Postmodern Literature: Authors and Books

This section contains an alphabetical listing of postmodern authors along with the books they are most noted for. These works range from Cyberpunk thrillers to essays on philosophy, but all touch on the postmodern condition.


Isaac Asimov

I, Robot - Classic short story collection focusing on the interaction of humans and intelligent machines

Foundation - Psychohistorian Hari Sheldon attempts to save mankind with his power to predict the future


Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale - Dystopian feminist's nightmare: women are strictly controlled and forced to give up their offspring


J.G. Ballard

Crash - Controversal novel whose characters have a strange obsession with the "sexuality" of automobile accidents

Empire of the Sun - Auto-biographical novel of a young prisoner of war, made famous by the Steven Spielberg film


Jean Baudrillard

Simulacra and Simulation - Essays on the loss of the "real" when our material and media-obsessed culture is driven by copies of copies

The Consumer Society - Consumption is not only the engine for the global economy, but also of our mass-produced culture


T.C. Boyle

The Road to Wellville - The founder of Kellogg cereals is portrayed as an unethical doctor capitalizing on the health spa craze


Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange - A dystopian examination of social conditioning, free will, and post-industrial alienation


William S. Burroughs

Naked Lunch - Classic tale of the ravings of a heroin addict, which made fitting use of the random "cut-up" technique


Octavia Butler

Parable of the Sower - Set in a dystopian future and follows a young woman who feels others' pains as if they were real


Douglas Coupland

Generation X - Novel that popularized the description of a lost generation, "McJobs", and accelerated culture

Microserfs - Fictional story of computer programmers searching for a life, as well as technology's impact on such life


Don DeLillo

Underworld - DeLillo investigates the relationship of the cold war and American culture as twin powers shaping the world

White Noise - Prophetic tale of humanity's self destructive use of technologies that pollute our bodies and minds


Jacques Derrida

Writing and Difference - Collection of landmark essays that define deconstruction and demonstrates its use on Western metaphysics


Phillip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Simulacra focused novel adapted into the classic movie Blade Runner

The Man in the High Castle - America becomes a third-world colony in an ironic alternative flip of post World War II history

Ubik - A metaphysical look at ubiquitous commodification, the afterlife, and the blurring lines between real and unreal

We Can Remember It for You Wholesale - A collection of short stories, of which the title piece was adapted into the movie Total Recall


Umberto Eco

Foucault's Pendulum - A literary joke turns a fictional conspiracy theory on the Knights Templar into a real nightmare for its authors


Bret Easton Ellis

American Psycho - A look at our culture's desensitization to violence via a Wall Street professional and cold blooded killer

The Rules of Attraction - A modern love triangle between self-absorbed, over-priviledged students at a fictional New England college

Less Than Zero - Novel of a generation lost and devoid of feeling, portrayed by a college student binging on sex, drugs, and alcohol


William Gibson

Neuromancer - THE novel that defined the genre and terms Cyberspace and Cyberpunk

Pattern Recognition - A global look at today's consumer culture, following a "cool hunter" with an ironic allergy to brand names

All Tomorrow's Parties - An experimental drug allows a homeless man to predict society wrenching "tipping points" through the Net

Idoru - A future society so media-saturated, that humanity is lost and artificial intelligences are adored as idols


Joseph Heller

Catch-22 - Satiric World War II classic that has become synonymous with the paradoxical no-win logic involved in law and govenment


Fredric Jameson

Postmodernism, Or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism - The authoratative work defining the term postmodernism


Kevin Kelly

Out of Control - Book by the founding editor of Wired examines complexity and the convergence of biology and technology


Jack Kerouac

On the Road - Semi-autobiographical and generation-defining stream of consciousness, based on spontaneous road trips of Kerouac


Raymond Kurzweil

The Age of Spiritual Machines - Predictions and implications of computers surpassing, and merging with, the human mind

The Singularity Is Near - Accelerating trends in genetics, nanotechnology and robotics will transform us into unrecognizable heights


Ursula K. Le Guin

The Left Hand of Darkness - An emissary to a cold new world is faced with the ambiguities of a random and mono-sexual culture


Jean-Francois Lyotard

The Postmodern Condition - If knowledge is power, what role should government play in our technology and information-driven society


Norman Mailer

An American Dream - Redefines the "American Dream" as a search for identity against the cancerous banality of the culture


Marshall McLuhan

The Medium is the Massage - Societies are shaped more by the nature of the media than by the content of the communication


Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman - Tragedy of the all-American dreamer as a loser in commercial society

The Crucible - Semi-historical play that uses the violence sanctioned against rumors of witchcraft as a parable of McCarthyism


Chuck Palahniuk

Fight Club - Violent and schizophrenic tale of a man and his underground society, full of plot twists, ironies, and anarchy

Survivor - An obedient servant turned media messiah dictates his life story into the flight recorder of a crashing airplane

Choke - A con artist who feigns choking to butter up his marks as saviors learns of his possibly divine parentage

Lullaby - A reporter investigating SIDS and a realtor specializing in haunted houses track down a tribal chant that can kill all who hear


Thomas Pynchon

Gravity's Rainbow - A victim of Pavlovian experiments is able to detect incoming german rockets and their destruction by his arousal

The Crying of Lot 49 - A conspiracy of underground mail distribution comments on pop culture, signs, technology, and entropy


Tom Robbins

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues - A woman uses her unique mutation to hitchhike across america in this tale of anarchist counterculture


Neal Stephenson

Snow Crash - A balkanized future America in the grips of designer drugs, brain hacking, commercialism, and cyberspace

The Diamond Age - Virtual reality, nanotechnology, and corporate franchises influence a future "internet" that replaces bits with atoms


Hunter S. Thompson

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - The drug-fueled chronicles of a journalist's hallucinogenic search for the American Dream


Alvin Toffler

Future Shock - The pace of change in technology, society, and economics is far surpassing humanity's ability to cope

The Third Wave - Book that predicted the evolution of the post-industrial age of information, mass-customization, and "prosumers"


Kurt Vonnegut

A Man without a Country - (NEW) Nearly 8 years since his last book, Vonnegut returns with a collection of recent essays on America

Player Piano - In a world where everything is automated and replaced by machines (even the human mind), can anything be done?

Slaughterhouse-Five - Satiric novel of a man unstuck in time, who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden and the numbing effects of war

Cat's Cradle - Cold War parody in which "Ice-Nine" replaces nuclear weapons as the tool for humanity's self-destruction

Breakfast of Champions - Humorous look at American culture where a car dealer takes fiction for reality and is pushed over the edge