The 26 Best Free Libertarian Novels
Update 12/14/2020: This post has been updated to include three new, free libertarian novels we’ve found since last publishing this list.
Let’s face it, novels celebrating the free market and individual rights are pretty hard to come by. Most everything in the fiction section of your local bookstore is some paean to collectivism, or diatribe against the evils of capitalism and the “soul killing” nature of consumerism.
But you don’t believe that stuff.
You know capitalism, mixed with a political system that protects individual rights, has been the single greatest force for good on the planet, lifting billions out of crushing poverty. You don’t want to read all that bilge about how you’re a bad, bad person for supporting it.
So what is a wayward libertarian to do? Especially when so much of your money is stolen by the government each year that you have very little left over to buy books?
Why, turn to the free stuff on the internet of course!
And as if the free libertarian fiction we’ve already given you wasn’t enough, I’ve taken the time to compile a list of the best free libertarian novels available elsewhere online.
Free as in gratis. Sin dinero. The low, low cost of nothing. Just for you.
I’ve even included links to where you can download them.
I know, right?
The Best Free Libertarian Novels
The below free libertarian novels are presented in alphabetical order by author, and include explicit libertarian themes like the defense of private property, gun rights, individual choice, and free markets.
1. Withur We by Matthew Alexander
Matthew Alexander’s debut novel is a rollicking, thought-provoking, inspiring, terrifying sci-fi romp through the colonized worlds of human space. It follows a young ex-marine from the planet Aldra as he returns home to find his world falling under the sway of the despotic Realist party.
What follows is revolution, setbacks, perseverance, and the type of thoughtful science fiction, especially as regards the nature of government, and even the ambiguous value of idealism, that you won’t find in most mainstream novels. You can learn more in AFL’s Withur We review.
2. #agora: a novel? by Anonymous
Fittingly written anonymously, this novel of cryptoanarchy, bitcoin, temporary autonomous zones, “notels,” and underground markets in silver and gold carries on the fine tradition of J. Neil Schulman’s Alongside Night (also featured on this list) in portraying how the practice of black market counter-economics (“agorism”) can weaken the state and carve out bubbles of freedom for its practitioners. That this well-written tale also includes some of the most fun characters in libertarian fiction (including Caty, the manic pixie ancap dreamgirl you never knew you wanted) just makes it even more imperative that you download and read it now.
3. and 4. Net Assets and Bargaining Position by Carl Bussjaeger
These two awesome libertarian sci-fi novels have been criminally overlooked by the reading community. The first, a 2003 Prometheus Award nominee, details the rise of a private spaceflight company under the helm of a libertarian CEO (and did it well before Elon Musk turned his fortune to the stars) and the lengths the government will go to in order to maintain its monopoly on the final frontier.
The second novel takes place some years later, when the explosion in innovation and cheap space travel enabled by the company described in Net Assets has led to the creation of a fairly libertarian, space-faring human society colonizing and mining our own star system. A small asteroid mining ship, out prospecting near Jupiter, happens upon a strange, extrasolar object that may, in fact, be a spacecraft of non-human origin.
Once you’ve finished both books you can also read the author’s free short story anthology, The Anarchy Belt, set in the same libertarian space society Bargaining Position takes place in. Also, if you like his stuff, feel free to chip in a buck or two at Bussjaeger’s Patreon.
5. and 6. Little Brother and Homeland by Cory Doctorow
While Doctorow may not be a card-carrying economic libertarian, he’s certainly a civil libertarian given his views on privacy, copyright, and the importance of a free-and-open internet. His two most-libertarian novels (like all his books) also happen to be available for free download on his website under a creative commons license.
Little Brother follows 17 year old Marcus, a wily, tech-savvy high school student in San Francisco. When a terrorist attack hits the city, Marcus and his friends, though innocent, are captured by the DHS and held in a secret prison for days. When they finally get out they find the city has been turned into a total surveillance police-state, and it’s up to them to reveal the DHS’s authoritarian abuse of power.
Homeland is the direct sequel to Little Brother, and follows a now working-age Marcus, who is the webmaster for a reform-minded political candidate. But when an old connection hands him a thumbdrive with evidence of government corruption, and is then kidnapped before his eyes, Marcus has to decide how, or if, to leak the information. All while he starts to notice shadowy government figures following him.
