Autistic Book List

For Autistic Book Party and for general curiosity purposes, here’s a list of all the autistic speculative fiction books I’m aware of. This means either spec fic with one or more autistic characters, or spec fic by authors who openly identify as autistic. (Some autistic authors don’t want to be known as autistic authors, for various reasons. This is fine. But, sadly, it means I cannot list those authors here.)

I don’t necessarily endorse all of these books. Most of them are books I haven’t read. I’ll probably never get done reviewing the whole list, but it will be updated with reviews as necessary.

If you know of something else I ought to add to this list, please leave a comment!

NOTE: Some of these reviews are temporarily down because they were hosted on the old Livejournal version of Autistic Book Party. They will be going back up over the next few months as part of the Vintage Autistic Book Party series. Thanks for your patience.

Books I Have Reviewed

[For a more organized list of reviews with more comments, plus short stories, click here.]

Books Someone Else Has Reviewed

[Note that a review only counts for this section if it’s a substantial review talking about the book’s treatment of autism. Reviews that talk about autism but are not by autistic people may or may not qualify. A book by an autistic person without autistic characters, reviewed by an autistic person, may also count.]

  • Franny Billingsley, “Chime” [Eloria Smith’s review.]
  • William C. Dietz, “Mass Effect: Deception” [crunchochocobo’s not-a-review.]
  • Michael Grant, “Gone” and sequels [Corinne Duyvis’s review.]
  • Shaunta Grimes, “Viral Nation” [Corinne Duyvis and s.e. smith’s review here]
  • Emily McKay, “The Farm” [Inverarity’s review.]
  • Kaia Sønderby, “Failure to Communicate” [RoAnna Sylver’s review]
  • Anne Ursu, “The Real Boy” [Corinne Duyvis’s review.]

Spec Fic Books With Autistic Authors

[Other than the ones I have already reviewed. If an author has more than one book I have chosen one arbitrarily.]

  • Kathryn Andrews, “Deicide” and others
  • Asha Bardon, “The Changing of the Sun” and others
  • Manda Benson, “The Emerald Forge” [sequel to “Pilgrennon’s Beacon”]
  • Katie Bridges, “Warriors of the Edge” [The author talks here about how some of her story ideas came from her autistic experience.]
  • Grady P. Brown, “The Young Guardians and the Genesis Spell” and others
  • Jennifer Brozek, “Never Let Me Sleep” and others
  • Richard Ford Burley, “Mouse”
  • Will Hadcroft, “Anne Droyd and the House of Shadows”
  • Erika Hammerschmidt, “If the World Ended, Would I Notice?”
  • Luna Lindsey, “Emerald City Dreamer” and others
  • Emmie Mears, “The Masked Songbird” and others
  • Michael Scott Monje Jr., “The Mirror Project” and others
  • Caiseal Mór, “Lady of the Lamp” and others [including sequels to “The Meeting of the Waters”; Caiseal Mór talks to Donna Williams here about his life, including the challenges of being an autistic author trying to “pass”. Trigger warning (on the interview, not the book) for child abuse.]
  • Athlynne Morley, “The Happiness to Sleep”
  • Franklin Newman, “The Sorceress of Shandigore” and others
  • Dawn Prince-Hughes, “Adam”
  • Will Rogers, “The Stonking Steps: A Journey Through ING-ONG-UNG”
  • Don Sakers, “All Roads Lead to Terra” and others
  • Robert S. Sanders Jr., “Mission of the Galactic Salesman” and others
  • Lesley L. Smith, “The Quantum Cop” and others
  • Roman Soiko, “May 7” and others
  • Kaia Sonderby, “Testing Pandora” and others
  • Chrysoula Tzavelas, “Citadel of the Sky” and others
  • Bijhan Valibeigi, “Beginning of a Bizarre Friendship: A Time Wars Tale”
  • Alison Venugoban, “Duality” and others
  • DJ Wilde, “Chaos Rising” and others

Other Books

  • Wendy C. Allen, “For Fear of Little Men”
  • Margaret Atwood, “Oryx and Crake” [See Bogi Takács’ comments [1] and [2] and Sheogorath’s comment.]
  • Richard Bachman, “The Regulators”
  • Chris Barzak, “The Language of Moths”
  • Bradley P. Beaulieu, “The Winds of Khalakovo”
  • Stefan Brijs, “The Angel Maker”
  • David Brin, “Existence”
  • Philip K. Dick, “Martian Time Slip” [See Bogi Takács’ comment.]
  • Keith Donohue, “The Boy Who Drew Monsters” [See Rhoda Nightingale’s comment.]
  • Greg Egan, “Distress”
  • Christine Feehan, “Water Bound” [Note: This is paranormal romance, which may or may not count as spec fic depending on how you like to draw genre boundaries. Also, see Verwirrung’s comment.]
  • Mike Fletcher, “88”
  • William Gibson, “All Tomorrow’s Parties”
  • Kathleen Anne Goonan, “Light Music”
  • Shaunta Grimes, “Rebel Nation” [sequel to “Viral Nation”]
  • James L. Halperin, “The Truth Machine”
  • Elizabeth Hand, “Chip Crockett’s Christmas Carol”
  • Elizabeth Hand, “Winterlong”
  • Rachel Hartman, “Seraphina”
  • Jim C. Hines, the “Libriomancer” series [See Hines’ comment here.]
  • Matt Hughes, “Costume Not Included” and “Hell to Pay” [sequels to “The Damned Busters”]
  • Randall Ingermanson, “Double Vision”
  • James B. Johnson, “Daystar and Shadow”
  • Drew Karpyshyn, “Mass Effect: Ascension”
  • Drew Karpyshyn, “Mass Effect: Retribution”
  • Stephen King, “The Regulators”
  • Jeffrey D. Kooistra, “Dykstra’s War”
  • Dean Koontz, “Frankenstein: Prodigal Son”
  • Hari Kunzru, “Gods Without Men”
  • Kathryn Lasky, “Home Free”
  • Megan Lindholm, “The Reindeer People” and “Wolf’s Brother”
  • Pat Murphy, “The City, Not Long After”
  • Louise Marley, “The Child Goddess”
  • Sonia Orin, “The Seer”
  • Celia Rees, “The Truth Out There”
  • Mira Rothenberg, “Children With Emerald Eyes”
  • Mary Doria Russell, “Children of God”
  • Robert J. Sawyer, “WWW: Watch”
  • Charles Sheffield, “Putting Up Roots: A Jupiter Novel”
  • Delia Sherman, “Changeling”
  • Theodore Sturgeon, “More Than Human”
  • Cidney Swanson, “Saving Mars”
  • Monica Tesler, “Bounders”
  • Scott Westerfield, “Last Days”
  • F. Paul Wilson, “The Touch” [Note: See Cat’s comment.]
  • Robert Charles Wilson, “Spin” [Note: See paisley’s comment here.]

