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20 Epic Sci-Fi Adventures Like “Dune” For Intergalactic Explorers

Embark on a Journey Through Time and Space With These Books Similar to "Dune"
by The Blinkist Team | Apr 8 2024

“Dune” by Frank Herbert is not just a book; it’s an expansive universe that explores themes of power, religion, and ecology within an interstellar society. Its intricate plot, complex characters, and detailed world-building set a high bar for science fiction, captivating readers since its publication.

For those who have explored the dunes of Arrakis and are looking for new worlds to discover that share the depth and grandeur of “Dune,” you’ve come to the right place. Below are 20 epic sci-fi adventures that will take you on a journey through time and space, offering stories of power struggles, environmental challenges, and humanity’s place in the cosmos.

Top 20 best books to read if you liked “Dune” by Frank Herbert


1. “Foundation” by Isaac Asimov

Follow the epic saga of Hari Seldon as he establishes the Foundation to preserve knowledge and save humanity from a dark age.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • A grand scope of time and space.
  • Deep political and philosophical underpinnings.
  • Complex characters engaged in power struggles.


2. “Hyperion” by Dan Simmons

Seven pilgrims share their stories as they journey to the mysterious Time Tombs on Hyperion, in a tale rich with history and lore.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • A multi-layered, epic narrative structure.
  • Rich world-building with its own mythology.
  • Themes exploring humanity, religion, and technology.


3. “The Left Hand of Darkness” by Ursula K. Le Guin

On a planet where gender is fluid, an envoy from the stars tries to navigate politics and preconceived notions of identity and loyalty.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • Exploration of sociopolitical and environmental themes.
  • Deep philosophical questions about human nature.
  • A focus on cross-cultural understanding.


4. “Altered Carbon” by Richard K. Morgan

In a future where consciousness can be transferred to different bodies, an ex-soldier investigates a rich man’s death.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • Complex discussions of morality and society.
  • A dark, gripping narrative.
  • Intrigue and power play at the heart of the plot.


5. “The Expanse” series by James S.A. Corey

Humanity has colonized the solar system, but political tensions between Earth, Mars, and the Belt threaten to erupt into war.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • A sprawling, politically charged universe.
  • Conflicts over resources reminiscent of Dune’s spice.
  • Deep exploration of human societies in space.


6. “Pandora’s Star” by Peter F. Hamilton

The discovery of a force field enclosing a distant star prompts an expedition, leading to unforeseen revelations and interstellar conflict.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • Epic scale and detailed universe.
  • Multiple interconnected stories and characters.
  • Themes of exploration and encounter with the alien.


7. “The Forever War” by Joe Haldeman

A soldier battles across time and space, finding society unrecognizable upon his return due to the time dilation effects of space travel.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • The impact of war on humanity and individuals.
  • Questions about the nature of society and change.
  • A unique take on the future of humanity.


8. “Neuromancer” by William Gibson

The story of a washed-up computer hacker hired by a mysterious employer for the ultimate hack.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • Ground-breaking world-building.
  • A complex, tech-driven universe.
  • Explorations of power and identity.


9. “Red Mars” by Kim Stanley Robinson

The colonization and terraforming of Mars challenge earthly and cosmic paradigms.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • A detailed exploration of the ecological transformation.
  • Political intrigue and revolutions.
  • Philosophical and ethical questions regarding colonization.


10. “Ringworld” by Larry Niven

The exploration of an artificial ring planet unveils wonders and dangers far beyond human understanding.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • Innovative and vast world-building.
  • A journey that challenges its characters and their views of the universe.
  • A combination of science fiction and speculative philosophy.


11. “The Stars My Destination” by Alfred Bester

A tale of revenge and transformation set in a future where individuals can ‘jaunte,’ or teleport, adding a new layer to human society and conflicts.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • A driven, complex protagonist.
  • Themes of revenge, power, and societal evolution.
  • A richly imagined future universe.


12. “The Three-Body Problem” by Liu Cixin

Humanity faces an impending alien invasion in a story that spans civilizations, physics, and the very fabric of the universe.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • A blend of hard science fiction and philosophical depth.
  • Civilizational scale and existential threats.
  • Deeply woven plots with global stakes.


13. “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card

A gifted child is trained through increasingly complex simulations to lead humanity’s fleet against an alien threat.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • Strategic battles and the burden of leadership.
  • Questions of morality, survival, and manipulation.
  • A child protagonist thrown into a world of political intrigue.


14. “A Fire Upon the Deep” by Vernor Vinge

A conflict rages across galaxies, threatening the very nature of sentience, with factions racing to unlock an ancient power.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • Galactic scale and scope.
  • Innovative concepts of technology and civilization.
  • Intrigue and mysteries that span across worlds.


15. “Ancillary Justice” by Ann Leckie

A space opera centered around a ship’s AI seeking vengeance in a human body, exploring themes of identity and imperialism.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • An expansive universe full of intrigue.
  • A unique perspective on humanity and power.
  • Themes exploring empire and colonialism.


16. “Gravity’s Rainbow” by Thomas Pynchon

An intricate and surreal journey set against the backdrop of World War II, blending science, conspiracy, and metaphysics.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • Complexity and depth of narrative.
  • A rich tapestry of themes and ideas.
  • An exploration of destiny and technology.


17. “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson

In a future America where information is everything, Hiro Protagonist uncovers a digital virus with ancient roots.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • A critical look at society and culture.
  • Complex world-building merging past and future.
  • Themes of power and information control.


18. “Speaker for the Dead” by Orson Scott Card (sequel to Ender’s Game)

Ender Wiggin, now older, seeks redemption by speaking for the dead, uncovering new truths about himself and alien cultures.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • A deep dive into alien cultures and understanding.
  • Ethical and philosophical dilemmas.
  • A protagonist wrestling with his past actions and identity.


19. “The Dispossessed” by Ursula K. Le Guin

An anarcho-syndicalist society’s ideals are tested when one of their own travels to the capitalist mother planet, challenging both worlds’ views.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • Political ideologies in conflict.
  • Deep exploration of social and scientific ideas.
  • Rich world-building that questions utopian ideals.


20. “Diaspora” by Greg Egan

Post-human intelligences explore the cosmos, confronting complex physical mysteries and the question of what it means to be sentient.

Elements in common with Dune:

  • A visionary take on the future of humanity.
  • The blending of hard science fiction with deep philosophical inquiries.
  • A universe rich with awe-inspiring ideas and existential questions.

In conclusion, fans of the “Dune” series can explore a vast universe of books, each offering a unique blend of technology, philosophy, and adventure.

These 20 books are just a small fraction of the vast expanse of science fiction that explores similar themes and questions, inviting readers to ponder the future of humanity and our place in the cosmos. So, set your coordinates for distant stars and embark on your next great adventure with happy reading!


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