Whether you've got a long commute to contend with every day, or you just love being read to sleep, there are so many reasons to listen to audiobooks. Audiobooks offer the perfect way to catch up on your to-be-read pile while cleaning, exercising, driving—or just lazing about enjoying some great storytelling. Below are our recommendations for some of the greatest science fiction audiobooks available on Apple Books right now. Simply download these to your iPhone or preferred Apple device today, and get swept away by the unbeatable combination of incredible narration and great writing.
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
World War Z is one of the greatest zombie novels ever written, and this Audie Award-winning multi-voice performance of the book is the best introduction possible to Brooks' zombie masterpiece (apologies to the film adaptation starring Brad Pitt). World War Z tells the harrowing tale — from initial outbreak to slow societal reconstruction —of the conflict between humanity and 'Z.'
The apocalyptic battle is recounted through a collection of interviews and letters compiled by the United Nations Postwar Committee. In the audiobook, these varied perspectives on the war are read by an impressive collection of narrators, each of them headlining a different chapter. The list of narrators includes celebrated nerds like Mark Hamill, Nathan Fillion, and Simon Pegg, and the result is truly compelling.
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The Left Hand of Darkness
Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness is widely regarded as a sci-fi classic. Like much of the late author's work, it explores themes of gender and sexuality, through the lens of an alien world. Genly Ai is sent as an ambassador to the planet Gethen to convince its inhabitants to join the planetary alliance to which Ai's home world of Terra belongs. In Gethen culture, gender and sexuality are fluid, a concept which startles Ai. Le Guin, whose father was an anthropologist, meaningfully explores how assumptions about gender and identity can permeate all aspects of society. Three time Audie Award-winning narrator George Guidell skillfully evokes all the wonder and discovery of Le Guin's powerful novel.
If you're looking for an audiobook that delivers thrills, jump into Hell Divers by Ansbury Smith. This first book in the series transports readers to a dystopian future. Earth has been irreparably poisoned by World War III. The survivors live on airships above the globe, searching for any space on which the last of our species can set down. After a storm damages an airship, a team of Hell Divers are sent on an exceptionally perilous reconnaissance mission to a inhospitable zone known as Hades, where they’ll discover a horror beyond anything they could have ever imagined. Allow narration by R.C. Bray to bring you along on a thrilling miliary sci-fi story that will chill you to the bone.
Yet another excellent audiobook narrated by R.C. Bray, Andy Weir's The Martian is a surprisingly funny hard sci-fi story about Mark Watney, a NASA astronaut left behind on Mars when the rest of his team is forced to evacuate. Believed by NASA to be dead, Watney must rely on his scientific skills and indomitable spirit to survive. The audiobook was the 2015 Audie Award winner in the science fiction category, a 2015 Audie Award finalist in the solo male narration category, and a 2014 Voice Awards finalist in the science fiction category. In other words, this audiobooks is a truly excellent listen, and it has the fancy accolades to prove it.
A Princess of Mars
The first book in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter trilogy, this seminal science fantasy novel transports readers to a sword and sorcery-tinted Mars, called Barsoom. Civil war soldier John Carter accidentally discovers a portal that spirits him away to the faraway land. Once there, he realizes that the planet’s gravitational and atmospheric traits have given him superhuman skills and abilities. John Carter becomes embroiled in the politics of red and green martians as he attempts to rescue the Princess of Helium, Dejah Thoris, who is being held as political prisoner. Narrator B.J. Harrison brings the first chapter in this iconic sci-fi trilogy vividly to life.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Narrator Stephen Fry—perhaps most beloved for his work on the Harry Potter audiobooks—brings his distinct charm to the first book in the late Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. The hysterical sci-fi saga follows human Arthur Dent, who is saved from Earth's destruction by an alien undercover journalist, and brought along on a funny, fast-paced, philosophical journey across the universe. Fair warning, this audiobook will have you laughing out loud, and should be listened to with appropriate caution.
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Parable of the Sower
The late Lynne Thigpen—who is perhaps most recognizable as the voice of Carmen Sandiego from the 90s television show Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego?—narrates Octavia E. Butler's harrowing and uncomfortably prescient dystopia in this audiobook.
The Parable of the Sower follows Lauren Olamina, a young girl living in a gated compound in near-future Los Angeles. Lauren's family and friends in her neighborhood are unable to admit or accept that the scourge of violence and environmental disasters ravaging the country will eventually end the relative peace inside their neighborhood as well. But Lauren, a hyperempath who experiences other's pain as her own, knows that ignoring the inevitable destruction of their home won't stop it from coming. When disaster does strike, it's teenage Lauren who leads a caravan of survivors across war-torn America in hope of survival.