So You Want to Read Time Travel Fiction: Here’s Where to Start

Time is a difficult thing to get a handle on, especially for humans, who are alone in our understanding of just how little of it we’re allotted. Our own lifespans are so short. There’s just so much to see and do, and we only get one go-round. It hardly seems fair. But what if you could make it stop for a moment and become time’s master?

Time travel is an all but impossible dream, but one that people have probably entertained throughout the history of our species — at the very least through recorded history. World literature offers us many examples of time travel as a plot device.

The Mahabharata, an epic poem that dates back to 400 BC, features the story of a character who returns to Earth after visiting the gods, only to discover that many years have passed in his absence. Similarly, in the seventh century Japanese fairy tale of Urashima Taro, a fisherman stays in a fabulous undersea kingdom for three days, and learns upon his return to his village that 300 years have passed by.

With the advent of the modern era, the ghosts and otherworldly forces of early time travel fiction have been mostly phased out, replaced in turn by the new gods of science and technology. H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine not only defined this new kind of story, it also helped to create an entirely new genre: science-fiction.

No matter the means, the wish to travel in time has remained ever popular, even if we’re no closer to making it a reality. Barring the sudden appearance of a souped-up DeLorean on your curb, your best bet of making a trip through time is through fiction. If you are ready to start your own journey into time travel literature, then we recommend following books.

The cover of the book The Time MachineThe Time Machine
H.G. WELLS
Any respectable list of time travel novels has to start with H. G. Wells’ groundbreaking novel The Time Machine. Casting aside the magic and mysticism of an earlier era, Wells sends his hero hurtling back and forth across Earth’s timeline by way of high technology. Wells’ adventure is no less fantastic than those that came before (the goblin-like Morlocks and placid Eloi are matches for any mythic demon or angel), or moralistic (the aforementioned creatures are part of a socialist allegory), but it is far ahead of them in putting its scientist protagonist into the literal and figurative drivers seat.

 

The cover of the book SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVESLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE
KURT VONNEGUT
Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five is another must-read in the canon of time travel literature. This is the story of Billy Pilgrim, an American soldier in World War II who becomes “unstuck in time”. Vonnegut’s novel follows Pilgrim’s seemingly random journey forward and backwards through the events of his own life, which includes meetings with aliens and experiencing the firebombing of Dresden as a prisoner of war. Slaughterhouse-Five is considered one of Vonnegut’s most autobiographical novels, as he, like Pilgrim, also survived the firebombing of Dresden as a POW.

 

The cover of the book RantRant
CHUCK PALAHNIUK
Chuck Palahniuk’s Rant is the story of a small-town troublemaker turned into a (literally) rabid time-traveling murderer and cult figure. Featuring super-secret nighttime demolition derbies, characters whose family are more like family poles, and time travel paradoxes that make stepping on a butterfly seem tame, Rant is as disgusting and hilarious as you would expect. There was a movie in the works, but it seems to have slipped into Development Hell. Or maybe that’s just in our own timeline?

 

The cover of the book KindredKindred
OCTAVIA E. BUTLER
Octavia Butler’s Kindred takes time travel fiction into one of America’s darkest historical episodes: slavery. In this groundbreaking work, an African American woman is suddenly and inexplicably sent backwards in time, coming face to face with a future slaveowner who has an unexpected connection to her own family. Kindred is an unflinching look at the horrors of slavery, and the ways that they still impact the present day.

 

The cover of the book The Gone WorldThe Gone World
TOM SWETERLITSCH
A government agent tasked to investigate the slaughter of a Navy SEAL’s family learns that it, and other acts of horrific violence, may be connected to a secret time travel program tasked with preventing the end of the world. As a veteran of the program, the agent knows the tolls it take on participants — she’s suffered dearly in the line of service, too — but will that be enough to stop the bloodshed?

