The most recommended books about Venus

Who picked these books? Meet our 8 experts.

8 authors created a book list connected to Venus, and here are their favorite Venus books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Revolt on Venus

William Illsey Atkinson Author Of Sun's Strong Immortality

From my list on well-written slam-bang adventures.

Who am I?

I had a rotten childhood. Stuck in bed with asthma, I couldn’t do sports; but I could roam space and time with books, especially science fiction. Yet when I tried to re-read my beloved sci-fi titles as an adult, I got a shock. The books with sound science had terrible writing; the well-written books were full of scientific schlock. I realized that if I wanted sci-fi that was both technically astute and rewarding to read, I’d have to write it myself. And so I did.

William's book list on well-written slam-bang adventures

William Illsey Atkinson Why did William love this book?

Tom Corbett, Space Cadet remains my favorite young adult series. What’s not to like? Fights ending in fellowship, villains, and perils defeated, all in a dazzling 24th-century world of atomic spaceflight, electric wristwatches, high-speed slidewalks, hard-nosed Solar Guard officers with hearts of gold, and – remember this was written 70 years ago – brilliant women who are full professors of astrophysics at Space Academy (I’ll always love you, Dr. Joan Dale). Oh yes, and the Paralo-Ray: a weapon that immobilizes but does not kill. Of the eight Corbett books, The Revolt on Venus is the best: tense and thrilling, full of great characters, and politically astute.

By Carey Rockwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Revolt on Venus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is a result of an effort made by us towards making a contribution to the preservation and repair of original classic literature. In an attempt to preserve, improve and recreate the original content, we have worked towards: 1. Type-setting & Reformatting: The complete work has been re-designed via professional layout, formatting and type-setting tools to re-create the same edition with rich typography, graphics, high quality images, and table elements, giving our readers the feel of holding a 'fresh and newly' reprinted and/or revised edition, as opposed to other scanned & printed (Optical Character Recognition - OCR) reproductions. 2.…

Book cover of The Transit of Venus

Fran Hawthorne Author Of I Meant to Tell You

From Fran's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Museum guide Foreign language student Runner Community activist Former health-care journalist

Fran's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Fran Hawthorne Why did Fran love this book?

I did something, while reading this book, that I rarely do: I repeatedly flipped back to re-read sentences—sometimes to find missed clues, sometimes to savor the jewel-like writing. 

Early on, I noticed an interesting detail about one character. But I became so absorbed in the plot that I forgot about it… so I thought. Until almost the end, when that tiny seed exploded. (How did the author manage to plant a seed so easily forgotten, yet so tenacious?)

I also loved how the novel pushes deeper and deeper into the motivations, secrets, and fears of the five main characters—two sisters who come to England from Australia in the early 1950s and the three men who uproot their lives—revealing more about the characters than they know themselves.

By Shirley Hazzard,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Transit of Venus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The Transit of Venus is one of the great English-language novels of the twentieth century." - The Paris Review

Finalist for the National Book Award
Winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award

The award-winning, New York Times bestselling literary masterpiece of Shirley Hazzard-the story of two beautiful orphan sisters whose fates are as moving and wonderful, and yet as predestined, as the transits of the planets themselves

The Transit of Venus is considered Shirley Hazzard's most brilliant novel. It tells the story of two orphan sisters, Caroline and Grace Bell, as they leave Australia to start a new life…

Book cover of The Venus Throw

Josiah Osgood Author Of Rome and the Making of a World State, 150 BCE–20 CE

From my list on the grit and glamor of Ancient Rome.

Who am I?

I am a historian of ancient Rome. My interest was sparked in my high school Latin classes. On my first trip to Rome, several years later, I truly fell in love. I could see the famed orator delivering his fierce attacks against Catiline amid the grand temples of the Forum and its surrounding hills. I could imagine myself standing in a crowd, listening. In Washington DC, where I now live and teach at Georgetown University, there are classical buildings all around to keep me inspired. I have written a number of books about Roman political history and have also translated the biographer Suetonius and the historian Sallust.

Josiah's book list on the grit and glamor of Ancient Rome

Josiah Osgood Why did Josiah love this book?

