Orson Scott Card probably didn’t know he was drafting what would become a military sci-fi classic while working on the critically acclaimed and financially successful Ender’s Game. The novel went on to win numerous awards, spawn sixteen novels, thirteen short stories, forty-seven comic issues, an audio play, and a film.
Without question, Ender’s Game is one of the most influential military sci-fi novels ever published in the English language, selling over seven million copies worldwide; while being translated into thirty-four languages. The ‘Enderverse’ series has sold an estimated twenty million copies.
Today we’re going to take a look at twenty of the best books that resemble Ender’s Game. If you are a fan of military sci-fi and aren’t familiar with any of the novels on this list, quickly check out what you’re missing!
The Vagrant by Peter Newman is the first novel in ‘The Vagrant Trilogy,’ and follows a protagonist named Vagrant whose mission is to ensure a weapon that can save humanity is delivered to the Shining City.
The Vagrant Trilogy depicts a dark dystopian future that will appeal to a large group of sci-fi readers. The Vagrant blends fantasy elements, allowing the world to cast a wide net to fans of multiple genres.
You can purchase The Vagrant on Amazon right here.
Warship: Book One Of The Black Fleet Trilogy
Bestselling author Joshua Dalzelle didn’t stop writing great novels after the ‘Omega Force’ series; many would argue Dalzelle outdid himself with the Black Fleet Saga.
Warship is the first book of The Black Fleet trilogy. Dalzelle describes a time in the 25th century when humans have fallen back to their colonial ways, but this time in space!
After stretching their borders too far and not updating their defenses humanity is met with a new enemy that could bring about the extinction of mankind.
Captain Jackson Wolfe is determined to keep that from happening, and you can follow his journey through the troubling times which stand before him.
You can purchase Warship and the Entire Black Fleet Saga on Amazon here.
One of the more popular military science fiction novels, Starship Troopers, is Robert A. Heinlein’s most famous work. Book critics have argued whether the novel is a philosophical peace or Heinlein’s militaristic sermon.
Either way, the novel follows Johnnie Rico and his path during the war against Bugs in the Mobile Infantry Unit.
If you’re a big fan of philosophical takes and military adventures, this is a novel that you cannot afford to miss. The cultural references come across as thought pieces that progress the narrative forward, even more than the battles.
The story takes place 700 years in the future, where humanity is run by the military junta known as the Terran Federation. Basic civil rights are earned by serving the government, which is far from the democracy; which we know today.
You can purchase Starship Troopers and read about Johnnie Rico here.
The Forever War
The Forever War is the first part of a trilogy by Joe Halderman, which tackles many interesting concepts, including deep space travel, time dilation, and war against an alien enemy.
The protagonist is Private William Mandella, and he attempts to survive a seemingly endless war to return home to a planet that will have seen hundreds of years pass if he is to make it out alive.
The Forever War tackles several detailed plot concepts and grips readers to one cog in an endless war machine.
If you want to experience The Forever War, you can purchase it on Amazon here.
A Hymn Before Battle
The first entry to John Ringo’s ‘Legacy of the Aldenata’ series is A Hymn Before Battle. At its core, A Hymn Before Battle is the perfect example of military sci-fi.
While not completely straightforward, readers will be able to quickly adjust to the world Ringo creates in the series. Once again Earth is going to war; however, this time humanity is not alone…or is it?
The Galactic Federation lends a hand to humanity to fight the Posleen, but there is a catch. The onset of war doesn’t allow for perfect circumstances, so Earth rushes into battle to defend three worlds, but at what cost?
If A Hymn Before Battle tickles your fancy, you can find the entire series on Amazon here.
Terms Of Enlistment
Marko Kloss puts his flavor on military fantasy with the Frontline series. The journey begins with Terms of Enlistment, a story that follows Andrew, who enlists in the military due to promises of privilege, food, healthcare, and retirement.
However, Andrew finds out the terms of enlistment come with small print and are far more dangerous than what he was told during recruitment.
When Andrew leaves the slums for his galactic journey, will he find what he was looking for or regret?
If you want to start your Frontlines journey, you can pick up Terms of Enlistment here.
