What makes the genre of science fiction (sci-fi) different from the genre of fantasy? Sci-fi utilizes accurate or partly true theories of mathematics in the story and is generally time-sensitive. It speculates on how life could be different using a technological shift generally later on, but time travel is permitted. On the lookout for the next read? Have a trip to the future together with our selection of the best sci fi books of all time.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Science Fiction Books Of All Ttime
- 1.1 Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley (1818)
- 1.2 The Blazing World, by Margaret Cavendish (1666)
- 1.3 Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
- 1.4 Ammonite, by Nicola Griffith
- 1.5 Foundation, by Isaac Asimov (1951)
- 1.6 1984, by George Orwell
- 1.7 The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester (1957)
- 1.8 Altered Carbon (Netflix SeriesTie-in Edition), by Richard K. Morgan
- 1.9 Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem (1961)
- 1.10 The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein (1966)
- 1.11 Amatka, by Karin Tidbeck
- 1.12 Ice, by Anna Kavan (1967)
- 1.13 The Best of All Possible Worlds, by Karen Lord
- 1.14 The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin (1969)
- 1.15 The Resisters, by Gish Jen (2020)
- 1.16 Dune, by Frank Herbert (1965)
- 1.17 A Scanner Darkly, by Philip K Dick (1977)
- 1.18 Neuromancer, by William Gibson (1984)
- 1.19 Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler (1979)
- 1.20 Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton (1990)
- 1.21 Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson (1992)
- 1.22 Metro 2033, by Dmitry Glukhovsky (2002)
- 1.23 Hyperion, by Dan Simmons (1989)
- 1.24 Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood (2003)
- 1.25 The Three-Body Problem, Liu Cixin (2008)
- 1.26 The Heart Goes Last, by Margaret Atwood (2015)
- 1.27 The Power, by Naomi Alderman (2016)
- 1.28 Consider Phlebas, by Iain Banks (1987)
- 1.29 The Martian, by Andy Weir (2015)
- 1.30 Moonrise: The Golden Age of Lunar Adventures, by Mike Ashley (2018)
- 1.31 Borne, by Jeff VanderMeer (2017)
- 1.32 Otherland: City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams (2001)
- 1.33 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1979)
- 1.34 The Real Story by Stephen R. Donaldson
- 1.35 Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
- 1.36 Shikasta by Doris Lessing
- 1.37 Starship Troopers Robert A. Heinlein
- 1.38 The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
- 1.39 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
- 1.40 The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
- 1.41 Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
- 1.42 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
- 1.43 Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
- 1.44 Dust by Elizabeth Bear
- 1.45 Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
- 1.46 The Fifth Science by Exurb1a
- 1.47 A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller
- 1.48 The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters
- 1.49 A Fire Upon The Deep by Veror Vinge
- 1.50 The Stand (Movie Tie-in Edition) by Stephen King
- 1.51 Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein
- 1.52 The Handmaid’s Tale (Movie Tie-in) by Margaret Atwood
- 1.53 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)
- 1.54 Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh
- 1.55 The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse
- 1.56 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- 1.57 The Martian by Andy Weir (2011)
- 1.58 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
- 1.59 Re: Colonised Planet 5, Shikasta by Doris Lessing (1979)
- 1.60 The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (1895)
- 1.61 Watchers by Dean Koontz
- 1.62 Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
- 1.63 I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (1950)
- 1.64 The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
- 1.65 The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (1974)
- 1.66 World War Z by Max Brooks
- 1.67 The City & The City by China Miéville
- 1.68 Recursion: A Novel by Blake Crouch
- 1.69 The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson
- 1.70 The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (1962)
- 1.71 Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
- 1.72 The Midnight Library: A Novel
- 1.73 The Fold by Peter Clines
- 1.74 How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
- 1.75 Contact by Carl Sagan
- 1.76 The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
- 1.77 Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
- 1.78 Action Comics Issue 1 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
- 1.79 Klara and the Sun: A Novel
- 1.80 Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
- 1.81 The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
- 1.82 The Plot Against America (Movie Tie-in Edition) by Philip Roth
- 1.83 Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon
- 2 Other Best Science Fiction Novels Considered
Best Science Fiction Books Of All Ttime
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley (1818)
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a gothic classic, but it is also one of the first and best science fiction genre. Frankenstein has had a huge impact on both literature and pop culture, and it would be hard to overstate how important it has been. In the 200 years since its first publication, the story of Victor Frankenstein and his creature can be found in a lot of other stories that have come after it.
The Blazing World, by Margaret Cavendish (1666)
This publication is arguably the very first science fiction book ever written. The Blazing World’s language could be obsolete, but this bold feminist text out of Margaret Cavendish is packed full of imagination isn’t simply incredibly brave because of its own time. Additionally, it is still essential, mentioned as inspiration by authors such as China Miéville and Alan Moore.
Cavendish’s Utopian narrative follows the experiences of a kidnapped girl, who travels into a different planet run by part-humans, role creatures fox guys, fish guys, geese guys, the list continues. Since she is a lovely girl, she’s their Empress and organizes an almighty invasion of her world, complete with literal fire (stones) raining in the skies.
