M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL.
Looking for the best sci-fi books of all time? You’re in the right place!
From Orwell to Asimov to Huxley; from Simmons to Chiang to Le Guin, I’ve done the exploring and gathered the best sci-fi series and best science fiction books in the solar system for you here, in one list.
Note: This list of best sci-fi books is strictly limited to the sci-fi genre. For my top fantasy picks, go check out this reading list of the 70 best fantasy books of all time. Or click here to explore all TAoL‘s book recommendations.
Where should you start? I’m a huge fan of classic science fiction and because my ranking algorithm factors in publication date (more details below), it has a tendency to promote older, time-tested titles to top spots.
That said, from the Hyperion Cantos (#29) to Red Rising (#55) to the Commonwealth Saga (#62), there are some incredible, must-read modern science fiction books to be found further down the page. So while the rankings still stand, the fact is you won’t go far wrong with ANY of the best sci-fi books on this list.
My advice? Don’t overthink it.
Scan the titles, pick the first book that excites you and start reading!
And whatever you choose, I hope you find wonder, I hope you find wisdom and I hope you remember not to panic on your rollercoaster ride through the multiverse.
The 70 Best Sci-Fi Books Of All Time
Why these best sci-fi books and not others? The best sci-fi books below are the top picks from my long list of hundreds of books, ranked by a combination of Goodreads rating, number of Goodreads reviews and first publication date. The aim is to surface what’s most loved, what’s most popular and what’s proven timelessly relevant.
Note: To maximise diversity I’ve only included the top-ranked science fiction novel from any sci-fi book series where multiple books from that series would have made the list. Where the book listed below is not the first in a sequence, you may want to click through and start with the first in the series.
Books 1-10: The Top 10 Best Sci-Fi Books of All Time
Here are the top 10 best sci-fi books from my database…
BONUS: The Top 10 Best Sci-fi Books (Ignoring Publication Date)
Books that are proven survivors usually have something worth saying. That’s why I almost always use publication date as a factor in my book-ranking algorithm.
But when it comes to the best sci-fi books of all time, I understand that a modern perspective has its advantages. Which is why you’ll find a quick top 10 sci-fi book list below that only considers what’s most loved and most popular…
Books 11-70: More Great Sci-Fi Books to Read
Here are the next 60 books on my list of best sci-fi books of all time (with publication date factored back in)…
Best Sci-Fi Book FAQs
What Sci-Fi Book Should I Read Next?
Not sure what sci-fi book to read next? My top recommendation right now is Red Rising (the first book from Pierce Brown's incredible Red Rising Saga). Read it already? Want more ideas on what sci-fi book to read next? Go check out this ranked list of the best classic and modern sci-fi books of all time.
What Are the Top 5 Best Selling Science Fiction Novels?
Where Should I Start Sci-Fi Books?
If you're totally new to sci-fi I'd recommend starting with more modern top sci-fi titles like Ender's Game, The Hunger Games or Red Rising. Once you're a bit more familiar with the genre, though, I'd definitely recommend checking out more classic sci-fi titles like 1984, Second Foundation or I, Robot. Want more ideas? Check out the full list of the 70+ best sci-fi books of all time.
Enjoyed this list of the best sci-fi books of all time? You might also like…