 

The cover of the book How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional UniverseHow to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
CHARLES YU
Ready to get meta? In How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, author Charles Yu introduces us to Charles Yu: a customer service tech who repairs time machines in a minor alternate universe under contract to Time Warner Time. In between service calls, Yu and his dog (which may or may not exist) search for his father, lost somewhere in a pocket dimension of his own. Maybe one in a book …

 

The cover of the book The Time Traveler's AlmanacThe Time Traveler’s Almanac
ANN VANDERMEER AND JEFF VANDERMEER
Still don’t know where to start? Pick up Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s The Time Traveler’s Almanac, a comprehensive anthology of time-hopping fiction. inside, you’ll find work from Ursula K. Le Guin, Ray Bradbury, and many others. As they’ve amply demonstrated across several great anthologies, the VanderMeers know their way around speculative fiction like few do, and are the perfect guides for your journey into the genre.

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Interplanetary Love: Our Favorite Romances in Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Romance might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to sci-fi and fantasy. Let’s face it, a lot of us come for intergalactic intrigue, swashbuckling heroes, badass heroines, and all the attendant fun. But in between bludgeoning orcs, outshooting stormtroopers, and outwitting the fae, our intrepid heroes have been known to find love in the midst of all that SFF action. Here’s a few of our favorite sci-fi and fantasy couplings.

The cover of the book OutlanderOutlander
DIANA GABALDON
Claire & Jamie

These time-displaced lovers sit firmly at the heart of the Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Claire Randall is determined to find her way back to 1945 after being mysteriously transported to 1743 Scotland. But after a chance encounter with the swashbuckling Jamie Fraser, Claire’s return to her own time becomes a tad less… pressing.

 

The cover of the book Star Wars: The Courtship of Princess LeiaStar Wars: The Courtship of Princess Leia
DAVE WOLVERTON
Leia & Han

What more really needs to be said about Han Solo and Leia Organa? The roguish smuggler and the daring princess are arguably the most beloved coupling in sci-fi. While the beginnings of their love story made for a compelling part of the original film trilogy (and pop culture’s most infamous utterance of “I know”), their continued relationship through the Star Wars Legends timeline is really why they made this list.

 

The cover of the book FablesFables
BILL WILLINGHAM
Snow White and Bigby Wolf

Bill Willingham created one of the most compelling worlds in comics with Fables, which debuted in 2002, and the will-they-or-won’t-they, more-than-a-little-rocky courtship of Bigby Wolf and Snow White was definitely a major reason for that. While their relationship certainly didn’t begin under the best of circumstances (and those circumstances most definitely did not age well), Bigby and Snow nonetheless managed to find love in spite of Bigby’s gruff, hard-boiled exterior.

 

The cover of the book The Princess BrideThe Princess Bride
WILLIAM GOLDMAN
Westley and Buttercup

A quintessential – if off-kilter – fairy tale romance in what may be the greatest of all fairy tale send-ups. Despite his beginnings as a humble stable boy and a run-in with a particularly band of legendary pirates, Westley always manages to find his way back to his beloved. “As you wish,” indeed.

 

The cover of the book LegendLegend
MARIE LU
June & Day

These star-crossed lovers most definitely came from different sides of the dystopian track. He was born in the slums and became the most wanted criminal in the country. She was an elite prodigy at the military academy, sworn to bring him to justice. Of course, they’re going to fall in love and it’s going to get all complicated. How else could it go?

 

The cover of the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's StoneHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
J. K. ROWLING
Molly and Arthur Weasley

We never get to see the Weasleys in the heyday of their courtship, but they are a perfect illustration of the way great relationships evolve. Arthur and Molly are still very much in love, but it’s a love that’s been tempered by conflict and strengthened by family. It’s well-worn, well-loved, and comfortable. May we all be so lucky.

 

The cover of the book The Left Hand of DarknessThe Left Hand of Darkness
URSULA K. LE GUIN
Estraven & his sibling

The impact of the late Ursula K. Le Guin on fantasy and science fiction literature truly can’t be overstated. Her startlingly imaginative and daring fiction influenced an entire generation of writers. With The Left Hand of Darkness, she created not only one of science fiction’s most thought-provoking reads, but also one of the all-time great tragic and forbidden romances. The novel is set on a planet whose inhabitants are androgynous and is a brilliant examination – and upending – of conventional gender norms. Near its center is the love story between Therem Harth rem ir Estraven and his sibling, Arek Harth rem ir Estraven. The relationship underpins the entirety of Estraven’s story arc and Le Guin reveals the devastating, touching details of their relationship with a deft and empathetic hand.