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Time travel is real, and historians can see the past as it happened for the first time. During a trip to 14th century England, a young historian was left behind in the middle of the bubonic plague when things went wrong. During the present time, a new and very dangerous form of the flu starts to spread in London. Is there a link between the two epidemics? There are medical mysteries and historical fiction in this book, so if you like that kind of thing, you’ll love it.
Ammonite, by Nicola Griffith
Ammonite, Griffith’s first novel, won the Lambda Literary Award and the James Tiptree Jr Award. An individual expedition to the world Jeep is almost wiped out with a virus that kills all the guys and most girls. Some centuries later, an anthropologist, Marghe, is delivered to check a vaccine on the descendants of the original expedition, themselves all girls. As she moves and lives among them, Marghe finds herself transformed in profound and unexpected ways.
Foundation, by Isaac Asimov (1951)
Asimov was a prolific author, but many of his finest roles are timeless short stories like Nightfall, or The Final thing, which play like extended jokes using a punchline twist in the end. From the Foundation series, he is different entirely, charting the rise and fall of empires in sweeping brush strokes. Asimov’s prose could be stilted and betrays the attitudes of its period at the portrayal of female figures, but it’s left an enduring heritage.
The Foundation series follows Hari Seldon, the architect of psychohistory, a branch of math that may make precise predictions tens of thousands of years beforehand. Seldon considers it crucial to rescue the human race out of the dark ages.
You can see why it is among Elon Musk’s favorite books (together with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein additionally advocated ). A long-awaited screen adaptation is one of the flagship launchings that is of Apple’s brand new streaming support.
1984, by George Orwell
Our favorite science fiction will utilize the future to light up and talk about issues within our current. 1984 is a prime illustration of this, a dystopian novel at which our civilization has come to be the victim of government surveillance and public misuse—an essential read for any age.
The Stars My Destination, by Alfred Bester (1957)
This landmark book begins with a straightforward proposition: what should individuals teleport? And sprawls to a narrative of rebirth and vengeance that winds across the Solar System: The Count of Monte Cristo for its interstellar era.
They were first released as Tiger! Tiger! The UK, named following the William Blake poem, follows Gully Foyle, a violent, uneducated person who spends six months stranded in deep space, and the remainder of the publication seeking retribution for this.
Altered Carbon (Netflix SeriesTie-in Edition), by Richard K. Morgan
Set in a near-future where interstellar travel is carried out by sleeving the consciousness into new figures, the narrative follows a personal investigator whose previous collides with his current as he tries to address a wealthy guy’s murder. A dark and gritty cyberpunk encounter. A Netflix series!
Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem (1961)
If you believe you understand Solaris in the 2002 Steven Soderbergh movie, the original publication may come as a slight surprise. Composed by Polish author Stanislaw Lem in 1961, this short book is thicker on doctrine than storyline.
It follows a group of people on a distance station that is making an effort to comprehend the mysterious surviving sea around the planet Solaris; with minimal success, their study is restricted to long descriptions that paint a lively picture of this alien world but don’t elucidate how it functions. As they poke and prod, Solaris ends up exposing more about them than it does about itself, together with the publication demonstrating the futility of people seeking to understand something, not of their own world.
Watch to know more about Fiction Book Genres – What Is Science Fiction
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein (1966)
Among Elon Musk’s favorite books, seemingly, this gripping book paints a plausible image of life on Earth’s satellite, three decades before man set foot on the moon for the very first time. Its depictions of these struggles of life and the creativity of individual answers to this problem, even one of the exiles and misfits that constitute the lunar inhabitants, are unforgettable.
Amatka, by Karin Tidbeck
As soon as Vanja is sent to the remote, deserted colony of Amatka, she doesn’t expect to be on edge. People in Amatka act and mark things in a weird way, and that’s not the only thing that’s weird about it. The more time she spends there, the more wrong it feels. When Vanja finally finds out what’s wrong, it may already be too late for her. Amatka’s first book is a stunner. It shows a terrifying vision of a dystopian world based on language.
Ice, by Anna Kavan (1967)
Anna Kavan’s final (and most excellent) sci-fi book provides a haunting, claustrophobic vision of the end of the planet, in which an unstoppable monolithic ice shelf is gradually engulfing the ground and killing everything in its aftermath.
The male protagonist and narrator of the story (who’s nameless) are eternally following an elusive and ethereal young lady while considering feelings that become darker and more abusive towards her since the ice sticks in. He regularly crosses paths with the Warden, the sometimes-husband and captor of this young girl, who’s always 1 step ahead. And since the ice shuts off nearly all avenues by sea and land, he’s running from time to time to grab them up.
The book reads like a grown-up, nightmarish version of Alice in Wonderland: Kavan takes you on a trip that’s hallucinogenic and unsettling, with no respect to if the narrator is awake or dreaming. Nevertheless, the real genius of this book is its terminology depicting a potent allegory crushing pain of dependence, loneliness, and psychological illness that will do little to cheer you up but will catch your attention.
The Best of All Possible Worlds, by Karen Lord
Following their home world is destroyed, the living members of this Sadiri have to find a means for their visitors to continue, even though many of the survivors are a man. To accomplish this, they make their way throughout the colony world of Cygnus Beta under the advice of a female from the world’s Central Government, encountering all sorts of cultures and people within their mission to rescue their vanishing race.
