Reading the novels of Ayn Rand for the first time is an unforgettable experience.
The moral clarity of her characters, tightness of her plot lines, and insights into the human condition combine for some incredible page turners.
Unfortunately, there's only so much fiction that Rand wrote. Once you've powered through Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, We the Living, Anthem, The Night of January 16th, and her Unpublished Fiction, where do you turn for similar stories, plots, and characters?
Is there anything else that compares?
Well, not entirely. But if you loved Rand's Objectivist fiction you'll be sure to like these five other compelling authors and novels.
1. Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini
Sabatini wrote swashbuckling historical fiction in the early part of the 20th century. Of his many books Captain Blood is probably the most famous. It tells the tale of Peter Blood, an honest doctor who is sentenced to slavery after trying to help a wounded rebel soldier during the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685. He soon escapes, and begins a life of derring-do and piracy on the Caribbean Sea of the late 17th century.
Blood himself will be of the most interest to fans of Rand. His steadfast morality and ruthless rationality make him the closest to a Randian hero I have found outside of something actually written by Rand. Think Hank Rearden + Ragnar Danneskjöld + flintlocks.
2. Noble Vision by Gen LaGreca
This medical thriller is written by someone who has clearly read Rand (the novel's title, in fact, is a nod to a line from The Fountainhead). It is the story of Dr. David Lang, who recently invented a miraculous treatment for nerve damage. He wants to use the expensive new procedure on a tragically injured ballerina (whom he has coincidentally been admiring from afar) but the state he lives in, New York, won't allow it. The state had recently passed a universal healthcare law and Dr. Lang's procedure, even if paid for out of pocket, would violate that law.
In addition to incorporating Rand's philosophy throughout the story, LaGreca manages to recreate the wonderful sense of life that is also present in all of Rand's fiction. For a more in-depth analysis on LaGreca's novel check out Art for Liberty's full Noble Vision review.
3. Any James Bond Novel by Ian Fleming
Rand somewhat notoriously admired Fleming's novels about the famous British super spy, and it's not hard to see why. Bond faces unambiguous evil in his struggles against the collectivist Soviet Union and displays a cool ability to reason himself out of incredibly trying situations.
Additionally, fans of Rand will have a hard time distinguishing Fleming's prose, on occasion, from that of Ayn's.
For instance, the following passage is excerpted from Live and Let Die:
"The eyes were blue, alight and disdainful, but, as they gazed into his with a touch of humor he realized they contained some message for him personally. It quickly vanished as his own eyes answered. Her hair was blue-black and fell heavily to her shoulders. She had high cheekbones and a wide, sensual mouth which held a hint of cruelty. Her jawline was delicate and finely cut. It showed decision and an iron will which were repeated in the straight, pointed nose. Part of the beauty of the face lay in its lack of compromise. It was a face born to command."
Such a description could easily be imagined gracing the pages of Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead.
4. Sparrowhawk by Ed Cline
This six-part historical epic is set in the years leading up to the start of the American Revolution. It follows two men as they take separate paths from England to the shores of the Virginia colony.
From 18th-century secret societies to the inner workings of the House of Lords, the series presents a meticulously researched and compelling account of the events that caused the American colonies to rebel. It also adds a good bit of philosophy to the mix; operating under the premise that before a revolution could occur on the streets of Boston or on Lexington Green it first had to occur within the minds of men.
Unsurprisingly the author subscribes to Ayn Rand's philosophy and it is interesting to see not just Rand's political thought in evidence in the story, but also her thoughts on art and novel writing displayed within its structure.
5. Any Mike Hammer Novel by Mickey Spillane
Mickey Spillane is another writer Ayn Rand admired, calling him a "best in class" example of popular fiction that did a good job of illustrating moral clashes between heroes and villains.
His stark good versus evil battles leave little room for compromise, and his tough as nails hero, Mike Hammer, will have you rooting for him in every impossible, painful situation in which he finds himself. Mike is a private investigator and oftentimes seems to go up singlehandedly against the entire criminal underworld to rescue "beautiful broads" and "dangerous dames."
Of course, it's not all charity work he does, and there is a vicious satisfaction to the justice he metes out, vigilante style, to career murderers and psychopaths. Spillane's first Mike Hammer novel, I, the Jury, is so named after Mike swears he will not only hunt down the killer of his close friend, but will act as the final arbiter of judicial consequences as well, becoming judge, jury, and executioner.
More Fiction for Objectivists
For other great, Rand-inspired fiction, be sure to check out the popular Writers Series of posts right here on The Atlas Society website (e.g. this article), and also head on over to the comprehensive list of over 300 Objectivist, libertarian, and capitalist novels we've compiled on Art for Liberty.
J.P. Medved writes for Art for Liberty, a site devoted to advancing liberty through popular culture. His first novel, "Justice, Inc.", inspired by Ayn Rand and aimed at the liberty crowd, was published in 2017. Find more suggestions (and reviews) for books, movies, and songs likely to appeal to lovers of Ayn Rand at https://www.artforliberty.com/, and follow the conversation on Twitter @Art4Liberty.