Books to Read After Re-Entering Westworld
HBO’s breakout sci-fi-western is back, much to the delight of its fans, and EW has you covered for what to read after dipping back in. Whether you’re in the mood for robots, westerns, or complex ruminations on the nature of mortality, these reads will make for ideal, thought-provoking, entertaining complements.
Sphere by Michael Crichton
Who better to start with than the director of the origin Westworld? Much of Crichton’s sci-fi oevre is a natural fit here, but Sphere is a particularly compelling choice, crafting a powerful sci-fi-thriller rooted in the boundless potential of the human imagination. Buy it here.
Sailing to Byzantium by Robert Silverberg
This fascinating futuristic novel, about a man traversing a 50th-century landscape to try to get himself home, is inspired by a poem of the same name by W.B. Yeats, which traces a spiritual journey and explores the concept of immortality. Buy it here.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
The source material for Blade Runner is but one of Dick’s many titles which would make for good companion Westworld reading. The novel probes what it means to be human through the saga of Rick Deckard, a bounty hunter on the hunt for androids. Buy it here.
The Liberation by Ian Tregillis
Tregillis’ acclaimed work of speculative fiction, released just two years ago, caps off his popular Alchemy Wars series, and is set in a world that “might have been,” with mechanical beings. The Liberation is violent but provocative, mulling the nature of free will. Buy it here.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The best-selling phenomenon tackles life’s biggest questions in an appealingly whimsical package. Chances are you’ve encountered the odyssey of Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect in one form or another, but at the very least, it provides a necessary point of contrast here from a slew of heavier titles. Buy it here.
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
Asimov’s groundbreaking series originated as a series of stories published in the 1940s and ’50s. This book interlinks them, exporing the development of the robot and offering an unnervingly cogent vision of the near future. Buy it here.
The Night Sessions by Ken MacLeod
In another relatively recent title, MacLeod focuses on a smaller but still potent theme in Westworld: the dangerous, corrupting power of belief systems. His futuristic vision imagines robots finding God in a world where religion is banned. Buy it here.
Speak by Louisa Hall
Hall’s startling novel tackles the nature of memory, the vitality of language, and the creation of A.I. Partly told in epistolary format, Speak may recall Cloud Atlas in its combination of scope and beauty. Buy it here.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Easily one of the most significant novels of the 20th century, and still perhaps the definitive dystopian read, Brave New World continues to seep into contemporary pop culture of all stripes. It’s also a frequent reference point for Westworld, if you can catch the subtle clues. Buy it here.
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Most of the titles on this list conceive of A.I.-heavy futures. But of course there’s also the western component of Westworld; to match that in a book, you could scarcely do better than this Pulitzer-winning classic. The frontier epic gorgeously realizes a dusty Texas town where outlaws, heroes, and everything in-between converge. Buy it here.