The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin (1969)
Le Guin alternated between genres throughout her prolific career, and also this complex book came out the year following the timeless dream publication A Wizard of Earthsea.
To read Le Guin’s book, you need to know about gender and sex in an alien culture where people can be both male and female and how one Terran man’s rigid ideas about these subjects are challenged. The majority of the action occurs in Winter, a distant Earth-like world where it is cold throughout the year, and everybody is precisely the same sex.
It was among the first books to touch on thoughts of androgyny that is seen in the lens of protagonist Genly Ai, a tourist from Earth who fights to comprehend this alien civilization.
The Resisters, by Gish Jen (2020)
A speculative dystopia put within a vehicle America’, Gish Jen’s The Resisters, that was printed in ancient 2020, places the game of baseball of the things in the centre of the planet, which can be divided into those who get to have occupations, the Netted, as in Aunt Nettie’, as in the world wide web, along with the remainder: the Surplus.
The narrative centers on Gwen, who comes out of a Surplus household but has the opportunity to increase in standing when her baseball abilities get focus, together with Jen shooting surveillance civilization and the worth of leisure and work.
Dune, by Frank Herbert (1965)
In 2012, WIRED US readers voted Dune as the very best science-fiction publication of all time. It is also the best-selling of time and has motivated a colossal world, such as 18 books put over 34,000 decades and a dreadful 1984 film adaptation from David Lynch, his worst movie by far. A better attempt is now in production, directed by Denis Villeneuve.
The show is set 20,000 years later in galaxies stuck in the feudal ages, where computers have been prohibited for spiritual reasons, and noble households rule entire planets. We concentrate on the world Arrakis, which retains a substance used as money throughout the Universe because of its rarity and mind-enhancing powers. Tons of giant sandworms, also.
A Scanner Darkly, by Philip K Dick (1977)
A curious book reads like sci-fi and much more such as a hallucinated autobiography detailing the writer’s battle with drug dependence. At a near-future California, vice cop Bob Arctor resides undercover with a neighborhood of drug addicts hooked on catastrophic psychoactive dope Substance D. Arctor, that wants to don a particular scramble suit to conceal his voice and face when fulfilling his fellow cops, needs to grapple with slowly losing his sense of self.
The publication explores significant themes of race, power, and inequality. Butler’s contextualizing of the age is catastrophic; how she contrasts modern-day 1979 using the pre-Civil War era provides a different perspective about the complex and degrading reality of captivity. Kindred lets you, the reader, participate with the psychological impacts of detention, something sadly often lost in too many of the teachings of this topic.
Neuromancer, by William Gibson (1984)
The definitive cyberpunk book, William Gibson’s Neuromancer, follows hacker-turned-junkie Henry Case because he attempts to pull one last, instead dodgy-sounding project hoping to reverse a poison that prevents him from getting cyberspace.
Placed in a dystopian Japanese underworld, the publication touches on all manner of contemporary technologies, from AI to cryonics, and features a cast of characters that can stick with you long after you turn the final page.
Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler (1979)
Although Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred was released over 40 decades back, it includes lessons and learnings we can still use now. When African-American author Dana finds herself transported from 1979 Los Angeles into the pre-Civil War Antebellum south to save her snowy slave-owning ancestor, she has to face the horrible reality of living slavery, not dropping her modern-day individuality. This is just more complex when she transfers back together with her husband.
Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton (1990)
Before it mutated to the mega-media business Jurassic World, Jurassic Park was a bright, considerate, and gripping sci-fi classic written by Michael Crichton, the equally brilliant Andromeda Strain.
Crichton’s narrative remains a fantastic parable about the hazards of genetic engineering (in addition to a slightly heady exploration of chaos theory). His descriptions of dinosaurs will also be brilliant, such as the T-Rex: “Tim felt a chill, but as he looked down the creature’s entire body, moving down by the huge head and limbs, he watched the bigger, muscular forelimb. It waved from the air and after that it gripped the weapon “
Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson (1992)
Frantic, enjoyable, and nearly suspiciously prescient, this book catches you out of the opening sequence, a high-speed race via an anarchic Los Angeles that’s been carved up into corporate-owned burn calves and hardly lets up.
The publication follows the main character Hiro Protagonist (yes, actually ), an elite hacker and swordsman. He attempts to halt the spread of a harmful virus being propagated with a religious cult. It unites neurolinguistics, historical mythology, and computer science and predicts social websites, cryptocurrency, and Google Earth.
Metro 2033, by Dmitry Glukhovsky (2002)
It is 2033, and also, a nuclear apocalypse has compelled the rag-tag stays of the human inhabitants of Moscow to flee into the underground maze of tunnels under the city. They create different tribes in each metro station, commercial products, and struggle against each other. But hidden in the tunnels between the channels hide frightening flesh-eating mutants and a voice that forces people mad…
This is the assumption of Dmitry Glukhovsky’s wildly successful publication, which was afterward made into a set of video games. Part epic narrative, part thriller, the interpreted story follows a teenager named Artyom, who must go to the core of the Metro through erratic dangers to conserve the remains of humanity. Expect to be shocked.
