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!

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.]

  • Margaret Atwood, “Oryx and Crake” [Autist’s Corner]
  • 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.]
  • 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
  • Kara Barbieri, “White Stag”
  • 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”
  • Grady P. Brown, “The Young Guardians and the Genesis Spell” and others
  • Jennifer Brozek, “Never Let Me Sleep” and others
  • Claudia Casser, “No Child Left Behind”
  • Rosemarie Cawkwell, “Hidden Fire” and others
  • Mitchell Christian, “Spurious Transmissions: Six Diverse Tales of Short Speculative Fiction”
  • Caitlin Demaris, “Shadow Game”
  • Daley Downing, “Masters and Beginners”
  • Corinne Duyvis, “The Art of Saving the World”
  • Meg Eden, “Post-High School Reality Quest” and others
  • Will Hadcroft, “Anne Droyd and the House of Shadows”
  • Erika Hammerschmidt, “If the World Ended, Would I Notice?”
  • Talia Hibbert, “Mating the Huntress”
  • Mike Jung, “Unidentified Suburban Object” and others
  • C.E. Kilgore, “Not In Kansas Anymore” and others
  • Yoon Ha Lee, “The Fox’s Tower and Other Stories” and “Dragon Pearl”
  • C.L. Lynch, “Chemistry”
  • Luna Lindsey, “Emerald City Dreamer” and others
  • L.C. Mawson, “Hunt” and others
  • Jess Mahler, “The Bargain”
  • Ana Mardoll, “No Man of Woman Born”
  • Elizabeth May, “The Falconer” and others
  • Mickey Mayhew, “The Barrow Boys of Barking”
  • Emmie Mears, “The Masked Songbird” and others
  • Caiseal Mór, “Lady of the Lamp” and others
  • Athlynne Morley, “The Happiness to Sleep”
  • Franklin Newman, “The Sorceress of Shandigore” and others
  • Raphael Ordoñez, “Dragonfly” and “The King of Nightspore’s Crown”
  • Lola Phoenix, “The Visitors”
  • Tyrel Pinnegar, “MARiiMO”
  • Dawn Prince-Hughes, “Adam”
  • K.A. Reynolds, “The Spinner of Dreams” and “The Land of Yesterday”
  • Jennifer Lee Rossman, “Anachronism”
  • Kaelan Rhywiol, “Ilavani” and others
  • Will Rogers, “The Stonking Steps: A Journey Through ING-ONG-UNG”
  • Kathry Rossati, “The Origin Stone”
  • Don Sakers, “All Roads Lead to Terra” and others
  • Robert S. Sanders Jr., “Mission of the Galactic Salesman” and others
  • Rudy Simone, “Orsath”
  • Lesley L. Smith, “The Quantum Cop” and others
  • Roman Soiko, “May 7” and others
  • Kaia Sønderby, “Testing Pandora” and others
  • Roanna Sylver, “Chameleon Moon” and others
  • Chrysoula Tzavelas, “Matchbox Girls” and others
  • Bijhan Valibeigi, “Beginning of a Bizarre Friendship: A Time Wars Tale”
  • Alison Venugoban, “Duality” and others
  • CM Weller, “Hevun’s Rebel” and others
  • DJ Wilde, “Chaos Rising” and others
  • Jen Wilde, “As They Rise” and others
  • Jamie Zakian, “Project Emergence”