Mystery writer Steven Saylor’s recreations of late Republican Rome are the best out there. The Venus Throw finds Saylor’s detective, Gordianus the Finder, investigating the death of an Egyptian ambassador visiting the city. Through Gordianus’ search we meet a range of Romans known from historical sources including a noble woman, a love poet, and a eunuch priest of the eastern goddess Cybele. Saylor captures the variety of the city’s inhabitants and its places. You step into elegant houses, a dive bar with sour wine, and public baths where the floor is “heated to just the right temperature by the hot-water pipes underneath.” The Venus Throw is not the first entry in the Gordianus series but you can start with it, as I did, and then read all the others. One of these books’ many strengths is attention to the lives of slaves.

By Steven Saylor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On a chill January evening in 56 B.C. , two strange visitors to Rome--an Egyptian ambassador and a eunuch priest--seek out Gordianus the Finder whose specialty is solving murders. But the ambassador, a philosopher named Dio, has come to ask for something Gordianus cannot give--help in staying alive. Before the night is out, he will be murdered.

Now Gordianus begins his most dangerous case. Hired to investigate Dio's death by a beautiful woman with a scandalous reputation, he will follow a trail of political intrigue into the highest circles of power and the city's most hidden arenas of debauchery. There…

Book cover of Beyond Apollo

Allen Steele Author Of Coyote

From my list on lost classics of space science fiction.

Who am I?

Okay, so you’ve read Dune, you’ve read Starship Troopers, you’ve read 2001: A Space Odyssey, and maybe you’ve even read From Earth to the Moon and The First Men in the Moon. Seen the movies, too (or maybe you cheat and say you’ve read the books when you’ve only seen the flicks). Bet you think that makes you an expert on science fiction about space, right? Not even close! If you want to read more than just the well-known classics everyone else has, find these books. Some have become obscure and are now out of print, but they’re not hard to find; try ABE, eBay, and local second-hand bookstores. They’re worth searching for, and then you’ll really have something to talk about.

Allen's book list on lost classics of space science fiction

Allen Steele Why did Allen love this book?

In contrast to Marooned (and, in fact, just about every other SF space novel of the ’60s and ’70s) is this short and very dark masterpiece. The first winner of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, this novel about the aftermath of a doomed mission to Venus is Malzberg’s dark answer to the over-optimistic view of space exploration that was prevalent in the post-Apollo period, and a stark reminder that the universe is an unforgiving and dangerous place.

By Barry N. Malzberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Two astronauts travel on the first manned expedition to the planet Venus. When the mission is mysteriously aborted and the ship returns to Earth, the Captain is missing and the First Officer, Harry M. Evans, can't explain what happened. Under psychiatric evaluation and interrogation, Evans provides conflicting accounts of the Captain's disappearance, incriminating both himself and lethal Venusian forces in the Captain's murder. As the explanations pyramid and the supervising psychiatrist's increasingly desperate efforts to get a straight story falter, Evans' condition and his inability to tell the "truth" present terrifying expressions of humanity's incompetence, the politics of space exploration,…

Book cover of The Orphan Boy

Gail Nyoka Author Of Voices of the Ancestors: Stories & Lore From Ghana’s Volta Region

From my list on folktales from Africa.

Who am I?

Once upon a time, I didn’t know any stories from Africa. I found one, and it stirred me to my core. I found others and read them to my children. These were oral stories that had been trapped between the covers of books. One day, I discovered the oral tradition – stories told as they were originally heard. They had been liberated from the page and flew into my heart. A storyteller was born in me. I went on my own journey to collect stories in Ghana. I now tell stories from traditions around the world.

Gail's book list on folktales from Africa

Gail Nyoka Why did Gail love this book?

I found this book moving. On one level it is the mythology of the planet we know as Venus, from the perspective of the Maasai people. On another level it speaks to the condition of age and loneliness. And I love the illustrations, which take the reader into the landscape of East Africa and show us the humanity of the old man. Like all the best tales, it can be enjoyed by both children and adults.

By Tololwa M. Mollel, Paul Morin (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Orphan Boy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Seaching the sky for a familiar star, an old man encounters a mysterious boy, Kileken. As he comes to love the boy as a son, he agrees to let him keep the one thing he owns: a secret.

Book cover of Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens

Jorge L. Contreras Author Of The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNA

From Jorge's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Law professor Traveler Science junkie Amateur historian Science fiction buff

Jorge's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Jorge L. Contreras Why did Jorge love this book?

