As much as I love SciFi, I’ll admit the genre is a bit hard to get into. They tend to be on the dense side and sometimes come in a series you need to read to properly understand the story.
So I thought it might be fun to suggest some stunning SciFi novels that are great for everyone, both veterans of the genre and newcomers. I handpicked three books that hit those criteria. Hopefully, one of them will be a good fit for you.
Before we jump in, I quickly want to mention another option.
Doctor Who tie-in novels are a good start if you love watching SciFi but are not as keen on reading it. Might I suggest Beautiful Chaos by Gary Russell if that is the case for you? On that note, tie-in novels are a good bet in general. The best tie-in I have read to date is BioShock: Rapture by John Shirley, which tells the origin story of how Rapture was built.
Okay, I am nothing if not predictable. Of course, the first book had to be The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I have hardly hidden my love for this novel. It is my all-time favourite book.
Arthur Dent is having a bad day, the local council is trying to knock down his house to make room for a new bypass. He protests by refusing to move out of the bulldozer’s way. Bad enough, but Arthur ends up being pulled away by a friend, Ford. Ford, in turn, drops a pretty big truth bomb, he isn’t from the earth, and the planet is due to be destroyed in minutes. He and Arthur are leaving, hicking a ride. Before Arthur can even start to wrap his head around this, he finds himself on an alien craft. Things are going to get a lot weirder very soon.
It’s witty, nihilistic and charming. I have lost count of how many times I have reread this novel, yet I still laugh. In my eyes, it’s a gem that everyone should read.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers is the first in the Wayfarers series. It’s a space opera following the crew of The Wayfarer, a multi-species crew where everyone has to work together despite their differences to succeed. Rosemary Harper is the newest member, running away from her home on Mars. It turns out that she isn’t the only one with a secret though.
Like most space operas, the focus isn’t on some lore heavy story, but character development. Rosemary is the lead character, but this novel is more of an ensemble, with everyone getting to develop or at least change by the end of the novel.
The last recommendation I have for you today is I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. A book that frankly, could not be further from the film adaptation. The novel doesn’t have any story involving killer robots.
It is a collection of 10 SciFi short stories and essays. In the book, the stories are recounted by Dr Susan Calvin to a reporter. While they can be read as separate tales, they do have connecting themes about humanity, morality and the role of robots play in both. It is a SciFi classic for a very good reason.
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