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Best Science Fiction Books

Out Legacy Best Science Fiction List...For new updates, check

Over the years we've recieved lots of complaints that we've abandoned science fiction for fantasy, which has been true. Well, NO MORE. We've been hard at work creating a sister site to the BestFantasyBooks that's ONLY about science fiction. 

For a highly detailed list of the best science fiction books including a boat load of science fiction subgenre lists, check out our new sister site,

You can continue browsing the "Old Top 10 Best Fantasy Books List" (it's heavily outdated ) below or you can visit the new site, check out the hugely detailed list, or read our picks for the Top 25 Best Science Fiction Books Ever.

As such, this 'list' is a legacy list, so check out our sister site for updated best science fiction book recommendations.

On the eve of its ascendance to the stewardship of planet Arrakis, House Atreides is betrayed by a rival noble house. Cast out to die into the barren deserts of Arrakis, Paul Atreides, young heir of House Atreides, finds refuge with wandering desert tribes. For most, Arrakis is a planet of exile, a world of harsh desert, towering dunes, and savage tribes. But for Paul, destiny cannot be denied. Here, on the barren sands of Dune, a boy becomes a legend, an army will gather, and an empire will fall.  The Science Fiction version of Lord of the Rings, Dune is the most famous science fiction book ever written. A novel that literally redefined the entire Science Fiction genre, Dune is a sweeping epic of a byzantine galactic struggle between noble houses of a corrupt empire. If there is only one science fiction book you ever read, it should undoubtedly be Dune.

Books in Dune Chronicles Series (8)

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Starship Troopers

(Robert A. Heinlein)
Comments (5)
Awards Won:1960 HUGO

Book Flap Description  A recruit of the future goes through the toughest boot camp in the universe and into battle with the Terran Mobile Infantry against humankind's most frightening enemy.  For most, war is hell, but for Heinlein's character Juan Rico, war is heaven -- and for those reading the book too! This is one classic you should read. Bootcamp in space, high tech battle toys, bone-jarring battles, romance, and a critique on politics thrown in for good measure. Heinlein is on the top of his game in what is considered his finest novel. Read it! If you have seen the terrible movie adaption, forget it! The book is much, much better.

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Comments (1)
Awards Won: NEBULA, 1986 HUGO
Award Nominations:1986 LocusSF, 1985 NEBULA

Amazon Book Description  In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut--young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training. Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister. Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.  A classic and considered one of the top science fiction novels ever written. It's got everything that makes science fiction compelling. 

Books in The Ender Quinte... Series (4)

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With a Martin-esque plot and Jim Butcher pace, The Axe and the Throne is a definite "must read" for even the pickiest fantasy fans.

In his stunning debut, Ireman has built the type of world so vivid and engrossing that leaving it at the end is agony. In spite of leaning toward grimdark, where authors often enshroud every scene in depressing darkness, there is no lack of cheerful moments or brilliant scenery. Yet the pangs of near-instant nostalgia that come after you put down a book like this have less to do with the inspired setting, and far more to do with those who inhabit it. 

From savage, unremorseful heroes, to deep, introspective villains, the cast of this story is comprised of believable characters capable of unthinkable actions. And it is these characters -- the ones you wish you could share a drink with or end up wanting to kill -- that forge the connection between fantasy and reality. Keethro, Titon, Ethel, Annora. These are names you will never forget, and each belongs to a man or woman as unique as they are memorable. 

No book would be complete without a its fair share of intrigue, however, and there is no lack of it here. Each chapter leaves you wanting more, and Ireman's masterful use of misdirection leads to an abundance of "oh shit" moments. Do not be fooled (or do -- perhaps that's part of the fun) by storylines that may appear trope-ish at first. This is no fairytale. 

Available on Amazon & Audible, Barns & Noble, iTunes, Google, and Kobo.

Book Flap Description  One of the great masterworks of science fiction, the Foundation novels of Isaac Asimov are unsurpassed for their unique blend of nonstop action, daring ideas, and extensive world-building. The story of our future begins with the history of Foundation and its greatest psychohistorian: Hari Seldon. For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. Only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future--a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire--both scientists and scholars--and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation. But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. And mankind's last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and live as slaves--or take a stand for freedom and risk total destruction.  Arguably the greatest work of science fiction ever written (it's a toss up with Frank Herbert's Dune). Those who love science fiction with grand ideas and epic storylines, pick this one up. Note: this book is for people who are into deep science fiction. Grand concepts and vision carry the weight of this story, but characterization is not the focus of the novel. For those who want an entertaining "thinking" read, the Foundation series will provide that.

Books in Foundation Series (5)

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Comments (0)
Award Nominations:1993 BSFA, 1994 CLARKE

Meet Hiro Protagonist: hacker, samurai swinging swordsman and pizza delivery boy. When his best friend dies of a brain fry and his ex girlfriend asks for his help, Hiro switches from part- time pizza boy to full-time hero. Weaving everything from Sumerian myth to the postmodern vision of a futuristic world on the brink of collapse, Stephenson creates a genre defining book.  This novel is Stephenson's breakout novel, a dystopian cyperpunk thrill ride. If you liked the gritty, loveless world of Blade Runner, you're going to feel right at home in Stephenson's Snow Crash. It's a classic of the sci-fi genre and one hell of a thrill ride and a must read. 

