Frank Herbert’s epic science fiction novel Dune has been around since 1965 but made a huge comeback into the spotlight thanks to the 2021 movie adaptation with the same namesake. If you loved Timothée Chalamet’s portrayal of Paul Atreides or simply want to explore other books like Dune, here are nine novels we think you’ll enjoy.
1. Hyperion by Dan Simmons
While the space opera Hyperion borrows the structure from The Canterbury Tales, the novel’s themes are similar to Dune‘s. Hyperion is comprised of six novellas, following the stories of pilgrims who meet aboard a ship.
These pilgrims are on their way to meet a mythical creature referred to as The Shrike. As you follow the pilgrims, the poet, the scholar, the soldier, the detective, the consul, and the priest, more and more of the plot is revealed.
The world of Hyperion is further explored in the follow-up books. Hyperion and Hyperion Cantos are books like Dune and are perfect for you if you want to follow a cast of characters on a journey to a new world.
Hyperion received two awards in 1990, a Hugo Award for Best Novel and a Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Later, in 1991, the book was nominated for a BSFA Award for Best Novel.
2. The Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov
The book trilogy by Isaac Asimov considers the workings of an intergalactic empire, much like Dune. However, in contrast to Dune, Asimov portrays the collapse of an ancient civilization.
Throughout the novel series, the characters take action to try to preserve the ancient civilization’s culture and knowledge to find a brand new empire.
Isaac Asimov is said to have pulled inspiration from other popular books of the time, such as The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
The Foundation trilogy was originally published in the 1950s, and many avid readers consider these books masterworks of science fiction. For those looking for books like Dune, this trilogy needs to be on your to-read list.
3. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
Red Mars and Dune share similar settings—shifting sands, searing days, and blinding dust storms.
The first book of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy follows the expedition to a cold and barren planet in hopes of establishing new colonies. And this hard science fiction book is taken up with the practicalities of terraforming.
Red Mars is a mix of politics, acts of war, and planetary physics. It is definitely worth adding to your list of books to read if you like Dune.
4. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin
Arguably Ursula Le Guin’s most famous novel, The Left Hand of Darkness takes readers on an adventure, exploring an alien culture. You see the exploration of the complex alien culture through the eyes of a visitor, much like within Dune.
The visitor, Genly Ai is a diplomat who has arrived in Gethen to persuade the inhabitants to join Ekumen. Ekumen is a loose confederation of planets. Ai must face many obstacles on Gethen, including the extreme climate.
A Gethen native and Ai must journey over a sheet of ice for 80 days, where Ai nearly loses his life.
Another element in the novel, similar to Dune, is the alien religion introduced to the readers. The Left Hand of Darkness is a great read for those who love thought-provoking literature and sci-fi books like Dune.
5. The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley
Kameron Hurley’s The Stars are Legion takes place at the edge of Legion. Legion is a universe, and the novel’s main characters are in a collapsing mass of world ships at its edge.
Hurley’s novel follows the story of Zen, a girl trying to take control of a world-ship and leave the universe. Zen, much like Paul from Dune, appears to hold the key.
Throughout the novel, you will witness Zen ban together with a group of outcasts and wage war.
While The Stars are Legion has not obtained any awards, author Kameron Hurley has won several for other works. These awards include a Hugo Award, Kitschy Award, and the Sydney J. Bounds award for Best Newcomer.
The Stars are Legion is another one of the must-read books like Dune.
6. Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie
Published in 2013, Ancillary Justice is a space opera set in a vast galactic empire.
The novel tells the story of an AI, a fragment of its former self living in a human body after the destruction of her ship.
Anne Leckie creates a mystery that slowly unravels through the layered plot using political and philosophical intrigue. Ancillary Justice received a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2014.
7. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
If you like Dune‘s supernatural and theological elements, you’ll enjoy this book and its sequels.
N.K. Jemisin introduces an alternate, future Earth in The Fifth Season. This far-future Earth has one continent, like Pangea, and is riddled with natural disasters.
The planet’s inhabitants refer to periods of catastrophic disaster as the fifth season. You’ll witness the start of the recurring devastating period in the novel’s opening sequence.
The Fifth Season and its two sequels are a beautiful blend of the sci-fi and fantasy genres.
Like many other books like Dune, this novel is a Hugo Award winner.
8. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, published in 1932, presents a nightmare-like version of future society.
In this novel, time is measured by years after Ford (AF) as Henry Ford is revered as a god for his introduction of the assembly line.
The World State, a futuristic society, is examined throughout the book. This society revolves around science and efficiency.
All future inhabitants of the World State start as embryos in incubators, divided by future class. The embryos are conditioned to fit their predetermined class.
Upon Brave New World‘s release, the overall reception was negative. Aldous Huxley was accused of plagiarizing a novel written in 1920. Aldous denied ever having read My by Yevgeny Zamyatin, and the similarities were merely shredded fear of the technologically advancing future and society.
9. The Book of the New Sun Series by Gene Wolfe
This science fiction series consists of four books. The first book, The Shadow of the Torturer, follows Severian. Severian is an apprentice of the torturer’s guild, and on his way back to the Citadel, he sneaks into a Necropolis.
Within this Necropolis, he encounters Vodalus, an aristocrat and leading revolutionary. Severian ends up saving Vodalus’s life and, in return, receives a single gold coin from the aristocrat. He finds himself being exiled for committing the ultimate sin in his profession—showing mercy. You will follow his journey after exile in this four-book series.
Conquering a New Dune
Frank Herbert’s Dune is a timeless sci-fi novel, revered by many as one of the best sci-fi books of all time.
All of the books feature similar elements to the classic tale of Dune and fall into the science fiction category. If there are other books similar to Dune that we didn’t include in this article, let us know in the comments!
Prices last updated on 2022-09-10