7 Of The Best Sci-Fi Books Of All Time

Here are 7 of the best Sci-Fi books that’ll take your imagination to the next level.

Sci-Fi books allow us to escape the present world for an extraordinary one in the future. It's like a time travel machine. You can open a book and immediately be transported to a hundred or thousand years in the future. 

Whether the future is grim or perfect, it doesn't matter.

It's the purest form of escapism.

The problem is, as a science fiction fanboy, you don't want a predictable and boring book. You want something that'll grab your attention from cover to cover. 

So if you're only looking for the most exciting sci-fi books, you're in luck. In this post, I'll go through the 7 best sci-fi books, why I like them so much, and if they'll appeal to you.

Dune By Frank Herbert

The best Sci-fi books of all time

Dune by Frank Herbert is one of the best science fiction books since it wasn't just a source of escapism but deep discussion.

You can learn several lessons from the Dune saga that'll help you in everyday life.

Frank Herbert, born October 8th, 1920, is an American science fiction author, journalist, lecturer, and book reviewer. Herbert grew up in the Great Depression and lived in terrible conditions.

However, he managed to attend high school and found a job at the Glendale Star. Here he worked in various positions like journalist and photographer.

He’s a big fan of science fiction and wrote and published his first story in 1952 titled, Looking for Something?

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Dune
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Frank Herbert (Author) - Scott Brick, Orlagh Cassidy, Euan Morton (Narrators)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 12/31/2006 (Publication Date) - Macmillan Audio (Publisher)

Other famous books include:

In 1959, Herbert began researching for his bestselling book titled Dune. It took an astonishing six years of research and writing before he published it. 

It wasn't an immediate bestseller. In 1968, Herbert only managed to earn $20,000. However, the book managed to open many doors for him as he quit his job in 1972 and started writing full time. 

During this time, he continued the Dune sage with books like:

  • Dune Messiah
  • Children of Dune
  • God Emperor of Dune

He also received prestigious awards like:

  1. Hugo Award for Best Novel
  2. God Emperor Award for Best Novel

What Is Dune About?

Dune is a sci-fi book series about how human civilization conquered the stars and galaxies.

After a bloody war with robots, humanity decides to ban the construction of any machine that has a human-like mind. However, this didn't stop humans from conquering other galaxies.

Humanity evolves into biological computers with superpowers. They fight for new planets to add to their kingdom while controlling their current empire.

However, these superpowers rely on something called “The Spice.”

This makes it essential for space travel and is the cornerstone of civilization. 

The problem is, only one planet can grow this magical crop. This planet is called Arrakis or Dune. It's a dangerous and barren desert wasteland.

The natives are known to rebel against the empire. At the beginning of the book, control of this desert planet is given to Paul, our main character.

The story follows Paul and his family as he must prove himself as a trustworthy leader to the natives. He embarks on dangerous and even deadly challenges.

Why I Like This Book

When reading this book, you'll quickly realize that the story isn't as important. What's essential is the discussions Herbert wants to address. The story is more of a medium for that discussion.

For example, the first discussion is about fear and how it's killing Paul's mind. I quickly learned that although fear is necessary, it prevents us from doing things that'll enrich our lives.

There's nothing wrong with being scared. It's a healthy and natural feeling. If it wasn't for fear, we could do stupid things like walking into a lion's den or jumping in front of a car.

What isn't healthy is not doing something beneficial because you're scared. Maybe you want to start a business or ask your boss for a promotion.

This book taught me that just because you're scared of something doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. But overcoming your fears should be done within reason, of course. Don't walk into a lion's den just because you want to overcome your fear. This is dangerous.

2001: A Space Odyssey By Arthur C. Clarke

2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the most influential books and movies of all time.

It talks about the evolution of our species from apes, to humans, to something that transcends a physical body.

Arthur C. Clarke, born on December 16th, 1917, is an English science fiction writer, futurist, television host, undersea explorer, and inventor. In addition to writing 2001: A Space Odyssey, he wrote the 1968 movie of the same title.

Clarke grew up on a farm. He would spend most of the night stargazing since the absence of light pollution made stars more visible. He also loved collecting fossils and reading sci-fi stories.

As a teen, he had such a passion for space travel that he joined the Junior Astronomical Association. 

