These days, almost everyone is a science fiction fan – it’s almost impossible not to be. Listen, we can send a rocket to the moon and bring it back safely on a platform in the middle of the ocean. Meanwhile, I am still trying to master parallel parking. Technology predictions written into books decades ago are now reaching fruition and the ideas that have spanned generations are no longer out of the realm of reality. In honor of National Science Fiction Day, we rounded up some of the best science fiction books of all time.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
English teachers rejoice! This novel is assigned to reluctant school children every year. There probably isn’t a country out there that doesn’t have a history with some kind of undercurrent of anti-intellectualism. In the world of Fahrenheit 451, books are forbidden, and we follow the journey of the protagonist, whose job is to destroy them. He doesn’t question these orders until an extreme event makes him second-guess what he’s doing, beginning his path to enlightenment of what’s important and free-thinking.
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Dystopian, horror and, in that era, science fiction, I Am Legend is a classic that fans of the genre will surely love if they don’t already. Matheson captures the tale of the last uninfected man on Earth, his battle in the darkness and the things that lurk within it. This book is powerfully written and takes an exciting approach to dystopian tales.
Dune by Frank Herbert
Who doesn’t love a feuding empire? Dune encompasses the ultimate futuristic world-building and not of just one, but multiple planets. There are Sandworms and shield walls that set the precedence for every gamer’s favorite RPG ability. A noble family leaves their home planet to assume control of Arrakis, aka the desert planet, Dune. This is an immersive read, and is sometimes considered ‘hard going,’ but push through because it’s worth it – it didn’t win both the Hugo and Nebula awards for nothing.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Comedy and science fiction hybrid? Yes! This novel is wonderful and deliciously ridiculous with some of the best quotes to date. Arthur Dent is about to have his house demolished, but it doesn’t matter because the entire planet Earth is about to be decimated to make room for a galactic highway. Lucky for him his friend Ford Prefect turns out to be an alien and together they embark on a funny, enlightening journey.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
The 1980s is a great decade for science fiction books. The success of Star Wars and Star Trek helped pave the way for the genre. In Ender’s Game, humans are attacked by aliens and struggle to compete in skill and reflexes. They decide to start a school to find the most gifted children to be future military leaders. Enter Ender. His decision-making skills and strategic military choices make him a top student in their virtual training. The twist in this story will leave you reeling.
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
If you are a fan of the idea of colonizing Mars, this is the book for you! You feel like you’re transported and experiencing every step as if you’re actually there, in this in-depth interpretation of humans hunkering down on the Red Planet. Kim Stanley Robinson doesn’t stop at the painstakingly thorough steps to cultivate the land but also touches on the political climate afterward. This is the first in a trilogy and every detail he writes is so real and interesting that it’s a wonder that we haven’t already made the leap to make it a reality.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I couldn’t leave out this book. I have heard so many different renditions of ‘may the odds be ever in your favor’ since the story became a massive hit. In The Hunger Games, there are 12 districts and two children are chosen from each one to compete to-the-death in the annual Hunger Games. When Katniss Everdeen volunteers in place of her younger sister to participate in the games, everything takes a turn for the corrupt. Suzanne Collins’s captivating world-building is a must-read.
The Martian by Andy Weir
Originally a self-published title, The Martian is not one to disappoint. A mission to Mars goes wrong when a giant dust storm forces the crew to abort and leave early. Unfortunately, Mark Watney is left behind. He’s forced to use his experience in botany to learn how to grow a food source in order to extend the limited resources he has until NASA can send help. The author does a great job of taking a very likable character and putting him in a not ideal situation. Mark Watney is a clever and amusing character and his journal entries alone are worth diving into this book.
*Disclosure: The links above are affiliate links. These picks are editorially selected, but if you purchase, She Reads may get something in return. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.