SFF BFFs: The Best Friendships in Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

Love between friends holds a lot of meanings, and devoted companions can be found in many of the stories and adventures readers hold closest to their hearts. Here are some of our favorite friendships from science fiction and fantasy – you can share some of your own favorite friends in the comments.

The cover of the book The Fellowship of the RingThe Fellowship of the Ring
J.R.R. TOLKIEN
Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took are two of Frodo’s cousins who join his quest to destroy the One Ring. Friendship is one of the reasons the hobbits join the Fellowship of the Ring in the first place, and Merry and Pippin’s friendship is especially close, both before the story begins as well as throughout the trilogy. They balance one another out, which comes in handy quite a bit over the course of their adventure, and the way they care about each other and the rest of their friends makes them one of the best BFF pairs in fantasy.

 

The cover of the book RadiantRadiant
KARINA SUMNER-SMITH
Magicless Xhea scrounges up a semblance of a living in the City, where magic abounds, by carrying the burden of others’ ghosts – for a price. And one of the ghosts she takes on is Shai, who generates so much magical power that she’s used as fuel. Together, the girls could stop a war or become a terrible weapon, but their loyalty to one another may be their greatest strength.

 

 

The cover of the book Swords and DeviltrySwords and Deviltry
FRITZ LEIBER
Gigantic Fafhrd and small Mouser make for an odd couple, but the protagonists of Fritz Leiber’s classic sword-and-sorcery stories are the closest of friends. Both also tend to have attitudes almost directly opposite of their own natures: Fafhrd talks like a romantic despite his pragmatism, and while Mouser talks like a cynic, he’s got his own streak of sentimentality. The two adventurers travel a long road together – they appear in dozens of Leiber’s stories – but one thing remains constant: their enduring friendship.

 

The cover of the book Sandry's Book (Circle of Magic)Sandry’s Book (Circle of Magic)
TAMORA PIERCE
An orphaned noble, the exiled daughter of a merchant family, a Trader cast out as cursed, and a talented pickpocket – Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar, the four protagonists of Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic novels, couldn’t be more different when they walk into Discipline, the cottage where they’ll live as they learn to control their magic. But they soon become entwined, both in their friendships and their magic, and the relationship between them endures the tests of plague, war, and the slow dissolution of childhood bonds as they grow into adulthood.

 

The cover of the book FalloutFallout
GWENDA BOND
When Lois Lane first moves to Metropolis, she joins the student journalist program at the Daily Planet with a few other kids from her new school – including Maddy, a budding journalist who wears a different band tee every day and doesn’t shy away from any of the mishaps—er, adventures—Lois gets herself into. For an Army brat like Lois, it’s the first real friendship she’s ever had, and the loyalty between the two is one of the best parts of Gwenda Bond’s young adult adaptation.

 

The cover of the book The Lies of Locke LamoraThe Lies of Locke Lamora
SCOTT LYNCH
In the criminal underworld of Camorr, the Gentleman Bastards are a group of elite con artists led by Locke Lamora, a clever and daring smooth-talker whose unlikely best friend is Jean Tannen, a soft-spoken man whose temper has a deadly reputation.

 

 

 

The cover of the book Sailor Moon 1Sailor Moon 1
NAOKO TAKEUCHI
Usagi Tsukino is extremely average – except for the whole thing where she becomes magical guardian Sailor Moon whenever evil threatens her city. Though at first she starts off fighting evil alone, she’s soon joined by four other Sailor Scouts – Ami, Rei, Makoto, and Minako – who become her closest friends. Or maybe “become” isn’t the best word: their friendship is so strong, it’s carried them together through reincarnation.

 

The cover of the book Fool's AssassinFool’s Assassin
ROBIN HOBB
An illegitimately-born assassin and a court jester who might be a prophet are either the strangest pair of friends or the perfect pair of friends. In Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings novels, assassin FitzChivalry Farseer and the jester known only as the Fool are the latter. While the Fool’s riddles can sometimes frustrate Fitz, he still thinks of the Fool as one of his closest friends, and the Fool admits his love for Fitz has no bounds. Fitz and the Fool are friends who’d risk it all to save one another – and they do many times throughout their lives.