7. On the Steppes of Central Asia by “Matt Stone”/Richard D. Fuerle
This anarchist novella masquerades as a travelogue of a young journalist who visits a libertarian society in Mongolia. There he has all his previous conceptions about the importance of government regulations, taxation, and welfare programs challenged by the unique structure and undeniable success of a society built to function without a state.
Originally published in 1992 by Spooner Press, On the Steppes of Central Asia does a great job of highlighting the working mechanisms of an anarchist society, including how a justice system might work without a government to enforce it.
8. The Driver by Garet Garrett
Tell me if you’ve heard of this libertarian story before: a brilliant entrepreneur takes over and reinvigorates a failing railroad. When his jealous competitors conspire with the government to regulate him out of business he gives an impassioned defense of free markets, individualism, and gold-backed money. His last name happens to be “Galt.”
No, this is not a lost Ayn Rand novel, but instead the premise of Garet Garrett’s novel, The Driver, written in 1922 and celebrating capitalist hero Henry Galt, who must overcome all odds to succeed and defend the dignity of the American businessman.
9. and 10. and 11. and 12. Gaiastan and Oathkeeper and Indivisible and Indivisible: Come and Take It by Troy Grice
Troy has written a bunch of libertarian novels and has graciously made several of them free on his website.
Gaiastan continues his tradition of strong writing combined with tightly plotted stories. In the future, America has been taken over and is now ruled by a cadre of far-left environmentalists who subsume all personal freedoms and individual desires to a totalitarian eco-worship. When the last surviving crew from a failed Mars mission returns, it’s not until they find themselves in a remote village far from the state security of the eco-fascists that they can finally come to terms with their doomed mission, and their society.
Oathkeeper tracks the story of a small town sheriff in Colorado who must decide to defend a local hero who stopped a mass shooting, or bow to the will of federal prosecutors who want to try him for murder.
The Indivisible series follows a disparate group of Americans as they try to navigate and survive a total economic collapse and civil war in a dark future.
13. Time Will Run Back by Henry Hazlitt
Another classic in the liberty canon, and written by the same author as the quintessential non-fiction, free market primer, Economics in One Lesson.
Hazlitt artfully dramatizes the rediscovery of capitalism by a near future, tyrannical dictatorship. With a dedication to his mentor Ludwig Von Mises, and recently made free to download by the Mises Institute, this is one that you certainly won’t want to miss.
14. and 15. and 16. A Most Sacred Right and The Place to Stand and The Secret American Revolution by Robert Lukens
This trio of free novels by Robert Lukens all have explicit libertarian messages and heroes. From antagonistic governments trying to destroy the wealthiest man in the world, to scrappy freedom fighters trying to regain their lost freedom from an encroaching surveillance state, Lukens paints a picture of the lengths free men and women must go to if they want to survive.
17. The Last Trumpet Project by Kevin MacArdry
Belonging to the realm of “anarcho-transhumanist” fiction, The Last Trumpet Project follows a team of technologists and dreamers who are trying to use technology to conquer death and usher in an age of total freedom. Replete with virtual reality worlds, AI, mind uploads, fanatical religious luddites, out-of-control government agents, and a secret society of libertarian vigilantes, this book is an exciting peek into a near-singularity future.
18. A Second Opinion by J.P. Medved
Disclaimer: Yours Truly wrote this one (so you just know it’s good…).
A Second Opinion is a free libertarian novella (hosted right here on AFL!) about a doctor in a near-future America where the health care system has fallen entirely under government control. Working in his office late one night he’s approached by a mysterious woman and her young daughter. They don’t appear in any government citizen databases, and they desperately need his help to treat the young girl’s neurological illness. But if he goes outside the official government system to help them he could lose his medical license, or worse, end up in prison.
Yes, that Bob Murphy. Before he ran his popular podcast, or publicly destroyed Paul Krugman’s crackpot economic theories alongside Tom Woods, Austrian economist Bob Murphy wrote an awesome anarcho-capitalist sci-fi novel called Minerva.
In the story, Murphy details the creation of an anarcho-libertarian society on the island of Minerva, a fictitious place located just off the coast of the equally fictitious country of Lotos. With an economist as a main character, and dealing with all sorts of theoretical obstacles to an ancap society, like how to repel an armed invasion from a nearby state, Minerva is a fun and fast-paced political adventure.