Recycle Bin

[These stories were recommended to me as speculative fiction with one or more autistic characters, but they are either not speculative or do not contain autistic characters. They might be perfectly good books, but they don’t belong on the main lists.]

  • Iain Banks, “The Quarry” [Not speculative, but the author is a famous science fiction writer, and the protagonist is autistic.]
  • Katherine Erskine, “Mockingbird” [Probably not speculative.]
  • Ellen Klages, “The Green Glass Sea” [Science-y but not speculative, and the presence of autism is debatable.]
  • J.J. Houtman, “The Reinvention of Edison Thomas” [Science-y but not speculative.]
  • Stieg Larsson, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” [Crime fiction without speculative elements.]
  • Jonathan Lethem, “Motherless Brooklyn” [Crime fiction without speculative elements. Also about Tourette’s, not autism.]
  • Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz, “Colin Fischer” [Co-author Zack Stentz is autistic, but it is not speculative fiction. Also, see Corinne Duyvis’s review.]
  • Mary Doria Russell, “Doc: A Novel” [This does not appear to be speculative fiction or to have an autistic character. Cursory Googling suggests that a fan meant to recommend “Children of God” but got the titles mixed up.]

14 Replies to “Autistic Book List”

  1. I recall F. Paul Wilson’s The Touch having an autistic character. I read it when I was quite young, and the little I remember about the portrayal of that character suggests that it might have been problematic.

  2. Are you going to review Iain Banks’ last book, Quarry? It’s not SF per se, but its by an author who did some major SF, and its main character/protagonist is portrayed as neuro-atypical, although a I don’t think the words ‘autism’ or ‘Aspergers’ are ever used.. I’d be interested in your perspective on it.

    1. Interesting! The Wikipedia page uses the word “autism” in the synopsis, so that’s good enough for me on the autism front. 🙂

      I do not plan to review books that are not speculative fiction at this time, but since the authors is a famous speculative fiction author, it arguably counts. I think I’ll put it next to “Blindsight” by Peter Watts (a book which marginally fails to be on the list for another reason, but which is interesting enough from a neurodiversity perspective that I might end up reviewing it at some point anyway). Thanks!

  3. Margaret Atwood, “Oryx and Crake”
    It’s funny you should mention this title because I bought a copy on the recommendation of a guy in Waterstone’s, then went back in to explain that one of the secondary main characters (the ‘Crake’ of the title) comes off more as a psycho than an Aspie to this Autie, and I reckoned that people think he’s an Aspie just because he’s educated at a place nicknamed ‘Asperger’s U’, something not outside the reach of someone with antisocial personality disorder given how intelligent they often are.

  4. There are two books I’ve read that I think you should check out when you have the chance.

    Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
    Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

    I love Mockingbird, but Rain Reign is so flawed that I can’t enjoy it, the main character’s father being the biggest flaw in the book. I’d love to see your reviews on them. Both have main characters with high functioning autism.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations! Adding them.

      Fair warning: Autistic Book Party is reeeeeally behind schedule right now, but it’s still a thing.

    2. Wait. Before I actually add them, a note: Do either of these books have speculative elements? (Science fiction, magical realism, etc.) I’m not seeing any when I look them up in the Wikipedia, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. (Also I’m tired. Would have looked them up before making the previous comment otherwise. La la la.)

  5. Apex Magazine recently published a story featuring an autistic character: http://www.apex-magazine.com/keep-talking/
    (It’s not something that I’d personally recommend, though you might want to check it out for yourself and see what you think.)

    Also: it’s been a long time since I read this one, but I seem to remember there being a scene in Spin by Robert Charles Wilson where the main character’s girlfriend speculated that he might have Asperger’s. I’m not sure whether that was meant to be taken seriously or not, and I can’t remember whether or not the character seemed autistic to me or not, but it might be something worth checking out.

    1. Thanks! The Apex story is definitely something I want to check out, bad or good.

      I’ve read Spin but it was ages ago, before I was doing Book Party-ish stuff (or really knew anything about autism and disability portrayals) and I hardly remember anything about it. I’ll have to look at it again at some point.

  6. Hi Ada! I saw Mockingbird in the “other” category as well as the recycle bin and just wanted to confirm it’s not speculative. Totally contemp. Als, there’s some books duplicated in the “other” category that you’d already linked to above? Not sure if that’s intentional.

    This is such a good list. I really must check out more of these!

    1. Oops! Good catch. Apparently I tried to move a bunch of things out of the Other category but forgot to. Definitely not intentional. Will fix.

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