I was asked the other day by a reader where someone should start with sci-fi. There’s a lot of good books out there, but these are 10 which can give you a nice smattering of what sci-fi is. I didn’t include fantasy, but there’s a couple of books which skirt the line of fantasy from a sci-fi perspective. They’re mostly classics, they;’re not necessarily my top 10 favorite books, but each and every one of these is worth the read and especially for newer readers will paint a nice picture.
They’re not in a particular order, so I hope you enjoy.
An easy classic. Heinlein has to be on the list and this is his best book by far. Moon is rebelling against the Earth, doesn’t want to be governed from a far, and wants a more open society with libertarian leanings cuz they’ve learned from past mistakes.
The Dragonriders of Pern is very interesting. It’s fantasy on the surface but it has underpinnings of sci-fi as people on dragonback fight off spores that fall from the sky called “thread.” Very interesting stuff and the series as a whole is a wonderful world.
This entire series is gold. Here, Miles Vorkosigan starts as a failed military cadet due to physical flaws as it looks like it’s going into a military sci-fi series, but each book is so different, has cool sci-fi concepts. Miles ends up being like a scrawny James Bond with the intellect of Sherlock Holmes as he progresses through the series. I can’t pick one in the series really that’s better than the series as a whole, but this is a good one because its’ the first Miles character adventure.
The John Carter series really defines manly adventure. He goes from situation to situation in a cool world that’s out of control cool.
Dune is really the epic fantasy in space. It’s your Game of Thrones but better as you delve into the world of Arakis and the geopolitics of the entire universe here. It’s so big it’s impossible to really describe in a couple of sentences, but it’s one of the best books ever written.
I wasn’t sure which book of Poul’s to put on here because there’s so many excellent concepts, but from a fun perspective, starting with Flandry won’t steer you wrong. Earth’s empire is in decay, and it’s being accelerated by an enemy called the Mersians who are just picking at the outer fringes. Flandry needs to put a stop to a plot of theirs to take over a world wtih intelligent life.
This is an underrated classic I can’t believe doesn’t get more attention. A dance troupe is formed who wants to perform zero-G dance and start a new art form, aliens take notice. The character depth and the attention to detail on how dance in space would actually work makes this novel one of the best out there.
One you probably heard of. Zany sci-fi concepts to make you LOL all the way through. This is humor all the way as Earth has been declared a demolition zone for galactic imminent domain.
Technically a series of short stories, this book really has a crazy beautiful world. The sun’s exhausted, everything’s falling apart, just the attention to the setting across these stories is incredible.
This is another fix up of short stories which flow together that show man’s colonization of Mars. It’s got a nice mix of action/adventure with the “science problem” style fiction so it’s enjoyable on a lot of levels and because it’s a bunch of shorts, you get a nice smattering of different stories.
And if you already like sci-fi, this list, or just want to try out something new, you can get my book Make Science Fiction Fun Again. I wrote a book of short stories that are all over the map in sci-fi, so there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy, but with a focus on FUN and WONDER like the old books listed above. Grab it on Amazon.
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