Since the publication of the first-ever sci-fi book—arguably Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein—the genre has been in constant dialogue with our present. Sci-fi books encourage readers to envision new realities, and often prove prescient, both in imagining tech that eventually becomes real, and predicting events that come to pass.
The breadth of the genre can make it seem intimidating to new readers, but we recommend 50 of the best sci-fi novels ever to start your reading voyage. Or, you can explore sci-fi’s eras in chronological order, from the early classics by authors such as Jules Verne and H.G Wells and the so-called Golden Age of Sci-Fi, to the New Wave, to more recent must-reads from the past few decades.
Alternatively, it’s possible to break your sci-fi book exploration down into subgenres. Do you prefer interstellar epics with drama on a galactic scale? Consider space opera. Do you want your stories to be grounded in reality and natural sciences? Then hard sci-fi is probably for you.
Or perhaps you’re a veteran sci-fi reader whose shelves are heavy with staples of the genre. In that case, The Portalist recommends hidden gems and underrated books to complete your collection.
Regardless of where you are on your sci-fi reading journey, The Portalist’s sci-fi book stories can guide you on your voyage among the stars
A masterpiece moves to the big screen.
Award-winning author Charlie Jane Anders explores how fiction encourages us to abandon assumptions.
A guide for Earthers, Belters, Martians, and more.
In this author's note for his novel Aftermath, Burton reflects on the legacies of slavery.
By Carolyn Cox
“It tasted like cinnamon.”
The talented multi-hyphenate continues to inspire generations of fans.
These books aren't just for adults, but older SF fans might love them the most.
America is sick—but Dr. Rene Reynolds could have the cure.
By Carolyn Cox
Fill your tank with these action-packed reads.
By Orrin Grey
Craft the next great epic with these helpful tips.
Do the stars say you're the Emperor of the Known Universe, or a manipulative schemer who orchestrates destruction?