20. Anthem by Ayn Rand
Somewhat ironically, uber propertarian Rand failed to renew the copyright on one of her earliest works of fiction, making it public domain in the United States.
First published in 1938, Anthem is a dystopian story presented as a secret diary. The protagonist, Equality 7-2521, lives in a socialist civilization so totalizing that not only has technology regressed to a medieval level, but even the word “I” has been forbidden. While exploring the ruins outside the collectivist town he lives in, Equality discovers a hidden tunnel that contains scientific wonders from the “Unmentionable Times” and he proceeds to conduct secret scientific experiments. But the socialist Councils that rule his society have no interest in labor-saving technologies, and worse, consider Equality a traitor for discovering them.
21. And Then There Were None by Eric Frank Russel
And Then There Were None is almost more novella than novel, clocking in at only 40-some pages. It tells the story of a military vessel from the very hierarchical Terran Empire as it arrives to the peaceful human colony of the Gands.
The Terrans want to bring the Gands into their empire, but find themselves frustrated by the free market anarchy on the Gands’ planet, where individual sovereignty is so central that they have coined the term “myob” for “mind your own business.”
22. A Lodging of Wayfaring Men by Paul A. Rosenberg
This hacker-cum-anarchocapitalist novel has been celebrated as an underground bible for how to use the internet to create a freer society.
The second agorist piece on this list, Lodging follows several men as they strive to build a freer society using a computer game. By creating a private market, free from taxation, they hope to allow creators and producers to unchain their creative energies and thrive. When the government gets a whiff of this scheme the race is on between the protagonists and the FBI agents tasked with bringing them in for treason.
23. Alongside Night by J. Neil Schulman
This prophetic 1979 novel tells of a collapsing United States, plagued by hyperinflation and a weak economy, and of the professor whose offbeat ideas of parallel markets may help save it. It’s a classic, with endorsements from Milton Friedman, Ron Paul, and others. It has been single-handedly credited with starting the Agorist movement, and was recently turned into a movie starring Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, Andromeda).
The fact that it was also released by J. Neil Schulman as a free PDF online means you should Internet-run, not Internet-walk to Schulman’s website to join the 300,000 other people who have downloaded it so far.
24. Freehold by Michael Z. Williamson
This 2004 novel is one of the most explicitly libertarian sci-fi books to be published by a traditional publisher (Baen) since Robert Heinlien’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. It’s also part of Baen’s “free library” of starter books to download so you should 100% snatch it up ASAP.
The first of a series of eight (and counting) novels centered around the radically libertarian planet of Grainne, Freehold tells the story of disgraced Earth police sergeant Kendra Pacelli. Kendra flees the corrupt and authoritarian Earth for a crime she didn’t commit, and escapes to the Freehold of Grainne, where she must team up with the freedom-loving citizens there to protect their unique society.
25. Freedom Engineering by Bob Woods
This cult classic was originally published online in installments in 2009, but has since disappeared from the internet. Luckily the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine has preserved a completed* version from 2010 for your reading pleasure!
Freedom Engineering is a sci-fi “Anarcho-Capitalist Adventure Series” that details the creation of a libertarian society by a group of “freedom engineers” who hope to eventually bring their anarchistic ways to the stars.
*Note: Thanks to an astute reader we’ve noticed it seems some pages are missing from the Wayback Machine’s archive, and we are endeavoring to obtain a full copy.
26. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
The first book to be banned by Soviet Russia (that should be recommendation enough, really), We is a dystopian science fiction novel written by Russian revolutionary Yevgeny Zamyatin in 1921. It’s set far in the future in a society where individual freedom has completely disappeared and citizens live for the good of the collective. Presented as a diary, it follows the experiences of a state mathematician who is pushed into rebellion when he feels the proscribed emotion of love for a defiant woman he meets. If you liked Ayn Rand’s Anthem, you NEED to give We a try.
There you go, 26 totally free, totally excellent libertarian novels.
What’s that you say? That’s not enough, you say?
Here’s a bonus free libertarian short story about circumventing food prohibition laws:
…you greedy cads.
Interested in EVEN MORE libertarian novels (even if they’re not free)? Check out AFL’s Libertarian Book List for tons of great fiction.