There have been countless sci-fi books released over the past century or so, including mammoth volumes to collections of short stories. Because of that, however, it can be difficult to figure out which sci-fi books to go for. While friends and family may have suggestions, that could end up being just the tip of the iceberg; with that in mind, it’s worth looking at the most notable sci-fi books to ever be written.
Like all other lists, we’ve to start somewhere, so let’s take a look at the 100 best sci-fi books of all time, starting will number 100.
The Best Sci-Fi Books Of All Time
On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. But, Armageddon approaches; can humanity prevent it or survive its effects?
99. The Grand Tour Series
Written by Ben Bova, The Grand Tour series follows the themes of exploration and colonization through central characters and organizations colonizing a number of planets across the solar system. In each story, the plot follows a relatively weak character as they eventually become a hero.
98. A Clockwork Orange
A Clockwork Orange doesn’t need an introduction due to how well-known the film of the same name is. However, the novel can seem a lot more disturbing and anarchic that the film and adds a few extra layers that even fans of the movie might find surprising.
97. Journey To The Center Of The Earth
Journey to the Center of the Earth is exactly what it sounds like, but features tonnes of twists and turns throughout the entire story.
While it may not have all of the typical tropes of a sci-fi book, it certainly makes an interesting installment in the genre.
96. Startide Rising
David Brin’s Uplift novels are among the most thrilling and extraordinary science fiction ever written. However, it’s the second entry in the franchise that definitely stands out from the rest.
The first in a trilogy, this disorienting and incredibly funny novel is about a schizophrenic hero named Horselover Fat. With a relatively unique way of letting the story unfold, this is a sci-fi book that everyone should try at least once.
94. The Postman
David Brin’s The Postman is the dramatically moving saga of a man who rekindled the spirit of America through the power of a dream. In terms of sci-fi books, it’s somewhat more optimistic than many, but still has a few interesting surprises to throw in.
93. More Than Human
The protagonists of More Than Human struggle to find who they are and whether they are meant to help humanity or destroy it. What could go wrong?
92. Altered Carbon
When ex-envoy, now-convict Takeshi Kovacs has his consciousness and skills downloaded into the body of a nicotine-addicted ex-thug on Mars and presented with a catch-22 offer, we’re taken on a powerful tale.
91. Out Of The Silent Planet
In this sci-fi novel a Cambridge academic, is abducted and taken on a spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra, which he knows as Mars. His captors are plotting to plunder the planet’s treasures and plan to offer him as a sacrifice to the creatures who live there.
90. A Princess Of Mars
This follows the story of a man who falls in love with a beautiful Martian, the titular Princess. What could possibly go wrong with this inter-species romance? Originally published under the title Under the Moons of Mars, it’s since gone on to critical and commercial acclaim.
Humanity is on the brink of nuclear confrontation when the 300 kilometer-long stone flashed out of nothingness and into Earth’s orbit.
Surely it comes in peace, right? That’s normally what happens, isn’t it?
88. The Martian
Best known as the film of the same name, the book by Andy Weir follows an American astronaut left stranded in Mars, desperately trying to stay alive while finding a way back home.
87. The Time Machine
This is the story that launched H.G. Wells’ career and focuses on a Time Traveller’s astonishing firsthand account of his journey 800,000 years beyond his own era.
86. I, Robot
Robots are now part of humanity’s day to day life, but what happens when some of them begin malfunctioning? While the movie of the same name may offer some suggestions, the novel definitely takes a few more interesting turns.
85. The Mars Trilogy
Written by Kim Stanley Robinson, The Mars Trilogy focuses on the settling of Mars through a few different perspectives. Throughout the trilogy, Robinson focuses on some themes, such as isolation, overpopulation and more.
84. Fahrenheit 451
Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife. But things begin to go sour quickly into the novel and almost tears his family apart.
83. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
Another novel that doesn’t need much of an introduction, this surprisingly funny book follows a human as he travels the galaxy and runs into many different races of aliens.
82. Use Of Weapons
Use of Weapons is the third novel in a series by Iain M. Banks, and concludes two different narratives spread across the trilogy. The main narrative follows Cheradenine Zakalwe, who was born outside ‘the Culture’ but recruited into it through what’s called Special Circumstances in the book.
81. Old Man’s War
John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army. What’s the connection, and what could possibly happen next?
80. The Stainless Steel Rat
In the vastness of space, the crimes just get bigger and Slippery Jim diGriz, The Stainless Steel Rat, is the biggest criminal of them all. Could he be about to meet his end? With the twists that The Stainless Steell Rat offers, that can be difficult to answer.
79. The Lathe Of Heaven
The Lathe of Heaven is a dark vision and a warning – a fable of power uncontrolled and uncontrollable.
What happens when you try to play God? The Lathe of Heaven tries to answer that question in almost terrifying detail.
78. The Cyberiad
A brilliantly funny collection of stories for the next age, from the celebrated author of Solaris. There’s a story for almost every sci-fi fan in this collection, leading to quite an extensive amount of options for sci-fi fans of any level.
77. Pandora’s Star
The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some four hundred light-years in diameter, contains more than six hundred worlds, interconnected by a web of transport “tunnels” known as wormholes. Add in an opposition by the Guardians of Selfhood and it tells the story of betrayal, aliens and manipulation.
Serving as the final instalment in the Ender’s Game trilogy, Xenocide manages to neatly wrap up each of the consistent plot points, while still being able to add a few unique twists and turns along the way.
Not see your favorite sci-fi books on the list? Don’t worry, as we still have plenty more to get through. What are your favorite sci-fi books? Let us know in the comments below!