Frank Herbert’s science fiction epic Dune has received wide critical acclaim throughout the decades since its initial release. Dune is now finding a fresh audience with the recent Oscar-winning adaptation by Denis Villeneuve. If you enjoy reading books like Dune and want to read more brilliantly written space operas, this list is perfect for you.
Frank Herbert’s science fiction Dune, was initially published in 1965 and is among the bestselling science fiction novels of all time. It’s set in the distant future, during a time when an interstellar empire ruled over planetary fiefdoms. Dune is a brilliantly imagined world where Herbert creates entire cultures and alien ecologies, ones that remain with you long after you finish reading. In the story, we follow members of the House Atreides as they take hold of the desert planet of Arrakis, called ‘Dune’ for its intense desert and terrifyingly inhospitable climate. Paul Atreides is the central character of the first two novels.
In this sci-fi classic, there are 6 books in total in the Dune Saga. Herbert’s son Brian and author Kevin J. Anderson wrote a series of books in this universe after Frank Herbert’s death. If you read all the books in Dune Saga or the ones that followed and you are trying to find books with a similar taste, for your consideration we have curated a list of books similar to Dune that you will surely like.
If you’re keen on the original series of books, check out these 9 books like Dune.
List of Books Like Dune
- Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
- Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
- Hyperion by Dan Simmons
- Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey
- The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley
- Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
1. Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
Published in 1967, Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny is a science fantasy fiction exploration on the Hindu Religion. The remnant humans from now destroyed Earth set on a voyage Star of India and discover a new planet. They are met with strange and hostile races on the new planet and build a place for their own survival they set to colonise. The crew members use science and advanced technology to make themselves look superior to the other races by showing enhanced biological and mental abilities. Sam is a crew member and the central character of the Star of India ship of the novel and he renegades the decision of the instituted Hindu Caste System that puts themselves at the top.
Sam’s character is based on the ascetic and spiritual teacher of ancient India Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. Lord of Light reflects on the circularity of life, where life does not begin and end at birth, the soul is reincarnated in new bodies. Zelazny’s take on Myth and Religion and his ability to use elements of humour, epic, science, action and philosophy together effectively sets this book apart from other science fiction novels. If you have been searching for books like Dune, Lord of Light is your best bet.
2. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Ancillary Justice is a debut science-fiction novel written by Ann Leckie and published in 2013. The book follows the story of Breq, one of the protagonists, who is the only surviving Artificial Intelligence humanoid from the Ancillary soldiers of the interstellar troopship Justice of Toren. This book is the first instalment of the Imperial Radch trilogy.
Breq embarks on the journey and tells us about her origin and her path of vengeance to right past wrongs. The first novel explores the element that gender is not essential to human development, humans are not necessarily the central focus of existence and identity is in an entity’s experience not in its programming. Beautifully well-structured characters and Leckie’s impressive imagination make this a book worth reading If you are looking for books like Dune.
3. Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Hyperion is the first part of the 4 books series by DanSimmons. Released in 1989, the science fiction/space opera Hyperion establishes a story thousands of years in the future where human hegemony is spread across planets, and now aims to conquer the Milky Way. The books are set in the universe of Hyperion, a powerful creature called the Shrike lives in the mysterious ancient Time tombs. 7 individuals with distinctive backgrounds are chosen for the Final Shrike Pilgrimage, each expressing their motivations for the journey and what they discover.
A masterpiece in speculative fiction, the story after years of release continues to stand the test of time. Disturbing yet engaging stories expand to a cosmic scale narrative that spans vast distances of space and time. There are a few novel series that come close to Simmons’ creation. If you want to read books like Dune that build an impressive hyperrealistic world, Hyperion is perfect for you.
4. Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey
This science fiction novel Leviathan Wakes is written by James S. A. Corey and was published in 2011. This novel is a part of The Expanse book series about humanity colonising the solar system. The story opens with ice miners making runs from the rings of Saturn to their mining stations in the Belt. The crew, along with the protagonist Jim Holden, uncover a derelict ship called the Scopuli from where they discover a horrifying secret. The books were adapted into a show in 2015, called The Expanse. The show gained highly positive reviews from viewers and critics alike.
