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Sci-Fi Book Classics - Top Must Read Books for a Sci-Fi Fan

Updated on January 1, 2014

Sci-Fi Basic Reads - Welcome to Nerdia

Finding a decent science fiction novel can be a bit difficult lately, considering the rise in popularity the genre has seen in the last years. However, this predicament can be avoided if you know where to look. Here we will talk about some of the first titles of the sci-fi genre which laid the foundations for this incredible movement in literature.

While there are many authors and titles that come to mind when thinking of sci-fi (such as Divergent, or the Hunger Games, or anything by Tolkien), it is good to go back to the basics and go over the classics of the genre.

After a bit of research, we will all stumble upon several noteworthy authors and their infamous titles, and in this article we will present to you eight of them. In case you missed out on some of these, do try to find them and read them as they are the classics of the sci-fi genre.

Basically, these books started it all and it would be hard to imagine where this genre would be today if some of them were not published. In case you know someone who is into sci-fi, ask them if they read all of these outstanding titles. If they have not, well, feel free to reprimand them.

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The sci-fi classics - in no particular order!

In the following sections of this article we will talk about eight books which are a definite must read for all of the dedicated science fiction readers out there (and those who are just getting to know and love the genre).

There will be no kind of ranking - mainly because it would appear that I think one book is better than another and so on. This is not a discussion about preferences, rather a good list (I hope) of sci fi books for your enjoyment in no particular order. You may prefer one or the other, but all of these are definitely crucial and defining titles of the sci-fi literature.

In case you are a fantasy fan, I would very much love to have your comment at the bottom of this article stating how many of these books were you able to check off your list, and if you have read some of them, your opinion!


The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

This humorous odyssey through the galaxy that is comprised mostly of nonsense is a must have for every science fiction fan. The journey of the characters is incredibly entertaining and you are going to be thoroughly amused while reading this book. In fact, you are likely to want to read the rest of this five-part story.

Another thing that makes this book incredibly clever is that it stands as a hilarious parody to the genre - it contains almost every science fiction cliche you can think of!


Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

As one of the earliest science fiction books, this book needs to have a special place on the shelf of every serious fantasy fan - not because of what it is, rather, because of what it started.

It can be regarded as a beginning, the birth, of steampunk and the science fiction genre itself. What is characteristic about this book is that it is not only a journey through the amazing world of the deepest ocean, it is loaded with scientific facts and descriptions, which make this book more than your average read!


2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

This book was written concurrently with the film version of the story which was developed by Stanley Kubrick. The story actually consists of several short stories, out of which the most noteworthy is "the Sentinel".

There are several differences between the film and the book, but I believe that it would be better if you find out for yourself. Definitely an excellent read, and a great gift idea for your sci fi loving special ones. Don't forget to watch the movie with them, though.


Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

This spectacular story is nothing less than an outstanding criticism of the time we live in. Brave New World, which is in my common opinion a masterpiece, gives an eerie perspective on the present and is absolutely just the thing that will make just about anyone think.

The futuristic world portrayed in this book is a creepy sort of utopia, in fact, just the kind of utopia that will make you understand how perfect imperfection is. If you like to read about genetic transformations, this is your thing!


Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

This fantastic science fiction novel features a world where young children geniuses are bred in order to be able to fight a hostile alien race. Among all of them, there is Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, who is so to say destined to be the hero to save the day.

What makes this book a must read is the fantastic character depth - Ender fights psychological battles with himself, his fears, solitude and doubts. Also, Ender's Game won the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for that same category?

Need I say more?


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The first thing worth mentioning is that this novel is actually a Gothic thriller initially written to be a romance, and a sort of warning of the dark side of science - however, this book is crucial in the collection of any serious science fiction collector for a completely different reason. Frankenstein is the ancestor of this genre, and also one of the ancestors of the horror genre.

This is a story that raises excellent issues that may be regarded as disturbing and too obscure, but most of these issues are reality today - so in case you have not read this, do that as soon as you can.


