I currently have in my home a picture of my best friend and I holding a VHS copy of the X-Files episode "Ice." You know the one, the first season episode when Mulder and Scully head to Alaska to investigate the mysterious deaths of a research team, and they find out it's from alien parasite worms that will kill each other if they come into contact? So then people try to put a worm into Mulder's ear? Yes, that one. Both my BFF and I had it, a single episode, on VHS that we bought at a store. I can even admit to you that I had a "The Truth Is Out there Poster," and Fox Mulder was my first honest-to-goodness crush. What I'm telling you is we were massive X-Files nerds, and I mean that in the loving way.
So now that The X-Files is making its triumphant return to television, it's cause for celebration. The show spawned one of the best heroines on TV in Dana Scully, conspiracy theories abound with the Smoking Man and so much else, and it had the second most haunting theme music ever, next to Are You Afraid of the Dark? of course. But most importantly, it influenced countless television shows, movies, and even books that came after it.
There are loads of X-Files books that are in the canon, but it's clear that authors were inspired by the paranormal detective series in their own work, and of course, there are some classics that influenced the creators of the show. These 10 novels will tide you over until The X-Files comes back to our TV, hopefully ASAP.
Adaptation by Malinda Lo
Malinda Lo's Adaptation is so full of conspiracies that X-Files fans who take Mulder's believing side will eat it right up. The story begins as planes all over the world start crashing from flocks of birds. But when our heroine Reese crashes her car, she wakes up a month later with no memories, only vague senses of things that have come before. I can't even really say more than that because Lo's story twists and turns like crazy, piling conspiracy atop conspiracy. Though, just like our beloved Mulder and Scully, Lo's characters are utterly human and you root for them and their relationship. If it's any indication where her fandom lies, Lo did her graduate research at Stanford in The X-Files.
The Taking by Kimberly Derting
Just like what Mulder believes happened to his sister Samantha, The Taking's Kyra Agnew disappeared into a flash of white light. Also like Samantha (minus the whole clone thing), Kyra returns with no memories of what happened to her, waking up behind a Dumpster. In the real world, five years have past, though Kyra hasn't aged, so she undertakes a mission to uncover exactly what happened to her. Mulder fans will love Kyra's conspiracy theorist dad, who believes Kyra was abducted by aliens.
The City & The City by China Miéville
Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad goes to investigate a murdered woman case, and things basically go bananas from there. Miéville's writing style is hard to pin down, but like The X-Files it's a police procedural that... well, gets more than a little weird, in a science fiction, paranormal slant. The cities of Besźel and Ul Qoma are "twin cities" that exist on the same space, geographically, but are perceived by their citizens are two completely different cities. And if one of those citizens says otherwise, well that's a crime even worse than murder.
Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris
Unraveling has that science fiction world that exists in our own human world, heavy on the science, that makes The X-Files so fantastic. Teenager Janelle Tenner died. But she was brought back to life by Ben Michaels, the high school loner. Now she has this clock that seems to be counting down 24 days until the Earth will be destroyed. Meanwhile, Janelle's FBI agent father is working on a case involving radiation poisoning, and the more she investigates, the more it seems Ben is tied up in it, too.
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton
It's hard to talk about science fiction procedurals without at least mentioning the 1969 classic The Andromeda Strain. When a satellite sent to outer space to collect organisms for research purposes crashes into Arizona, locals in the nearby town are all found dropped dead. Basically it's a case Mulder and Scully would have been called upon to investigate.
The Diviners by Libba Bray
It's 1926, and Evie is a new transplant to New York City, where she's living with her uncle Will. I feel like Mulder could really get behind Will, the curator of the fictional (sadly fictional) Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. The two have to team up when a series of murders hit the city, all marked by a strange symbol. And then there's Evie herself, who is hiding her own supernatural abilities, though they may be the key to catching the killer.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
If The X-Files were set in Tokyo and took a lot of drugs, it could be similar to Haruki Murakami's Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. It is a (yes) hard-boiled detective story that tips into science fiction and Kafkaesque storytelling, much like The X-Files, though it runs at a much faster, practically time-warp pace, and it will make you laugh just as much as make you think.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
If you wish that Mulder and Scully got together approximately around episode one, you're going to love the romance element in Michelle Hodkin's Mara Dyer trilogy. I'm also fairly certain Mulder would kill to dig into Mara's case to see what she's hiding. She was involved in an accident that killed every one of her friends, though she escaped unharmed, and she woke up in a hospital bed not remembering anything. There are enough shadows and secrets in this story to satisfy any fan of the sci-fi series.
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
The Bone Clocks, put simply, is the story of Holly Sykes' life. But it's far, far from that simple. Mitchell's novel is broken into six parts, each a part in Holly's life, moving from Ireland to Switzerland to Iraq and elsewhere, always in a new situation with new people. The story starts when Holly is 15 and runs away from home, and we learn that she has psychic inclinations, she hears voices she refers to as "the radio people." She suffers a family loss that echoes though each of the six time periods in her life, and the story blends the supernatural right into normal life, like The X-Files does so well.
The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
Maureen Johnson's Shades of London series begins with a murder, and the killer is a Jack the Ripper copycat. Teenager Rory Deveaux has seen the prime suspect, but she comes to realize that she is the only one who can see him. Now, Rory must investigate the murders and her abilities to keep anyone else from dying. Crime story with a dash of the supernatural? Check.