Last year, I published a roundup list of The 105 Best Philosophical Novels. Obviously, several new philosophical novels were published during the remainder of 2017 and this past year. In an effort to keep my list up-to-date, I am releasing annual rankings of the best philosophical novels published each year. Here are the best philosophical novels of 2018 based on curated lists from The Guardian, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly and more, suggestions from readers on Goodreads and Reddit, and ratings on Goodreads and Amazon.
To complement these rankings, I have created two pieces of bonus content:
- Philosophical fiction recommendations from thirteen contemporary philosophical fiction authors like Tom Sweterlitsch (author of the number three book on this list), Daniel Quinn and
- A one-page PDF shopping guide to the complete list of The Best Philosophical Novels.
You can access both of these free resources using the form below. And now, on with The Best Philosophical Novels of 2018!
4. Upstate by James Wood
When his philosophy professor daughter’s boyfriend sends word from America that she has fallen into a severe depression, a father and his younger daughter travel from England to accompany her through six days of soul-searching in snowy upstate New York. The Washington Post listed Upstate as one of the year’s fifty notable works of fiction.
3. The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch
In Sweterlitsch’s debut novel, NCIS agent Shannon Moss is assigned to investigate the 1997 murder of a Navy SEAL’s family and locate his disappeared teenage daughter. When she learns the SEAL was involved in an experimental time travel project, she journeys to the future in the hopes of finding clues to the case, only to discover that failing to solve this murder could lead to the extinction of humanity. The Gone World was a semifinalist in the Science Fiction category of the Goodreads Choice Awards.Click here to download book recommendations from Tom Sweterlitsch and several other philosophical fiction authors.
2. The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
A young woman schemes her way across eighteenth-century Europe, pursuing her dream of attending medical school while avoiding undesirable suitors. Lee’s follow-up to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue was named a finalist in the Young Adult Fiction category of the Goodreads Choice Awards.
1. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
This sequel to last year’s third-best philosophical novel (Scythe) continues the saga of a world controlled by the eminently powerful and knowledgeable artificial intelligence Thunderhead, where humans do not die naturally and must be culled by trained “scythes.” Two young scythes fight the murderous status quo while Thunderhead begins to question its role in a society on the brink of disaster. Thunderhead was a finalist in the Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy category of the Goodreads Choice Awards.