2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey Series)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Clarke, Arthur C. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 255 Pages - 09/01/2000 (Publication Date) - Ace (Publisher)

Clarke wrote a series of short stories in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction. Some of these stories include:

  • Loophole
  • Rescue Party

Soon after, in 1948, he published his first novel titled Against the Fall of Night. Other famous stories include:

  • Childhood's End
  • Rendezvous with Rama
  • The City and the Stars

He also received multiple awards like:

  • Hugo Award for Best Short Story
  • Nebula Award for Best Novella

What Is 2001: A Space Odyssey About?

This book is one of the most influential since it speaks about humanity's evolution. 

The story begins with a monolith that shows up on prehistoric Earth, and apes gather around to see what this object is. An ape called Moonwatcher is the first to touch it and even licks it. This gives him and his tribe the spark to start eating meat and using bones as weapons.

Clarke then talks about development and how apes started making better tools and weapons. Their teeth become smaller and jaws more adaptable for speech and language.

They also develop mentally and physically. Sticks turn into spears, then swords, rifles, machine guns, missiles, and finally, nuclear warheads. 

Later in the book, we also find out that there’s a monolith on the moon. This monolith is responsible for the second stage of human development since we invented artificial intelligence and supercomputers.

Why I Like This Book

This book doesn't draw a final conclusion. It allows the reader to decide for themselves as it's open to interpretation. 

It stood out for me because it just shows how far we, as a species, have come. Not because we're the biggest, strongest, or fastest, but because we work together. 

We were able to go from using sticks as weapons to nuclear missiles. A few hundred years ago, we used horses to travel, now we use cars that can reach 160 miles per hour. We also have planes that can travel around the world in a few hours.

This allows us to appreciate how amazing we're as a species. It also gives us hope for the future since evolution and development never stops. In a few years, space travel could be the norm, and who knows what lays ahead after that.

This book was an inspiration for many famous authors like:

  • China Mieville
  • Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Nnedi Okorafor
  • Ann Leckie

Neuromancer By William Gibson

Neuromancer is a standalone novel set in a grim and dangerous future. This was one of the first books in the science fiction genre that focused on a high-tech yet a poor town. Today we call it the cyberpunk subgenre.

William Gibson, born March 17th, 1948, is an American-Canadian science fiction writer and author of Neuromancer. He's also famous for his work in the cyberpunk subgenre.

As a child, Gibson read so many science fiction stories novels like A Canticle for Leibowitz and The War of The Worlds, that his grades suffered, and his mom threatened to send him to boarding school. 

Gibson loved this idea, and his mother sent him to Southern Arizona School for Boys.

Here he regularly got 5 out of 150 for mathematics but 148 out of 150 for English. This bewildered his teachers.

After graduating, Gibson worked multiple jobs. He was a manager at a headshop in Toronto and a teaching assistant for over 3 years.

His breakthrough into the science fiction space came when he met bestselling authors Lewis Shiner and Bruce Sterling. They loved his work, and soon after, he published his first story titled Fragments of a Hologram Rose.

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Neuromancer
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  • William Gibson (Author) - Robertson Dean (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 06/30/2011 (Publication Date) - Penguin Audio (Publisher)

Some of his famous work include:

He has also received awards like:

  • Hugo Award for Best Novel
  • Philip K. Dick Award

What Is Neuromancer About?

Neuromancer is about a grim future where humans live in crowded and dirty urban sprawls. The world is crime-ridden, and underworld bosses' have a lot of power.

Our hero is a guy named Henry Case. Case is a hacker that cons people to finance his drug addiction. He also tried to betray his ex-boss, and failed. They damaged his central nervous system, making it impossible for him to access the matrix.

He's also on the hit list of dangerous crime bosses.

However, an ex-soldier called Armitage decides to help Case in exchange for his hacking skills. During the novel, Case is completing dangerous missions for Armitage with the help of other soldiers. During this time, we also don't know Armitage's true motives.

Why I Like Neuromancer

Neuromancer was the first book in the cyberpunk space. It hooked reader's from cover to cover and laid the foundation for other great cyberpunk novels like:

  • Snow Crash
  • Altered Carbon
  • The Diamond Age

One could argue that without Neuromancer, the cyberpunk space wouldn't be filled with excellent novels as it is today.