Other Books

  • Ann Aguirre, “The Demon Prince”
  • 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”
  • Eric Bernt, “The Speed of Sound”
  • Franny Billingsley, “Chime”
  • John Birmingham, “A Protocol for Monsters”
  • James Bradley, “Clade”
  • Stefan Brijs, “The Angel Maker”
  • Douglas Coupland, “Jpod”
  • David Brin, “Existence”
  • William C. Deitz, “Mass Effect: Deception”
  • Philip K. Dick, “Martian Time Slip” [See Bogi Takács’ comment.]
  • Craig DiLouie, “One of Us”
  • Keith Donohue, “The Boy Who Drew Monsters” [see Rhoda Nightingale’s comment] and “The Stolen Child” [see Chavisory’s comment]
  • Greg Egan, “Distress”
  • Christine Feehan, “Water Bound” [See Verwirrung’s comment.]
  • Mike Fletcher, “88”
  • William Gibson, “All Tomorrow’s Parties”
  • Kathleen Anne Goonan, “Light Music”
  • Mira Grant, “Into the Drowning Deep”
  • 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”
  • Kathy Hoopmann, “Of Mice and Aliens: An Asperger’s Adventure”
  • 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”
  • Maggie Shen King, “An Excess Male”
  • 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”
  • J.G. Lindsay, “The Boy From Glass”
  • Liu Cixin, “The Dark Forest” and “Death’s End” [sequels to “The Three-Body Problem“]
  • Sonia Orin Lyris, “The Seer”
  • Emily McKay, “The Lair”
  • Pat Murphy, “The City, Not Long After”
  • Louise Marley, “The Child Goddess”
  • Sonia Orin, “The Seer”
  • Roan Parrish, “The Remaking of Corbin Wale”
  • Celia Rees, “Truth or Dare” and “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”
  • Theodore Sturgeon, “More Than Human”
  • Cidney Swanson, “Saving Mars”
  • Monica Tesler, “Bounders” and others
  • 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.]

49 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. Pingback: Why Autistic People should still Research Autistic Characters | A.C. Buchanan
  7. 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.

  8. I recommend adding “No Child Left Behind” by Claudia Casser. She has other fiction on her blog (http://www.ethicalantics.com/blog/), has been featured on The Art of Autism (http://the-art-of-autism.com/?s=casser) and Learn from Autistics (learnfromautistics.com/tag/claudia-casser/), and won a Speculative Fiction contest at Issues in Science and Technology (http://www.ethicalantics.com/read-heirs-of-the-body-online/, http://issues.org/31-4/heirs-of-the-body/).

  9. I just sent you a comment with links. I’ve reproduced it below without links in case the previous one was labeled as spam.

    I recommend adding “No Child Left Behind” by Claudia Casser. She has other fiction on her blog, has been featured on The Art of Autism and Learn from Autistics, and won a Speculative Fiction contest at Issues in Science and Technology.

    1. Hi there! The previous comment wasn’t marked as spam, but I do moderate my comment section which means comments may take a while to show up. Anyway, “No Child Left Behind” looks fun and is certainly relevant to Autistic Book Party. I’ll add it to the list, and will take a peek at Claudia’s other fiction.

  10. I hope you enjoy Claudia Casser’s fiction as much as I do. I expect she may offer you a free copy of “No Child Left Behind” to review if you ask her.

    Have you compared your list to those of Kaelan Rhywiol (https://kaelanrhywiol.com/autistic-authors/) and Lizzie Huxley-Jones (https://huxtales.wordpress.com/the-essential-autistic-list/) to see if they have relevant books to add?

    Thanks for providing this resource to the Autistic community.

    1. I’m aware of Kaelan Rhywiol’s list – they actually have very few SFF authors, but they were also how I discovered that RoAnna Sylver was autistic, so overall that’s a win. I wasn’t aware of Lizzie Huxley-Jones’s list, so thanks for pointing that out – I’ve bookmarked it and will check it over when I get a chance.

  11. Ada, are you familiar with Autistic writer Sunyi Dean (nycteris.com/)? “Her first and keenest love is for speculative fiction, which includes science fiction and fantasy in their near-infinite variety; in particular, she is drawn to stories which blur genre lines, and borrow heavily from the literary side.”

  12. Please consider adding the following speculative fiction authors to your list.

    Jennifer Lee Rossman, who has several short stories on her blog jenniferleerossman.blogspot.com and her amazon.com page is amazon.com/Jennifer-Lee-Rossman/e/B07BBNTF1Y

    Robin M. Eames, whose publications are listed at robinmeames.org/publications/.

    Rain/Aeon, who blogs at rainsymphony.wordpress.com, rainwaterspark.dreamwidth.org, and nordstjarnan.livejournal.com. You’ll have to contact them to find out their pen name and publications list.

    1. Jennifer Lee Rossman I can certainly add. Short stories don’t go on this particular list (although they can be reviewed in a Short Story Smorgasbord) and unfortunately I don’t have a category for anthologies edited by autistic people right now, but I see that she has a novella-length book out on Kindle so I can add that.

      Robin M. Eames doesn’t seem to have a full book out, but I can certainly add them to my bookmarks for a future Smorgasbord. I can’t believe I missed that they were autistic when I reviewed Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction – I’ll have to rectify that soon!

