairness, it had a great cast and was better than it had any right to be, and was far more enjoyable than CBS’s 2020 attempt at a do-over.

But even with a total six-hour runtime, it couldn’t capture all the story, heart, and nuance that made the book so incredible. It’s a feat to read, one I did to pass the time when bored in school, and one I will surely do again in the future.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stephen King's apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by virus and tangled in an elemental struggle between good and evil remains as riveting and eerily plausible as when it was first published.

Soon to be a television series.

'THE STAND is a masterpiece' (Guardian). Set in a virus-decimated US, King's thrilling American fantasy epic, is a Classic.

First come the days of the virus. Then come the dreams.

Dark dreams that warn of the coming of the dark man. The apostate of death, his worn-down boot heels tramping the night roads. The warlord of the charnel house and Prince of…

Book cover of Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War

Robert N. Wiedenmann Author Of The Silken Thread: Five Insects and Their Impacts on Human History

From my list on the history we never learned.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am not a historian. I am a retired entomologist with a love for history. My first real experience with history was as a child, reading about Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic adventure on the Endurance—a story I must have re-read 50 times. I have come to recognize that much of the history I learned growing up was either incomplete or was just plain wrong. I am drawn to the arcane aspects of historical events, or that illustrate history from a different angle—which is shown in my list of books. The Silken Thread tells about the history that occurred because of, or was impacted by, just five insects.

Robert's book list on the history we never learned

Robert N. Wiedenmann Why did Robert love this book?

In this unique perspective on history, Lockwood offers detailed accounts of the many ways that insects have been used as weapons, and he does so in a very engaging style. Remarkably, the use of insects as weapons did not end with the technological advances in warfare but continued until at least late in the 20th Century. The book reads like a novel—quick-paced, with surprises around many corners. He does not gloss over some of the atrocities but presents them in an appropriate overall context. I have loaned out several copies of this book only to never have them returned!

By Jeffrey A. Lockwood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Six-Legged Soldiers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Six-Legged Soldiers, Jeffrey A. Lockwood paints a brilliant portrait of the many weirdly creative, truly frightening, and ultimately powerful ways in which insects have been used as weapons of war, terror, and torture. He concludes with a critical analysis of today's defenses-and homeland security's dangerous shortcomings-with respect to entomological attacks.
Beginning in prehistoric times and building toward a near and disturbing future, the reader is taken on a journey of innovation and depravity. Lockwood, an award-winning science writer, begins with the use of "bee bombsin the ancient world and explores the role of insect-borne disease in changing the course…

Book cover of Implosion

Tony Benson Author Of An Accident of Birth

From my list on sci-fi exploring societal control of the human body.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always had a passion for story-telling, particularly when it involves a moral tale, or a strong moral theme. After a successful career in science and engineering, spanning more than three decades, I left the corporate world to make stringed instruments and to write fiction and non-fiction. I wrote my first novel, An Accident of Birth, after reading a scientific study showing a generation-on-generation decline in male fertility. My second novel is the space opera, Galactic Alliance: Betrayal, and I’ve written a non-fiction reference book Brass and Glass: Optical Instruments and Their Makers. I live in Kent, England with my wife, Margo, and our cat.

Tony's book list on sci-fi exploring societal control of the human body

Tony Benson Why did Tony love this book?

Published in the 1960s, this is the earliest book on my list, and the storytelling will keep you hooked. A biological attack on Britain renders most people infertile. Fertile women are kept in camps where they are forced to breed. When the minister of health discovers that his wife is fertile, he is faced with a dilemma. The story is about how his approach to this dilemma shows shows the character of the man, and how his wife hardens to her situation and finds her strength. The end comes with some unexpected twists.

By D. F. Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Breeding machines and fertility camps.

When a foreign power puts a sterility drug in Britain's reservoirs, the result is all too predictable.

The birth-rate plummets and the country's future looks bleak. There is only one way to save the nation; all women with a natural immunity to the drug must be placed in special camps where they can be bred from like prize cattle.

They must be given special hormone treatment and artificial insemination so that they can produce triplets, quads, quins time after time until they die of exhaustion.

They must become Nation Mums, the sole hope of a…

Book cover of The Traitor Baru Cormorant

Hadeer Elsbai Author Of The Daughters of Izdihar

From my list on epic fantasies with "unlikable" female characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, many of the female characters in the media I engaged with were thin stereotypes (and some still are). Slowly, culture shifted towards the “strong female character, which quickly became a stereotype of its own. As culture shifts again to more nuanced female characters, many of them are slapped with the label of “unlikeable.” The label usually means that the character isn’t a tired stereotype and is complex, multifaceted, and interesting. Also, nearly all the time, the same traits admired in a male character are despised in a female character (think of Alicent Hightower, whose moral complexity would certainly be celebrated in a man). 

Hadeer's book list on epic fantasies with "unlikable" female characters

Hadeer Elsbai Why did Hadeer love this book?

It's difficult to discuss what might make Baru unlikable without delving into spoilers, but that's fine because you must see this book through to appreciate it fully.

Baru, an accountant, finds herself caught in the jaws of empire when her homeland is colonized and one of her fathers is killed. Cold and calculating, Baru desperately claws her way to power in an attempt to fight empire from within, and along the way, must reckon with how much of herself she is willing to sacrifice for her goals. I can’t emphasize how bleak this book is, and part of that comes from watching Baru eat herself alive and be awful to other people.

