The best “paranoid sci-fi” books


Philip K. Dick is the unbeatable master of modern “paranoid science fiction,” stories that poke fun at subjective reality through themes like psychological manipulation, madness, and power dynamics. After reading Dick’s classics like “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” (which of course was adapted to become Blade Runner), “Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said” and “Ubik”, where should you go next? Authors Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Lavie Tidhar make some recommendations in the Washington Post:

Silvia: …Nick Mamatas”The second shooter” (2021) is the perfect novel for people who love “twin peaks” and “The X Files“It’s the grim story of a writer writing a book about the ‘second shooter’ phenomenon: witnesses to assassinations claiming to have seen an unidentified second assailant. Mamatas has a firm grip on contemporary culture and theories of conspiracy and an even firmer understanding of morals questionable losers that make the noir worth reading Even without a speculative element this would still be a good book, but the oddity the main character discovers sets it firmly in the paranoid territory of Philip K. Dick[…]

The life: [Boris and Arkady Strugatsky’s] 1970 novel”The Inn of the Dead Mountaineer“, translated by Josh Billings in a 2015 edition of Melville House, is another must-have. It starts off as an Agatha Christie-esque thriller, but then things get weird.

If you’re looking forward to the “Shining Girls” series, starring Elisabeth Moss, the novel it’s based on, by South African author Lauren Beukes – about a time-traveling serial killer in Chicago – is as good as expected.

If you like “Blade Runner” and “The X-Files”, these books are for you(Washington Post)

picture: cover from “Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said” by PKD (DAW Books, 1975 edition)


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