Best Sci-Fi Novels to Read in a Lifetime

Best Sci-Fi Books

Hop on a ride to experience things that shake the foundations of science. These books deal with futuristic and imaginative concepts on advanced science, technology, exploration, etc.

Sci-Fi books truly capture the readers’ attention. While most readers are still new to this genre, it has numerous ingenious plots that are nothing less than a masterpiece. They touch upon the application of science in an imaginary or practical way. While the genre was invented way back in the time, it was popularised in the early twentieth century by names like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.

Best Sci-Fi Books

1. The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian follows the story of a botanist and engineer – Mark Watney. NASA sends a few people to Mars in the year 2035. While they plan a month-long stay on the foreign planet away from their homes, a dust storm threatens to tumble their vehicle and trap them forever. As the crew evacuates, a broken antenna pierces through Marks’s spacesuit, disabling his radio, while the dust storm flings him out of everyone’s sight. Presuming him to be dead, the crew decides to take off without him. Watney must rely on his own and use his instincts to survive on this planet, away from all contact.


The book builds on survival that can be achieved by progressing in the right direction.

Editor’s Choice

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Written by Ray Bradbury, this novel charts the conflict between the expression of thought and censorship. The book is divided into three parts and chronicles the life of a fireman – Guy Montag. As a man living in a distant future where books are forbidden, Montag is ordered to burn all kinds of written material that can influence the minds of people living in the city. Being a part of a world that doesn’t read or spend time in nature, he feels unhappy and dissatisfied. Encountering various traumatic situations every day leaves him with no choice but to seek solace in a pile of books that he stole and hid inside the AC vent. Even after witnessing numerous hurdles in his way, he finally escapes from the place to start anew.


This book talks about the present-day where concepts like censorship and destruction of individual thought have taken over.

Most Popular

3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelly

One of the most cherished works in the history of Sci-Fi literature, Frankenstein was also one of the first novels to be written and published in this genre. Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus revolves around the life of a scientist named Victor Frankenstein who learns how to create a man. He collects all that he needs from cemeteries and burial grounds to create a being that looks like a man. However, it is much more powerful, stronger, and taller than any human being. Describing two different perspectives – of the creator and the creation, this book truly has a cover of horror and gothic elements that enrich this narrative.

Creation and Destruction

The book emphasises that creation and destruction must not be controlled by any entity in flesh and blood. It is essential to stay within the boundaries.

Most Loved

4. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Jason Dessen is knocked unconscious by his abductor. When he wakes, he finds himself between men wearing hazmat suits. The world he wakes up in is different from his life, as he remembers. He is now a celebrated genius, unmarried, and not an ordinary college professor anymore. Jason must find a way to reach his family, but what lies ahead is a road to terrifying and darkest parts that no one can escape.

Difference in Decision

This book gives life to a human being’s inner voice that wonders how different life would have been if they had decided otherwise.

Best Overall

5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Meg Murry is a 13-year-old girl searching for her father – Alexander. One night she meets her neighbour – Mrs. Whatsit, who introduces Meg to a tesseract, a scientific device that Alexander was working on before his mysterious disappearance. Meg, along with her brother Charles and schoolmate Calvin, must seek the help of three supernatural entities, including Mrs. Whatsit, to find Alexander. The three kids travel through different worlds to search for him and bring him back.

Good and Evil

This book deploys the theme of good and evil and mingles it with the quality of appreciating one’s individuality.

Kid’s Choice

6. Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne

Professor Lidenbrock and his nephew Axel discover an ancient document that maps the way to a dormant volcano. They undertake a journey to an extinct crater and caverns that lead them to the earth’s centre. There they find some impressive bits about the origin of man. But this journey soon turns into a nightmare when they see creatures and plants from the bygone ages.

Exploration and Discovery

This book builds on the themes of exploration and discovery and how they lead to various possibilities in the world.

Next Best

7. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

This book is set in two different periods – World War II and the late 1960s. In the year 1942, Lawrence Waterhouse is a young code breaker associated with the US Navy. While the Japanese soldiers build a mysterious bunker in the Philippines mountains, Waterhouse is assigned to a newly formed unit that must conceal that the German Enigma code has been cracked. Fast forward to 1997, Randy Waterhouse joins his companion in a new startup. The two must create a data haven in the Sultanate of Kinakuta using mathematics, computers, and modern technology, but this soon unfolds a deeply buried conspiracy.


The book sheds light on the scenario during World War II when everyone guarded their codes while attacking their opponents.

Also Consider

8. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

The book starts with a time traveler narrating his theory that time is the fourth dimension. He tells them about his machine, which can take him to the future. As the narrative progresses, the narrator finds himself in a world that is nothing less than a paradise. Inhabited by a race called Eloi, this place seems calm and peaceful by the day. By night it turns into a slaughter field as the Morlocks or the creatures of the dark take over. He must soon find his way back to the time machine to return to his world.


This book covers the exploitation of people as its main theme and contrasts it to England’s social conditions in the Victorian age.

Runner Up
Niharika Mathur
Niharika Mathur

A curious shutterbug, Niharika has a penchant for all things new. An ardent animal lover and a literature enthusiast, she loves writing fiction and creating her own world of words. Apart from her pure love for Maggi, her perseverance for doing things her way is something that defines her persona. She’s often found around the greens, gazing at the sky or cherishing music while at work.

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