Wulf brings eighteenth-century Enlightenment science, philosophy, and thought to life like no other contemporary writer.

Chasing Venus is the amazing story of the first global scientific collaboration: the expeditions to measure the transit of Venus across the face of the sun in 1761 and 1769.

The result, if achieved, would enable scientists, for the first time, to calculate the distance from the Earth to the sun. The teams of astronomers and surveyors that fanned out across Europe, North America, and Asia to take the necessary measurements faced adversity ranging from wars and hostile locals to equipment failures and bad weather. Yet, against the odds, they succeeded, ushering in a new era in astronomy and scientific cooperation. 

By Andrea Wulf,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The author of the highly acclaimed Founding Gardeners now gives us an enlightening chronicle of the first truly international scientific endeavor—the eighteenth-century quest to observe the transit of Venus and measure the solar system.
   On June 6, 1761, the world paused to observe a momentous occasion: the first transit of Venus between the earth and the sun in more than a century. Through that observation, astronomers could calculate the size of the solar system—but only if they could compile data from many different points of the globe, all recorded during the short period of the transit. Overcoming incredible odds and…

Book cover of Delta of Venus

Tobsha Learner Author Of Quiver

From my list on for when familiarity sets in.

Who am I?

My first book was Quiver, a collection of erotic short stories. I wrote it to immortalize the hedonism of Sydney in the 1990s, wanting to show a nonjudgmental, joyful side. The fact that it touched a lot of people compelled me to write two more collections Tremble and Yearn – each exploring different themes: Tremble is an erotic re-imagining of various root myths, whilst Yearn has more historical and fantastical elements. I interweave all the characters in the stories throughout the whole collections. Humor is also important to me when it comes to the ironies and emotions around sex, the other aspect is gender power play and all the sublime reversals that can encapsulate. 

Tobsha's book list on for when familiarity sets in

Tobsha Learner Why did Tobsha love this book?

As a teenager this collection of short stories blew my mind; it’s one of the first to really explore sexual pleasure from a female perspective and I loved the way it wove psychology, power, culture, and erotic play up seamlessly and provocatively. It was most likely an unconscious template for my own collections of erotic short stories, the perfect format for the pillow book (to be read out loud to one’s lover/husband/guilty pleasure). Nin, a friend of Henry Miller and a number of Paris-based groundbreaking artists and intellectuals in the 1920s, is the perfect conduit for the louche erotic experimentation of the era, and yet this book is still timeless and still delivers in terms of fantasy.  

By Anaïs Nin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As influential and revelatory in its day as Fifty Shades of Grey is now, Anais Nin's Delta of Venus is a groundbreaking anthology of erotic short stories, published in Penguin Modern Classics

In Delta of Venus Anais Nin conjures up a glittering cascade of sexual encounters. Creating her own 'language of the senses', she explores an area that was previously the domain of male writers and brings to it her own unique perceptions. Her vibrant and impassioned prose evokes the essence of female sexuality in a world where only love has meaning.

This edition includes a preface adapted from Anais…

Book cover of The Space Merchants

Gary Gibson Author Of Echogenesis

From my list on cynical takes on space colonisation.

Who am I?

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?

Pohl drew heavily on his experience as an advertising copywriter in this, perhaps his most famous novel co-written with C.M. Kornbluth. Although not directly set on a colonized world, it’s easily one of the darkest takes on the subject as the protagonist, a ‘star-class copysmith’ is given the job of selling people on the idea of emigrating to Venus…while carefully avoiding the reality of Venus being barely, if at all, habitable, with nothing to promise but a harsh existence and generations of toil before the planet can be fully terraformed.

By Frederik Pohl, C.M. Kornbluth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a vastly overpopulated near-future world, businesses have taken the place of governments and now hold all political power. States exist merely to ensure the survival of huge transnational corporations. Advertising has become hugely aggressive and boasts some of the world's most powerful executives.

Through advertising, the public is constantly deluded into thinking that all the products on the market improve the quality of life. However, the most basic elements are incredibly scarce, including water and fuel.

The planet Venus has just been visited and judged fit for human settlement, despite its inhospitable surface and climate; colonists would have to…