Top 19 Philosophical Fiction Books To Challenge Your Beliefs (2022)
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with choices, it’s refreshing to read a philosophical fiction books that make you think about the bigger picture.
The philosophical fiction genre is a specific class of the fiction style that introduces questions normally managed in philosophy. Explore the human condition, the functionality of the society and the motivation of human actions in a fictional manner. The genre may seem a bit difficult at first, but the action takes place in a science or utopian fiction environment that will trigger your senses.
All in all, here are some of the best classic philosophical fiction books, including some very new titles to push your thoughts to another level.
What Are Some Essential Philosophical Fiction Books To Read?
Café de Sophia, by M.A. Alsadah (2022)
This philosophical book is a must-read if you are specifically interested in reads that capture motivation for human conditioning and societal functionality. It has captured the details in an easy and comfortable fictional manner. It is also a real catch if you want to get the thrill of Socrates’ fashion dialogue,
The book takes you through the remarkable and exhilarating story of Nate, aged sixteen, taking shelter from the rain in the exquisite café de Sophia. He goes on to encounter a fascinating man named Plato, who strikes up an interesting conversation with him. They automatically become friends, and Nate goes ahead to befriend Plato’s other philosophical companions aiming to get to know his life’s direction and purpose.
As the book unfolds, you will see how Nate uses every chance to engage in deeper conversations involving meaningful and different subjects. These well-learned philosophers help Nate shape his journey forward regarding the beauty of speech, logic, and how to acquire knowledge through science.
The dialogue in this book is made in fashionable and striking Socratic language. Alsadah presents various philosophical theories in this intriguing story in a fresh way that will leave you yearning for more. If you often engage in intellectual conversations and want to see the way forward for Nate River, grab this read.
Demon Copperhead, by Barbara Kingsolver (2022)
The title of this book may appear not to be a cheerful read but wait till you start turning the pages. You won’t be able to put it down. It is a scalding perspective of a forgotten population told by a curious red-haired kid who has gone through a ton of poverty, love, losses, starvation, and foster home life. He is a hero worth reading.
This sensational read tells the story of Damon Fields, nicknamed Demon Copperhead. It is set in the Appalachian Mountains, and Barbara captures the heart of Demon Copperhead, a boy born with nothing to inherit from his father besides his good looks and copper-colored hair. Luckily, he has admirable wit and a talent for going through life. Through his courage, he overcomes the disasters in his life of a crumbly foster care system, child labor, opium addiction, athletic success, disheartening losses, and disastrous lovers.
You will love how inspirational Damon’s story is. Despite all the setbacks he encounters, he keeps pushing on even after becoming a drug addict.
The characters in this fantastic book are something to keep you glued too. From Annie, the art teacher, to Angus, the daughter of the school football coach who finally takes Damon in, they all make this masterpiece worth your time.
Barbara has excellently captured the unwavering and authentic voice of Demon Copperhead to relay the message of poor communities who are often stereotyped or ignored in the present age. If you fancy David Copperfield novels, you will see small echoes in this philosophical fiction book, which you will definitely love.
The Stranger, by Albert Camus (1989)
The Stranger has received exquisite criticism — both positive and negative, as no one can really tell what message the book is trying to send. There is a bit of absurdism mixed with existentialism — pretty much a style of its own. The story follows Mersault. He is a French Algerian — basically, a French citizen living in North Africa. He is a man of nature — a man of the Mediterranean, yet he does not really adhere to the classic principles of such people. All in all, the story begins with his mother’s funeral and takes an unusual turn when he ends up killing a man in French Algiers.
The story is split into two different parts and both of them follow up in a first person point of view. The first part covers Mersault’s life before the murder. The second one goes through his thoughts and ideas after the murder.
The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, by Milan Kundera (1984)
The Unbearable Lightness Of Being takes the reader through a story of life, passion, love, difficulty and political changes. The story follows two women, two men and a dog. The action takes place in the 1960s, in Czechoslovakia. All in all, the book follows a young woman who is in love with a man. But then, the man has a mistress, who also has a lover. There are multiple styles covering this story in small details — from exquisite reflections to various places and points of view. The wide variety of styles could be the main element behind the success of this story.
In terms of political views, the book follows the Soviet invasion and the further pacts. It describes the artistic aspect of the Czech society and the types of issues people had to deal with back then. It is quite realistic, but it will also raise a few question marks.
Sophie’s World, by Jostein Gaarder (1991)
Sophie’s World is a story that will hook you in straight away, yet it also makes one of the best philosophical fiction books to enjoy in an easy and comfortable manner. The book follows Sophie Amundsen’s story. She is only 14 years old and she lives in a small village from Norway. She comes back from school one day and checks the mailbox, only to find two notes. One of them asks her who she is, while the second one asks where the world comes from — more than enough to trigger young Sophie’s imagination and hunger for knowledge and philosophy.
With time, she ends up studying these ideas and enrolls in a weird correspondence course. But then, she realizes that the letters are actually addressed to another girl — Hilde. Who are all these people? Who is Hilde and who keeps sending her notes? As she tries to reveal the answers, Sophie realizes that the world is way more complicated than she thought.
The Trial, by Franz Kafka (1925)
The Trial is one of Franz Kafka’s most appreciated books, yet it might as well be the book he never wanted out. The book was written in 1914, but it was only published in 1925, after he passed away.
The Trial is a terrifying story that resonates with the truth even in today’s society. It follows Josef K., a reputable bank clerk who ends up being arrested. It happens out of nowhere and he has no idea what has happened. He cannot find any information about the crime either, so he basically finds it impossible to defend himself. From that point on, the book is somewhere between a thriller and a crime story, but its meaning is deeper than that.
Some critics refer to it as a parable. Some others see it as an existential tale or perhaps a prophecy. From other points of view, the book seems to target the modern bureaucracy in a totalitarian society. One thing is for sure though — this philosophical fiction book has always resonated with different times, including today’s society, hence its popularity.
The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand (1943)
The Fountainhead is a classic and can easily resonate with further generations too. It was actual when it first came out in 1943 and it is just as actual today — chances are it will never lose its popularity. It describes objectivism in the smallest details, but it also brings an unusual type of philosophy. All in all, there are more leads to follow in the book. First, you have an architect — Howard Roark. He is known for his incredible integrity. Then, you have Dominique Francon, who has always loved Roark, but married his enemy instead. Then, you have the conflict — a deranged society where things can always take unusual turns and go from bad to worse.
The novel is extremely provocative and adheres to a philosophical point of view while exploring the human ego and its evolution, as well as the human progress. The book is written in a subtle manner, so philosophical aspects may not be too easy to spot — definitely a challenge for the untrained reader.