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12 books to read next if you love Becky Chambers’ hopeful writing

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The Long Road c. 1898 by Arthur Wesley Dow. The Cleveland Museum of Art.

Becky Chambers is a real gem. Her books are some of the most hopeful, cozy, and uplifting novels to retreat into right now, especially her recent Monk & Robot series.

The first book of the duology, A Psalm for the Wild-Built, is also one of my *go-to-immediately* recommendations for anyone feeling lost and directionless in life.

Photo by Sanne Vliegenthart

While the future may be uncertain – particularly when it comes to climate change – hopepunk authors like Becky Chambers are writing some of the few books that, as Alyssa Hull wrote in this excellent piece for Lit Hub, “are not naively optimistic about the future of our species and the others that inhabit this planet alongside us”.

If you love Becky Chambers’ writing, I’d absolutely recommend continuing with her other books, especially the Wayfarers series and her novella To Be Taught, If Fortunate.

(I’d also heartily recommend this wonderful interview by Wired with Becky Chambers: Is Becky Chambers the Ultimate Home for Science Fiction?)

But what about the other best books to read if you love Becky Chambers’ writing? Here are some of the best similar authors and books to read next if you love Becky Chambers and her hopepunk stories. Enjoy!

The best books like A Psalm for the Wild-Built if you love Becky Chambers

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Read Light From Uncommon Stars if… you love Becky Chambers’ writing most when it’s at its most joyful and interstellar.

Over on Reddit, Becky Chambers shared: “If you want something that will break your heart and put it back together, read Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki.”

How to describe Light From Uncommon Stars? Perhaps Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.

This book for fans of Becky Chambers is a defiantly joyful adventure set in California’s San Gabriel Valley, accompanied by cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts.

The Easy Life in Kamusari by Shion Miura

Read The Easy Life in Kamusari if… you love Becky Chambers’ themes of slowing down and being close to nature in the Monk & Robot books.

Here in Book 1 of Shion Miura’s Forest series, the contemporary and the traditional meet amid the splendor of Japan’s mountain way of life in a captivating and easygoing coming-of-age story.

We meet Yuki Hirano, who’s just out of high school when his parents enroll him, against his will, in a forestry training program in the remote mountain village of Kamusari.

At first Yuki is exhausted and feels like an outcast, but he soon learns to fell trees, plant saplings, and respect the forest and its secrets.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

Read The Left Hand of Darkness if… you want to read one of Becky Chambers’ favourite books and an iconic science fiction classic.

In a Reddit AMA in May 2023, one fan asked Becky Chambers about the books that had a profound impact on her life. Her delightful response: “The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin. That book fell into my scared, queer teenage hands exactly when I needed it.”

The Left Hand of Darkness is Ursula K. Le Guin’s classic story of two people, until recently strangers, who find themselves and their friendship on a tortuous 800-mile journey across a harsh and inhospitable icy landscape.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

Read The Goblin Emperor for… a fantasy classic with hopepunk messages about slowly changing society by Locus award winner and Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award finalist Katherine Addison.

In one of the Reddit AMAs with Becky Chambers, one fan commented that the closest fantasy book they’ve read to Chambers’ writing is The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison.

They explained: “It wasn’t trying to retread old epic storylines or be all GoT. It was telling a story about people in a fantasy setting that could only be told in a fantasy setting, but without troping the heck out of it.”

In this tale of deadly court intrigue, the youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile. That is, until a sudden accident leaves him with no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Dawn by Octavia Butler

Read Dawn if… you love Becky Chambers’ hopeful writing about rebuilding the world and a better future.

If you’ve heard of Octavia Butler, it’s probably because of her eerily prescient classic, Parable of the Sower. But Dawn is perhaps the best recommendation for fans of Becky Chambers, not least because Becky shared that the series (Lilith’s Brood) contains some of her favourite books.

When Lilith lyapo wakes from a centuries-long sleep, she finds herself aboard the vast spaceship of the Oankali – a seemingly benevolent alien race that intervened in the fate of humanity hundreds of years ago.