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War really is hell in Haldman's The Forever War: it's bloody, brutal, and entirely pointless. If you reveled in Robert Heinlein's glorification of war in Starship Trooper, then The Forever War is going to flush your joy down the toliet. Both a cautionary tale against the triviality of war and the story of a man's quest to find meaning in a meaningless world, The Forever War is a pillar of Science Fiction and utter proof that Science Fiction can be literature.

Books in The Forever War Series (3)

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Book Flap Description  Space is not the only void... In AD 2600 the human race is finally beginning to realize its full potential. Hundreds of colonized planets scattered across the galaxy host a multitude of prosperous and wildly diverse cultures. Genetic engineering has pushed evolution far beyond nature's boundaries, defeating disease and producing extraordinary spaceborn creatures. Huge fleets of sentient trader starships thrive on the wealth created by the industrialization of entire star systems. And throughout inhabited space the Confederation Navy keeps the peace. A true golden age is within our grasp. But now something has gone catastrophically wrong. On a primitive colony planet a renegade criminal's chance encounter with an utterly alien entity unleashes the most primal of all our fears. An extinct race which inhabited the galaxy aeons ago called it "The Reality Dysfunction." It is the nightmare which has prowled beside us since the beginning of history.  Night's Dawn is a modern classic of science fiction, an extraordinary feat of storytelling on a truly epic scale. If you like your science fiction with heavy waistlines, give this series a shot. It's epic space opera Science Fiction that's about as big as they get: big battles, grand plots, and lots of characters. Hands down, this is one of the best space opera series out there. Peter Hamilton has a certain style of writing: his books tend to be massive with fully realized universes and complex characters. I usually find that Science Fiction is all about the world and not about the characters, but Hamilton is able to find a happy compromise between the two: you get grand worlds, epic plots, and complex characters -- talk about having your cake and eating it too! It's enough to make the sci-fi buff weep with joy. Peter Hamilton is one of the best science fiction writers and Night's Dawn is one of his finest works; it's a great segue into his other, compelling science fiction novels.

Books in Night's Dawn Series (3)

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Book Flap Description  Author of The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, one of the most acclaimed fantasy series of all time, master storyteller Stephen R. Donaldson retums with this exciting and long-awaited new series that takes us into a stunningly imagined future to tell a timeless story of adventure and the implacable conflict of good and evil within each of us. Angus Thermopyle was an ore pirate and a murderer; even the most disreputable asteroid pilots of Delta Sector stayed locked out of his way. Those who didn't ended up in the lockup--or dead. But when Thermopyle arrived at Mallory's Bar & Sleep with a gorgeous woman by his side the regulars had to take notice. Her name was Morn Hyland, and she had been a police officer--until she met up with Thermopyle. But one person in Mallorys Bar wasn't intimidated. Nick Succorso had his own reputation as a bold pirate and he had a sleek frigate fitted for deep space. Everyone knew that Thermopyle and Succorso were on a collision course. What nobody expected was how quickly it would be over--or how devastating victory would be. It was common enough example of rivalry and revenge--or so everyone thought. The REAL story was something entirely different. In The Real Story, Stephen R. Donaldson takes us to a remarkably detailed world of faster-than-light travel, politics, betrayal, and a shadowy presence just outside our view to tell the fiercest, most profound story he has ever written. 

Ah, sci-fi so dark you can almost see the shadows. Those who relish the Star Trek-type world where the universe is full of (semi) perfect humans who have collectively evolved into a peaceful and harmonious society, look elsewhere. This is one hell of a dark and twisted roller coaster ride, a free fall down into an abyss without hope. Ok, I'll stop with the metaphors, but seriously, it's a dark series -- the darkest one I've yet read. But it's also brilliant. Donaldson, author of the critically acclaimed Thomas Covenant series, brings his writing chops to bear in this Sci Fi series. Donaldson has ever been about the characters, especially the anti-heroes. If you love characters that don't quite fit into the mold of hero or villain, you'll love his series. Several of his main characters are put through extreme tribulation, so be warned.

Books in Gap Series (5)

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Book Flap Description  The first volume in this mesmerizing story takes readers to the near-future, when a global conspiracy threatens to sacrifice the Earth for the promise of a far more exclusive place--Otherland, a universe where any fantasy can be made real.  Cyberpunk sci-fi for the modern age, Otherland is an epic novel in every sense of the word. If you want the Matrix in written form, well, Otherland is about as close as you'll get. Tad Williams is a gifted writer with novel ideas and prose so sweet you want to lick the pages. It's a long saga, but it's worth every bit of the effort.

Books in Otherland Series (4)

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Comments (0)
Awards Won:2003 PKD

After dying in a particularly gruesome death, ex UN-envoy Takeshi Kovacs wakes up to find himself "re-sleeved" into a fresh body with a job offer: find who killed Laurens Bancroft , the richest man in the Bay city. But for Kovacs, a man with a brutal past and a questionable future, nothing is ever that simple...  This is dystopian cyberpunk with grand style and punishing action. One you start reading this book, you won't be stopping -- for anything. Richard Morgan is a master tale spinner with visionary ideas (literally, the ideas explored are completely novel), fascinating characters, twisted plots, and pounding action. If you love Blade Runner, Snow Crash, and William Gibson's Neuromancer, this novel will delight.

Books in Takeshi Kovacs Series (3)

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