There are several reasons why a lot of readers shy away from SciFi: maybe you think it’s dry and boring and too tech-y; maybe you would rather read character-driven, emotional stories; maybe you prefer down-to-earth books and can’t relate to fantastical worlds; maybe you associate it only with alien-shooting and wars between planets (which, fair).
BUT. I brought the good stuff today! SciFi can go in so many directions, and doesn’t have to be the dry action-packed books that are so stereotypical of the genre. If you think you don’t like SciFi, maybe you just haven’t found a book that suited your personal reading tastes – there’s really all kinds of SciFi out there!
I’ve compiled a list with some fun, light-hearted stuff, some character-driven and emotional reads, some thrillers, and some cozy reads, too. Maybe you’ll find something that fits your reading taste!
The Power by Naomi Alderman / Goodreads
This is a bit of a divisive read, but I really enjoyed it! In The Power, women wake up one day with the power of electricity, shifting the power balance and changing who gets to lead the world. If you like dystopias, you might enjoy this Women’s Prize for Fiction winner!
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch / Goodreads
This is a thriller with mind-blowing twists with alternate universes! Super pace-y and interesting, this still is one of my favorite SciFi thrillers of all time. A man gets kidnapped one day and sent to an alternate reality where he is in a super secret project that could send people to other parallel universes. How can he possibly go back to his reality, when an infinite number of new realities are created every second?
Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl / Goodreads
This is an amazing read! Five teenagers get into an accident and get trapped in the Neverwold, where they relive the same day over and over in a state of neither-alive-nor-dead. They must choose who gets to live, and the other four will die. I was absolutely fascinated by this and if you like mysteries, I think you’ll really enjoy it!
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff / Goodreads
This one got really popular with the YA readers a few years ago, so maybe everyone has read it already, but I’m sure there are always new people who could be interested. This is the story of a hacker girl who’s in a space ship controlled by AI. When a deadly virus drives people to murder each other, she must find a way to stay safe and survive. It’s a gory, very cool YA thriller with lots of visual add-ins, like blood-spattered documents, lists of passengers and so on.
The Extinction Files by S. M. Wilson / Goodreads
I think this book is super underrated! In this dystopia, humans have used up all the resources of the lands they occupy, and now want to go to new lands… except there are dinosaurs there. A group of volunteers need to retrieve dinosaur eggs in order to help the government create deadly weapons to get rid of the dinosaurs before making the land livable for humans. This is a survival YA thriller with dinosaurs, and honestly it’s the best.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro / Goodreads
If you prefer reading literary fiction, especially leaning towards mystery, this is the pick for you. This is an atmospheric, beautiful book about a group of friends who went to school together and have been told all their lives how special they are. Looking back, they will realize why… this is a bit of a psychological thriller, but also a striking exploration of the relationship between the characters.
How to Stop Time by Matt Haig / Goodreads
This is the story of a man who has a condition and ages very, very slowly, living through centuries and watching the people he loves live and die. It’s a beautiful story about love, depression and time. I loved this when I first read it, although it’s maybe a bit heavy on the “meeting famous people and witnessing historical events” trope. If you love emotional, heartwarming historical fiction, I think you’ll love this!
Villains Don’t Date Heroes! by Mia Archer / Goodreads
This is adorable! If you love cute and light-hearted YA romances, this is such a quick read that will bring a smile to your face. It’s a F/F romance between a super villain and a superhero and it’s so cute and funny and underrated!
Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones / Goodreads
Another underrated gem! No surprise there, actually, I think a lot of YA SciFi is underrated. This is a YA heist where the main characters have superpowers (reminded me of the X-Men), and it’s such fun to read!
Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
This is a cozy and heartwarming story about love, second chances, grief and forgiveness. It’s set in a café in Tokyo and you may go back to any time in the past if you seat in a particular seat, but you must return before the coffee gets cold.
The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas
I love how I manage to include this in a lot of my recommendations posts, but it’s truly an amazing book. This is a whodunit with time travel and F/F romance, it’s just so gripping and I’ll recommend it every chance I get.
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
This is a brilliant story about a woman who gets transported into the 1800s Maryland and saves a white boy from drowning. She goes back to her own time but is transported back soon after, and she understands that she needs to save the boy every time he’s in danger, although she herself is in imminent danger as a Black woman in those times, she must find a way to survive until she can go back to her own time… if she can at all. This reads like a historical thriller and horror, and it’s incredibly powerful.
Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty / Goodreads
A crew of clones wake up in their pods in fresh, new bodies and their memories fuzzy, and find their previous bodies murdered all over the spaceship. One of them must have done it – but who, and why? This was an amazing whodunit full of plot twists! The crew doesn’t really know each other, and slowly start unraveling secrets and forming alliances.
Our Dark Stars by Audrey Grey and Krystal Wade / Goodreads
This book is a New Adult romance story about friendship, betrayal and humanity. In a universe where Mocks are treated as subhuman, a princess must kill her best friend, the mock she’s known all her life, to satisfy a cruel prince. She never gets the chance to make a choice before there is an invasion and she must escape to survive. She gets into a pod, goes into sleep – and wakes up a hundred years later.
They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera / Goodreads
Another quite popular YA, this is set in a world where you get a call on the day you’re going to die, so that you can say your goodbyes and enjoy your last hours. The story follows two boys who receive the call and are paired together by a “last friend” app so they don’t spend the day alone. This is a bittersweet YA romance, and it’s really lovely.