Total Nerd The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People  

Ranker Books
1.2k votes 174 voters 4.5k views 92 items

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.

list ordered by

1
62 13
Dune is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Frank Herbert

2
47 9
1984 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
George Orwell

3
50 13
Foundation is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Isaac Asimov

4
37 12
Brave New World is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Aldous Huxley

5
29 7
Stranger in a Strange Land is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Robert A. Heinlein

6
30 10
The Man in the High Castle is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People

7
24 8
Rendezvous with Rama is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Arthur C. Clarke

8
26 11
The Martian Chronicles is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Ray Bradbury

9
19 5
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Kurt Vonnegut

10
30 15
Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Robert A. Heinlein

11
33 19
Ender's Game is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Orson Scott Card

12
22 10
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Andy Weir

13
15 4
The Left Hand of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Ursula K. Le Guin

14
24 13
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Arthur C. Clarke

15
14 4
Something Wicked This Way Come... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Ray Bradbury

16
18 8
A Canticle for Leibowitz is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
looksharp added Walter M. Miller, Jr.

17
14 5
Ringworld is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Larry Niven

18
16 9
The Forever War is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Joe Haldeman

19
14 8
Cat's Cradle is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Kurt Vonnegut

20
9 4
We is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Yevgeny Zamyatin

21
13 9
The Dispossessed is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Ursula K. Le Guin

22
10 6
The Mote in God's Eye is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle

23
8 4
Tau Zero is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Poul Anderson

24
7 3
Metropolis is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Thea von Harbou

25
12 9
A Scanner Darkly is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Philip K. Dick

26
11 8
Old Man's War is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added John Scalzi

27
9 6
Red Mars is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Kim Stanley Robinson

28
8 5
Enemy Mine is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added David Gerrold, Barry B. Longyear

29
7 4
The Ringworld Engineers is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Larry Niven

30
6 3
Protector is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Larry Niven

31
6 3
Rainbows End is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Vernor Vinge

32
5 2
Revelation Space is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Alastair Reynolds

33
7 5
The Three Body Problem is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
DillonLouis added

34
7 5
The Diamond Age is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Neal Stephenson

35
6 4
The Elementary Particles is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Michel Houellebecq

36
5 3
Use of Weapons is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Iain Banks

37
5 3
City is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Clifford D. Simak

38
4 2
Forever Peace is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Joe Haldeman

39
4 2
Blindsight is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Peter Watts

40
4 3
Heart of a Dog is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Mikhail Bulgakov

41
4 3
Heliopolis is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Ernst J√ľnger

42
3 2
World of Ptavvs is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Larry Niven

43
3 2
VALIS is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Philip K. Dick

44
3 2
Ich werde hier sein im Sonnens... is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Christian Kracht

45
3 2
Accelerando is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Charles Stross

46
3 2
The Integral Trees is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Larry Niven

47
3 2
The Gripping Hand is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle

48
3 2
Schismatrix is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Bruce Sterling

49
1 0
Body of Glass is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Dirnaf added Marge P -

Marge Piercy

50
7 7
Time Enough for Love is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Robert A. Heinlein