Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and don't know what to do with your life now? I've got 20 books like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch that will help you recover from the brain-busting mystery of Netflix's latest horror special. Keep scrolling to find out what you should read before you take another stab at giving Stefan a happy ending.
Set in the ominous year of 1984,
puts viewers in the behind-the-scenes driver's seat of its protagonist's life. Stefan is a programmer tasked with turning Black Mirror: Bandersnatch Bandersnatch, a Choose Your Own Adventure-style children's book, into a video game. The author of the book supposedly went murderously insane, and Stefan's superiors encourage him to tap into his own mental illness to develop the video game adaptation. Like any good episode of Black Mirror, Bandersnatch forces the viewer to question their own relationship to technology — specifically, the technology they're using to influence Stefan's life, from what he eats to what he knows.
In choosing books for the list below, I've drawn on
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch's branching-path structure, its technological dystopia, and its dreamlike, surveillance-heavy horror. No matter what aspect of Bandersnatch got your attention, you'll find it somewhere among the 20 books that follow. 'What Lies Beneath the Clock Tower' by Margaret Killjoy
This steampunk "adventure of your own choosing" certainly doesn't have the same feel as
Bandersnatch's setting, but its creepy ghouls and goblins will bring back the Black Mirror movie's ominous tingles. Click here to buy. 'Suicide Club' by Rachel Heng
In a world in which people can live forever, a group of rebels, branded "terrorists" by the ruling administration, use suicide as protest — unless they're captured and sentenced to live forever, that is.
Click here to buy. 'MEM' by Bethany C. Morrow
This short, alt-history novel takes place in an early 20th century in which scientists have discovered a method for removing memories, which become mortal and clone-like zombies of their originators. One of the Mems, capable of creating her own memories, is afforded special privileges, but what will happen when she is ordered to return to the place where all her comrades die?
Click here to buy. 'You' by Austin Grossman
Years after losing touch with his former friends, Russell comes to work at their video game development studio, which has already achieved resounding success. But one of its founders, Simon, died shortly after that successful release, and Russell is determined to find out what happened to him.
Click here to buy. 'Disturbed by Her Song' by Tanith Lee
Compiling work by her alter-egos and muses, Esther Garber and Judas Garbah, Tanith Lee's collection of weird and wonderful, LGBTQIAP+ short fiction is the perfect dose of strangeness for your
Bandersnatch recovery period. Click here to buy. 'Blackfish City' by Sam J. Miller
When a utopian city in the Artic Circle begins to crack under pressures brought on by crumbling infrastructure and a new disease, it's up to four strangers, united by an outsider known as the "orcamancer," to save their home.
Click here to buy. 'Proof of Concept' by Gwyneth Jones
Playing host to an artificial intelligence as part of a government bid to save the world, Kir believes she has become part of something greater than herself. But Altair, the A.I. in Kir's mind, knows something she doesn't — a secret he cannot share.
Click here to buy. 'Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World' by Haruki Murakami
Weaving together two narratives, Haruki Murakami's
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World tells the story of its narrator's quest to be accepted into the community of a mysterious Town. Click here to buy. 'Sleep Over' by H.G. Bells
In this creepy oral history, a plague of insomnia spreads across the globe, bringing waking nightmares to those who succumb to it.
Click here to buy. 'Lost Films,' edited by Max Booth III and Lori Michelle
Containing 19 stories from some of publishing's best new and established horror authors,
Lost Films deals with the terrors of radio, TV, and film. Sounds a bit like Black Mirror, no? Click here to buy. 'Pretty Little Mistakes: A Do-Over Novel' by Heather McElhatton
If you ruined Stefan's life in
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, only to try — and fail — again at giving him a happy ending, Heather McElhatton's Pretty Little Mistakes will give you a chance at 150 endings for the player character, many of which are just as bleak as those found in the new Netflix special. Click here to buy. 'Choose Your Own Misery: The Office' by Mike MacDonald and Jilly Gagnon
This dark-comedy parody on the Choose Your Own Adventure books of the 1980s puts you in the middle of generic, yet uproarious, office intrigue.
Click here to buy. 'The Dying Game' by Åsa Avdic
Set in a dystopian, Soviet version of Sweden,
The Dying Game centers on Anna Francis, a government agent who accepts one last job, in which she must fake her own death, only to find herself in a nightmare situation when others begin to die — for real — after her. Click here to buy. 'Alice Isn't Dead' by Joseph Fink
Based on the hit podcast from
Welcome to Night Vale creator Joseph Fink, Alice Isn't Dead takes readers on a cross-country trip as trucker protagonist Keisha searches for her wife, who she thought was dead. Click here to buy. 'The Heart Goes Last' by Margaret Atwood
Escaping a desert landscape ravaged by climate change, Stan and Charmaine apply to be part of The Positron Project, in which couples receive utopian, suburban homes, in exchange for spending every other month in prison.
Click here to buy. 'Gnomon' by Nick Harkaway
Set in a surveillance state, Nick Harkaway's
Gnomon focuses on Mielikki Neith, a government inspector tasked with uncovering the mystery behind an alleged resistance-member's death during state interrogation. Click here to buy. 'City of Ash and Red' by Hye-young Pyun
Written by Shirley Jackson Award-winning author Hye-young Pyun, this novel tells the story of a talented rat exterminator, who finds himself framed for his ex-wife's murder after he is sent abroad to offer his services to an entire country.
Click here to buy. 'I Am Behind You' by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Let the Right One In author John Ajvide Lindqvist comes this novel, in which four campers wake up to a new, nightmarish world, one transformed and designed to test them to their core. Click here to buy. 'Jane, Unlimited' by Kristin Cashore
In this branching-path novel,
Graceling author Kristin Cashore has written five very different stories — including a space opera and a espionage thriller — any one of which may be accessed by altering the title character's choices. Click here to buy. 'The Book of M' by Peng Shepherd
Hiding out from a plague that steals the sick's shadows and memories, Ory and Max's new life is shattered when Max's shadow disappears. She leaves, intending to spare Ory from the danger of having her around, but he follows, and will stop at nothing to find her before she forgets him entirely.
Click here to buy.