After a nuclear war, the Oankali saved everyone who survived, put them into a deep sleep, and then, rather generously, healed the planet and many human struggles. Now, they want Lilith to lead her people back to Earth.

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou by Hitoshi Ashinano

Read Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou if… you love A Psalm for the Wild-Built (and the idea of a critically acclaimed classic manga about an android running a coffee shop at the end of the world).

In a future Japan, long after an environmental catastrophe, an android named Alpha runs a small café in a seaside town.

Although this is ultimately a book about the end approaching, Alpha and her fellow residents still enjoy the melancholy beauty of life, standing witness with good coffee, a slice of watermelon, and the sound of moon guitar.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

Read All Systems Red if… you love watching the evolution of Becky Chambers’ characters and their friendships.

As you can probably gather from the cover of All Systems Red, don’t expect cozy and cuddly vibes from Martha Wells’s Murderbot Diaries series.

That said, you do get to watch the main character, a formerly murderous android, discover itself, grow, and discover friendships. Like A Psalm for the Wild Built, it’s another of the best hopepunk books you can read.

The Bear by Andrew Krivak

The Bear by Andrew Krivak book cover

Read The Bear if… you love Becky Chambers’ celebration of nature’s majesty and dominion in the Monk & Robot books.

The Bear is the most beautiful end-of-the-world book I’ve ever read, by quite some margin. Andrew Krivak’s short novel reads like a dream, even though it’s ultimately about loss.

It’s a story of the last two humans on earth, a father and daughter living in an Edenic future where they spend their time fishing and foraging while surrounded by lone mountains, whispering forests, and bears with poignant life lessons.

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

Legends & Lattes book

Read Legends & Lattes for… a book where slice-of-life meets cozy fantasy about an Orc Warrior who opens a coffee shop.

If you’re looking for something quirky and charming to read after Becky Chambers, Legends & Lattes is a fun, comfy and lighthearted read about following your dreams into new and unfamiliar places.

Genevieve Gornichec, author of The Witch’s Heart, writes: “Take a break from epic battles and saving the world. Legends & Lattes is a low-stakes fantasy that delivers exactly what’s advertised: a wholesome, cozy novel that feels like a warm hug. This is my new comfort read.”

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Read The House in the Cerulean Sea if… you love Becky Chambers’ themes of love, kindness, and the open-heartedness of good people.

For one of the most wholesome and heartwarming fantasy books ever written, read The House in the Cerulean Sea. Just like A Psalm for the Wild-Built, TJ Klune’s bestseller is another of the books most frequently recommended in the bookish corners of Reddit.

There’s no drama in this uplifting feel-good book (that feels like a modern fairytale) about forty-year-old Linus Baker and the orphanage of six uniquely talented children he’s put in charge of under a highly classified assignment.

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher

Read A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking if… you love cozy, charming reads and fresh baked gingerbread.

In this Nebula award-winner, fourteen-year-old Mona isn’t like other wizards charged with defending the city. She can’t speak to water or control lightning… in fact, her only magic works on bread, and her familiar is a sourdough starter.

However, Mona’s world is turned upside down when she discovers a body on the bakery floor. Now it’s her time to truly step into her unique powers.

A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

Read A Master of Djinn if… you love the idea of a hopeful alt-history story set in a magical Cairo.

It’s 1912 in Cairo and Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities. However, she’s not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when an imposter causes unrest in the streets of Cairo that threatens to spill over onto the global stage, it’s up to Agent Fatma to unravel the mystery and restore peace to the city.

Still looking for more books like Becky Chambers’? Some more of Becky Chambers’ favourite books include Changing Planes by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, and Contact by Carl Sagan.

Becky Chambers has also named Nnedi Okorafor, Mary Robinette Kowal, Ann Leckie, Charlie Jane Anders, and Martha Wells as some of her favourite contemporary authors.

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