This list presents my picks for the Top 25 Science Fiction Books.It’s a broad list that covers a lot of subgenres and draws from a number of “eras” from the early science fiction to hot-off-the press works that have garnered critical acclaim.These are the best in the genre and are the absolute “Must Reads.” I know that just like my Best Fantasy Books list, you can’t please everyone.
This list tries to balance "modern" science fiction with classic reads.
Keep in mind that there will be a "Classics" list and a "Modern Classics" that will help fill out the "holes" that a list like this in-veritably ends up with. The “best” science fiction books ideally combine fine story telling with brilliant, exploratory questions that have us asking all sorts of challenging questions about the fundamentals of everything – society, religion, politics, race relations, space, time, the destiny of man, our place in the universe, etc.
You can read my deeper look into the Science Fiction genre and my reasoning’s for my picks below, or you can just jump to the list. I posit there is a lot more you can do with science fiction to ask deep questions than one can do with fantasy, if only because science fiction tries to cloak itself in the appearance of reality or at least a possible reality.
Of course, it’s easy to get so lost in ground breaking ideas that the actual mechanisms of storytelling become merely a vehicle to carry the idea; this is one of the problems with science fiction: ground breaking ideas, settings, and questions or strong plot with deep characters but rarely both.
I try my best to pick out books with great ideas that have influenced the genre, but I also select based on the strength of the story and characters.
Alas, some compromises have to be made, especially in this genre.Many of the best “classics” science fictions are heavy on ground breaking ideas but pretty light on story and characters. It's been a long time in coming, but the NEW Top 25 Best Science Fiction list has been released January 2016. Then read this definitive guide to the Top 25 Science Fiction Books in the genre.There's a LOT more thought put into the list here than the old list (which is still a great list) and the picks are more representative of the genre as a whole.We've also filled out every section with MORE information about why we consider each entry the best of the best. You can STILL read our previous version of the Top 25 list as the Alternative Top 25 Best Science Fiction Books list.