50 Essential Sci-fi and Cli-fi Books
Famous adventure tale that practically launched the genre in 1864.
The Martians come to England. A famous example of invasion literature from 1898.
Set in 2540, this novel imagines a radically different future. So good, it’s taught in schools.
Earth must be evacuated because another planet is on a collision course.
A superhuman novel where supernormal abilities lead to conflict.
Social sci-fi from the era of Soviet growth where a nasty political system defines the plot.
Written shortly after Hiroshima, this post-apocalyptic novel imagines the rebuilding process.
The original novel in a pioneering series. An immense plot that I cannot sum up in a sentence.
18 masterful and highly imaginative short stories from one of the genre's masters.
First Hugo winner. A science fiction detective novel featuring telepathy.
Clever invasion novel from the 1950s where aliens introduce devices to disrupt Earth's economy.
A world-building novel on a planet with variable surface gravity. Insect-like locals, human explorers.
Following a nuclear war, religious sects create an anti-technology society.
Set way in the future in a fundamentalist society. Telepathy makes people different.
A virus kills off all strains of grasses & causes a famine. England descends into anarchy.
Fine example of military science fiction from the late 1950s. A war against bugs.
Douglas Adams described it as a “tour de force” – a novel set amid a Martian invasion of Earth.
Frank imagines the effects of nuclear war on a small town in Florida.
Post-apocalyptic science fiction where monks are trying to preserve vital books and humanity.
20th century Charlie Johns wakes in a future filled with overpopulation, bigotry and no gender.
Humans study a planet while the planet studies them. A novel about miscommunication.
The ice-caps melt and the world floods. Set in 2145, the protagonist has adapted rather well.
An ecological-themed novel set in the far future with fantasy elements.
Children’s fiction, with fantasy elements, where a government scientist goes missing.
This novel has sold 12 million copies so can’t be bad. Spice before the Spice Girls.
Set in 1999, a novel about over-population. Basis for the movie, Soylent Green.
Age-themed science fiction. Everyone is killed off at 21 but there are “runners.”
A bounty hunter tracks down escaped androids in a post-apocalyptic future.
Le Guin is prolific and a must-read for everyone. This book details an imagined universe.
A time travel story where a man goes from 1970 back to AD 28 to meet Jesus.
From the golden era of the early 1970s. Set in 2850 in a radically different universe.
A classic set in the 22nd century, an alien starship enters the solar system.
Roadside Picnic is a classic alien-encounter story from Russia’s most important sci-fi writers.
A novel following the lives of four women in parallel worlds. Feminist sci-fi.
Cyborg (where man & machine combine) science fiction as humans attempt to colonize Mars.
Apocalyptic novel where a virus kills off most people and it is nightmarish for survivors.
A radio series. Adams introduced a huge and much-needed dose of humor into the genre.
Imagines the Humanx Commonwealth where humans exist alongside aliens.
Violent futuristic sci-fi where the Earth is threatened by an ant-like species.
Pure space opera. First in the Culture series, this novel features a sprawling space war between species.
Quaddies are genetically modified humans used as slaves. They become obsolete and face a grim end.
A complicated story-within-a-story novel with humanity spread across the galaxy.
First in a readable trilogy imagining the colonization of Mars.
Biopunk short story collection – a spin-off from cyberpunk featuring biotechnology.
Historical science fiction adored by Geeks for its technology themes.
A novel based on cosmetic surgery for teenagers. Modern science fiction on a modern issue.
Scalzi's debut saw humans fighting aliens Heinlein-style except old people pull the trigger.
Modern cyberpunk in post-9/11 era. Teenage hackers battle Homeland Security over civil rights.
Post-modern plot in a graphic novel. A sci-fi writer & his girlfriend are the last humans on Earth.
Set in a small town on a distant planet, this 2011 novel depicts interaction between aliens & humans.
KSR, ''NEW YORK 2140'', set for March 14, 2017 release