Five unforgettable novels on the impact of technology.
Five best novels on technology
There really are a lot of fantastic novels written about the impact of technology. It's not easy to get the best 5 out of those, but we made an effort. If you don't agree, no problem, let us know using the form below and maybe we'll replace one of our suggestions with yours!
And yes, these are as much novels on technology as they are about human nature. That's no surprise, after all, technology is our next nature.
The world of novels about the impact of technology is full of dystopian stories. Best of all is 1984 by George Orwell. Fantastically written, oppressive and still incredibly relevant and topical. A book to read and read again.
For example, in our world today there is a lot of doublethink: "the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them." And, if you think privacy is an issue now, than Orwell has some advice for the future: "If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself."
Read it, because Big Brother is watching you.
Next is the cyberpunk classic Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Fun, stylish and the book in which the term Metaverse was introduced. Snow Crash tells the story of Hiro Protagonist, a katana-wielding hacker who jumps back and forth between dystopian Los Angeles and a virtual world called the Metaverse. Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy host David Barr Kirtley notes that the novel has inspired countless entrepreneurs and inventors, including John Carmack, Reid Hoffman, and Palmer Luckey. “I started making a list of everyone in Silicon Valley who’s cited this work as inspiring them,” Kirtley says, “and I just kind of stopped at a certain point, because it was basically everyone.”
Quote: “It was, of course, nothing more than sexism, the especially virulent type espoused by male techies who sincerely believe that they are too smart to be sexists.”
1984 was incredibly dystopian. Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is more subtle. Nothing seems wrong with this world. In fact, it seems like a perfect world or is it even scarier than 1984 for that reason? Brave New World is a literary classic and foundational work of dystopian literature, it still sparks discussions about technology, politics, and consumer culture almost 100 years after it was published. Like A perfect Day by Ira Leven, this book helps you think about all those problems that we want to solve with technology and whether that is such a good strategy.
Quote: "But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin!"
The fourth novel is maybe the best and for sure the funniest novel on the impact of technology. The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams. A surprisingly timely book, with highlights such as Marvin, the Paranoid Android (right, Radiohead) and Deep Thought, the super-intelligent computer that formulates the answer to life, the universe and everything: 42. Only nobody knows why, but the solution is well known: building an even bigger computer to calculate the question.
Also, Douglas Adams goes to extreme lengths to describe how the technology of his world works – such as the telepathic Babel Fish which can translate all known languages, and the Infinite Improbability Drive which powers the spaceship Heart of Gold. The explanations are clearly absolutely bonkers, yet with casual references to ‘Brownian Motion’ (one of Einstein’s earliest contributions to physics) Adams slyly shows that he knows his stuff. But most of all, Douglas Adams is truly a word master.
Could anyone else have put the English language together in such a way as to create the sentence “The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t”?
There are so many great - or insightfull novels on the impact of technology. There is The Circle, I hate the Internet, Bad Blood, Ready Player One and novels with robots such as Machines Like Me and I, Robot and - for our last book: Klara and The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro.
The Booker winner’s brilliant eighth novel expands on his theme of what it means to be not-quite-human, exploring love and loyalty through the eyes of an android. This is a book – a brilliant one, by the way – again exploring what it means to be not-quite-human, drawing its power from the darkest shadows of the uncanny valley.
This list of books is the result of your suggestions. Do you have a suggestion for an even better novel on the impact of technology? Let us know with the contact form below and also let us know which book should be removed from the list.