By Seth Dickinson,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Traitor Baru Cormorant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

[Published as The Traitor Baru Cormorant in the US]

Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people - even her soul.

When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her Fathers, Baru vows to hide her hate, join the Empire's civil service, and claw her way up enough rungs of power to put a stop to the Emperor's influence and set her people free.

As a natural savant, she is sent as an imperial agent to distant Aurdwynn - a post she worries will never get her the…

Book cover of The Windup Girl

Mal Warwick Author Of Hell on Earth: What we can learn from dystopian fiction

From my list on dystopian since “Brave New World” and “1984”.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was twelve years old, my picture appeared in my hometown newspaper. I was holding a huge stack of books from the library, a week’s reading. All science fiction. I’ve read voraciously for the past seventy years—though much more widely as an adult. I’ve also had a life founding several small companies and writing twenty books. But I’ve continued to read science fiction, and, increasingly, dystopian novels. Why? Because, as a history buff, I think about the big trends that shape our lives. I see clearly that climate change, breakthroughs in technology, and unstable politics threaten our children’s future. I want to understand how these trends might play out—for better or for worse.

Mal's book list on dystopian since “Brave New World” and “1984”

Mal Warwick Why did Mal love this book?

Climate change aside, what scares me the most about technology today is the capacity for bioengineering to run amok.

What happens when scientists monkey around with deadly viruses—and one escapes from the lab? What if some rogue researcher creates an entirely new lifeform that proves toxic to humans? Or some experimental microbe—an effort to save the world’s butterflies, for instance—proves to kill off bees instead?

This novel, which won major awards, depicts a frightening future world wrought by bioengineering. And you wouldn’t want to live there anymore than I do. 

By Paolo Bacigalupi,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Windup Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


The Windup Girl is the ground-breaking and visionary modern classic that swept the board for every major science fiction award it its year of publication.

Anderson Lake is a company man, AgriGen's calorie representative in Thailand. Under cover as a factory manager, he combs Bangkok's street markets in search of foodstuffs long thought to be extinct. There he meets the windup girl - the beautiful and enigmatic Emiko - now abandoned to the slums. She is one of the New People, bred to suit the whims of…

Book cover of Patient Zero

Rachel Drummond Author Of The South Forsaken

From my list on ways to manage the end of the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Rachel Drummond, and I've had a passion for reading since primary school. Drawn to the books where the protagonist finds themselves needing to survive on their own. My mum challenged me to actually try write something to publish and I finally took her up on this. I wanted to create a world that skates the edge of ‘this could happen’ and superimpose a fictional situation over a place that is so recognisable, that if you drove through the town, you could use the book as a map. I write because I enjoy it, and because sometimes you need to kill someone without getting your hands dirty.

Rachel's book list on ways to manage the end of the world

Rachel Drummond Why did Rachel love this book?

I pulled this book out not really expecting much, I had read so many zombie stories that they were all starting to blend together at this point. So I was pleasantly surprised to read a new take, a group of terrorists threatening to use a bioweapon to create a race of zombies. This had very few dead spots, plenty of human/human and human/zombie action to keep me interested while still showing humanity and the conflict of morals when you need to take a life. 

By Jonathan Maberry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week, then there's either something wrong with your skills or something wrong with your world. And there's nothing wrong with my skills.' Police officer Joe Ledger, martial arts expert, ex-army, self-confessed brutal warrior is scared. The man he's just killed is the same man he killed a week ago. He never expected to see the man again, definitely not alive, and definitely not as part of the recruitment process for the hyper-secret government agency the Department for Military Sciences. But the DMS are scared too - they have word…

Book cover of Germ

Michelle Kilmer Author Of Mistakes I Made During the Zombie Apocalypse

From my list on plagues of all kinds, including zombies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a quiet horror and apocalyptic fiction author with a love for all Horror, but I started with zombies. I have eight published books (three of which are zombie apocalypse novels) and short stories in a handful of zombie anthologies. My favorite movies (Dawn of the Dead remake, 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, Rammbock: Berlin Undead) populate the zombie subgenre. I’ve participated in several zombie walks, written a zombie song and made a music video for it, and done zombie wound special effects makeup. Several of my plague short stories have won awards, including one about Norwegian sea zombies and another about a child-stealing plague.

Michelle's book list on plagues of all kinds, including zombies

Michelle Kilmer Why did Michelle love this book?

Germ is an intriguing look at how a plague can be weaponized. We follow the bio-terrorist act of a modified form of Ebola that targets people of a specific genetic makeup. Ebola scares the hell out of me because it really exists and pockets of it still spring up around the world. I loved this book for how descriptive it was and how real it felt. This book isn’t so well known, but it deserves more attention. If you liked The Andromeda Strain or if you just want a somewhat gross (ebola is a messy disease!), thriller-type story you’ll enjoy this one.

By Robert Liparulo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If you breathe . . . It will find you.

The list of 10,000 names was created for maximum devastation. Business leaders, housewives, politicians, celebrities, janitors, children. None of them is aware of what is about to happen--but all will be part of the most frightening brand of warfare the world has ever known.

The germ--an advanced form of the Ebola virus--has been genetically engineered to infect only those people whose DNA matches the codes embedded within it. Those whose DNA is not a match simply catch a cold. But those who are a match experience a far worse fate.…