8 Books You’ll Want to Read If You’re a Fan of “Westworld”
You know the feeling—the screen fades to black, credits start rolling, the theme music crescendos, and you immediately experience that sinking feeling of knowing you don’t have one more episode left. If you were sucked into HBO’s recent sci-fi thriller “Westworld,” set in a high-tech amusement park that promises to satisfy guests’ wildest dreams in a Wild West landscape filled with human androids, you may find yourself missing the cowboy shootouts, the tinkering with artificial intelligence, and the story’s multiple timeline jumps. What you need now is something to binge-read while waiting for season 2, and we have the perfect TBR list.
After Michael Crichton’s 1973 Western sci-fi thriller film, “Westworld” (the inspiration behind HBO’s series), was a commercial success, he was inspired to use the best themes from his script in a new novel. The result is another thrilling escapist adventure set in a high-concept amusement-park-meets-scientific-experiment where malfunctioning technology leads to danger, devastation, and a lot of dinosaurs on the loose.
Dreaming of the wide vistas, dusty gallops through the desert, and clapboard towns of the wild west? Look to Larry McMurty’s Pulitzer Prize–winning epic, LONESOME DOVE, a historical mythic novel chronicling 19th-century retired Texas Rangers herding cattle through a Texas border town on the American frontier.
3Never Let Me Go
Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel NEVER LET ME GO is a gorgeously written story that follows three individuals who bond during their time at a specialized boarding school in England. But when they inevitably find out that they are clones being raised for future organ donation, they realize they may never be allowed to experience the full range of human life. Like “Westworld,” NEVER LET ME GO questions whether humanity is linked to mortality or simply the awareness and acceptance of your existence.
Drawn into “Westworld’s” supercomputers, underground control rooms, and sleek futuristic gadgets? Grab THE CIRCLE, Dave Eggers’s 2013 novel about a high-tech company whose devices, social networks, and surveillance entice a new young employee, Mae Holland. But as she is absorbed further and further into its world she begins to wonder who exactly is in control.
5The Thorn Birds
If you were enchanted by Teddy and Dolores’s romantic arc and star-crossed love story, you have to check out the dramatically epic THE THORN BIRDS by Colleen McCullough. This sweeping romantic saga is set in the Australian outback and highlights the greatest struggles of the heart between faith, family, the land, and love. If you’re looking to escape into another dusty rural landscape whose wildness mirrors “Westworld’s” tumultuous emotions, THE THORN BIRDS is here for you.
CLOUD ATLAS will satisfy the itch left behind by “Westworld’s” ability to seamlessly weave philosophical questioning and multiple timelines into a puzzle-like narrative. These nested stories—each intertwining and connected to the others—are executed in a virtuoso fashion that will leave you flipping back and forth wondering how David Mitchell did it. Sound familiar?
7The Windup Girl
In 23rd century Thailand, Emiko is one of the “New People”—beings engineered for the uses of others who are treated as toys by some and slaves by others, and are even regarded as soulless devils of new technology. But Emiko may hold a secret to the future of a world where bio-engineering has almost wiped out natural existence. THE WINDUP GIRL gets at the heart of many of “Westworld’s” android desires: people—even artificially created beings—just want to live in peace.
8The Sisters Brothers
THE SISTERS BROTHERS follows brothers Eli and Charlie Sisters, two 19th-century hit men on the American frontier whose picaresque adventures traveling from Oregon to California are equal parts poignant, hilarious, and unforgettable. Like “Westworld,” the story presents a slightly off-kilter image of the Wild West that leaves you wondering whether the search for adventure is worth the price you pay to find it.