19 Best Sci-Fi Books of All Time

best Sci-fi Books of all time
19 Best Sci-Fi Books of All Time 21

If you are looking for the best sci-fi books of all time, you have come to the right place. We do not always read science fiction books so when we do, it is usually the best of the best. Classic science fiction books like the ones below have been pivotal in literature curriculums for good reason.

Themes like space travel, time travel, and gene manipulation run through these books and were once just fiction. It makes me wonder where we will be in 50 years and if all the themes in these books will still be just fiction or if time travel may become reality.

*Best Sci-Fi Books post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

Best Sci-Fi Books of All Time

Recursion

Recursion by Blake Crouch

This 5-star read is making our best books of 2019 list for sure. When people start to become ill with False Memory Syndrome, nobody knows who will get it or how.

Barry is a cop who sees the devastating effect of FMS on the people who contract it. Helen is a scientist who studies memory. Barry and Helen come together to find answers and stop everyone’s past from becoming one distorted memory.  Blake Crouch is so smart- this book really made me think.  If you like sci-fi, this is an absolute must-read.

klara and the sun

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

I’m not usually a sci-fi girl, but this book was just so special. It’s told from the perspective of Klara, an artificial friend who starts the story waiting to be purchased.

We see Klara’s life in the store as she waits for a friend, and then what her life is like when she’s chosen to be a companion for a young girl with a mysterious illness.

Klara draws her power from the sun, and so she believes she can use the sun’s healing rays to save her friend too. This moving story had me caring for a robot in a way I knew would have thought possible. It is definitely on my list of best sci-fi books of all time.

the martian

The Martian by Andy Weir

This sci-fi book was the inspiration for the movie starring Matt Damon. The movie was fantastic. It will not surprise you to hear that the book was better.

There was no question that this book belongs on a list of the best sci-fi books of all time. When Mark Watney becomes trapped on Mars after a dust storm, he has no way to communicate that he is still alive. He has to use his brains, quick thinking, and ingenuity to overcome one obstacle after another and stay alive.

Dune

Dune by Frank Herbert

I read this sci-fi book after I watched the first movie. The movie was surprisingly true to the first half of the book and I cannot wait to see the second movie.

twenty thousand years in the future, humans live on multiple planets. The most important substance is called Spice. It is a psychedelic substance that is the only thing that allows for space travel and it is found in only one place, Dune. As forces fight for control of Spice, they are also fighting for existence and continuing their way of life. This is the first in a series of six books

Best Sci-fi Audiobooks

in the lives of puppets

In the Lives of Puppets by T.J Klune

Let’s be honest, I would read anything that TJ Klune writes. House on the Cerulean Sea was my Best Book of 2020 and Under the Whispering Door was my Best of 2021. It is safe to say that you will find this book from the list of spring 2023 book releases on a best-of-post!

In a forest, safe and hidden, live a human and three robots. When an unfamiliar android reveals a dark shared past of hunting humans, they are no longer safe. This book is a lot sadder than Klune’s other adult books but has his signature sense of humanity in this sci-fi book.

cloud cuckoo

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr

I don’t know how to begin to describe this book. This is NOTHING like All The Light We Cannot See and yet, I absolutely loved it. It is part historical fiction, part sci-fi, and absolutely amazing.

The book is set in Constantinople in the fifteenth century, Five hundred years later in a library in Idaho and in a spaceship traveling to a new planet sometime in the near future. Even while trying to describe this book, it does not seem to go together and yet, the story of Cloud Cuckoo Land (a story within the Novel) acts as the glue that brings the characters together. The end result is an amazing sci-fi book with a very powerful message.

This is not an easy read but is well worth it.

The Echo Wife

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

I picked up this sci-fi psychological thriller because of the cover (#booktruth.) I thought it would be about a first wife upset that she had been replaced by a trophy wife…little did I know, she was replaced by a LITERAL CLONE of herself.

I’m not usually into sci-fi, that’s firmly Jackie territory, but it was actually pretty good! If you like Sci-Fi, you would probably REALLY enjoy it. It was clever and interesting, even if it’s not my usual cup of tea.

Science Fiction Books for Teens

Cinder

Cinder by Melissa Meyer

This four-book series is set in the future in a time of disease and war.  This series is part twisted fairy tale, part dystopia, and part sci-fi fantasy.  

Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel are re-imagined as you have never seen them before. All of them are smart and strong women far from the helpless damsels in distress we know them to be. 

The first in this series of classic book retellings introduces us to Cinder.  She is a cyborg (part human, part machine) who lives with her……..you guessed it….. two step-sisters and stepmother.

Find this book in Books Like Cinder / YA Dystopian Books / YA Romance Fantasy Books / Best Teen Fantasy / Books Like The Selection

Ready player one

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

In 2045, most people spent their days in the OASIS, a virtual reality world. When the elusive creator of the OASIS dies and leaves clues behind, the first person to solve the riddles will be in control of the entire OASIS and a massive fortune.

When Wade Watts solves the first clue, he might fight for his survival to win along with his group of misfit friends. Love, a fight for survival, and a group of loyal friends all give me Lunar Chronicle vibes.

