I love astronaut books. I don’t know why, but they fascinate me. I think it’s because it tends to be near future sci-fi and I can also be reasonably sure that horrible things are going to happen, even if it doesn’t cross quite into sci-fi horror territory. Now, to be clear, I did not love every book on this list, but every book on it is memorable in some way. If I stuck to just novels I loved, there’d be maybe three on here, because as everyone knows, I’m a picky bitch.
I have reviews available for the majority of these reads, but I’ve added some brief commentary to each one to give readers the short-n-sweet version of why it’s on the list. Also please note that there are astronaut-related books that are not on this list that I loved (Lady Astronauts!), because they did not meet the criteria I’d established for it. That was: A book where the character spends the majority of time in space/on another planet, or where their time in space has drastically affected them to the point it controlled the plot of the novel.
The Martian by Andy Weir
THE book that got me into audiobooks. Though I do need to specify at this point that I’m referring to the R.C. Bray narrated version. Not the other dude’s version. Mark Watney is a fucking nerd that cusses a whole lot, and his snark is absolutely on point. Reading The Martian, you’re right there with him as he nearly dies, has good things happen, nearly dies, has good things happen, and nearly dies again as he makes his way across Mars in order to, y’know, not die horribly.
Goldilocks by Laura Lam
Sweet baby Cthulhu, this was a hard read. I mean, it flows well and everything, so it’s not a problem with the writing at all. I kept picking it up and putting it back down because Laura Lam is not afraid to tackle subjects that were very relevant when she wrote the novel (and still are, unfortunately). I read for escapism in general, so this was one I definitely needed to be in the mood for, but it was so worth it.
Dead Moon by Peter Clines
Remember how I said not every book on this list was going to be one that I loved? Enter Dead Moon. Out of the four shared universe books that he’s written (14, The Fold, Dead Moon, and Terminus), this is the one that just outright annoyed me at times (though note: I haven’t managed to finish Terminus). However, the man can write and the premise of the story was really friggin’ cool. Zombies, man. Zombies on the friggin moon. Also, get the audible version if you can. Ray Porter’s narration brings it to life.
Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temo Oh
Teens on a spaceship. Really friggin’ smart teens on a spaceship. For twenty-three years. Trying to get to this Earth-like planet to start the colonization process. This is a young adult book that’s written with a lot of heart and a metric shit-ton of drama. It’s been quite a while since I last listened to it, but every time the name comes up I’m like “Oh yeah, that book!”
The Last Astronaut by David Wellington
RoBOts aRe BEtTer said every tech geek ever, which is just a damned lie. Enter Sally Jensen, old lady astronaut. When something big and bad enters the solar system and starts to pull a not-so-stealthy approach to Earth, this chick is responsible for leading a crew to the object and investigating it. The object is weird, the writing is tight, and I was totally immersed in it.
Lilyn’s review of The Last Astronaut
Solitude by Dean M. Cole
Okay, so this is a weird one on the list because while one of the characters is set in space, the other is not. See, something goes horribly wrong on Earth while Angela is trapped on the ISS. Lots of people die, a few survive, and then we start inserting the usual post-apocalyptic trials. This is not the most original book, but the action is nonstop and it was a very engaging read. Good enough that I downloaded the second book immediately.
Vessel by Lisa Nichols
Unlike Solitude, Vessel is not filled with action. Instead, it was a quiet, fulfilling read that had me hooked within pages. I absolutely adored the main character. She’s the type of person that you just want to take out for a beer and talk to, because good lord she has lived a life. Also there’s alien stuffs, a strange planet, seclusion, and all the things make your sci-fi spidey senses tingle. Damned good read.
Feel free to recommend any books below that you think I might enjoy as well, and feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @georgelilyn if you want to talk about any of these reads or ones similar to them!
Lilyn G is the founder of Sci-Fi & Scary, and leader of the Kali Krew. She does book and film reviews for both genres the site focuses on. Her tastes run towards creature features, hard science fiction, and lots and lots of action. She also has a soft spot for middle-grade fiction that rears its head frequently.
Though no longer involved with Ladies of Horror Fiction due to other responsibilities and a too-full plate, she was one of the original 4 co-founders.
Feel free to chat her up on Twitter as long as you aren’t hitting her up to review your book.
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