Hi, it’s Sabrina! Having only seen ten episodes of Black Mirror, I’m possibly not the most qualified to write this post, but I’m doing it anyway. I tend to enjoy books like this, and they really intrigue me so I have a fairly long list.
I also want to say – if you tried just the first episode and hated it, I urge you to give a different episode a go. I fortunately accidentally watched the first episode of season three first, otherwise I would have dropped the series and never returned. Seriously, I can not warn you off of the actual first episode enough.
Anyway, back to the post: I am about to suggest to you some books that have a similar vibe to the TV show. In general, they are stories that showcase the significant, personal impacts on individuals that technology, (often specifically new technology), can have – especially when it has changed something about the way society functions. I’d say they also frequently explore morality, which is a theme in many of the books in this list. From my experience with the tv show, there aren’t always happy endings. The books I chose are not all heavy sci-fi (just like not all the episodes are sci-fi) so I hope you find something here that interests you!
👾 Stronger, Faster, And More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton
I figure I’ll get this one out of the way first, since I’ve mentioned it a lot recently. I loved this collection of interconnected short sci-fi stories that get progressively more extreme. This is most comparable to ironic episodes of the show, with each story focusing on the twists and turns in an individual’s life that occur as a result of new technology.
👾 The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This classic is near the start of the list because it is probably the one that fits the prompt the least. The societal changes experienced in this novel are not a result of new technology – honestly, they’re not really as a result of radiation either, which is what (I think) is given the blame. But, I chose this because the story revolves around one single character and the way her life has changed is changing on a personal level because of the society she lives in. It makes sense in my head anyway 😛
👾 Unwind by Neal Shusterman
It’s been a while since I’ve read this YA sci-fi dystopian, but I remember how it made me feel pretty well. It follows the experiences of a few characters and the very different ways their lives have been impacted by “unwinding” – the medical procedure which takes people apart in order to give their bodies to others. It’s fast-paced and exciting, and also has parallels to the real world which make you think.
👾 The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa
In contrast to Unwind, this book is more on the slow and reflective side. It’s an adult sci-fi set on an island where objects are regularly “disappeared” and everyone must forget about their existence. The focus is on one character, her relationships and her journey.
👾 The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
I hesitated to add this YA sci-fi thriller to the list, but ultimately I decided it belongs for a few reasons. Again, the focus is on one character and their life – this time on a spaceship in the aftermath of a big plan going wrong. The other way technology comes into play is in this character’s communication with Earth.
👾 Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
I haven’t spoke about this book for a little while now, but it fits this post pretty perfectly, I think, especially because of the different turns it takes and the way the premise not only impacts the main character but his romantic relationship and the way he thinks about it. It’s a fast paced adult sci-fi which I am, once again, recommending to you!
👾 Cry Blue Murder by Kim Kane and Marion Roberts
It has been years since I picked up this quick contemporary YA mystery about an email friendship between two schoolgirls following the abduction and attempted murder of a girl from their area. I think this relates to Black Mirror both because of the mystery (specifically, the twist) and that it’s told almost entirely through emails.
👾 Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
This is an incredible short story collection, and as such, some more than others relate to Black Mirror. I think the stories “Zimmerland” and “The Era” are the most comparable and were two of my favourites in the collection. This is definitely on the darker side, so be warned!
👾 They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
This YA is mostly contemporary with one crucial sci-fi element: the morning of the day you die, you recieve a call telling you that it’s going to happen and there’s nothing you can do to change it. Another element of technology in the story is the Last Friend app which helps connect people that are going to die with others on their final day. It definitely fits the vibe of the TV show if you ask me.
👾 Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Of all the books on this list, I think this adult contemporary sci-fi is the one that focuses most on the political implications of new technology along with the impacts on individuals. In this case, the new technology is a giant, glowing hand found buried underground.
👾 The Weight of Our Stars by K. Ancrum
This is another book that is mostly contemporary with only a small, but significant, sci-fi element: space travel. It’s also more on the romantic side (which I have seen done in Black Mirror, even if it’s not the majority of their episodes). I love this book with all my heart so I cannot recommend it enough.
👾 Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson
This is a pretty classic “dangers putting yourself out there on the internet” book, which I think fits this post! The main character writes a blog post about murders in fiction and someone starts committing those murders in real life (so if any of you reading this were considering writing a post like that, maybe you should reconsider, lol).
👾 More Than This by Patrick Ness
Everyone says it’s best to go into this YA blind, and unfortunately I have to agree with them. Knowing it has an atmosphere and plot that reminds me of Black Mirror will have to be enough for you!
👾 Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
This classic is told through a man’s diary entries and as such, is about as personal as you can get. The protagonist is the subject of an intelligence experiment, and it follows his journey through the consequences of that. I wouldn’t read the synopsis if you don’t already know what this one is about because it is a short book and I feel like the GR synopsis in particular recaps the entire thing.
👾 I See You by Clare Mackintosh
This adult thriller is yet another book about the dangers of the internet – even if you personally use it responsibly. It’s more of a slow one, but it really had me questioning the way we live our lives. I didn’t like this one as much as one of the author’s other books, I Let You Go, but it was good all the same.
What do you think?
Have you read any of these books or watched any Black Mirror? Do you agree with my suggestions? Do you have any suggestions for books that would fit in with this list? Let me know in the comments!