      I don’t think I can add Rain at the moment, though. If their pen name isn’t publicly out as autistic or associated with their out identity, then that may a conscious choice on their part, and I don’t want to be the one to out them!

    1. Hi! Thanks for the links, and I’m sorry I forgot to reply earlier in the month! I’ve now added both Daley Downing and Kathryn Rossati.

      (ETA: And also C.G. Drews! I’m only partway through my morning coffee and it somehow escaped me on my first read that I hadn’t already added her, whoops.)

      (Double ETA: Actually… maybe… not C.G. Drews? I’m looking at the summaries of her published books, and I’m not sure I see a speculative element? She seems to have an (empty) review archive for epic fantasy, but not an epic fantasy out of her own? Tell me if I’m missing something, though.)

  13. Yes, I had the same misgivings about C.G. Drews because her self-description didn’t match the book summaries. I recommend you contact her to see if she has speculative fiction in the works, and ask her to offer you review copies if/when they get published.

    Do you want me to ask Autistic authors of speculative fiction to offer you review copies of their work, or would you rather ask them yourself?

    Do you know if there’s a way to subscribe to comments on this page, so I get notified when you respond? Currently I can only subscribe to posts, not comments.

    1. There should be a way, but I’m not really sure. Also, I seem to have missed the notification when you responded as well, so… clearly my WordPress comment-fu is not great. (If you want a faster response, you can feel free to email me.)

      Right now most of my reviews for Autistic Book Party are books that my Patreon backers ask me to review. I can’t always guarantee that an unsolicited review copy will be looked at. But when I get review copies from people I do let my backers know and ask if they’re interested. If you want to let people know about me as a person who reviews autistic books and who MIGHT be interested in a review copy but who can’t necessarily get to them all, that’s fine with me. But I also don’t, like, need you to do so if you didn’t want to already – does that make sense?

  14. Yes, that makes sense. I am more concerned with helping you make your list more complete (to increase visibility for Autistic authors and so others can use it as a reference) than I am about seeing items reviewed.

    Emmalia Harrington is an Autistic nonfiction writer with a deep love of speculative fiction who has published the story BARBARA IN THE FRAME in FIYAH (a quarterly speculative fiction magazine). Does she qualify for your list?

  15. (My apologies if I use the wrong terminology and/or misunderstand autism or related concepts here.)

    “The R-Master” by Gordon R. Dickson, 1973

    (There is an “expanded and revised edition” titled “The Last Master” in 1984, but I have not read it.)

    In a moderately bureaucratic but sorta-utopian future there is a drug R-47, which usually causes a slight increase in intelligence, rarely causes severe brain damage, and even more rarely turns a person into an “R-Master.”

    An R-master is someone capable of triggering a mental state where they can focus in on problems and find solutions to them, often brilliant ones that wouldn’t result from analysis by people who aren’t R-Masters. Which seems something like a commonplace perception of autism, which is why I am bringing it up here. How it relates to reality, I won’t pretend to have any idea.

    Etter Ho takes the drug and becomes an R-Master, and then becomes a sort of cross between a ward of the state and an elite problem solver. But as things go on he finds out that many things about the world are not as they seem, mysterious stuff is going on, etc. He starts digging, trying to figure out What Is Really Going On, and events ensue.

    1. Hmm, that sounds a bit like the Focus in “A Deepness in the Sky” – a fictional, artificially-induced condition vaguely like autism (although the specifics differ).

      I don’t know if I want to add that to the list? With fictional, vaguely-autism-like conditions I often take it on a case by case basis. “A Deepness in the Sky” had an actually autistic alien as well as the Focused humans.

    1. I am hesitant to include non-book publications on this list simply because this list is so huge already and there are SO MANY other forms of publication – I don’t think I could keep up with the cognitive load of also listing every autism-relevant speculative TV show or short story. ESPECIALLY short story, even though I do try to review a fair number of those.

      Self-published books absolutely do qualify and I have listed many of them here. Book-length stories on blogs or Wattpad I am a little more iffy about – I have a few listed currently already, but as the list gets bigger and more unwieldy, I’ve seriously considered eventually taking them off.

      And thanks for catching the error on the Bibliography page. Fixed now.

Leave a Reply to Edward Bornstein Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.