Are you looking for your next science fiction must-read as a leisure activity? We’ve gathered some of the WIRED team’s favourite science fiction novels, including cyberpunk, space operas, and dystopias. Some are frighteningly plausible, while others are fantastical, yet they all give compelling images of our probable future. For completeness’ sake, they’re listed in chronological sequence. You might also be interested in our lists of the best science fiction films and the finest space films. If you’re looking for additional reading ideas, or if you’re feeling tired working on MLM software development, the following paragraphs discuss the best science fiction books of all time.
- The Imperial Radch Trilogy
Breq is now a human, but she was previously a starship. She used to be an AI with a massive, ancient metal body and legions of ancillary, barely living bodies carrying her consciousness. Ann Leckie, a poll judge, has constructed a vast yet sophisticated interstellar kingdom, complete with twisting galactic intrigues and many warring cultures, that serves as a great backdrop for the storey of a starship growing to be a human being. When Ancillary Justice was out, your humble editor got a copy and immediately pushed her entire family to read it.
- The Sprawl Trilogy
Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive make up William Gibson’s iconic trio. The Hugo Award-, Nebula Award-, and Philip K. Dick Award-winning Neuromancer is still one of the best sci-fi books ever written, and the entire trilogy is worth a read, even if the original receives all the attention. From The Matrix to Deus Ex, Neuromancer has influenced innumerable modern-day dystopias and will continue to do so in the future.
- The Broken Earth Trilogy
The terms “masterpiece” and “instant classic” are frequently used these days, but the appreciation for Jemisin’s trilogy is based on more than just marketing. This brilliant scientific fantasy trilogy earned the Hugo Award for Best Novel three years in a row, making Jemisin the only author to do so, and the series is currently in development for television at TNT. These works tackle systematic discrimination, climate change, and the complexities of parenthood and loss, and are a joy to read, tragic, joyful, innovative, and demanding in equal measure. There’s no denying that Jemisin is a one-of-a-kind talent.
When Mary Shelley was 18 years old, she began composing the famous gothic thriller, Frankenstein. It is a key ancestor of both science fiction and horror genres, exploring major subjects like the meaning of life and death, immortality, and genetic engineering two centuries later. It is pro-science fiction in which Dr Frankenstein is depicted as the callous villain of the storey, who created a being but refused to accept responsibility for his crimes. In an age when scientists are tinkering with the makeup of what makes us human, Frankenstein can still teach a vital lesson: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
- The Age of Madness Trilogy
One of our pet peeves about fantasy novels is that they don’t often account for the passage of time and technology — but in Joe Abercrombie’s Age of Madness series, the sequel to his debut First Law trilogy, industrialization has arrived in The Union, and it has brought nothing but bad with it. More than that, robots may be rising, but magic will not yield, and those at the bottom of the heap around the world are becoming increasingly enraged. This series can be read on its own, but you should also read the wonderful First Law series (even if it’s too old to be included in this list).