When a girl goes missing, a washed-up Detective called Miller from the Asteroid Belt and Reluctant captain, Jim Holden from Earth go on a mission to find the girl. The journey of searching for the girl in a time when the universe is on the brim of war leads them to an unfathomable situation. If you want to read similar books like Dune with elements of colonialism, exploration, war and adventure, Leviathan Wakes is for you.
Also Read: Books like Game of Thrones
5. Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Written between 1942 and 1949, Foundation is a part of a book series by Isaac Asimov. The first book, Foundation, was published in 1951. Isaac’s work of emerging scientific facts and fiction seamlessly has been known to be a redefining contribution to science fiction. Book follows the story of Hari Sheldon, who is an extraordinary visionary and psychohistorian. He can predict the future using his mathematics and probabilities, what he can’t do is change the inevitable decline of humanity.
He decides to gather a group of brilliant scientists and scholars from the vast galaxies to form a sanctuary called The Foundation. By preserving and taking forward the knowledge, art and technology and designing a future for them, where they can survive beyond the societies he predicts will last only the next 30,000 years. The incredibly well-formulated and interrelated stories of the series are built around the themes of politics and philosophical debates between various distinctively opinionated characters. Foundation series may feel dated at places but if you are looking for books like Dune to read, this is a great option.
6. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 is regarded as one of the greatest works, written by Ray Bradbury and published in 1953. Set in 2049, the plot of Fahrenheit 451 follows the character Guy Montag, a fireman who questions all the policies put forth and as a result, faces extreme suffering. The plot constitutes an emotional and dynamic character transformation. The world created by Bradbury is dystopic in nature, as a reader, it forces a person to question the reality of the world around them.
An extremely detailed novel, Fahrenheit 451 is highly intellectual writing, often difficult for common readers to comprehend entirely. If you’re looking for books similar to Dune and want to read a book that challenges you, Fahrenheit 451 is a great pick.
7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brave New World is a science fiction, dystopian novel, first published in 1932. This new world is set in the year 2540, which the novel refers to as the year 632 AF, ‘AF’ standing for After Ford (Henry Ford). The novel here refers to Henry’s futuristic designs. The story looks at a world from when Henry introduced the Model T which represents the advancement and efficiency of technology.
In this world, the emotions of a child are conditioned out, resulting in no real relationships. The class of someone is determined when they are in their embryos and what they should do with advanced technologies for their appearance is also dependent on their given class. The rich are made to look beautiful and the poor are forced to look uglier. Huxley creates a seemingly utopian-looking world, which feels more like a harsh reflection of present-day society. If you want to read books similar to Dune that are relatable, Brave New World is worth a read.
8. The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley
The Stars Are Legion was published in the year 2017. The Sci-Fi novel explores a time and place where a mass of decaying world ships is travelling in the universe. There has been a war in existence between the two worlds for generations. A war to control the Legion.
The story is about Zen and Jayd, the story’s two narrators, who are from opposing sides. Zen wakes up with amnesia, being told that she is the only hope for their salvation. The journey of Zen and Jayd will remind the readers of Paul and Chani. The Stars Are Legion is a thrilling tale revolving around tragic love, revenge and war and if you want to read novels like Dune, you will surely like this one.
9. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
The novel Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson is the first book of The Mars Trilogy. Published in 1992, Red Mars sets the beginning of the colonisation of Mars by terraforming Mars into a habitual place. Tensions from corporations translate into the development of Martian Culture.
Robinson’s commentary on the social, egalitarian, and advances made on Mars are more relevant now than ever. Red Mars focuses more on the political side of the colonisation of Mars which can make it feel old and unusual compared to other sci-fi books. This book trilogy may not be the most impressive read but one that’s definitely worth reading if you want to read more books similar to Dune.
These great books have not made the recommendations list but you should check them out if you want to read more books similar to Dune.
- The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
- Dawn by Octavia E. Butler
- The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe
- Whipping Star by Frank Herbert
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy novel series by Douglas Adams, Eoin Colfer, Thomas Tidholm