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy By Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a favorite for millions of people because it blends science fiction with humor. This is difficult to find in other books.

Our hero, Arthur, gets his house and planet destroyed, and goes on an adventure with an alien called Ford Prefect.

The author of this book, Douglas Adams, was born on March 11th, 1952. As a child, Adams was obsessed with reading. Some of his favorite authors were Aldous Huxley and George Orwell.

He also wrote hundreds of sci-fi stories and novels. Everyone at school knew him for his writing ability.

Some of his earliest works, like The Brentwoodian, were published at school.

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
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  • Douglas Adams (Author) - Stephen Fry (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 04/28/2005 (Publication Date) - Random House Audio (Publisher)

His other famous books include:

  • The Meaning of Liff
  • Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet
  • City of Death

However, he's most famous for his book series, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

What Is The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy About?

Our hero, Arthur Dent, is about to lose his home. This is because the government wants to tear it down to build a road. But someone called Ford Prefect tells him to not worry since there'll be an alien invasion and the world will end anyway. 

So a species called Vogons destroys Earth, and Arthur and Ford hitch a ride on their spaceship. He hands Arthur an encyclopedia that explains everything he needs to know about the universe.

The book follows these two as they have crazy adventures while traveling around the solar system.

Why I Like This Book

This book is different from other science fiction novels since it's like watching an absurd standup comedy.

We're left giggling since the author cracks jokes about existence and the universe.

There are also lessons to be learned. For example, when Arthur gets his house destroyed, Fords reminds him that the Earth will be destroyed anyway, so why worry?

I've used this in my life several times after reading this book. In a few months or years, the problems we face today will be a thing of the past. We won't even know why we were stressed out, and eventually, whether it's in a few days or decades, we will all die, and nothing will matter.

This might sound depressing, but it reminds us that we have little time on Earth. Instead, do the things you always wanted to do and make the most of your precious life.

I, Robot By Isaac Asimov

I, Robot was published in 1950 by Isacc Asimov and is a collection of short stories about a future in which artificial intelligence is recently developed, and humans are struggling to adapt.

You might remember the movie adaptation starring Will Smith. But the book is nothing like the movie.

Isaac Asimov, born January 2nd, 1920, is an American writer, a professor of biochemistry at Boston University, and author of I, Robot. He wrote over 500 books and stories over his lifetime.

He grew up in Boston, graduated at the young age of 15, and studied chemistry at Columbia University. 

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I, Robot
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  • Isaac Asimov (Author) - Scott Brick (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 05/27/2004 (Publication Date) - Random House Audio (Publisher)

His writing career began in 1939 where he wrote and published a few short stories. He soon moved his attention to novels, and in 1950, he published Pebble in the Sky. Some of his other books are:

  • The Naked Sun
  • Foundation's Edge 
  • The Stars, Like Dust

What Is I, Robot About?

First, the movie is nothing like the book.

The book starts off with humans being forced to adapt to a new world with robots. Unlike the movie, most humans hate this idea. There are riots and protests.

However, robots never hurt humans. Why? Because they can't. It's programmed into their software.

Asimov presents the three laws of robotics. They are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or allow a human being to come to harm through inaction.
  2. A robot must obey all orders unless it doesn't conflict with rule 1.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as it doesn't conflict with rules 1 and 2.

These rules are the foundation for all the short stories

Why Do I Like This Book?

It's a new view of the cliche robot revolution we see and read in hundreds of books and Hollywood movies.

At the end of the book, robots still end up in charge even though they can't hurt humans and always obey orders. This is because humans put them in charge willingly. Four hypercomputers run Earth‘s economy. 

Humans constantly hand them more responsibility, and after decades, they're running everything. The hero's actually recognized this but don't care since these hypercomputers are doing a perfect job.

There's world peace, no hunger or famine, and disease is non-existent.

This makes it a must-read if you're into books about artificial intelligence but hate the robot revolution cliche.

Snow Crash By Neal Stephenson

Snow Crash is a parody of the cyberpunk subgenre. It takes place in a dystopia, alternate history world where all countries and governments have collapsed and are replaced with corporations.

