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The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
479.8k votes 24.7k voters 389.8k views 186 items

This list ranks the best science fiction novels ever written, as voted on by sci-fi readers. Anyone can add their picks to this list of sci-fi books, making it an accurate, real-time ranking of the best sci-fi books of all time by the people who live and breathe Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury, and Clarke.

Vote up the novels that you think best represent the greatest science fiction books ever written in order to determine the most popular science fiction books on the shelves. It doesn't much matter they're classic or modern, utopian or dystopian; if they're popular sci-fi books, this list is the place to rank them.

If you see a good book that's missing, add it whether it be a lesser-known classic or a new sci-fi book fellow readers need to try. Vote up your favorite literary slices of sci-fi. And for maximum impact, make your own list by reranking this one your own way, so that everyone can see whether your top rated sci-fi novels take place on Arrakis, Mars, or even Earth. Then, check out the best new science fiction books, many of which will become the next generation's classics.

list ordered by
1
Dune is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Frank Herbert
Dune is a 1965 epic science fiction novel by Frank Herbert. It won the Hugo Award in 1966, and the inaugural Nebula Award for Best Novel. Dune is the world's best-selling science fiction novel ...more

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#50 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written #87 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Timelisted on The Best Selling Books of All Time

2
The Hitchhiker's Guide t... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Douglas Adams
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the first of five books in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comedy science fiction "trilogy" by Douglas Adams. The novel is an adaptation of ...more

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#31 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written #7 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Timelisted on The Best Selling Books of All Time

3
Nineteen Eighty-Four is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
George Orwell
Nineteen Eighty-Four, sometimes published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by English author George Orwell published in 1949. The novel is set in Airstrip One, a province of the superstate Oceania ...more

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#1 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written #2 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Timelisted on The Best Selling Books of All Time

4
Foundation is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Isaac Asimov
Foundation is the first novel in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy. Foundation is a collection of five short stories, which were first published together as a book by Gnome Press in 1951 which, ...more

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#260 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time #3 of 93 The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People #151 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written

5
Ender's Game is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Orson Scott Card
Ender's Game is a 1985 military science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card. Set in Earth's future, the novel presents an imperiled mankind after two conflicts with the ...more

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#186 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time #8 of 93 The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People #80 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written

6
Brave New World is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Aldous Huxley
Brave New World is a novel written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley and published in 1932. Set in London of AD 2540, the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, ...more

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#50 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time #34 of 172 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Readlisted on Books with Titles Taken from Literature

7
The Time Machine is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
H. G. Wells
The Time Machine is a science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, published in 1895. Wells is generally credited with the popularization of the concept of time travel by using a vehicle that allows an ...more

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#25 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time #39 of 172 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #45 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written

8
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury published in 1953. It is regarded as one of his best works. The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and ...more

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#23 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written #13 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time #18 of 172 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read

9
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Arthur C. Clarke
2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke. It was developed concurrently with Stanley Kubrick's film version and published after the release of the film. Clarke ...more

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#209 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time #78 of 172 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #5 of 93 The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People

10
The Martian Chronicles ... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Ray Bradbury
The Martian Chronicles is a 1950 science fiction short story collection by Ray Bradbury that chronicles the colonization of Mars by humans fleeing from a troubled and eventually atomically ...more

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#64 of 172 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #9 of 93 The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People #253 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written

11
Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Mary Shelley
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley about the young student of science Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque but sentient creature ...more

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#24 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written #33 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time #29 of 70 Required Reading That You Actually Ended Up Loving

12
The War of the Worlds is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
H. G. Wells
The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells. It first appeared in serialized form in 1897, published simultaneously in Pearson's Magazine in the UK and ...more

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#45 of 172 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #62 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written #64 of 187 The Scariest Horror Books of All Time

13
I, Robot is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Isaac Asimov
I, Robot is a collection of nine science fiction short stories by Isaac Asimov. The stories originally appeared in the American magazines Super Science Stories and Astounding Science Fiction ...more

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#69 of 172 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #268 of 837 Books That Changed Your Life #5 of 99 NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books

14
Stranger in a Strange La... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Robert A. Heinlein
Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who comes to Earth in early adulthood ...more

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#215 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time #79 of 170 Books You'll Never Finish Readinglisted on Books with Titles Taken from Literature

15
A Wrinkle in Time is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Madeleine L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time is a science fantasy novel by American writer Madeleine L'Engle, first published in 1962. The story revolves around a young girl whose father, a government scientist, has gone ...more

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#21 of 70 Required Reading That You Actually Ended Up Loving #14 of 837 Books That Changed Your Lifelisted on Children's Books: Teachers' Top 100 Books For Children

16
Do Androids Dream of Ele... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Philip K. Dick
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a science fiction novel by American writer Philip K. Dick. First published in 1968, the book served as the primary basis for the 1982 film Blade Runner. ...more

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#154 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time #56 of 183 The Greatest American Novels #208 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written

17
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death is a satirical novel by Kurt Vonnegut about World War II experiences and journeys through time of a soldier named Billy ...more

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#17 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written #72 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time #8 of 111 Famous Novels With The Catchiest First Lines

18
Flowers for Algernon is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Daniel Keyes
Flowers for Algernon is a science fiction short story and subsequent novel written by Daniel Keyes. The short story, written in 1958 and first published in the April 1959 issue of The Magazine ...more

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#134 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time #83 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written #23 of 70 Required Reading That You Actually Ended Up Loving

19
Hyperion is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Dan Simmons
Hyperion is a Hugo Award-winning 1989 science fiction novel by American writer Dan Simmons. It is the first book of his Hyperion Cantos, and is the only book in it to extensively employ the ...more

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#839 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written #377 of 837 Books That Changed Your Life #9 of 66 The Best Sci-Fi Novels About Outer Space

20
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Michael Crichton
Jurassic Park is a science fiction novel written by Michael Crichton, divided into seven sections. Often considered a cautionary tale on unconsidered biological tinkering in the same spirit as ...more

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#111 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time #50 of 183 The Greatest American Novels #75 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written

21
Rendezvous with Rama is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Arthur C. Clarke
Rendezvous with Rama is a hard science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke first published in 1973. Set in the 2130s, the story involves a 50-kilometre cylindrical alien starship that enters ...more

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#10 of 93 The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People #435 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written #391 of 837 Books That Changed Your Life

22
Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Robert A. Heinlein
Starship Troopers is a military science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first published as a serial in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and published hardcover in December ...more

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#254 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time #120 of 170 Books You'll Never Finish Reading #15 of 93 The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People

23
A Clockwork Orange is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian novella by Anthony Burgess published in 1962. Set in a near future English society that has a subculture of extreme youth violence, the novella has a teenage ...more

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#67 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time #45 of 111 Famous Novels With The Catchiest First Lines #59 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written

24
Contact is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Carl Sagan
Contact is a 1985 science fiction novel by Carl Sagan. It deals with the theme of contact between humanity and a more technologically advanced, extraterrestrial life form. It ranked No. 7 on the ...more

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#97 of 172 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #49 of 99 NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books #2 of 25 The Best Alien Contact Novels

25
The Stand is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Stephen King
The Stand is a post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel by American author Stephen King. It expands upon the scenario of his earlier short story, "Night Surf". The novel was originally ...more

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#40 of 1,302 The Best Novels Ever Written #94 of 317 The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time #27 of 172 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read