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Are you curious about alien technology and parallel universes? Do you dream of traveling to other dimensions, being swept away into a culture not your own? Then you may be a science fiction enthusiast who blends the boundless limits of imagination with scientific principles. If this is you, you will want to explore the best science fiction novels.
While you most likely know what the science fiction genre is about, there is always more to learn. Let’s move deeper into the underpinnings of this genre in order to get the clearest definition:
Science fiction has become a popular genre and likely had its inception with Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.
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Of course, the list I have of the best science fiction novels is not exhaustive. And it may not even be the best ones since the best is subjective. Because there are more than 10 best science fiction novels, you will think of many more that did not make my list.
Buckle up. We are about to be jettisoned across vast galaxies. We’ll slow long enough to catch our breaths but avoid overstaying in dystopian societies and gazing into the faces of electric sheep.
Here is my list of the 10 best science fiction novels:
Let’s time-travel back to the year 1818 to unveil "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley. Victor Frankenstein, the creator of a creature, tries to play god by assembling human body parts to make a man and to give him life in his laboratory. But the life he creates is a monster unsure of his place in the scheme of things. The creature seeks acceptance in an unaccepting world. It’s impossible for a grotesque creature to find it, and he experiences loneliness and heartbreak in a fearful and compassionless society.
As we hover our craft over the year 1895, we have H.G. Wells' masterpiece, The Time Machine. The Time Traveler, our protagonist, travels into the future to find himself amid strange societies that raise questions about our societal evolution. It offers us an unrelenting gaze into time and a harrowing sneak peek at the dizzying futures that await humankind.
Continuing our travels by exploring the 10 best science fiction novels, we arrive at the year 1965. Author Frank Herbert gives us Dune, a novel that takes its rightful place in the science fiction genre. The novel’s setting is on Arrakais, a desert planet. Dune tells the story of young Paul Atreides, whose noble family possesses the source of the potent spice, melange. Melange is dangerous and is extremely popular with wealthy people.
We find ourselves in the year 1968. The novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was written by Philip K. Dick. Here, we’re squarely in a post-apocalyptic world where Earth has been ravished by nuclear war. In this society, most species of animals have gone extinct. The “higher-ups” in this society can afford real animals. Those who can’t afford these, have electric ones. The protagonist is a bounty hunter, tasked with hunting down and killing androids.
Moving right along, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is his 1979 masterpiece. The setting opens with Earth's demolition to allow for a hyperspace bypass! Two men hurtle through space, battling one issue after another. This novel is a comedy science fiction that casts a mocking and cynical eye on modern society. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy takes you on one heck of a wild ride!
In 1984, we encounter William Gibson’s Neuromancer. We meet Case in this cyberpunk novel. (Cyberpunk is a genre that showcases future societies where technology has advanced, while crime and corruption have kept pace.) Case lives on the fringes of society and is a computer hacker whose shady employer wants him to commit the ultimate hack. In this world of advanced technology and low life, Neuromancer raises eyebrows regarding the boundaries of the morality of artificial intelligence.
Switching our time-traveling gears, we come upon a thrilling mix of science and fantasy, arriving at Michael Crichton's 1990 thriller Jurassic Park. Through the advancement of genetic engineering, dinosaurs find themselves once again on Earth although confined to a theme park. However, the situation soon becomes unstable, and quickly advances to chaos when the safety measures of the park are sabotaged. An insatiable T. rex and merciless Velociraptors hunt defenseless victims. This gripping story offers a lesson by way of consequences of playing god.
In 2008, The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu was published. This solid science fiction trilogy seamlessly blends physics, politics, and philosophy. The novel places us squarely during the time of China's Cultural Revolution where an alien civilization learns about human life. Their aim is to strategically plan for an invasion. This novel plunges headlong into the deep caverns of theoretical physics.
In The Martian by Andy Weir (2011), we meet Mark Watney, an astronaut. A terrible storm separates him from his crew. They return home from Mars, believing Watney’s dead. But this abandoned castaway, alone on the red planet, must rely on his smarts and resourcefulness in order to survive until the next mission to Mars arrives.
Can't get enough of the science fiction genre? Okay then, get an even closer look at the
Thank you for taking the time to explore the best science fiction novels. These novels stand out not only as classic novels but also as undeniable reflections of our own humanity. Science fiction opens the door to a thousand possibilities. One minute you've been abandoned on Mars and the next you're trying to outrun a tyrannosaurus rex!
Here's wishing you a rarefied reading experience with these best science fiction novels where you can venture into alien customs not yet conceived.