 

The cover of the book UprootedUprooted
NAOMI NOVIK
Every ten years, a wizard called the Dragon takes a young woman from Agnieszka and Kasia’s village, and everyone knows Kasia will be the next to be taken. Beautiful, brave, talented Kasia, not clumsy Agnieszka who can’t walk ten feet without getting dirty. But the Dragon takes Agnieszka because of her latent magic, and Agnieszka is determined to use her power to save Kasia when her life is endangered.

Genre Friday – Gothic Fiction

Is it Gothic Fiction?

Is it dark (in tone or in luminous intensity)?

Usually.

Is it creepy in an undeniable, but sometimes indefinite, way?

Most of the time.

Is death featured heavily, either as an event or preoccupation?

Absolutely.

Does it leave you with a deep distrust of old, palatial manners, moldering estates, dilapidated plantation homes and crumbly castles?

It would have if I weren’t already freaked out by those places.  

Is it focused on an individual (or small group or family) and their thoughts and feelings as they try to deal with everything listed above without going completely insane?

Yup.

That’s Gothic Fiction alright. This genre looked at the rugged individualism, intense emotions, introspection and focus on nature and the past (in particular the medieval period) of Romanticism and said, ‘Yeah, but where is all the deep, existential and psychological terror and death?’ It’s not necessarily terrifying in the way traditional Horror is but it will almost certainly get your skin crawling at some point. Or at least make you look over your shoulder as you walk down dark and deserted hallways, should you have occasion to do so.

Now that we have that established the real question is, where is it set? For Gothic Fiction, setting is what determines subgenre – American (or, more specifically, Southern), English or Space (you read that right, space).

American Gothic

As you would assume, we’re dealing with American settings here — the frontier or wild west, the deep south, sometimes even suburbia. The stories often explore the darker parts of American culture and history; slavery, war, genocide and the exploitation of the nation’s natural resources and wilderness come up fairly regularly. Horror is there in some form or another, but it isn’t always supernatural (as people are more than capable of being horrifying on there own), and when it is, it might be implied rather than clearly identified. This brings in the unreliable narrator and mental illness, which is another common theme in American Gothic stories. Set it in the sweltering southern heat, and liberally sprinkle in racial tension, degradation, and poverty left over from the Reconstruction era and you have Southern Gothic.

Examples:

The cover of the book We Have Always Lived in the CastleThe Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe

Sanctuary by William Faulkner

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Wieland by Charles Brockden Brown

Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor

English Gothic

Grappling with mental illness or spiritual angst, while dodging ghosts on the windswept moors or in a crumbling tower? In England? You’re in an English Gothic story. Watch out for untimely death, doomed romance, and villainous depravity – if it hasn’t happened already, it’s only a matter time. And, this probably goes without saying but, try to stay out of neglected graveyards, cobwebbed dungeons and, of course, haunted castles.

Examples:

The cover of the book The Castle of OtrantoThe Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Racliffe

Gothic Space Opera

You know those sci-fi stories where civilization and technology extended so far and so fast that when it eventually and inevitably collapsed the average person was suddenly left stranded in a pseudo-medieval, superstitious and decaying society despite the fact that they live on an alien planet or massive star ship? Well, they’re out there, and they are frequently the starting point for these Gothic Space stories.

In these cases, the rickety star ship serves as haunted mansion/castle analog and the inky, vast blackness of space the misty, eerie moors that surround typically surround them. Authoritarian regimes, oppressive cults and demonic alien forces are common issues, as well as the usual wear and tear of long space travel — time dilation, the assumption of death-like states of suspended animation, and the dementia-inducing isolation of space travel, to name a few examples — on human relationships and sanity are frequent topics.

Examples:

The cover of the book The Burning DarkBlindsight by Peter Watts

The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher

The Explorer by James Smythe

Hyperion by Dan Simmons

Nightflyers by George R. R. Martin

Solaris by Stanislaw Lem

 

Genre Friday: Sword and Planet Fiction

Is it fantasy or is it science-fiction?

Yes.

While it might be past it’s prime as a genre it remains a fascinating and fun mash-up of beloved genres, themes and tropes. Interested? Keep reading to get a quick intro from Unbound Worlds.

