HBO’s ‘Westworld’: Watched it? Read these!

By Collection Management Librarian Dontaná McPherson-Joseph

Westworld is back!  In the third season of HBO’s futuristic drama (starring Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Tessa Thompson, and Jeffrey Wright), main character Dolores has taken the train from the Westworld park into the real world, determined to destroy humanity. Whether you’ve been along for the ride since season one or are just starting the journey, here are some books that explore the same themes.

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HBO’s Westworld read-alikes


I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

Why you should try it: I, Robot, like the newest season of Westworld, describes what would happen if the robots gained consciousness and set out to take over the world.

Description: A classic collection of interlocking tales chronicles the near-future development of the robot and features models that have the ability to read minds, experience human emotions, and take over the world—and, perhaps, render humankind itself obsolete.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand & Libby (ebook & digital audiobook)

Speak by Louisa Hall

Why you should try it: Two major themes in both Westworld and Speak are the concepts of memory and humanity. What makes a human? Is it consciousness? Is it memory? Is it the ability to communicate and connect?

Description: Exploring the creation of artificial intelligence and illuminating the very human need for communication, connection, and understanding, a thought-provoking novel is told from the perspectives of five very different people from different times and places.

Stream & download with: Hoopla (ebook)

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Why you should try it: While Westworld‘s source is the 1973 Michael Crichton film, another reference point for the show is Huxley’s novel.

Description: Huxley’s vision of the future comes to life in his astonishing 1931 novel Brave New World—a world of tomorrow in which capitalist civilization has been reconstituted through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering—and its sequel, written thirty years after his classic novel of the future, in which Huxley describes the shocking scientific devices and techniques available to any group in a position to manipulate society.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand & Libby (ebook & digital audiobook)

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Why you should try it: Westworld‘s androids can swap bodies by putting their central unit, a silver ball, into different hosts. The focus on Dolores/Wyatt is mirrored here with Breg. This is the first of four novels.

Description: Now isolated in a single frail human body, Breq, an artificial intelligence that used to control a massive starship and its crew of soldiers, tries to adjust to her new humanity while seeking vengeance and answers to her questions.

Stream & download with: Media on Demand & Libby (ebook)

Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan

Why you should try it: Another body swapping novel, except instead of a central unit, it is an entire human consciousness put into a new body. It is the first in a trilogy and the source for the Netflix series of the same name.

Description: In a twenty-fifth century world in which death is nearly obsolete, former UN envoy Takeshi Kovacs, re-sleeved into a new body after a brutal death, finds himself caught in the middle of a deadly far-reaching conspiracy.

Stream & download with: Hoopla (digital audiobook), Media on Demand & Libby (ebook & digital audiobook)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Why you should try it: Best known for being the source material of Blade Runner, Phillip K. Dick’s classic novel, like the Westworld park, imagines a world where androids don’t realize they aren’t human and must be put down at the end of their contracted life term.

Description: A new edition of the science fiction classic, first published in 1968, captures the strange world of twenty-first-century Earth, a devastated planet in which incredibly realistic androids, banned from Earth, fight back against their potential destroyers.

Stream & download with: Hoopla (ebook), Media on Demand & Libby (ebook)

Librarian Dontaná McPherson-Joseph

About Dontaná

Dontaná is a Collection Management Librarian who was born with an unending reading list. She is almost always reading two books simultaneously and is easily distracted by cool covers.  

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