Best Science Fiction Books: Top 5 Titles Most Recommended By Expert Reviews

Looking for a good book? Enjoy having your imagination stretched to new limits? Opting for a science fiction novel may be just what the doctor ordered. That said, deciding on the next title to add to your list can be quite daunting with an endless number of choices. To help you in your quest, StudyFinds set out to find the five best science fiction books that reviewers can’t stop recommending.

Science fiction allows readers to escape into an imagined world that is often very different from their own which can be a refreshing break from the stresses and mundanity of everyday life. The genre often explores big ideas and concepts that are not easily tackled in other genres. For example, books might explore topics such as time travel, artificial intelligence, or the nature of consciousness.

These famed titles can inspire a sense of awe and wonder in readers. Imagining new worlds, technologies, and societies can be thrilling and exciting. As for the average person, the top tech predictions of what will be mainstream in 2050 include self-stocking fridges, robotic housekeeping, and flying cars. Some predictions, like autonomous, self-driving cars and lab-grown meat, seem well underway.

To explore the wild and fantastical worlds found in science fiction writing, StudyFinds visited 10 expert websites to provide you with a list of the best science fiction books (with a dash of fantasy mixed in). If we missed your favorite tale, let us know in the comments below! What future do their authors envision for us? Read on to find out.

open book on stack of books
Books (Photo by Pixabay on Pexels)

List: The Best Science Fiction Books, According to Experts

1. “How High We Go in the Dark” by Sequoia Nagamatsu 

This plot is almost all-to-familiar after the past few years of pandemia. Scientists in Siberia are investigating the melting permafrost and discover a deadly virus, “​​accidentally unleashing a plague that will devastate and reshape humanity for generations.” says Business Insider.

"How High We Go in the Dark" by Sequoia Nagamatsu 
“How High We Go in the Dark” by Sequoia Nagamatsu

Blending the issues of climate change and pandemics, this novel “weaves together numerous narratives across centuries of space and time as humanity struggles to survive and rebuild itself in the wake of a plague brought on by melting glaciers,” summarizes P. S. Hoffman.

The reason why this novel made it to the top of our list: Books and Bao calls this title “the next step in science fiction. This is one of the best modern sci-fi novels you’ll ever read; a bold new approach to the genre of science fiction. [..] It’s beautiful and makes for a very addictive read.” 

2. “Babel” by R.F. Kuang

Academia goes rogue in this one. In “Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution”, “linguist nerds gain magical abilities from the work of translation, exploiting the subtle differences between words in two languages to transform the world,” as the Washington Post puts it.

"Babel" by R.F. Kuang
“Babel” by R.F. Kuang

But there’s more to this novel than ivy league magic. Author Kuang “sharply critiques British imperialism and the bureaucratic institutions that hold it up — particularly academic scholarship and monarchy,” outlines Polygon.

Set in a fictitious past, this book is arguably more fantasy than science fiction but is nonetheless frequently featured in the science fiction top ten for this year. Why? Per Barnes and Noble, “Babel” is “smart, witty, and terrifying; the type of book you can’t stop reading and can’t stop recommending!” 

3. “Sea of Tranquility” by Emily St. John Mandel

The three protagonists of “Sea of Tranquility” are separated not only by space but also by time: One lives in the past, in 1912, the other two in different futures, in the 22nd century and a more distant hereafter.

"Sea of Tranquility" by Emily St. John Mandel
“Sea of Tranquility” by Emily St. John Mandel

Business Insider describes “Sea of Tranquility” as “a playfully dynamic novel that begins with quickly shifting timelines but transforms into a masterful and gripping narrative.” Eventually, “​​all three stories come together when a time traveler tries to discover the truth behind the strange anomalies that occur in each place and time,” reveals ProWritingAid.

This title made it to the top of multiple “best science fiction books” lists as “every page of this narrative is lovingly, masterfully crafted, and it will sweep you off your feet and into a world full of nostalgia, cities on the Moon, plagues, and the meaning of life throughout the wilderness of time itself,” adds P. S. Hoffman.

4. “A Prayer for the Crown-Shy” by Becky Chambers

Finally, robots! “A Prayer for the Crown-Shy” takes place in a future where humans and robots live mostly separately, with robots living independently in the wilderness; its storyfollows Sibling Dex, a tea monk, and Mosscap, a robot, who journey together across the moon,” says ProWritingAid.

"A Prayer for the Crown-Shy" by Becky Chambers
“A Prayer for the Crown-Shy” by Becky Chambers

Chambers explores the “themes around our relationships with the people and the things in our lives — and what, exactly, a kinder society looks like,” writes The Washington Post

If you need a break from dystopian settings, Chambers is the sci-fi author for you. Her “stories are bright and heart-warming, deeply undercut with the greatest philosophical questions that science fiction has to offer,” praises P. S. Hoffman

5. “The Candy House” by Jennifer Egan

This is essentially is a sci-fi novel about social media. In the future, new technology “allows you to access your memories and share them in exchange for access to the memories of others,” explains ProWritingAid the premise.

"The Candy House" by Jennifer Egan
“The Candy House” by Jennifer Egan

Egan’s writing style in “The Candy House” is most intriguing (and one reason why it made the Best Science Fiction Books lists): According to P. S. Hoffman, it “elevates this book to a new level. A masterfully-crafted narrative saga, with social media, gaming, and alternate reality at the focus, this story shifts points of view from first person, to omniscient, to epistles and tweets, and so many more.”

While science fiction, this book is eerily realistic: “Above all, The Candy House explores both the danger and the sublime in humans’ compulsion to share their lives with others. […] it’s a sobering reminder that the connective technology — the ‘social media’ — that could either save or ruin us is already here,” adds Polygon.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.


  1. So it is the “Best Science fiction, of the last week”.
    Any list that does not include Heinlein, Asimov, Bradley, Huxley, and Orwell is clearly drawn up by an illiterate.

    1. Correct. I am science fiction nut and have read almost every work by the masters from Heinlein and Asimov. I have never heard far less read any of these.

  2. I wanted to read this article to find out which books to read. I stopped after reading ‘all-to-familiar’ about the first listed book. I know this is a knee-jerk response, but ‘to-too’ and ‘their-there-they’re’ are my pet peeves.

  3. Thanks for the book tips…I’ll definitely check out ‘how high we go in the dark’ and ‘Sea of tranquility’..I’d like to recommend ‘The Passage’ by Justin Cronin to all the “sci fi” lovers on this forum…

  4. Man, it’s really exciting that female authors are gaining ground in the sci-fi genre, but I’m really getting tired of these lists cramming female authors down my throat. Some of these books may be fine, but they’re not the best sci-fi out there. This list makes the writer and the website seem amateur.

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