Hyperion, by Dan Simmons (1989)
Winner of the 1990 Hugo Award for Best Novel and portion of a two-book series, Hyperion is a richly woven sci-fi epic poem told in the fashion of The Canterbury Tales. On the planet of Hyperion, humanity has spread to tens of thousands of words, not one more dangerous or intriguing since Hyperion.
It is home to the Time Tombs, classic structures that are strangely traveling backward through the years, and protecting them would be the terrifying monster referred to as the Shrike. It kills anybody who dares to encroach on the Time Tombs and has motivated a fanatical religious group who restrain pilgrimages to the tombs.
On the eve of an invasion, many travelers convene what is very likely to be the final Shrike pilgrimage and discuss their stories of what attracted them there.
Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood (2003)
While The Handmaid’s Tale refers to a universe that appears more plausible from the afternoon, in Oryx and Crake, Atwood spins a genetically modified circus of present trends taken for their absolute intense a bio-engineered apocalypse, is how one reviewer put it.
A range of television adaptations are mooted, such as a now-defunct HBO project with Darren Aronofsky, but that could be you to put together with The Stars My Destination from the impossible-to-adapt file. The world of this book is lively, surreal, and upsetting.
The Three-Body Problem, Liu Cixin (2008)
Liu Cixin was one of China’s most honored science fiction authors when, in 2008, he chose to turn his hands into some full-length novel. The Three-Body Problem is your results of an era-spanning book that jumps between the Cultural Revolution, the current day, along with a mysterious movie game.
The first part of a trilogy is a fun departure from the tropes of Western science fiction and filled with sufficient natural science that you may find something in addition to being entertained.
The Heart Goes Last, by Margaret Atwood (2015)
An unusual cocktail of a book: component techno dystopia, part satire, part sex humor, part classic Atwood. In a gloomy, postlapsarian variant of the United States, young lovebirds Charmaine and Stan suffer a miserable existence sleeping inside their vehicle and dodging criminals’ knives.
Salvation arrives beneath the guise of an offer to proceed into the Positron Project, a gated neighborhood built after an American 1950s suburb. The rub? All of Positron’s couples have to shell out every other month operating at a prison, temporarily substituting houses with a different team, known as alternates.
When both Charmaine and Stan begin developing oddball sexual connections with their alternates, things proceed quickly south.
The Power, by Naomi Alderman (2016)
Margaret Atwood also had a hand in this gripping book, which inverts the premise of The Handmaid’s Tale, and also places girls in the ascendancy. Atwood mentored the writer, Naomi Alderman. She wrote this ingenious thriller about girls and women discovering a powerful new talent to exude electricity in their palms, up-ending civilization in different ways throughout the world. The electricity is paced as a tv show, and it’s, in actuality, coming to displays shortly via Amazon Studios.
Consider Phlebas, by Iain Banks (1987)
In 1987, following four acclaimed fiction books, Iain Banks released his initial sci-fi publication, Consider Phlebas, a genuine space saver, and his first publication of several to incorporate the Culture, an interstellar utUtopianociety of humanoids, aliens, and sentient machines run by hyper-intelligent AI Minds.
A war rages throughout the Galaxy with a single side fighting for religion, another a moral right to exist. Banks melds this battle with something approaching a conventional fantasy quest: the search for a rogue Head that has concealed itself onto a forbidden globe to evade destruction.
The Martian, by Andy Weir (2015)
Andy Weir’s debut novel places science fiction, packaging in tonnes of well-researched detail regarding life on Mars. There are descriptions of how to fertilize potatoes together with your excrement hack on a life-support system to get a Martian rover in amounts of detail which the film adaptation starring Matt Damon came nowhere close to attaining.
The sassy, pop-culture-laden writing style will not be to everybody’s taste that this book probably will not have educated in English Literature lessons. Still, the first-person view is logical for this particular story of an astronaut stranded on the Red Planet with no method to find a home.
Moonrise: The Golden Age of Lunar Adventures, by Mike Ashley (2018)
In the British Library’s Science Fiction Classics series, Moonrise might only have quickly appeared from the 1950s or even the 1900s within this listing.
It is a brilliantly curated anthology of twelve SF short stories concerning the moon becoming to it, researching it, considering it by lunar-inclined fiction out of H.G. Wells and Arthur C. Clarke correct and present but also the likes of Judith Merril’s 1954 Dead Centre, that distills each of the possible tragedies of distance programs into only a few haunting pictures. From writer and science fiction historian Mike Ashley.
Borne, by Jeff VanderMeer (2017)
The Annihilation series showcased Jeff VanderMeer’s gift for its surreal and then turns it up a notch at Borne that begins with an unidentified scavenger plucking an item in the fur of a giant flying stand in a post-apocalyptic town, and gets weirder from there since the primary character strikes a friendship with a bright sea anemone-like monster named Borne.
The narrative is, it finally transpires, among biotechnology run amok, making for the many colorful dystopias you are most likely to encounter.
