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Debuting back in the summer of 2016, Stranger Things has developed a cult-following thanks to its exciting narrative and 1980s nostalgia. Now in its third season, the kids of Hawkins, Indiana are starting to grow up and their adventures are only getting stranger.
For many of us, the latest season of Stranger Things (which rolled out July 4th) came and went within a weekend. Like a great book, Stranger Things is impossible to put down. Deciding to watch a single episode quickly spiraled into an all-night event, and within a few hours, we were back to waiting for the next season all over again.
While we can’t magically whip up Season 4 of Stranger Things, we can do the next best thing; introduce you to other amazing sci-fi stories. From Dune to Slaughterhouse Five, these novels will transport you to distant worlds and send you soaring through strange times. Strap on your VR glasses and get ready to meet the Tralfamadorians, here are some of our favorite sci-fi books for fans of Stranger Things.
Dune is often cited as a must-read for anyone interested in science fiction. Published back in 1965, Frank Herbert’s classic tells the story of a young boy and his journey to save his family, his home planet, and achieve his destiny. Herbert won the first ever Nebula Award and shared the Hugo Award for Dune. The book was eventually turned into a movie in the 80s and is currently under production for a remake starring the likes of Timothée Chalamet, Josh Brolin, Jason Momoa, and Oscar Isaac. Considered one of the greatest science fiction books ever written, Dune is a great book to pick up if you’ve recently finished Stranger Things. Purchase: $9.89 on Amazon.
In Watchers, we follow Travis Cornell, Nora Devon and their genetically-altered golden retriever Einstein, as they dodge and wind their way through an epic tale of suspense and sci-fi horror. Written by Dean Koontz in 1987, Watchers remains a fan-favorite of the science fiction genre, and a must-read for anyone into the subtly strange and paranormal. And with a 4.7 out of 5-star average on Amazon (out of over 2,200 reviews!) it’s easy to see why Watchers is worth a read. Purchase: $8.54 on Amazon.
3. Children of Time
Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke award in 2016, Children of Time follows the last remains of humanity as they embark on a quest for a new home planet. However, all is not well once they stumble onto the planet that was supposed to be built just for them. As it turns out, another species has taken up residence. Smart, exciting and unique in its ability to take a new line on the post-apocalyptic sub-genre, Children of Time will send your imagination soaring to distant worlds, and make you question every spider that scurries across your path. Purchase: $10.58 on Amazon.
4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Set on Earth in the year 2021 (for the record, the book was written in 1986 so 2021 was far in the future) Rick Deckard is tasked with finding and “retiring” any androids hiding within the human population. Easier said then done, however, as in this world, androids are nearly indistinguishable from organic humans. A must-read for any fans of the genre, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep is an exciting tale that dives deeper than a story about a bounty hunter, and drills down what exactly it is that makes someone (or something) human. Credited as inspiration for the Blade Runner films, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep will make the high jinks of the kids of Hawkins High seem like child’s play. Purchase: $9.89 on Amazon.
5. The Time Machine
Credited as the novel that set off the time travel craze, H.G. Well’s The Time Machine follows a scientist as he invents, and explores, time travel. Originally published in 1895, The Time Machine is the oldest book on our list, but is still very much worth your time. What makes The Time Machine so worthwhile is that it gives a different perspective from the other books listed. While most of our books were written in the 20th century, The Time Machine comes from a 19th century point of view, giving an entirely new appreciation for the creativity that went into the book. Purchase: $7.99 on Amazon.
Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical sci-fi novel follows the story of Billy Pilgrim, a World War II soldier who has suddenly come “unstuck” in time. With Vonnegut ever-present in the background, we join Billy as he drifts in and out of different decades, slowly unraveling Vonnegut’s moral message and hatred for war. Now 50 years old, Slaughterhouse-Five is just as relevant today as it was back in 1969 and is routinely cited as a must-read, whether sci-fi is your preferred genre or not. Purchase: $9.49 on Amazon.
7. Fahrenheit 451
Published in 1953, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 centers around a firefighter named Guy Montag who spends his days helping to censor content deemed illegal by burning and destroying it. At night, Montag returns home to his wife and their TV, which is the only legal form of consuming content. Fahrenheit 451 is brilliant in its depiction of censorship and big government. Always relevant, Fahrenheit 451 is a must-read for fans of Stranger Things and regular readers alike. Purchase: $8.29 on Amazon.
8. Ready Player One
Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel Ready Player One follows follows small-town kid Wade Watts as he and his group of gunters (egg hunters) try to solve riddles to find a hidden easter egg left in the virtual reality world known as the Oasis. Created by an eccentric video game designer, the Oasis has all but replaced the real world, giving the people of this not-so-distant future a colorful and exciting refuge from the bleak reality of Earth. However, there is more to finding this hidden easter egg than winning accolades. The book begins with Oasis designer James Halliday setting off the search, and promising the winner full control of his multi-billion dollar company. Follow Watts and his gang as they try to save the Oasis from the corporations seeking to control it for themselves. Purchase: $12.51 on Amazon.
9. THE DISPOSSESSED
Originally published in 1974, Ursula K. Le Guin’s novel The Dispossessed follows a scientist as he attempts to reconnect two very different planets. Shevek, the hero of our tale, seeks to connect these two different worlds by questioning everything and never giving up, even if he nearly loses himself along the way. Reviewers love The Dispossessed because of its take on politics, philosophy and sexuality. Sitting at 400 pages, The Dispossessed is not a quick read, but rather a deeply satisfying journey that rewards those willing to wade into its darkest corners. Purchase: $7.59 on Amazon.
10. Brave New World
Though you likely read it in school, English novelist Aldous Huxley’s 1932 classic is always worth reading for a second (or third) time around. Brave New World tells the story of a utopian world set in the distant future. In this utopian society, humans are genetically bred and pacified with “soma,” a quick-fix pill that will not only provide a way to escape any pain or discomfort (physical or emotional) but also increase happiness and arousal. Huxley’s book remains a poignant meditation on government control and the way society can pacify its people. Just a relevant today as it was when it was originally published, Brave New World is a must-read book that only gets better with age. Purchase: $10.50 on Amazon.
Portions of this article were republished with the permission of SPY. To read the original article, click here.