Find this book in YA Dystopian Books / Best Sci-Fi Books / Books Like the Hunger Games

Thousandth Floor

The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee

Set 100 years in the future in a 1000-floor tower, New York’s privileged elite navigate romance, privilege, and temptation in this sci-fi YA novel.

It gave me gossip girl vibes with a futuristic feel except it opens with someone falling from their death from the top floor. Avery Fuller is genetically designed to be perfect but is her life as perfect as it seems? If you love sci-fi, forbidden love stories, and the fight for survival of the Hunger Games, this book is perfect for you to read.

Find this book in Books Like the Hunger Games / Sci-Fi Books / YA Dystopian Books

hunger games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

This is the first book in the Hunger Games series and it is epic! In the aftermath of what was once North America, there are 12 Districts surrounding the capital.

Each year, each district sends one boy and one girl to fight to the death in a competition called “The Hunger Games”. Katniss Everdeen volunteers as a tribute to save her younger sister, Prim, from certain death in the games where it is kill-or-be-killed.

This sci-fi book has everything but at its heart, it is a book about family, love, and survival. This young adult book has a heart while making you turn the pages!

Find this book in Books Like the Hunger Games / Young Adult Fantasy Series / Books About Sisters / Sci-Fi Books / Books Like Fourth Wing / YA Dystopian Novels

Classic Sci-Fi Books

franeknstein

Frankenstein by Mary Shelly

This iconic book was a must for the best sci-fi books of all time. Viktor Frankenstein and his monster are more than they appear on the surface.

This classic sci-fi book is also a story of triumph and tragedy. It brings up many philosophical questions that are still relevant today. Just because we can, does that mean we should? This awe-inspiring book is imagination at its finest.

The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Set in a dystopian world, the main character Jonas is special because he is the receiver. In his Idyllic community, he is the one who holds the secrets.

This Newberry Award-Winning classic book for kids is one of the most influential novels of our time and one of the best sci-fi books of all time. Interestingly, the Hunger Games has been added to many curriculums to look at dystopian worlds in addition to this sci-fi book. If you love classic sci-fi books, this pick is a must-read.

Find this book in Books Like the Hunger Games / YA Dystopian Novels

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Bradbury’s dystopian classic is one of the most well-known pieces of modern literature but I hadn’t read it! I don’t usually gravitate to books like this, but I had heard so many people speak about the relevancy of this novel today.

It’s so true. This sci-fi book offers a grim look at our future if our society continues down the road of this technology obsession we seem to have. If you liked 1984 or The Circle, you will devour this book.

a wrinkle in time

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

This classic sci-fi book for tweens tells the story of Meg, a high school student, who must travel through space and time to rescue her father.

Along with her younger brother and her friend, Meg learns about the tesseract- a wrinkle in time and space that she must travel through in order to save her father from Evil. I remember loving this science fiction book as a kid and didn’t feel the same when I read it as an adult. But, as classic sci-fi middle grade books go, this is a must read.

More Sci-fi Books

with regrets

With Regrets by Lee Kelly

This sci-fi book is funny, scary, and poignant – a true genre-defying work of fiction unlike any other! It’s a dystopian thriller about a dinner party in a wealthy area that coincides with the dawn of a dystopian apocalypse.

When Liz begrudgingly goes to influence Britta’s dinner party, the last thing she expects is the glimmer – a strange sparkling cloud that kills everything it comes in contact with. Now Liz needs to find a way to survive the evening in a completely different way than she expected.

I was completely immersed in this novel. I didn’t want to put it down, though it did have me wondering if I could in fact survive the apocalypse. #gifted By Dreamscape Media

The Measure and more goodreads choice awards 2022 books

The Measure by Nikki Erlick

July 2022 Read With Jenna Book Club Pick

This is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. One day everyone over the age of 22 wakes up to find a string on their doorstep. It’s soon clear that the length of one’s string determines the length of their life.

Soon short stringers are being discriminated against around the globe which begs the question – what is the true measure of a valuable life? This would be a fabulous book club book. There is so much to talk about and you will love this pick from summer reads 2023! Don’t let the fact that this is a sci-fi book deter you if it is not your usual genre.

Vox by Christina Dalcher

Once I got into this sci-fi book /fantasy novel, I could not put it down. The story takes place in the United States when a fundamentalist has become the president. Slowly, he has removed all rights from women, including the right to speech.

Every woman is given 100 words a day and a bracelet with a counter to ensure compliance. This book was so well-written and creepy. I loved it although I have to say that it was a little close to how I feel these days

My murder

My Murder by Katie Williams

This is a serial killer thriller with a twist. Lou is the victim of a local serial killer who targeted women, took off their shoes, and left them posed around town. After a government program brought these women back to life, they meet in a support group to talk about their experiences.

Even though Lou is happily married with a young daughter, she feels like she needs to know more about the circumstances of her death. This is one of the best sci-fi books I have read in a long time. If you are not sure if you like the genre, this is the perfect pick. It’s a sci-fi “light”.

What do you think are the best sci-fi books of all time?

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