We All Died At Breakaway Station
Richard Meredith crafted this dark military sci-fiction novel in a way that helped spring the genre to life. Meredith used his military background to develop a memorable novel.
After being published in 1969, We All Died At Breakaway Station is remembered for its darkness and sense of duty. Despite being published nearly sixty years ago, few military sci-fi novels can touch the atmosphere Meredith created.
If you want to experience Captain Bracer and his crew’s journey, you can find the novel on Amazon here.
The Mote In God’s Eye
The Mote In God’s Eye is a novel by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, based in 3107 after The Second Empire is recovering from a civil war and using the Alderson Drive to control its territory.
However, an alien probe causes the military to send two naval ships on a scouting mission. What happens next?
What unravels led many to believe The Mote In God’s Eye is one of the best science fiction novels of all time; it’s definitely something you should experience if you haven’t already.
You can purchase The Mote In God’s Eye on Amazon here.
Old Man’s War
Old Man’s War is the first of six in a series by John Scalzi. The novel takes on several interesting premises that should excite readers unfamiliar with Scalzi’s work.
Earth is in multiple fights with aliens looking to colonize limited planets that are fit for life, the novel also introduces John Perry, who decided to enlist in the army on his 75th birthday.
In a different twist, older people are favored by the military over younger ones — explaining the title of the novel quite well.
If this grabs your attention, you can purchase Old Man’s War on Amazon here.
Author Tanya Huff and her five-part ‘Valor’ series begins with Valor’s Choice. Continuing a common theme, the protagonist, Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr, is a small cog in a war against an alien enemy.
After her platoon gets reassigned, things begin to unravel for Sergeant Kerr after a period of smooth sailing. What happens next is what makes Valor’s Choice well worth the read.
If you’re ready to join Sergeant Kerr and her platoon, you can purchase Valor’s Choice on Amazon here.
Earth Strike: Star Carrier Book One
Are you ready to embark on an epic that spans nine novels? Author Ian Douglas produced the right franchise for you.
Earth Strike is the first novel of the Star Carrier series and draws inspiration from Starship Troopers and The Forever War. However, Earth Strike is its original narrative.
In Earth Strike, humanity is attempting to become a new major intergalactic power and embarks on a war against a powerful empire. Join the massive star carrier known as America in humanity’s war of transcendence.
If you’re interested in starting this epic saga, you can purchase them all on Amazon here.
On Basilisk Station
Are you prepared to begin the epic journey focused on protagonist Honor Stephanie Alexander-Harrington? If not, get ready. Author David Webster has laid out an exciting best-selling journey that begins with On Basilisk Station.
This is an experience every military sci-fi fan needs to have. Honor Harrington is a heroine whose detail is incredibly impressive and should serve as an example for authors in numerous genres.
If you’re ready for Honor Harrington and her epic struggle, you can purchase the entire series on Amazon here.
The Lost Fleet: Dauntless
Jack Campbell, the author of the New York Times best-selling ‘The Lost Fleet’ series, begins the journey with Dauntless.
Dauntless brings a creative premise that sees the Alliance and the Syndics embroiled in a centuries-long war that sees the human Alliance losing quite badly.
However, hope comes in the form of Captain John “Black Jack” Geary who awakens from a century-long hibernation. His efforts at the beginning of the war turned him into an Alliance idol.
How does Black Jack respond? What mission will he undertake to bring victory to the Alliance?
If you’re interested, you can purchase Dauntless and the entire Lost Fleet series on Amazon here.
If you’re familiar with the video game Halo: Reach, Armor is a bit like that, but the environment is more hostile and dangerous by orders of magnitude.
The John Steakley novel takes place on the desolate planet known as Banshee. Humanity must find a way to conquer the planet to continue its interstellar empire.
Commando forces wear mech-like armor to survive the planet’s harsh conditions, and the protagonist, Felix must battle more than humanity’s enemies if he’s to survive another dangerous mission.
If you’re interested in checking out this thriller, you can purchase it on Amazon here.