So You Want to Read Sword and Planet Fiction: Here’s Where to Start

Mash together fantasy’s sword-swinging heroes, and the far-out alien civilizations of early science-fiction, and you’ve got Sword and Planet fiction. Arguably the brainchild of Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sword and Planet tales usually features human protagonists adventuring on a planet teeming with life, intelligent or otherwise. Science takes a backseat to romance and derring-do in Sword and Planet stories, with little if any consideration given to the actual conditions on Mars, Venus, or wherever else the story takes place.

It isn’t as popular of a genre as it once was. Honestly, like the fanciful canals that we once thought crisscrossed Mars, Sword and Planet is all but extinct as an idea. So little was known about our planetary neighbors in the days of Edgar Rice Burroughs, so It was easier for readers to imagine intelligent life on Mars, or Venus. Reading tastes have changed, too. Episodic, pulp-flavored fantasy has fallen in favor, replaced in the public imagination by epic fantasies that stretch across multiple volumes.

Where Sword and Planet can really be seen today is in the influence it has had on popular culture. The lightsabers, blasters, and planet-hopping heroics of “Star Wars” probably wouldn’t exist were it not for Sword and Planet. Neither would “Avatar” or “Stargate”. Regardless of its current status, the classics of Sword and Planet literature are still very much worth seeking out, and with this list we hope to provide you with a good starting point.

The cover of the book A Princess of MarsA Princess of Mars

EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS

Before there was Tarzan, there was John Carter: a renegade Civil War veteran mysteriously transported to Mars: home to a dying civilization locked in eternal conflict with enemy barbarian tribes. There, among a people entirely unlike any he has ever met, Carter will find everything he ever wanted: adventure, riches, and love.

 

The cover of the book The Ginger StarThe Ginger Star

LEIGH BRACKETT

Leigh Brackett was one of the pulp era’s great women writers. She has never quite gotten her due, despite having not only written many great novels, but also first draft of a little film titled “Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”.  The Ginger Star is the first volume in her series, The Book of Skaith: a collection of tales starring outlaw spacer Eric John Stark. In this installment, Stark has to rescue his foster father from the Lords Protector: a group of despots guarded by vicious, telepathic dog creatures.

 

The cover of the book Planet of AdventurePlanet of Adventure

JACK VANCE

Jack Vance is, of course, famous for his Dying Earth stories — and deservedly so. However, he wrote a lot of other things, among them Planet of Adventure: a cycle of four novels chronicling the adventures of Adam Reith: a space traveler stranded on Tschai: a savage alien planet home to slavers, murderers, and monsters.

 

The cover of the book Transit to ScorpioTransit to Scorpio

KENNETH BULMER

The Dray Prescot series was one of Sword and Planet’s longest series, clocking in at 52 volumes in total. In Transit to Scorpio, the first book in the line, adventurer Dray Presott finds himself ensnared in a planetary chess game far larger than any he has ever encountered.

 

The cover of the book ParagaeaParagaea

CHRIS ROBERSON

Paragaea is the story of Leena Cirikov, a Soviet astronaut inexplicably transported to a strange world of mystery and adventure. Fortunately for Cirikov, she’s not the only Earthling trapped in this dimension. There’s also Lieutenant Heironymous Bonaventure of the Royal Navy: an officer who left home to fight Napoleon and never returned. Bonaventure, along with his jaguar man companion Balam, have agree to help Cirikov find a way home, but is their mission a futile one?

 

The cover of the book Old MarsOld Mars

EDITED BY GEORGE R. R. MARTIN AND GARDNER DOZOIS

Editors George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois invite readers to explore the Mars of yesterday: an ancient planet of deserts, ruined cities, and canals twisting through the endless red sands. Featuring stories by Michael Moorcock, S. M. Stirling, Liz Williams, and many more, Old Mars will leave you longing to visit a world that has never been.

 

The cover of the book Old VenusOld Venus

EDITED BY GEORGE R. R. MARTIN & GARDNER DOZOIS

In this follow-up to Old Mars, a collection of award-winning authors tell tales of the Venus of yesterday: a steamy, jungle planet teeming with dangerous alien life. Contributors include, Gwyneth Jones, Elizabeth Bear, Joe Haldeman, and others.