Otherland: City of Golden Shadow by Tad Williams (2001)
Ahead of Ready Player Yet, there were Otherland and its astonishing vision of virtual reality. This epic science fiction show starts and finishes on the internet and its Otherland, a mysterious gold town that occupies and murders spirits. The fate of these missing may fall to the hands of Renie Sulaweyo! Sabu, Paul Jonas, fourteen-year-old Orlando, and Mister Sellars: a group of misfits who still might need to rise to become heroes to get a (literally) missing creation.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1979)
Douglas Adams’ unique cocktail of humor and science fiction took the road less traveled into turning into a cult classic. In only a couple of short decades, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy went out to be a BBC radio show to a publication, to an early computer game. It follows the misadventures of Arthur Dent, whose dwelling (Earth) is destroyed to make way for an intergalactic highway.
These novels have the rare distinction of attractive to the most hardened SF aficionado while being laugh out loud amusing.
The Real Story by Stephen R. Donaldson
When people think of Donaldson, they think of his Thomas Covenant epic fantasy. But he has also written one of the best science fiction stories. The Real Story and its four follow-ups are very interesting. All of the characters in this book are very complicated. Nothing is what it appears to be, and they drive the story forward in a way that allows for anything.
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
It was a seminal work in the genre and a great example of how speculative fiction looks at what it means to be human. When he comes back to Earth, he finds that he has just as much to learn from humans as he does from them.
Shikasta by Doris Lessing
In Doris Lessing’s long career, she wrote more than 50 books in many different genres. It’s the first in a series of five science fiction novels called Canopus in Argos that look at how societies change. Shikasta is the first in the series.
Archival history: Shikasta is about the history of a thinly-veiled Earth and how three advanced alien civilizations, especially the Canopus, try to keep humanity safe and avoid a third World War by teaching us how to live in peace. The series was very much influenced by Lessing’s interest in Sufism in the 1970s, which led to its own religious cult.
Starship Troopers Robert A. Heinlein
Starship Troopers is a military sci-fi book and one of Heinlein’s most controversial works. It was written in response to the United States’ decision to stop nuclear tests. A group of men is shown in the book going through the most difficult training in the universe before going on a mission to fight a species of aliens in the Bug War.
The book doesn’t hide its love for the military. In spite of the fact that some people may not agree with all of the ideas in the book’s 300 pages, it’s still a must-read in the science fiction field.
The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
Pvt. William Mandella is a member of an elite military unit that travels through space and time to fight the thousand-year war. Mandella is getting older by the month as he tries to stay alive and return home. The Earth he left behind is getting older by centuries.
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
When Stanley Kubrick made the 1968 movie version of 2001: A Space Odyssey, he wrote the book at the same time. When an astronaut goes on a mysterious, dangerous mission into outer space, he meets an alien race. The book is about this astronaut, and it’s a weird story.
Before humans set foot on the Moon, this book talks about what this kind of progress could mean for us and what it could mean for our future. Science-fiction fans will want to read this book. It looks into how humans came to be and where they fit in the universe.
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
The temperature at which books burn even if you live in a country that uses the Celsius system. Most of us know Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury’s best-known book about dystopian fiction. In the same way that Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World did before it, this book tells the story of a person who isn’t happy to be a part of a totalitarian machine. In this case, our hero is a fireman who burns books. Over the course of this gripping novel, he becomes a member of the resistance.
Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
Many people love reading about a young woman who is chosen to telepathically bond with a dragon to lead her people and fight Thread on the planet of Pern for years. She was the first woman to win the Hugo and Nebula Awards, and for a good reason.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
It’s almost impossible to live on Earth now because of war and pollution. Rick Deckard is one of those who are not so lucky and has to deal with what’s left. It’s a difficult assignment for Rick, who kills renegade androids. This makes him question his work and even his own identity. I think Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is one of Dick’s best books. It’s also one of the more accessible of his many works.
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughterhouse-Billy Five’s Pilgrim is a soldier who has become unstuck in time. Kurt Vonnegut used science fiction and his own experiences as a World War II prisoner of war to make Billy Pilgrim. Many things happen in this story that we don’t know about, but we see them as Billy moves back and forth across the timeline of his birth, life, and eventual death. Slaughterhouse-Five is Vonnegut at his best. It’s bold, strange, and kind.
Dust by Elizabeth Bear
If you haven’t read generation ship stories before, this is the kind you haven’t seen. Artificial intelligence, angels, and humans all live together on the Jacob’s Ladder, which has been stuck in space for centuries. There are three people in the story: A noblewoman who wants to stop a war between her house and the house next door, a servant girl, and an angel who wants to change the world.
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang
Ted Chiang has had a big impact on the world of science fiction, even though he has only written a few short stories. Arrival, which was based on a story in this collection of short stories, is the most well-known one. But the other stories here are not to be missed. Chiang does what the best sci-fi writers do: he doesn’t just come up with new things to come up with new things. Instead, he uses his amazing imagination to tell heartfelt stories that make you cry.
The Fifth Science by Exurb1a
This book has 12 short tales that all deal with the same thing. In this sci-fi world, the human race has become the Human Galactic Empire, which rules over all of space and time. In the past 100 years, humans used four pillars of science to spread across the universe. However, as a result of the 5th science, the flourishing empire was over for good.