All You Need Is Kill
All You Need Is Kill is by Japanese author, Hiroshi Sakurazaka. In the novel, Sakurazaka uniquely explores time loops, putting military recruit Keiji Kiriya through seemingly endless spells of fighting, and dying, only to wake again the next day to continue the process.
All You Need Is Kill is an action-packed novel for genre readers who love when the story stays on the battlefield. If that’s your poison, give this novel a quick read.
If that was enough to hook you, All You Need Is Kill is available on Amazon here.
Live Free Or Die
New York Times best-selling author John Ringo wrote the impressive ‘Troy Rising’ saga in three parts, beginning with Live Free or Die.
After a positive and peaceful first contact experience, Earth would not be so fortunate a second time. Now humanity must fight the Horvath to regain control of Earth and end the slavery of humanity.
Protagonist Tyler Vernon chooses to put the sword to the Horvath, but is that enough to bring the battle station known as Troy to life?
If you are a fan of Ender’s Game, Live Free or Die is a novel for you.
If you’re interested in purchasing Live Free or Die along with the entire Troy Rising series, it’s available on Amazon here.
The Prisoner’s Dilemma
Author Joe Kassabian begins the ‘Liberty of Death’ series with The Prisoner’s Dilemma. Protagonist Vincent Solaris is arrested and forced to join the Earth Defense Forces for three years.
Despite Vincent thinking his time in service wouldn’t be stressful, that was far from the case. He is sent out to the front lines of a brutal war and faces his biggest task to date, survival.
If you’re interested in The Prisoner’s Dilemma, you can purchase the novel on Amazon here.
There is a reason why the Solar Warden series drafted by Ian Douglas became a best-selling franchise. The first novel in the trilogy, Alien Secrets, tackles several fronts.
If you’re a fan of conspiracies, UFOs, and interstellar combat, then Alien Secrets is the correct novel for you. Where Alien Secrets thrives is how it blends many different elements, creating a compelling science fiction story.
If you enjoy complex story arcs you can purchase Alien Secrets and the entire Solar Warden series on Amazon here.
Authors Doc Spears, Jason Anspach, and Nick Cole created an interesting story with Dark Operator, the first of five novels in the Dark Operator series.
Kel Turner is the dark operator and is sent to a remote planet to work alone and save society from itself. If you enjoy Special Operations stories, this thriller is definitely for you.
How will Turner deal with the House of Reason’s orders and his mind as he attempts to carry out his mission?
For those willing to embrace Kel Turner’s story, Dark Operator and the entire series are available on Amazon here.
Dean M. Cole did not hold back his creativity when writing Ambush, the first novel in the Sector 64 franchise.
This is a novel for those who love military science fiction, creative plot arcs, and a massive conspiracy. Humanity comes in contact with their ancient ancestors, sharing a genetic link; however, that’s not where the story ends.
Earth becomes involved in a galactic civil war that threatens to bring the destruction of the planet.
Fans of Ender’s Game will enjoy several aspects of Ambush, as there is a lot that goes on in the story.
If you aren’t already interested you can purchase Ambush and the entire Sector 64 franchise on Amazon here.
Which Novel Listed Is The Largest Time Commitment?
On Basilisk Station has an estimated word count of 136,942. While that is normal for a fantasy or sci-fi novel, the entire series consists of well over 20 entries and will take some time to complete.
Which Novels Listed Had Somewhat Disappointing Film Adaptations Like Ender’s Game?
Depends on your definition of disappointing; Starship Troopers and All You Need Is Kill (film called Edge of Tomorrow) had adaptations like Ender’s Games. While neither spawned a major motion picture franchise, both have or are likely to continue in some format.
Will There Be Further Ender’s Games Films?
That isn’t likely unless a reboot happens. The film did not capture the true despair of the novel, and author Orson Scott Card remains a somewhat controversial figure due to some of his beliefs.
Which Three Novels From The List Would You Most Recommend?
On Basilisk Station, Live Free or Die, and Alien Secrets.
What Is The Correct Chronological Order For The Ender’s Game Novels?
Ender’s Shadow, Ender’s Game, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind.
What Grade Level Is Ender’s Game?
Late Middle School and High School students shouldn’t have any issue understanding the writing and themes within Ender’s Game.
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