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The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated August 28, 2019 491.5k votes 25.4k voters 399.9k views 191 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
Nineteen Eighty-Four is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
George Orwell

First Published: 1949-06-08

Subjects: Brainwashing, Literature, Classics, English Language, English Literature, + more

Genres (Book): Utopian and dystopian fiction, Social science fiction, Political fiction

Original Language: English Language

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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#9 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #1 of 314 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

First Published: 1979-10-12

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Comic novel, Comic science fiction, Humour, Science Fiction

Original Language: English Language

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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#21 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #87 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Timelisted on The Best Selling Books of All Time

3
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Ray Bradbury

First Published: 1953

Subjects: Bibliophilia, American science fiction, Literature, Book burning, Classics, + more

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Children's literature, Dystopia, Fiction, + more

Original Language: English Language

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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#18 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #6 of 184 The Greatest American Novels #14 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time

4
The Time Machine is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
H. G. Wells

First Published: 1895

Subjects: Literary, Education, Literature, Classics, Adventure, + more

Genres (Book): Romance novel, Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Dystopia, Fiction, + more

Original Language: English Language

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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#39 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #56 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #47 of 1,294 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

First Published: 1985

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Fiction, Science Fiction

Original Language: English Language

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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#176 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #117 of 1,294 The Best Novels Ever Written #22 of 95 The Best Books for Teens

6
Dune is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Frank Herbert

First Published: 1965

Subjects: Galaxy, Space opera, Adventure

Genres (Book): Philosophy, Planetary romance, Military science fiction, Conspiracy fiction, Psychological thriller, + more

Original Language: English Language

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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#46 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #68 of 184 The Greatest American Novelslisted on The Best Selling Books of All Time

7
Frankenstein is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Mary Shelley

First Published: 1818-01-01

Subjects: Science, Love

Genres (Book): Romance novel, Speculative fiction, Suspense, Horror Film, Romanticism, + more

Original Language: English Language

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 196 The Scariest Horror Books of All Time #13 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #13 of 1,294 The Best Novels Ever Written

8
I, Robot is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Isaac Asimov

First Published: 1950

Subjects: American science fiction, Film

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fiction, Short story, Science Fiction, + more

Original Language: English Language

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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#71 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #181 of 826 Books That Changed Your Life #6 of 99 NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books

9
Foundation is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Isaac Asimov

First Published: 1951

Subjects: Milky Way, Scientist, Spaceflight

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fiction, Novel, Science Fiction

Original Language: American English, English Language

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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#258 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #151 of 1,294 The Best Novels Ever Written #158 of 826 Books That Changed Your Life

10
The War of the Worlds is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
H. G. Wells

First Published: 1898

Subjects: Literary, Education, Motorcycles, Performing arts, Adult, + more

Genres (Book): Children's literature, Fiction, Scientific romance, Science Fiction

Original Language: English Language

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 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #71 of 196 The Scariest Horror Books of All Time #77 of 1,294 The Best Novels Ever Written

11
Brave New World is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Aldous Huxley

Subjects: Literary, Technology, Brainwashing, Literature, Classics, + more

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Children's literature, Dystopia, Fiction, + more

Original Language: English Language

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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#36 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #68 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #30 of 1,294 The Best Novels Ever Written

12
The Martian Chronicles ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Ray Bradbury

First Published: 1950

Subjects: American science fiction, Literature, Classics, Drama

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Utopian and dystopian fiction, Fiction, Short story, + more

Original Language: English Language

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 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #155 of 1,294 The Best Novels Ever Written #131 of 826 Books That Changed Your Life

13
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Arthur C. Clarke

First Published: 1951

Subjects: Computers

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Science Fiction

Original Language: English Language

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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#79 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #163 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #130 of 1,294 The Best Novels Ever Written

14
A Wrinkle in Time is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Madeleine L'Engle

First Published: 1962

Subjects: Classics

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Young adult literature, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Original Language: English Language