The author of Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson, was born on October 3rd, 1959, and writes in the science fiction, space opera, and cyberpunk genre. His fantasy books discuss currency, science, computers, and cryptography in detail, giving it a more realistic feel.

Coming from a family of engineers and scientists, he studied at Boston University. First specializing in physics, Stephenson soon studied geography.

In 1981, he graduated with a B.A in geography and a minor in physics.

It wasn't until after graduating, did he fall in love with writing science fiction stories and novels.

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Snow Crash
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  • Neal Stephenson (Author) - Jonathan Davis (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 12/31/2000 (Publication Date) - Audible Studios (Publisher)

In 1984, he published his first novel titled, The Big U. Other famous work include:

  • The Diamond Age
  • Quicksilver
  • Seveneves

What Is Snow Crash About?

Snow Crash is a near-future cyberpunk parody. In this universe, there are no governments and laws. There's total chaos. Anybody can do whatever they want.

The story follows a freelance hacker and a 15-year old girl that delivers packages for a living.

They meet at the beginning of the book and agree to trade information as the story unfolds.

One day, our hero logs into the metaverse. The metaverse is almost like a virtual reality internet. Someone tries to sell him a drug called Snow Crash, but our hero declines. However, a friend of his accepts, and it crashes his computer and physical body.

Our hero runs into a psychopathic cult leader that wants to control people's minds by using Snow Crash, and it's up to him to save the world.

What I Like About This Book

Stephenson has a lot of experience and a deep understanding of computers and science, and this translates into his writing. 

This makes the book more realistic than your typical cyberpunk novel.

The Martian By Andy Weir

The Martian by Andy Weir is another novel that turned into a movie. It's about an astronaut who goes on a mission to Mars, but after a sandstorm, his fellow crewman leaves without him. 

Andy Weir was born on June 16th, 1972, and wrote The Martian as his debut novel.

Born and raised in California, Weir grew up reading science fiction novels like The Left Hand of Darkness and The Time Machine. Some of his role models were H.G. Wells, George Orwell, and Octavia E. Butler.

However, he didn't start writing at an early age like Robert A. Heinlein or Ursula K. Le Guin. He had a passion for computers. His passion was so powerful that by age 15, he was already designing programs for Sandia National Laboratories.

After graduating, he worked for companies like AOC, Palm, and Blizzard, where he worked on the World of Warcraft video games.

He began writing in his twenties and posted some work on his website. His first novel was The Martian, an instant Amazon bestseller.

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The Martian
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  • Andy Weir (Author) - Wil Wheaton (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/01/2020 (Publication Date) - Audible Studios (Publisher)

What Is The Martian About?

The Martian is about an astronaut who is stranded on Mars and must survive the inhospitable terrain.

He tries to grow food using his training and knowledge and plans for survival. He estimates he'll need to survive for 4 years in order to be rescued. He grows potatoes, purifies the air, and repairs the equipment he needs to survive. 

NASA finally finds out that he's still alive and dedicates everything to rescue him.

The story unfolds as he tries to survive while NASA works against the clock to save him.

Why I Like This Book

This book shows us that we humans can survive much longer than we expect. If the only other option is death, then we'll try everything in our power to stay alive.

Even when Watney was stuck on Mars, he found a way to grow food and purify the air, so he doesn't suffocate. Our survival energy is one of the most powerful energies we have. It allows us to accomplish feats that some might consider miracles.

Final Word On The Best Sci-Fi Books

Sci-fi is one of my favorite genres. Whether it's books like Dune or movies like Star Wars. It transports you into a fictional world where nothing is off-limits. 

The authors of these sci-fi novels are so good at capturing your attention with descriptive imagery that you'll actually feel like you're in this new reality.

FAQs On The Best Sci-Fi Books

What Are Some New Sci-Fi Books?

Some of the best new, sci-fi books include, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, The Galaxy, and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers, and Jack by Connie Willis.

Which Are The Best Science Fiction Books For Beginners?

If you've never read sci-fi books, consider starting with, The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and Hyperion by Dan Simmons. These are helpful novels that'll get you accustomed to sci-fi without feeling overwhelmed.

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Author

  • Yaseen is a personal trainer turned professional writer and he’s obsessed with everything health, fitness, and business-related. If he isn’t at the gym, you can find him playing video games or spending time with friends and family.

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