The Fifth Science looks at what happens after humans die. There are a lot of stories that occur after the burgeoning empire falls apart. They cover a wide range of topics. Every story is different. However, they all show the dangers and flaws of human ambition.
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller
The global nuclear war wiped out the Earth, and it sent its survivors into a new dark age in which science is demonized, and books are burned at the sight of them. It’s a small group of Catholic monks dedicated to a legendary miracle worker, trying to hold back the tide of ignorance as best they can. A Canticle for Leibowitz is a story that is both happy and sad. It might make you think about what the future holds for us as a species.
The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters
This list of science fiction stories has a lot of detective stories and mysteries in it, too. Hank Palace may be the last policeman in the world. As humanity waits for an asteroid to hit and destroy them all, Palace investigates what looks like a common suicide. To answer a question, we hope we never have to think about: why bother solving a murder when everyone will die? The Last Policeman is a sci-fi murder mystery.
A Fire Upon The Deep by Veror Vinge
Epic space opera: This 1992 book is a long one. There are a lot of things in this book that deals with things like love, betrayal, human relationships, and genocide: It also has a lot of interesting alien races and technology. Superhuman intelligence and different physics are also looked into.
The Stand (Movie Tie-in Edition) by Stephen King
Stephen King’s sprawling apocalyptic opus has been his fans’ favorite for a long time. It’s also one of his best books. It all started when someone made an error with a computer in the lab. It caused a global pandemic. King then built an epic story of survival, resilience, and the ultimate battle between good and evil. When Stephen King wrote The Shining, he combined elements of horror, fantasy, and sci-fi into a 1,100-page book that made him one of the best horror writers.
Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein
Glory Road, Robert A. Heinlein’s only science fantasy, was an instant hit. When E.C. Gordon answers an ad, it leads him to Star, the Empress of Twenty Universes. She wants him to find the Egg of the Phoenix, and she sends him on a quest to get it. Love, fun, and adventure-filled, the book is a great way to break up some heavier books on this list.
The Handmaid’s Tale (Movie Tie-in) by Margaret Atwood
A theocratic state called the Republic of Gilead has taken its place. It has a fatal flaw: a low birth rate. Angry about what the future will bring, the only male leaders of Gilead have made fertile enslaved women so that they can have babies. These young women are called handmaids.
Offred is one of them, too. It’s her story. If you want to learn more about feminist literature, The Handmaid’s Tale is a must-read. It’s also the inspiration for the Hulu show of the same name.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)
Many things make the world a utopian dream (or a nightmare) in the future: genetic manipulation, an intelligence-based caste system, heavy medication, and the fact that people now learn while they sleep because of these things. What a great time to be alive! Other than Nineteen Eighty-Four, Brave New World is a book you’ll see on every list of the best science fiction books.
Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh
The characters in this story are very unique and very real. During a war, it is set on a space station that is very dangerous. It doesn’t talk about amazing technology or aliens. Instead, it looks at what a space station might be like in a more real-world way and how it might work. Afterward, it comes up with a suspenseful story in this well-made world.
The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse
Hermann Hesse’s last book, The Glass Bead Game, is very different from other works of science fiction. There is very little technology in the book. As an alternative, the book takes place in a monastery-like village in a post-apocalyptic future after the world’s end. Scholars spend all their time and energy trying to master the mysterious glass bead game. It talks about how scholarship and wisdom are different, but even a light read is sure to be fun and exciting.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games, which came before this one, did well because the author fantastic world building. This is a well-thought-out world. Contestants in a dystopian future have to fight for their lives to stay alive. The first book led to a whole series that is worth reading.
Twelve cities. 24 people are competing. One person is still alive. The Hunger Games, a young adult book about a dystopian world, has this as its main idea. Katniss Everdeen didn’t want to be in the Games, but after her sister was chosen, Katniss stepped in and agreed to fight for her own life.
Suzanne Collins has done a great job building a world both inside and outside the arena. This, combined with the cutting themes of extreme social inequality and human savagery, makes this book a real standout in recent years.
The Martian by Andy Weir (2011)
MacGuyver in space could be an excellent way to describe Andy Weir’s first book, The Martian. It’s a bold and confident debut. This is what happens to botanist astronaut Mark Watney when he is left behind on Mars by accident: he must figure out how to live long enough for the help. The book was praised for its sense of humor and respect for actual science (almost every detail in the story is true to life). It has since become a big movie starring Matt Damon.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
In many ways, Jules Verne was ahead of his time. His adventure stories and early science-fiction works seem to have foreshadowed a lot of future inventions and technological progress. This book is about Captain Nemo and his amazing submarine, the Nautilus. It tells how the two of them lived together for many years. The ship is very modern for a book that was written in 1870.
Re: Colonised Planet 5, Shikasta by Doris Lessing (1979)
A lot of people just call this book Shikasta. The full title, including the subtitle: Colonized Planet 5, Shikasta: Personal, psychological, and historical documents relating to a visit by Johor (George Sherban) Emissary (Grade 9) on the 87th Day. The title of the first book in the Nobel Prize winner’s Canopus in Argos series isn’t the only thing that’s strange.
The book is made up of reports, letters, speeches, and journal entries that are all about the planet Shikasta (an allegorical Earth). These documents look at the planet’s history, how it changed over time, and what happened in the Century of Destruction (or the 20th century) (World War III).