Quick, before they’re all made into movies and TV shows!

Still Dreaming: A Guide to the Essential Philip K. Dick Books

Philip K. Dick/Photo © Nicole Olivieri Panter

The visually striking “Blade Runner 2049” plunges audiences back down a futuristic rabbit hole mingling noir sensibilities with artificial beings living among people who want to eliminate them. But this sequel to 1982’s “Blade Runner” goes way beyond cat-and-mouse suspense to explore what makes us human.

Author Philip K. Dick loved to ponder alternative universes and question reality over his forty-four novels and roughly 120 short stories, merging science fiction with philosophy. Since his 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which inspired the original “Blade Runner,” Hollywood has mined his works for ideas, often expanding just nuggets into films.

Dick can be a dense read or a head trip, but this member of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame has thoughts on world building that are as relevant today as they were in 1978. “[W]e live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups,” he said in a speech that year. “So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people …. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.”

The cover of the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Philip K. Dick

The film adaptation of this Nebula Award nominee introduced mainstream audiences to the terms blade runner (a type of bounty hunter) and replicant (an artificial person). Fans of Blade Runner might love to compare how it veers from the book, with sequences such as protagonist Rick Deckard being arrested by a police precinct of androids. Deckard’s empathy remains intact: “The electrical things have their lives too, paltry as those lives are,” he notes.

The cover of the book Time Out of Joint

Time Out of Joint

Philip K. Dick

Dick references Hamlet in the title of this 1959 novel, which might remind readers of the film “The Truman Show.” A man who thinks he lives in a quiet community finds reward in being a crossword puzzle champion. This mild brain teaser, however, turns out to be a ruse for a greater task only he can do – something that would devastate him if he knew the truth. This read offers a good taste of Dick’s favorite themes and frequent setup of an ordinary person watching his life unravel.

The cover of the book The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle

Philip K. Dick

Amazon adapted Dick’s 1962 Hugo Award-winning novel into an acclaimed TV series, now entering its third season. It imagines the Axis powers – chiefly Nazi Germany and Japan – won World War II and have established totalitarian rule in the United States.

 

The cover of the book Clans of the Alphane Moon

Clans of the Alphane Moon

Philip K. Dick

Based on Dick’s short story “Shell Game,” this acerbically comic novel establishes a caste-like society on a distant moon comprised of people with various mental illnesses playing to their strengths. (The paranoiacs are the statesmen and secret police. Those with mania are warriors. The schizophrenics are poets or religious visionaries, and so on.) Dick, who during his life wrote and spoke about his own hallucinations, also includes characters such as a telepathic slime mold.

The cover of the book Ubik

Ubik

Philip K. Dick

Chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 100 greatest novels since 1923, this “existential horror story” written in 1966 and published in 1969 envisions a future where psychic phenomena are common, to the point that a privacy company employs those who can block telepathic intrusions. Some of those come from the dead, who exist in a suspended state that allows them to communicate.

The cover of the book Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said

Philip K. Dick

Winner of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, this 1974 novel follows a popular TV star who wakes up one morning to learn that he’s never existed, and that the United States is now a police state following a second Civil War. The title alludes to a musical work by sixteenth-century composer John Dowland, and the plot mixes the espionage of forged identities and a life on the run with reality-warping drugs and parallel universes.

The cover of the book A Scanner Darkly

A Scanner Darkly

Philip K. Dick

Director Richard Linklater adapted this 1977 novel into a well-received animated film starring Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, and Robert Downey Jr. Based partly on Dick’s experiences using amphetamines and living with addicts, the book focuses on an undercover cop who loses his identity as he becomes involved with a new psychoactive drug.

The cover of the book The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick

The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick (Edited by Lawrence Sutin)

This 1996 collection presents Dick’s worldview through an impressive mix of autobiography, speculative essays, and critiques. It includes his speech “How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later” (from which the quote above was taken) and gems such as the beginnings of his VALIS trilogy and two chapters of a proposed sequel to The Man in the High Castle.

Red Rising Ditto

Big fan of the series or pumpded about book 4, Iron Gold? Here are some others things you might enjoy.

Red Rising Shelf End Ditto NU