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25.8k voters

The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time

Updated August 28, 2019 421.0k votes 25.8k voters 406.2k views179 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.

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  • Nineteen Eighty-Four1
    7,564
    2,067

    First Published1949-06-08

    SubjectsBrainwashing, Literature, Classics, English Language, English Literature

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Nineteen Eighty-Four, sometimes published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by English author... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Fahrenheit 4512
    6,016
    1,688

    Fahrenheit 451

    Ray Bradbury

    First Published1953

    SubjectsBibliophilia, American science fiction, Literature, Book burning, Classics

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury published in 1953. It is regarded as one... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Time Machine3
    5,139
    1,743

    The Time Machine

    H. G. Wells

    First Published1895

    SubjectsLiterary, Education, Literature, Classics, Adventure

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Time Machine is a science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, published in 1895. Wells is... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy4

    First Published1979-10-12

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the first of five books in the Hitchhiker's Guide to... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #75 of 103 The Best Selling Books of All Time#21 of 94 The Best Books for Teens

  • Frankenstein5
    5,041
    1,720

    Frankenstein

    Mary Shelley

    First Published1818-01-01

    SubjectsScience, Love

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Ender's Game6
    6,635
    2,510

    Ender's Game

    Orson Scott Card

    First Published1985

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Fiction, Science Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Ender's Game is a 1985 military science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card. Set... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Dune7
    8,224
    3,230

    Dune

    Frank Herbert

    First Published1965

    SubjectsGalaxy, Space opera, Adventure

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Dune is a 1965 epic science fiction novel by Frank Herbert. It won the Hugo Award in 1966, and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • I, Robot8
    4,359
    1,577

    I, Robot

    Isaac Asimov

    First Published1950

    SubjectsAmerican science fiction, Film

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    I, Robot is a collection of nine science fiction short stories by Isaac Asimov. The stories... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #224 of 704 Books That Changed Your Life#5 of 99 NPR's Top 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy Books

  • The War of the Worlds9
    4,442
    1,680

    First Published1898

    SubjectsLiterary, Education, Motorcycles, Performing arts, Adult

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells. It first... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #45 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read#59 of 186 The Scariest Horror Books of All Time

  • The Martian Chronicles10
    3,627
    1,591

    First Published1950

    SubjectsAmerican science fiction, Literature, Classics, Drama

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Martian Chronicles is a 1950 science fiction short story collection by Ray Bradbury that... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Flowers for Algernon11
    3,684
    1,629

    First Published1959

    SubjectsLiterary, American science fiction, Mental retardation, Young adult, Surgery

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Flowers for Algernon is a science fiction short story and subsequent novel written by Daniel... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Foundation12
    4,967
    2,273

    Foundation

    Isaac Asimov

    First Published1951

    SubjectsMilky Way, Scientist, Spaceflight

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

    Original LanguageAmerican English, English Language

    Foundation is the first novel in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy. Foundation is a collection... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Brave New World13
    4,525
    2,057

    Brave New World

    Aldous Huxley

    SubjectsLiterary, Technology, Brainwashing, Literature, Classics

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Brave New World is a novel written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley and published in 1932. Set in... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • A Wrinkle in Time14
    4,286
    1,635

    A Wrinkle in Time

    Madeleine L'Engle

    First Published1962

    SubjectsClassics

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    A Wrinkle in Time is a science fantasy novel by American writer Madeleine L'Engle, first... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey15
    4,057
    1,879

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    Arthur C. Clarke

    First Published1951

    SubjectsComputers

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Science Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke. It was developed... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • A Journey to the Center of the Earth16

    First Published1864

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

    Original LanguageFrench Language

    Journey to the Center of the Earth is a classic 1864 science fiction novel by Jules Verne. The... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Stranger in a Strange Land17
    3,901
    1,929

    Stranger in a Strange Land

    Robert A. Heinlein

    First Published1961-06-01

    SubjectsConsumerism, Classics, Mars

    Genres (Book)Fiction, Science Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Stranger in a Strange Land is a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea18
    3,567
    1,493

    First Published1870

    SubjectsLiterary, Literature, Classics, Adventure

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

    Original LanguageFrench Language

    Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is a classic science fiction novel by French writer... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The foundation trilogy19
    2,407
    1,065
    Amazon buy button
  • Slaughterhouse-Five20
    3,366
    1,695

    Slaughterhouse-Five

    Kurt Vonnegut

    First Published1969

    SubjectsLiterary, American science fiction, Classics, Prisoner of war, World War II

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death is a satirical novel... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • The Andromeda Strain21
    2,923
    1,326

    The Andromeda Strain

    Michael Crichton

    First Published1969-05-12

    SubjectsEspionage, American science fiction, Adventure, Arizona

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Andromeda Strain, by Michael Crichton, is a techno-thriller novel documenting the efforts... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Starship Troopers22
    3,694
    1,880

    Starship Troopers

    Robert A. Heinlein

    First Published1959-12

    SubjectsMilitary

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Starship Troopers is a military science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first published... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde23
    2,562
    1,220

    First Published1886-01-05

    SubjectsMedical, Literary, Supernatural, Education, Literature

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is the original title of a novella written by the... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Jurassic Park24
    4,152
    1,976

    Jurassic Park

    Michael Crichton

    First Published1990-11

    SubjectsEspionage, Dinosaur, Cloning, Adventure, Dinosaurs

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Jurassic Park is a science fiction novel written by Michael Crichton, divided into seven... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?25
    3,740
    1,825

    First Published1968

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a science fiction novel by American writer Philip K.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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    #148 of 1,235 The Best Novels Ever Written#64 of 154 The Greatest American Novels