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 95 The Best Books for Teens #17 of 41 The Best Young Adult Adventure Books #118 of 302 The Greatest Children's Books That Were Made Into Movies

15
Flowers for Algernon is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Daniel Keyes

First Published: 1959

Subjects: Literary, American science fiction, Mental retardation, Young adult, Surgery, + more

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fiction, Novel, Science Fiction

Original Language: English Language

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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#84 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #75 of 1,294 The Best Novels Ever Written #26 of 95 The Best Books for Teens

16
Stranger in a Strange La... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Robert A. Heinlein

First Published: 1961-06-01

Subjects: Consumerism, Classics, Mars

Genres (Book): Fiction, Science Fiction

Original Language: English Language

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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#74 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #194 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #78 of 169 Books You'll Never Finish Reading

17
Twenty Thousand Leagues ... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Jules Verne

First Published: 1870

Subjects: Literary, Literature, Classics, Adventure

Genres (Book): Children's literature, Fiction, Novel, Scientific romance, Adventure fiction, + more

Original Language: French Language

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is a classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne published in 1870. It tells the story of Captain Nemo and his submarine Nautilus, as seen ...more

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#42 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #69 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #73 of 1,294 The Best Novels Ever Written

18
Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Robert A. Heinlein

First Published: 1959-12

Subjects: Military

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Fiction, Science Fiction, Philosophical fiction

Original Language: English Language

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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#256 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #123 of 169 Books You'll Never Finish Reading #533 of 1,294 The Best Novels Ever Written

19
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Michael Crichton

First Published: 1990-11

Subjects: Espionage, Dinosaur, Cloning, Adventure, Dinosaurs

Genres (Book): Romance novel, Speculative fiction, Techno-thriller, Children's literature, Fiction, + more

Original Language: English Language

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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#76 of 184 The Greatest American Novels #52 of 196 The Scariest Horror Books of All Time #125 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time

20
Do Androids Dream of Ele... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Philip K. Dick

First Published: 1968

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction

Original Language: English Language

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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#54 of 184 The Greatest American Novels #221 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #163 of 1,294 The Best Novels Ever Written

21
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Kurt Vonnegut

First Published: 1969

Subjects: Literary, American science fiction, Classics, Prisoner of war, World War II

Genres (Book): Philosophy, Speculative fiction, War novel, Black comedy, Fiction, + more

Original Language: English Language

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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#12 of 184 The Greatest American Novels #116 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #48 of 1,294 The Best Novels Ever Written

22
The Andromeda Strain is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Michael Crichton

First Published: 1969-05-12

Subjects: Espionage, American science fiction, Adventure, Arizona

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Techno-thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Fiction, + more

Original Language: English Language

The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton, is a techno-thriller novel documenting the efforts of a team of scientists investigating the outbreak of a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism in ...more

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#61 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #186 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #316 of 1,294 The Best Novels Ever Written

23
Strange Case of Dr Jekyl... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
midnightq2 added Robert Louis Stevenson

First Published: 1886-01-05

Subjects: Medical, Literary, Supernatural, Education, Literature, + more

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Drama, Children's literature, Horror Film, Thriller, + more

Original Language: English Language

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the original title of a novella written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson that was first published in 1886. The work is commonly known ...more

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#29 of 196 The Scariest Horror Books of All Time #54 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #44 of 1,294 The Best Novels Ever Written

24
The Stand is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Stephen King

First Published: 1978

Subjects: Research

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, Children's literature, Horror Film, Fiction, + more

Original Language: English Language

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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#27 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read #39 of 184 The Greatest American Novels #6 of 196 The Scariest Horror Books of All Time

25
A Journey to the Center ... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
Jules Verne

First Published: 1864

Genres (Book): Children's literature, Fiction, Scientific romance, Adventure fiction, Science Fiction

Original Language: French Language

Journey to the Center of the Earth is a classic 1864 science fiction novel by Jules Verne. The story involves German professor Otto Lidenbrock who believes there are volcanic tubes going toward ...more