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (1895)
Often, the Time Machine is thought to be the work that first thought of time travel through a… time machine! In this seminal novel, H.G. Wells started out as a writer with this book. In it, a time traveler visits a future 800,000 years in the future. When he goes to Earth, he finds that it is dying, and the races still live there are at war. To get home, he’ll have to go down into the dark tunnels where the Morlocks live and find out about the dark side of human nature.
Watchers by Dean Koontz
Dean Koontz has been putting sci-fi and other speculative elements into his scary stories for a long time. People started reading Dean Koontz’s books in the mid-80s, which made him a big name. One of the main characters in Watchers is a super-intelligent Golden Retriever and a relentless genetically engineered monster.
This book explores themes that would become common in Koontz’s work in the future, like shady government organizations and the ethical issues of unchecked scientific advancement. When he wrote Watchers, Koontz was able to find his feet as a writer for the first time.
Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy
In the 1970s, Connie Ramos was sent to a mental institution because she was convicted of a crime she didn’t commit. Lucente, an emissary from a utopian society in 2137, talks to her and shows her a classless, highly individualistic future focused on social justice and self-actualization. But this is only one of two possible futures. The other one is a hypercapitalist, class-segregated nightmare, and Connie’s actions alone will decide which one comes to pass.
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (1950)
Probably, you’ve seen the movie with Will Smith in it. You should still read the book, though, and now more than ever. Asimov set the tone for his generation’s view of robots in this single title: they should serve but never outrank or overrule humans.
This fix-up book is made up of short stories and essays that explain how robots came to be and how humans have a complicated relationship with their own creations. Some robots are mad, while others have political aspirations or just like a good joke.
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
Anyone who has seen this movie or read this book can’t forget it. A common myth says that the radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds caused panic in many people in the United States because they thought the country was under attack by alien invasion (although it might not have happened exactly like that). Regardless, the story now has a place in our pop culture history, and it has been adapted and written about many times over the last 100 years.
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (1974)
The Forever War has been called one of the best military science fiction novels of the last few decades. It doesn’t hide from its title, though.
The war in question is set in the stars, and the young men and women who have to fight in it are both men and women who have been drafted in an intergalactic war. The years pass while they are away, and their own Earth is a new place to them when they return. In this anti-war book, it breaks free from the limitations of its genre to become a transcendent epic in its own right, one that’s still relevant today.
World War Z by Max Brooks
You can think of it as an oral history of the zombie apocalypse. World War Z is about how the world came to an end. Unlike many zombie stories, this one is written in a different way. It’s written not as narrative prose but as a series of recordings made by people who were there during the war. The audiobook version is especially interesting because it’s read by a full cast, which makes it a very immersive experience for the reader.
The City & The City by China Miéville
Miéville won the Hugo Award for this story because he mixed his fantastic, weird fiction with a police procedural. The book takes Tyador Borl, a member of the Extreme Crime Squad, through two very different worlds as he looks for a murderer. By one of the best writers working today, this is a fantastic story.
Recursion: A Novel by Blake Crouch
Recursion is a fast-paced book with a lot of mystery and intrigue. The story revolves about a disease that seems to be spreading all over the world. But this disease is different from anything humans have ever seen before. People who have this disease have bad physical effects, but they also have bad memories of a life they haven’t lived.
When neuroscientists figure out that this mysterious disease isn’t a disease, the story of how it came to be starts to come together. Instead, it’s just the first of many world-changing discoveries that are going to change the way time and space move. These discoveries are going to change everything.
This book is a great read that blends mystery, science-fiction, and thrillers into one unique work.
The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer by Neal Stephenson
The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer. It’s a coming-of-age story about a young girl named Nell, who lives in a futuristic world where nanotechnology is used to control everything in life. Nell gets an illegal interactive book that is supposed to teach her how to stay with the rules. Instead, it leads her down a different path that could change the future of humanity.
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (1962)
Science fiction isn’t science fiction if it takes place in the past or the present. We think The Man in the High Castle qualifies because Philip K. Dick’s alternate history asks, “What if…?” This is a common SF question, and we think The Man in the High Castle fits the bill.
The book is set in 1960s America, where the United States has been divided between the Third Reich and the Japanese Empire. This is another excellent example of world-building. It’s a fun fact: Dick used the I Ching, a Chinese Book of Changes, to make plot decisions, just like the characters in his book do.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Many people think Ender’s Game was one of the most important genre pieces of the twentieth century. Ender was made to be a genius hero for Earth. Playing a simulation game, Ender thinks that the game is real. Instead, he finds himself in the middle of a real war with an alien force that wants to wipe out the human race. There are now many more books and a movie adaptation based on it starting with this book.
The Midnight Library: A Novel
A lot of different book awards are given out by Goodreads every year. They gave The Midnight Library their Choice Award for Fiction. Take a trip with Matt Haig to a library on the edge of space and find out what it has to offer. Each book on the shelf tells the story of a parallel universe or reality. The people who wrote those books are the ones who are in charge of what happens in their worlds. It asks what you would do if you could see all of your decisions and how they changed you.
