The best sci fi books are the ones that make you think and question your reality. They’re not just about futuristic technology or space travel, but delve into human nature and how we view the world in relation to time and death. These are 9 best sci fi books that should be on every avid reader’s list.
1. The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis
Imaginative, best-selling author C.S. Lewis also had a side career as an Oxford University academic and medieval scholar. The Space Trilogy is his best-known work in the science fiction genre, which he began writing during World War II to escape from the horrors of war.
The trilogy consists of Out of the Silent Planet (1938), Perelandra (1943), and That Hideous Strength (1945). It reflected Lewis’ Christian faith in a cosmic battle between good and evil that would play out on Earth through human history, with humankind caught up in its tide like so much driftwood. In these novels, Earth’s future hangs upon whether man can resist temptation to use knowledge for destructive purposes – or succumb to “the power of the King of Terrors,” as Lewis wrote in Out of the Silent Planet .
2. The Ender Quartet by Orson Scott Card
The best sci-fi books I’ve ever read are The Ender Quartet by Orson Scott Card.
This series is best for older teens and adults, due to the violence and the intensity of the material. Even though this book is so complex and detailed it’s still a quick read. The best sci-fi books I’ve ever read are The Ender Quartet by Orson Scott Card. This series of books will make you question what is best for the world. Ender, the main character, is constantly put up against moral dilemmas that really make you think about your own morals and ethics. The plots twist and turn through this page-turner of a book.
This series is best for older teens and adults, due to the violence and the intensity of the material. Even though this book is so complex and detailed it’s still a quick read.
3. Dune by Frank Herbert
For those who are looking for best sci fi books, Dune by Frank Herbert is a must-read. It’s easy to see why this novel has won the Hugo and Nebula Awards, as well as its status as one of the best science fiction novels ever written. The story follows Paul Atreides on his journey to become the leader of an empire that controls most of planet Arrakis (also known as “Dune”). As he battles with all sorts of enemies in order to gain control over this resource-rich world, he learns how it connects to both himself and his family’s past. This epic tale will keep you hooked until the very last page.
It is important not only because it shaped so many other books after it, but because it’s best sci fi book.
4. 1984 by George Orwell
1984 is one of the best sci fi books, and it’s not just because of its relevance to today. It was written in 1949 by George Orwell, who had a knack for predicting the future. The novel takes place in London, England, where life under totalitarian rule is bleak. Winston Smith works at the Ministry of Truth editing old newspapers so that they align with current party doctrine which means he must constantly rewrite history for political purposes.
He lives with his beautiful but shallow wife Julia and they are both members of the Outer Party (a lower social class than Inner Party). They enjoy mingling with their peers at “The Chestnut Tree Café” even though these gatherings are illegal as well as dangerous due to telescreens (cameras) placed in every room.
Back at work, Smith is tasked with re-writing a section about a fabricated war in Africa to cover up an embarrassing defeat for the party. His best friend Syme mysteriously disappears and Winston begins to suspect that records can be altered without his knowledge. Soon, Orwell’s dark predictions begin coming true as the party’s increasingly violent and bizarre propaganda campaigns begin to make sense.
5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 is a best-selling dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury about a future American society where books are outlawed and “firemen” burn any that are found. The novel’s title refers to the temperature at which paper catches fire, and also signals the author’s belief that book burning symbolizes the loss of knowledge and individual thought.
The main character, Guy Montag, is a fireman who slowly realizes that his role in society as a destroyer of knowledge conflicts with his desire to pursue true happiness through self-education. He eventually rebels against this oppressive state by committing acts of intellectual rebellion such as reading banned books. This type of rebellion leads him to question if he should continue being a fireman or not, and as an act of rebellion he asks those who can think to burn their books, hoping that the firemen will then be obsolete since people won’t need them anymore.
Over time, Bradbury has expressed that he felt betrayed by people who interpreted his story as a strict warning against censorship and thought control. In later editions of “Fahrenheit 451,” he made very slight changes to the text in order to downplay this interpretation, but never suggested that censorship was not a concern.
6. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick is best known for his novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which was the basis for the movie Blade Runner. The book tells a story about a bounty hunter who tracks down and kills renegade androids – artificial people almost identical to humans – on Earth’s off-world colonies. In order to distinguish between human and android, he must ask them questions from an empathy test developed by Dr. Hannibal Lecter, from Thomas Harris’ bestseller Silence of the Lambs. This makes it even more difficult because he has no idea if Drs. Lecter or Harris are real or just part of this bizarre world where reality is never clear cut.
7. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
In Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human being raised by Martians who has returned to Earth as an adult to find that it is not at all what he expected. This best-selling science fiction novel was published in 1961 and won both Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel. It was also serialized in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction from October 1962 through November 1963. In 2003 it won the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award from the Libertarian Futurist Society.
In this best-selling sci fi book, written over 50 years ago, Heinlein predicted some things about life on other planets with startling accuracy: Martian water tables are dangerously low; law enforcement agencies use video to monitor citizens; and holidays are celebrated on Tuesday instead of Friday.
8. The Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov
This series is best known for its use of psychohistory, a fictional science that uses mathematical sociology to predict the future. The premise was first introduced in Asimov’s 1942 short story “Nightfall,” and later used as the basis for his Foundation trilogy, which consists of Foundation (1951), Foundation and Empire (1952), and Second Foundation (1953).
The protagonist of the series is Hari Seldon, a mathematician who develops psychohistory with help from psychostatistician Gaal Dornick. Using it to foresee humankind’s imminent fall into barbarism following an era of peace lasting 30 millennia after defeating by mechanical robots at the hands of humans still living under primitive conditions on other planets, he creates two Foundations on opposite ends of the galaxy, whose best minds will strive to develop the science and create subtle changes in arts and philosophy that will eventually allow humanity to regain its greatness.
Asimov later wrote two sequels as direct prequels: Foundation’s Edge (1982) and Foundation and Earth (1983). The Asimov estate commissioned Gregory Benford, Greg Bear, and David Brin to write additional novels that were published between 1988 and 1993, expanding on some of Asimov’s more obscure work. These books were eventually collected together as the Foundation series: Foundation’s Edge (1982), Foundation and Earth (1986), Prelude to Foundation (1988), Forward the Foundation (1993).
9. The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
The best sci fi books are often those that can be enjoyed on different levels. The Dark Tower series by Stephen King is one such book. With its mix of horror, fantasy and science fiction, this bestseller has been a favorite with readers for decades. It’s considered among the best speculative novels of all time and it has been translated into more than 20 languages worldwide.
The story centers around Roland Deschain of Gilead, a gunslinger who roams an Old West-like landscape in search of “the man in black.” Readers are taken on a journey through the fantastical world as he pursues his quest to find the villainous figure who killed both his father and mother – but not before destroying their home village of Gilead.
As the best sci fi books should, The Dark Tower series provides a look into both other worlds and the best parts of our world as well. With its many unforgettable characters and gripping plot twists, it’s no wonder that this bestseller has been turned into a major motion picture set to be released in July 2017.