30 Best Sci-Fi Books You Have To Read

Sci-fi is one of the most exciting and dynamic genres of fiction out there. Let’s say you’re new to sci-fi and want to know where to start off. Or perhaps you’re a veteran looking for something new and exciting.

30 Best Sci-Fi Books You Have To Read

Whatever the reason—you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll be looking at 30 of the best sci-fi novels that the genre has to offer. We’ll make sure to list old classics as well as new favorites, to give you a good range of options.

30 Best Sci-Fi Books To Read Today

1. Dune By Frank Herbert

We’re starting off with a book that is often considered the greatest Sci-Fi novel of all time. Dune by Frank Herbert is to Sci-Fi what Lord of the Rings is to epic fantasy.

This novel follows Paul Atreides, who, after a political assassination, is left to fend for himself on the desolate, desert planet of Arakis. Although the prose can be tough at times, this is a pure masterpiece!

This is likely my favorite science fiction book of all time and also is a series that throws the ‘white savior’ trope on its head the further into it you read.

2. Frankenstein By Mary Shelley

We mentioned this in the intro of our post, but Frankenstein by Mary Shelley may well be the first ever Science Fiction novel.

You’ve probably heard of it in some way, but it follows the story of Dr. Frankenstein who created a monster from galvanized corpses. It’s a little old now, but Shelley’s writing is still great and you should definitely consider picking it up if you want to see where the genre began.

3. Neuromancer By William Gibson

Neuromancer is a science fiction book that had a cult status for a long time and is finally beginning to be known as one of the most important novels in the genre. It’s one of the earliest works of cyberpunk fiction, and a great entry into the sub-genre. We recommend picking this up if you like the idea of futuristic cities and augmented humans.

4. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep By Philip K. Dick

Ever seen Blade Runner? Well, this is the book that it’s based on. Do androids dream is an incredible book about humanity and artificial intelligence and it’s one of the most important works of science fiction history.

5. I, Robot by Issac Asimov

Since we’re on the topic of science fiction books that inspired movies, next up we have I, Robot by Issac Asimov.

This one doesn’t have so much in common with the novel it’s based on, but it’s an interesting read that once again tackles the nature of artificial intelligence and outlines a future where there are defined laws that humans should follow when creating them.

6. Horus Rising (The Horus Heresy Book 1) by Dan Abnett

The Warhammer 40k universe is one of the most beloved science fiction ideas since the advent of the genre. If you want to get into it but don’t know where to start, then this is going to be the perfect book for you!

Dan Abnett is widely considered to be one of the best authors in the Black Library, with rich characters and some of the most realistic battle scenes you’ll read.

7. Hyperion By Dan Simmons

Want a classic sci-fi book with some of the most terrifying alien concepts you’ll ever encounter? If you’re looking to see some of the darkest ideas sci-fi has to offer then this is a great choice for you.

It’s also kind of profound, following the form of Geoggery Chaucer’s classic Canterbury Tales.

8. The Left Hand Of Darkness By Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula Le Guin is a master of speculative fiction and has written some of the most impressive works of both sci-fi and fantasy.

For her main fantasy entry, she wrote The Left Hand of Darkness, which is a deep and profound novel about the future of humanity and AI. Another must-read if you want to become well versed in the genre.

9. The Three-Body Problem By Cixin Liu

One of the authors who is making the most waves in contemporary science fiction at the moment is Cixin Liu. This novel is a hard science fiction masterpiece and has been one of the most impressive works in the genre since it came out in 2008.

We highly recommend getting into the work of Cixin Liu if you’re interested in realistic science fiction.

10. Enders Game By Orson Scott Card

A young adult, underdog sports story in space. Not much more needs to be said about this one. It’s a book that has forever introduced young readers to the world of science fiction and is a great place to start!

11. Starship Troopers By Robert A. Heinlein

This is a fairly controversial book for today’s age, and it differs a lot from the movie of the same name, but even so, it’s an important and thought-provoking work of military science fiction and one you should read!

12. The Martian By Andy Weir

This is a great novel if you’re looking for something akin to Gulliver’s Travel. It’s a story about a man trapped on mars, forced to survive in the harsh landscape. It’s also a quick read with a lot of depth!