Haig based the story on Nora Seed, a woman who was given a chance to visit the Midnight Library and see her life in other worlds. She learns how her decisions have affected her and have the chance to decide whether to stay with her life or move into a new one. Haig will make you wonder what you would do if she were you. After reading the book, you may wonder what you would do in Seed’s shoes.
The Fold by Peter Clines
Researchers at DARPA think they’ve found a way to fold dimensions, which would allow humans to travel long distances in a matter of seconds. They think their discovery will change the course of human history. He isn’t sure, though. Some of the people who test the doorway are coming back after a long time away from it. Mike has to figure out the science and save his team, as well as the rest of the world. The Fold is a sci-fi thriller that is both complicated and fast-paced. You can read it all in one sitting.
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
His job as a time travel technician is to help people who have gone on time travel trips that don’t go as planned. Charles Yu is looking for his father through quantum space-time. His journey to find his missing father is funny, thought-provoking, and heartbreaking at times. He is helped by a dog that doesn’t exist and an operating system with self-esteem issues.
Contact by Carl Sagan
A real-life scientist wrote Contact, a story about a group of aliens. Carl Sagan wrote a 1985 book about what happens when humans make contact with an extraterrestrial race that’s a lot better than we are. Explorers set out to meet the senders of a radio signal that tells them how to build spacecraft that can travel through wormholes. They hope that by meeting them, they can learn about the universe in a way that we couldn’t have done without them.
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
One of sci-fi’s most beloved modern writers, N.K. Jemisin has written some of the most exciting and original work in the genre. She is one of the best contemporary writers. In The Fifth Season, the world ends on the same day that Essun’s life starts to fall apart. During the war for survival, Essun goes out to find her daughter. Her story, along with Jemisin’s masterful world-building and beautiful prose, will keep you reading for all 450 or so pages.
Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
The city of Bellona isn’t the same as it used to be. Most people have left, leaving behind only the madmen, the criminals, and the poor and poor. He is called the Kid. If you want to learn about race, gender, and sexuality in a way that can’t be missed, this book is for you. It’s dense and complicated, but you can’t miss it.
Action Comics Issue 1 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
If you’re a fan of science-fiction, you might not like this post. But I’ll explain why. For this list of the best books, keep in mind that it’s not just novels. A comic book could be on it. In 1938, Superman was first shown to the world in this single issue. This story about an alien with superhuman abilities was written by two teenagers from Cleveland, Ohio, who live there now.
Superman’s origin story led to an entire sub-genre of science fiction that is still very popular in today’s comics, TV, and movies. Unless you’re a millionaire, you can no longer buy a single issue of Superman. You can, however, read it in a compilation book called Superman: The Golden Age Vol. 1.
Klara and the Sun: A Novel
He made the New York Times bestseller list with Klara and the Sun. The author of books like The Remains of the Day and Never Let Us Go has written a new story about Klara. Unlike similar stories about human characters, the author wanted to tell a report from the point of view of an artificial intelligence being, not a person. People walk by on the street and enter the store, and Klara hopes one of them will choose her one day.
Because Ishiguro was the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, he knows how to get people into a story and keep them guessing about what will happen next. It’s hard to tell if anyone will choose Klara or if she will get the love she needs. It might make you wonder what love is and look at the love in your life. Over 300 pages, Klara and the Sun will keep you interested until the end.
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Take a look at some of the best science fiction to see how technology might change the future and how it might make things worse. It’s called Nineteen Eighty-Four, and it tells the story of a dark future where government lies and propaganda rule the day. Few books have had as significant an impact on the culture and psyche of the human race as this still-relevant cautionary tale by George Orwell, which is still relevant today.
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
A physicist named Shevek wants to shake up life on the utopian mother planet Urras in the same name that The Left Hand of Darkness did. He hopes that these actions will break down the hate walls surrounding his own planet. The book is the first in Ursula K. Le Guin’s Hainish Cycle, but it was the fifth one to be written.
The Plot Against America (Movie Tie-in Edition) by Philip Roth
You won’t find The Plot Against America in your local bookstore in the science fiction section. But don’t worry, this is a book about alternative history. Airplane hero Charles Lindbergh becomes President of the United States in Roth’s book, based on a true story.
When Lindberg gets close to Adolf Hitler, young Philip Roth and his family watch as the United States they thought they knew quickly turns into fascism and anti-Semitism. The politics of fear and hatred can be very dangerous, and this is a look at them.
Trading in Danger by Elizabeth Moon
When there are only boys in the family, Ky Vatta is the only girl. She’s also the only one who left the family business of trade to become a military career. To make the best out of a bad situation, Vatta decides to take on a risky trading contract that could be very profitable for Vatta’s Transport Ltd., but she’ll have to get through the mission first before the company can make a lot of money from the deal.
Other Best Science Fiction Novels Considered
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
Station Eleven (Television Tie-in) by Emily St. John Mandel
Darwin’s Radio by Greg Bear
Ringworld by Larry Niven
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (2014)
A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn
The Dark Forest
- Best Anger Management Books of All Time Review
- Best Seduction Books of All Time Review
- Best Warhammer 40K Books of All Time Review
Last update on 2022-04-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API