Science Fiction book titles

50 Essential Science Fiction Books
All the Essential Science Fiction and Fantasy Books That Are

This was a virtually impossible task. Put together a list of 50 must-read science fiction books and don’t make anyone angry. Science fiction is the most discussed and argued over genre in literature but it actually goes way beyond books and into film, TV, video games and even toys.

Here are the criteria I used. One book per author, so that was hard on the big three of science fiction – Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke, who each have multiple classic titles to their name. Attempt to show as many sub-genres of science fiction and plot themes as possible. Include early stories that influenced the genre as a whole and launched popular themes, even if those books appear a bit dated today.

I wanted to show the unbelievable breadth of this galactic-sized genre and, of course, I failed because this is just the tip of the spaceberg – there are probably 500 essential science fiction books, not 50.

The War of the Worlds is on the list, a famous example of invasion literature, but I could easily have used The Time Machine. For Ray Bradbury, there’s The Illustrated Man but I could have used Fahrenheit 451 or The Martian Chronicles.

Many people include alternate reality novels as science fiction but I didn’t feel comfortable having them on the list as there’s not much science in that sort of fiction.

The list includes hard and soft science fiction. Hard science fiction features great attention to detail in the quantitative sciences, while soft riffs on the social sciences. You’ll also find space opera with its heroes and heroines on distant planets; cyberpunk, loved by nerds in goggles everywhere; time travel – a simple concept that’s been around since Mark Twain’s day; military science fiction where soldiers drive the narrative; dystopian fiction where society has usually gone awry; superhuman stories where humans develop new or greater skills (and that usually means trouble) and the always cheery apocalyptic fiction sub-genre (where we could be battling to avoid the end of Earth or struggling to survive after a catastrophe). There are many recurrent powerful themes such as machine and human relationships, aliens and human relationships, biological and ecological matters, and paranormal activities.

You are spoiled for choice – this list includes novellas, short story collections, a graphic novel and books from published 1864 to 2011.

For further reading recommendations, brush up on the Hugo and Nebula Awards - the winners and the shortlisted titles - and also the books published by Tor (who really know this genre, and fantasy, inside out), as well as Locus Magazine and the science fiction tags on


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If she likes science fiction

2007-01-12 14:20:43 by Carnivora

Get her the latest Honor Harrington book in hardback - included is a CD with eBook versions of all of the books in the series, including the latest!

Great for hardcore scifi (who like extra science and militaria in their fiction) enthusiast.

I would also recommend a gift certificate to eReader, where she can download all manner of books, including new releases on a number of titles.

An iTunes gift card could be useful, too, especially as they're now carrying various TV series and just got over a hundred movies from Paramount studios.

I do have two books for you...

2009-06-23 23:11:36 by taruk2

That is, if you are literate enough to actually enjoy reading GOOD books, not bad ones or mediocre ones. By that I mean if you can discern quality in writing.
They are two of the rarest, most hard to find paperbacks in science fiction.
The authors names I don't remember...
But the titles are unmistakable.
If you can find these two books: get them, buy them, steal them, read them... and after you have read them: tell me what you think of them...
The title of the first book is:
"The King in Yellow"
The title of the second book is:
"The Purple Cloud"

Looking For a Few Book Bloggers

2010-01-16 08:44:47 by JackFrostSA

I’ve had my book review blog (New Reads and Old Standbys on Blogspot - Craigslist isn't allowing me to post links just yet) up for a little over a year now, and I’m thinking about expanding it a bit. I read a lot of translated Japanese crime fiction (Kirino, Miyabe, etc) and horror with a bit of other odds and ends thrown in for good measure, meaning there are a lot of classic older titles and popular new releases I haven’t covered at all.
I’ve been mulling this over for a while now, and I think it would be good for New Reads to bring in guest bloggers and/or regular contributors to cover the titles I wouldn’t come across


2006-04-07 21:30:30 by rulumu

Nancy Kress wrote a series of science fiction novels about aliens who look like lions a few years ago. I don't remember the titles, but they were very popular. Should be easy to find in used book stores and libraries. Look for lions and spaceships on the cover.
Read the first chapter of the first book, in which the point-of view character is very confused, from the effect of drugs, and because he's just been kidnapped by aliens.
Kress does an amazing job of conveying disorientation. You might pick up some tips.

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