Total Nerd The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People  

Ranker Books
1.1k votes 144 voters 3.8k views

List Rules Vote up the most intellectually challenging and satisfying science fiction novels you've ever read.

Sometimes you want to treat your intellect as well as your imagination. That's where these sci fi novels come in. These are the best science fiction novels for smart people, from the darkly comical to the expansive and epic. Some great science fiction books for smart people are travel tales while other good intelligent science fiction novels are about alien life forms. Many of the best hard sci fi novels have even been adapted into award-winning films.

What books will you find on this list of the best sci fi novels for smart people? If you're a fan of the classics, you might vote Brave New World by Aldous Huxley to the top. This timeless work appeals to intelligent readers because of its themes of class discrimination and psychological manipulation. It is largely considered one of the best science fiction works of all time. Dune by Frank Herbert is another intelligent sci fi book celebrated by readers all over the world. Other good books features on this must-read list include The Martian Chronicles, The Diamond Age, and The Man in the High Castle.

Which smart sci fi book is your favorite? Give the best novels a thumbs up and please add any intelligent science fiction works that are missing.

1
54 11
Dune is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Dune Frank Herbert

2
43 7
1984 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
1984 George Orwell

3
44 12
Foundation is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Foundation Isaac Asimov

4
33 11
Brave New World is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Brave New World Aldous Huxley

5
25 6
Stranger in a Strange Land is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein

6
28 9
The Man in the High Castle is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People

7
27 13
Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Starship Troopers Robert A. Heinlein

8
23 10
The Martian Chronicles is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury

9
16 4
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

10
19 8
Rendezvous with Rama is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Rendezvous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke

11
19 9
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Martian Andy Weir

12
28 18
Ender's Game is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Ender's Game Orson Scott Card

13
15 7
The Forever War is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Forever War Joe Haldeman

14
20 12
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
2001: A Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke

The Best Sci-Fi Novels About Outer Space

15
12 5
Ringworld is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Ringworld Larry Niven

16
15 8
A Canticle for Leibowitz is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
looksharp added A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter M. Miller, Jr.

17
10 4
Something Wicked This Way Come... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Something Wicked This Way Comes Ray Bradbury

18
10 4
The Left Hand of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added The Left Hand of Darkness Ursula K. Le Guin

19
12 7
Cat's Cradle is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Cat's Cradle Kurt Vonnegut

20
9 5
The Mote in God's Eye is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added The Mote in God's Eye Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle

21
8 4
We is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added We Yevgeny Zamyatin

The Best Batman Comics

22
11 8
The Dispossessed is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Dispossessed Ursula K. Le Guin

23
7 4
Tau Zero is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Tau Zero Poul Anderson

24
6 3
Metropolis is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Metropolis Thea von Harbou

25
11 9
A Scanner Darkly is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
A Scanner Darkly Philip K. Dick

26
10 8
Old Man's War is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Old Man's War John Scalzi

27
7 5
The Diamond Age is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Diamond Age Neal Stephenson

28
7 5
Enemy Mine is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Enemy Mine David Gerrold, Barry B. Longyear

The Best Intelligent Sci-Fi Movies of All Time

29
6 4
The Ringworld Engineers is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added The Ringworld Engineers Larry Niven

30
5 3
Rainbows End is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Rainbows End Vernor Vinge

31
4 2
Use of Weapons is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Use of Weapons Iain Banks

32
4 2
Blindsight is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Blindsight Peter Watts

33
4 2
Revelation Space is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Revelation Space Alastair Reynolds

34
4 2
Forever Peace is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Forever Peace Joe Haldeman

35
7 6
Red Mars is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Red Mars Kim Stanley Robinson

The Best Books Written Under Pen Names

36
6 5
Time Enough for Love is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Time Enough for Love Robert A. Heinlein

37
6 5
The Three Body Problem is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
DillonLouis added The Three Body Problem

38
5 4
Farnham's Freehold is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Farnham's Freehold Robert A. Heinlein

39
5 4
The Elementary Particles is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added The Elementary Particles Michel Houellebecq

40
4 3
Protector is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Protector Larry Niven

41
4 3
City is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added City Clifford D. Simak

42
4 3
Incandescence is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Incandescence Greg Egan

12 Kinked Out Novels That Prove Sci-Fi Is The Sexiest Genre

43
3 2
Accelerando is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Accelerando Charles Stross

44
3 2
The Integral Trees is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added The Integral Trees Larry Niven

45
3 2
The Gripping Hand is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added The Gripping Hand Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle

46
3 2
World of Ptavvs is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added World of Ptavvs Larry Niven

47
3 3
Heliopolis is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Heliopolis Ernst Jünger

48
3 3
Le Grand Secret is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Le Grand Secret René Barjavel

49
3 3
Le voyageur imprudent is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Le voyageur imprudent René Barjavel

50
3 3
Eumeswil is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Eumeswil Ernst Jünger