I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

This story collection about robots gives us a perspective of how human life would look like if we lived in a society along with robots. This excellent and imaginative book can be very serious at times and very humorous on other occasions.

Considering that robots are a common fiction theme in a lot of novels, it is a good idea to read this book first.


The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

Time travelling may be an exploited topic by now, but this book is the ancestor of that innovative idea. Considering that the book was published in 1895, on the threshold of the new century, it is not hard to assume the effects it had at that time.

Today, it is an invaluable part of every fan's collection - after all, H.G. Wells's career did earn him the reputation of the father of science fiction, and for good reasons.

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These books are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to science fiction classics, and it is possible that some noteworthy titles did not appear in this article. Of course, if we wanted to list all the good ones, this article would be much, much longer. These eight titles we talked about are definitely must reads as they founded and reinforced the genre, and without them, who knows if we would have all the gems of sci-fi we have now.

However, if you feel like there is a book that should be included in this list, feel free to mention it in the comment section, and do tell us why you loved it (or about a book you hated, and why).


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    • jdnyc profile image

      JR 3 years ago from California

      Great list! I recently read Enders Game for the first time, and really enjoyed it!

    • profile image

      Paul Chatfield 4 years ago

      I love Asimov, particularly the Elijah Bailey books (which are robot murder mysteries - start with Caves of Steel) and Foundation series (he eventually merged them together).

      I have to admit to also being partial to a good old fashioned space opera and simply adore E.E.Doc Smith's Skylark series, along with the Lensmen Series.

    • brutishspoon profile image

      Amy 4 years ago from Darlington, England

      A great hub listing some of the best SF books out there. The classics for me are the best. Asaimov and Clark were 2 of the best authors of SF. I would however say that Philip K. Dick would make it onto my list as well.

    • Amanda108 profile image

      Amanda 4 years ago from Michigan, United States

      I'm ashamed to say the only one I've read on this list is Frankenstein, despite considering myself a sci-fi fan! I better get busy. Good hub!

    • Eric Calderwood profile image

      Eric Calderwood 4 years ago from USA

      From this list I have read: A Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea, and The Time Machine. Of the ones that I have not read I have seen the movies for all but Ender's Game. I think I would still like to read the books for these and for Ender's Game as well.

    • Tolovaj profile image

      Tolovaj 4 years ago

      Thanks for this list. Most of works are a must read for everybody, not just for Sci-Fi fans. I have read all works by Verne and Wells when i was still in primary school.

      There are also few authors who made huge influence on mainstream writers. I recommend Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut and Philip K. Dick.

    • ajwrites57 profile image

      AJ 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      edas88 great Hub! All good choices!

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      Maggie 4 years ago

      Anything by Ursula K. LeGuin is an excellent introduction to science fiction.

    • daborn7 profile image

      Rosalie 4 years ago from California

      Wow, where have I been? haha, I thought I saw the previews awhile back, but I didn't realize it was so long ago! Very cool, I am going to get right on that book then!

    • edas88 profile image

      Icarus 4 years ago

      @daborn7 Ender's Game movie was released on November 1st, and it's excellent. You can go in whichever order you want, though personally I'd go for the book first, and then watch the movie. This is solely because you will enjoy the movie more if you have read the book beforehand.

    • daborn7 profile image

      Rosalie 4 years ago from California

      Hey, thanks for sharing this great list of sci-fi books! Honestly, I cannot say I have read any of them. I have seen the movies for most of them and heard about the others, but I am sure I am missing out. The book is always much better than the movie, at least in my opinion. Isn't there a movie coming out soon for Enders Game? That should be interesting, perhaps I should read the book first or should I save the best for last?

    • edas88 profile image

      Icarus 4 years ago

      @Georgie Lowery You'll definitely enjoy them, they are not considered classics for no good reason. I'm glad you found something new to read.

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      GH Price 4 years ago from Texas

      I love Sci-Fi, but haven't read most of these yet. I reckon I better get started! Thanks for the info!