Watership Downs

Every so often, I come across yet another book being described as “Watership Down for/with x,” where x is some kind of animal.

(People don't always use exactly that phrase; sometimes they make more indirect comparisons, like “If you liked Watership Down, you'll love this book.”)

It recently occurred to me to make a list. Note that I haven't read (or, indeed, previously heard of) most of these, and have no opinion myself about whether any of them are actually like Watership Down.

I suppose it's inevitable that if an author writes a book featuring an animal society, centering on one particular kind of animals, readers and reviewers will describe it as being like the one extremely famous animal-society book that everyone knows about. So it's not really surprising that these comparisons would be made; I just find it interesting.

Here's a table showing the half-dozen I had encountered before, plus a dozen more I found by doing a quick web search:

Title Author Animal
Empire of the Ants Bernard Werber Ants
Anthill E. O. Wilson Ants
The Cold Moons Aeron Clement Badgers
Warriors series Erin Hunter Cats
Tailchaser's Song Tad Williams Cats
The Collectors Robert Carter Cockroaches
The Roaches Have No King Daniel Evan Weiss Cockroaches
Fire Bringer David Clement-Davies Deer
Hunter's Moon Garry Kilworth Foxes
Heavenly Horse series Mary Stanton Horses
Mouse Guard series David Petersen Mice
Duncton Wood series William Horwood Moles
Guardians of Ga'Hoole series Kathryn Lasky Owls
Redwall series Brian Jacques Squirrels
Silver Squirrel Daniel Ritchie Squirrels
Woodstock Saga series Michael Tod Squirrels
Wolf Chronicles series Dorothy Hearst Wolves

I'm sure there are lots more. Any suggestions?

4 Responses to “Watership Downs”

  1. jacob

    Surely someone has written “Watership Down with dragons”. A Google search suggests the Age of Fire series by E. E. Knight, which I haven’t read.

    Perhaps we’d like to say that Lord of the Flies is “Watership Down with teenage boys” (as you say, where x is some kind of animal). 🙂

  2. Anonymous

    Garry Kilworth also wrote ‘Frost Dancers’ (Hares), ‘House of Tribes’ (Mice) and ‘Midnight’s Sun’ (Wolves).

  3. Johne Cook

    Watership Down is unlike anything else. It stands alone as a one-off lightning-in-a-bottle masterpiece.

  4. Jed

    Jacob and Anonymous: Thanks!

    Jacob: 🙂 re teenage boys. When I Googled one of the relevant phrases, I was amused to come across something that was described as “like Watership Down with bazookas.”

    Johne: I agree that it’s a masterpiece, but that doesn’t mean that nothing else can be described as being like it. For example, Romeo and Juliet was a masterpiece, and yet I think it’s undeniable that West Side Story is similar to it in some ways.


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