Books to read if you like Black Mirror

Eight mind-bending reads to satisfy fans of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror.

Season six of the hit TV series Black Mirror has dropped, you’ve binged all five episodes and now you’re craving more dark, disturbing but brilliant narratives. Well look no further, we’ve handpicked eight thought-provoking reads that bear eerie parallels to the unsettling dramas of the show. These books will challenge your perceptions of reality, push the boundaries of what we think we know about human connection and leave you questioning our relationship with technology.

The Centre

by Ayesha Manazir Siddiqi

The Centre presents us with an unbelievable and ethically-dubious solution to a human problem, just like the Black Mirror episode ‘Arkangel’. The Centre is an elite, invite-only programme that guarantees total fluency in any language in just ten days. Sceptical but intrigued, Anisa enrols, sacrificing her belongings and contact with the outside world in order to comply with The Centre’s strict protocols. Despite the organisation's strange processes, she’s seduced by all that it’s made possible, realising too late the hidden cost of its services. Dark, funny and surreal, this is a Black Mirror take on the politics of language, translation and appropriation – you won’t want to miss it.

The Marriage Act

by John Marrs

Some episodes of Black Mirror, such as ‘Hang the DJ’, uncannily delve into the complexities of human connection, as does John Marrs’ The Marriage Act. From the bestselling author of The One, now a Netflix series, this is a thrilling tale set in a near-future where an oppressive government encourages marriage as the norm and punishes those who choose to remain single. You won’t be able to tear yourself away from this book as you follow four couples, each grappling with the chilling repercussions of a system that watches and controls the most intimate aspects of their lives. The unsettling but frighteningly plausible reality depicted within these pages will have you gripped with its thought-provoking examination of power and relationships.

Going Zero

by Anthony McCarten

This high concept thriller written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Anthony McCarten will have you looking twice over your shoulder and bears similarities to some of Black Mirror’s more action-packed episodes, such as ‘Metalhead’. To test out a new piece of spyware for the CIA, ten people are given two hours to vanish (and stay vanished) for thirty days, with a $3million prize to those who successfully evade capture. If the spyware remains unbeaten, it will revolutionise modern surveillance forever. However, there’s more than just the prize fund at stake for contestant Kaitlyn Day. . . Like the best episodes of Black Mirror, this is a timely narrative that makes us question the direction our world is taking, in this case, how access to personal information is increasing more than ever and what exactly the dangerous consequences could be.


by Blake Crouch

Upgrade by Blake Crouch dives headfirst into the realms of scientific advancements and their unsettling repercussions – just like the season two episode, ‘Be Right Back’ . This is Black Mirror on a near-global scale, where the possibility of a genetic upgrade threatens the world’s population. Logan Ramsay has undergone the ‘upgrade’ and he’s beginning to see and feel the world around him in wholly new ways. Intricately plotted and epic in scope, this book will ask you to ponder both the boundless potential as well as the necessary limits of humanity in true Charlie Brooker style. So grab a copy and prepare for an immersive adventure that will leave you questioning: just because we can, does it mean we should?

Sea of Tranquility

by Emily St. John Mandel

If you enjoyed Black Mirror’s interactive film ‘Bandersnatch’ that played with alternative timelines, then you’ll be bewitched by Emily St John Mandel’s time-bending Sea of Tranquility.  The truly original novel takes readers on a mesmerising literary journey, where lives separated by time and space have collided. An exiled Englishman, a writer trapped far from home, and a girl destined to die too young, have each glimpsed a world that is not their own. Together, their intertwining lives will solve a mystery about the nature of time itself. Prepare to be swept away by parallel worlds and possibilities where the lines between reality blur like never before . . .

We Had to Remove This Post

by Hanna Bervoets

We Had to Remove This Post gives us a cautionary, no-holds-barred glimpse into the dark recesses of social media. As her last resort of employment, Kayleigh takes a job as a content moderator, reviewing the hate and horror that people post online. Kayleigh is good at her role and meets not just friends, but a new girlfriend too. But as the things she sees on screen infiltrate her mind, she begins to lose her sense of self. As Kayleigh grapples with her identity, you’ll likely be reminded of the classic Black Mirror episode, ‘Fifteen Million Merits’ . . . Subtly unnerving but astute, you’ll be relieved to hear that your exposure to this unchartered online territory only lasts 144 pages, which is enough to give you that addictive Black Mirror thrill without totally crippling your outlook on humanity. 


by Terry Miles

Based on the hit podcast from the Public Radio Alliance, Rabbits is the novel for fans of the darker episodes of Black Mirror, like ‘Playtest’. The fate of the entire universe lies on a secret, dangerous and sometimes fatal underground game called ‘Rabbits’. The rewards for winning the game are unclear, but there are rumours of money, CIA recruitment or even immortality. But everyone knows that the deeper you get into the game, the higher the stakes, and the body count is rising. The eleventh round is about to begin, and something has gone badly wrong . . . This electrifying, compulsive read will have you in a reading rabbit hole – you won’t want to put the book down. 


by Ted Chiang

If what you really love about Black Mirror is the variety of its episodic structure, then you’re sure to enjoy Exhalation by Ted Chiang, a collection of captivating science-fiction short stories that raise big questions on what it means to be human. You’ll be transported through a portal in time to ancient Baghdad, encounter an alien scientist who makes a life-changing discovery and follow a woman who cares for an AI ‘pet’ for over twenty years.  It’s probably one of the most philosophical books on this list, so prepare for some seriously thoughtful introspection – there’s no doubt these stories will linger in your mind long after you've turned the final page.