Science fiction with aspects that may appeal to iNat users

A while back I ran across a couple of interesting lists of science fiction books with specific themes that may be of interest to iNat users.

Unfortunately, both of these lists stops a few years back.

Botanically themed science fiction:

Squid themed science fiction: (link is not working, see archived version below)

There are a lot of individual books not listed in these collections, books like:

  • Children of Time and Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky (and much of his fantasy work… often focusing on insects or shape-shifters)
  • The Uplift Cycle by David Brin
  • Lobsters by Charles Stross
  • The Green Brain by Frank Herbert
  • etc

Does anyone else have any similar lists of science fiction with themes that may appeal to iNat users?
Books that should be added to those on the above lists.
Or individual books/series.


I highly, highly recommend Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, especially the first book, Annihilation.


Oh yes, that’s exactly the bock that flooded my mind when I read the topic of this entry. The nature descriptions are like a poem. Many other ingredients have a lynchian touch :)


The Semiosis Duology by Sue Burke.
To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

Many of Sheri S. Tepper’s books deal with genetics, evolution and the environment. Quite a few of her books are dated, but they are still great reads.
I especially enjoyed The Companions, but that’s probably because I’m so fond of dogs :).


The Semiosis duology is a fun read for ideas, but I didn’t like or feel invested in any of the characters.

Excellent premise and good exploration of the subject material though.

That’s in my stack of books to read. I was disappointed by the film, but I often am.

I like his other works.

The movie was 99% different to the book, so don’t use it as an indicator of the quality. They legit took out almost all the most important elements of the book, it was essentially a brand new movie rather than an adaptation

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Unfortunately, that’s all too common in adaptations of books to movies.

Consider Vurt and Pollen by Jeff Noon.


Avatar? Among other aspects of the movie, I was tickled by the adaptations displayed by the flora and fauna, and the notion there was a symbiotic connection with the Gaia being.


The ecosystem and the biodiversity was really well done in that movie.


Robert J. Sawyer’s Quintaglio Ascension trilogy tackles astronomy in the first book; evolution in the second book; and a frantic race to space in the final book. Oh, and the Quintaglios are a race of sapient Tyrannosaurs, have fun.

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Speaker for the Dead (sequel to Ender’s Game) by Orson Scott Card may be of interest to some iNatters. I think it’s less in the vein of what you’ve recommended, but there is a strong theme of morality involving the discovery of new species that could be detrimental to humans. Probably my favourite book.


In that respect, I recall Xenocide was an interesting book as well, but it’s been a long time (a note for the uninitiated - the first novel, Enders Game is great, but in no way involves other life forms, except indirectly). A lot of Iain Bank’s Culture novels have interesting novel life forms, and the idea of sentient artificial life is interesting. I have a kind of love/hate relationship with his novels. Often there are large parts where nothing really happens, and suddenly it all wraps up in 100 pages or so!
This is timely for me - I’ve been looking for more Sci Fi novels to read.


Great question:

I have a few good ones:

Semiosis and Interference by Sue Burke
Grass by Sherri S. Tepper

And kind of loosely, because of the “gardeners”, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood.

Happy Reading, y’all.


Grass I read when we were staying at the Wilderness National Park. In a raised log cabin, looking down on river and very tall reeds, among which the kayaks disappeared. Never. To be seen. Again.
Perfect setting!

Not a book and more fiction than science but
The world of the Monster Hunter series has always really appealed to me, as it basically takes a bunch of crazy kaiju-like beasts and dragons with equally crazy powers, and explains them/makes them act as just normal animals in universe.
The games have a theme that is something along the lines of “living in harmony with nature” as well, as you hunt the monsters not for sport, but for research and to maintain balance

Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks, for the Airsphere chapters.
I liked Grass too !


I really enjoyed Hellspark by Janet Kagan. As a general rule, the entire genre of ‘first contact’ books will probably appeal to zoologically-minded iNatterers.

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Oh, maybe Seanan McGuire’s Incryptid series. An extended family of cryptozoologists has many adventures researching and protecting naturally occurring, but not conventionally known Cryptid species (“…any creature whose existence has been suggested but not proven scientifically; term officially coined by cryptozoologist John E, Wall in 1983.”)… e.g., basilisks, gorgons, dragons, to names just a few.

They end up working in opposition to The Covenant of St. George, a sect of fanatics who want to kill all “unnatural” creatures, which they define as anything that was not on Noah’s Ark.

It’s a nice long series with both long and short fiction.