13. Children Of Time By Adrian Tchaikovsky

Another cutting-edge science fiction novel that deals with huge, universal themes. We recommend this if you’re looking for something big and sweeping that will keep you engaged for hours.

14. All Systems Red By Martha Wells

If you want a really interesting read about a robot exploring human emotions, this is a great one to pick up. It follows the canon of previous novels like Do Androids and I, Robot, and is a great modern novel to read if you’re looking for something that is expanding this sub-genre.

15. Brave New World By Aldous Huxley

Sometimes considered more a work of dystopian fiction rather than science fiction, this masterpiece by Aldous Huxley is a great example of a futuristic novel that explores freedom of choice and what it means to be human. A must-read, even if it’s lacking aliens and spaceships!

16. Leviathan Wakes By James S. A. Corey

This is a great, huge science fiction novel that inspired the now legendary series The Expanse that premiered on Syfy. This is likely to be a classic for years to come, so get on the hype train now and see what it’s about!

17. Nineteen Eighty-Four By George Orwell

Much like Brave New World, this might sit more comfortably in the genre of dystopian fiction, but it’s a great example of futuristic technology challenging society; being bent as a way of control.

If you’re interested in a book about the perils of totalitarianism in the wake of the soviet union, this is a great book for you!

18. God Emperor Of Dune By Frank Herbert

The Dune series is a mix of ups and downs, but this novel is one of the best Herbert has to offer. We won’t go into spoilers, but it deals with a man who has ascended to godhood and offers a very unique speculative experience for the reader. Just note this is book number 4, so you’ll want to read the others before!

19. Akira By Katsuhiro Otomo

This is our first graphic novel and it’s a great example of cyberpunk fiction. You should read this one if you’re interested in manga and want a classic that is one of the earliest examples of a masterpiece within the genre. Biker gangs and psychic powers – what’s not to love?

20. The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet By Becky Chambers

If you want something more contemplative, this novel by Becky Chambers is a great example of how space opera can be expanded to focus on inner character turmoil and laced with deep meaning.

21. The Time Machine By H.G Wells

Another example of a founding novel within the genre, The Time Machine is a must-read if you want to understand the earliest murmurings of science fiction.

22. John Carter By Edgar Rice Burroughs

In many ways, this series can be considered the Conan the Barbarian of the science fiction genre and is an incredible example of how science fiction can be mixed with fantasy. It’s a weird and wonderful series that is thrilling and at times funny.

23. The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy By Douglas Adams

One of the most unique and hilarious entries to the genre, this series by Douglas Adams is a classic for a reason. It’s one of those books that you’ll find yourself laughing out loud if the humor clicks with you and a must-read for the lighter side of science fiction.

24. Foundation By Issac Asimov

Asimov’s Foundation series is a great next step if you loved I, Robot. It’s one of the most impressive works of speculative fiction and is loved worldwide. We would recommend it if you’re looking for deep lore and compelling existential questions.

25. Solaris By Stanislaw Lem

This 1961 novel is another philosophy-heavy book about a group of humans trying to figure out the secrets of a strange sentient ocean on another planet. It’s as close to literary fiction as Sci-Fi can get!

26. Ice By Anna Kavan

Another older novel that chronicles the end of the world as we know it. It’s a fairly psychedelic Sci-Fi work that is perfect if you’re looking for something different to read.

27. A Scanner Darkly By Philip K Dick

So futuristic drugs—if the idea of this interests you, then A Scanner Darkly is a great book to read. It’s weird and wonderful and paints a more realistic picture of what the world could one day look like.

28. Jurassic Park By Michael Crichton

You’ve probably seen the movie, but the book is far more contemplative and deals with the idea of humans playing god and resurrecting long-dead species from the grave. It’s as unique as it was when it was first published and thrilling from start to finish.

29. Metro 2033 By Dmitry Glukhovsky

The book that inspired the now much-loved videogame series, this novel deals with a future where a nuclear apocalypse has sent the remnants of humanity to an underground maze of tunnels. It’s low on the science, but a very character-led story that will grip you.

30. Moonrise By Mike Ashley

To finish, we have a contemporary science fiction anthology of some of the best stories about the moon. It’s a great mixture of positive and challenging concepts and it’s sure to contain something that you’ll love.

Why should you read “Dune” by Frank Herbert? - Dan Kwartler

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