03/11/2014 03:19 pm ET Updated May 11, 2014

10 Offbeat Sci-Fi Novels You HAVE TO Read

One book should always lead to another, for both readers and writers. I guess that's the small truth that sits at the heart of this reading list. When I wrote my novel Black Moon, some of these titles were just distant memories--yet their presence in my bloodstream certainly guided me. Others sat on my desk, or stuffed into my backpack, so they could be readily available. They traveled with me, whether I was writing in Boston's Writers Room or in a North Carolina coffee house.

Sometimes I would need to fully immerse myself in their particular dystopian worlds. Other times during the writing process, just a shot would do to reset my imagination or unhinge my head. A quick read of a page or two, a paragraph. This was a pretty effective way to keep moving forward. Ideas would be sparked, or maybe some vague competitiveness in me finally kicked in. At any rate, I felt bolstered, knowing I was but a small contributor, but I was standing on the shoulders of giants.

Hopefully Black Moon will lead you to these books, if you haven't already found them on your own. Many are classics and pretty obvious. A few, like Catholics and Doggy Bag, are less known and certainly worth tracking down. Jamestown is a relatively recent title that should remain face-out on bookstore shelves forever.

I hope that Black Moon is deemed worthy to stand in the company of these books. Who knows? Maybe in a couple years I'll see a similar list by a new voice. It would be a great thrill to see my book among the titles listed.

Off-beat Science Fiction Books