Rob Hart on the 7 Books that Dared Him to Dream Bigger

Rob Hart on the 7 Books that Dared Him to Dream Bigger

Rob Hart

In Rob Hart’s latest novel The Warehouse, readers will encounter a massive technology company called Cloud. The company is supposedly trying to improve the world, but something dark lurks under its glossy exterior. To celebrate its release, Rob Hart is sharing the seven books that dared him to dream bigger and up his game as he worked on The Warehouse.

I cut my teeth on the stripped-down, intimate stories of crime fiction, but I’ve always had an affinity for the big-idea speculative sci-fi realm. There are a lot of books that inspired me to write outside my comfort zone, and I could sit here and name the classics, but I’d rather tell you about some modern books that got my brain turning toward what would eventually become The Warehouse. If they didn’t directly influence me, they dared me to dream a little bigger.

Zeroes by Chuck Wendig

This is a fantastic thriller in which five hackers are coerced into working for the US government, and, wouldn’t you know it, things go sideways. Chuck Wendig writes a ripping narrative supported by a really compelling cast of characters—plus, he makes a lot of insane computer and tech stuff both easy to digest and really exciting. 

Hit by Delilah S. Dawson

Hit imagines a future where a bank makes everyday people pay off their debts by turning them into assassins. It sounds outlandish, right? But…is it? Is it really? This one hit my anti-capitalism sweet tooth.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

I read this book in a day. I think I cancelled plans with friends so I could finish. I am in awe of Blake Crouch’s ability to balance humongous techy-trippy ideas with precise, thoughtful character work. It’s one of those books where I don’t even want to tell you more than that—the joy is in the discovery.

The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley

This is such a weird book, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read—I say that with a great deal of affection. It’s bio-punk lesbian space opera about giant living spaceship-planets, but really it’s about the nature of war and conflict. If that doesn’t pique your interest, I don’t know what possibly could.

Yesterday by Felicia Yap

This was another one that was a little weird, but also really engrossing. Yesterday is about a world where most people can only remember one or two days into the past, which creates a sort of caste system—“duos” have higher status than “monos.” There’s also a murder to solve in a world where no one remembers anything! But they do write everything down. Or at least, they’re supposed to…

American War by Omar El Akkad

American War is the story of a second American Civil War, this one brought to a head by… basically everything in the news currently keeping you up at night. I was very surprised by some of the storytelling choices here, and loved the book all the more for that. This one stuck with me for a while after I read it. 

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

Ben Winters imagines an America where slavery is still legal in four states. To give away much more would spoil it, but Ben’s writing is just so damn smart. He gets the economic impact, the political impact—and the human impact.

Rob Hart is the author of the short story collection Take-Out and the Ash McKenna series, which wrapped up with Potter’s Field in July 2018. He is also the co-author of Scott Free with James Patterson. His next book, The Warehouse, has sold in more than 20 countries and been optioned for film by Ron Howard. He lives in New York City. Find him online at @robwhart and www.robwhart.com.

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