Total Nerd The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People  

Ranker Books
1.1k votes 162 voters 4.1k 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.

1
60 11
Dune is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Dune Frank Herbert

2
46 9
1984 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
1984 George Orwell

3
49 12
Foundation is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Foundation Isaac Asimov

4
29 6
Stranger in a Strange Land is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein

5
36 12
Brave New World is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Brave New World Aldous Huxley

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
29 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
25 11
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
18 5
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
21 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
31 19
Ender's Game is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Ender's Game Orson Scott Card

12
20 9
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Martian Andy Weir

13
14 4
Something Wicked This Way Come... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Something Wicked This Way Comes Ray Bradbury

14
17 8
A Canticle for Leibowitz is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
looksharp added A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter M. Miller, Jr.

15
22 13
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
2001: A Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke

16
12 4
The Left Hand of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added The Left Hand of Darkness Ursula K. Le Guin

17
13 5
Ringworld is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Ringworld Larry Niven

18
14 8
Cat's Cradle is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Cat's Cradle Kurt Vonnegut

19
15 9
The Forever War is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Forever War Joe Haldeman

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

21
10 6
The Mote in God's Eye is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added The Mote in God's Eye Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle

22
8 4
Tau Zero is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Tau Zero Poul Anderson

23
7 3
Metropolis is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Metropolis Thea von Harbou

24
12 9
A Scanner Darkly is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
A Scanner Darkly Philip K. Dick

25
12 9
The Dispossessed is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Dispossessed Ursula K. Le Guin

26
7 4
The Ringworld Engineers is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added The Ringworld Engineers Larry Niven

27
6 3
Protector is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Protector Larry Niven

28
6 3
Rainbows End is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Rainbows End Vernor Vinge

29
10 8
Old Man's War is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Old Man's War John Scalzi

30
8 6
Red Mars is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Red Mars Kim Stanley Robinson

31
7 5
Enemy Mine is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Enemy Mine David Gerrold, Barry B. Longyear

32
7 5
Time Enough for Love is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Time Enough for Love Robert A. Heinlein

33
7 5
The Diamond Age is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Diamond Age Neal Stephenson

34
6 4
The Elementary Particles is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added The Elementary Particles Michel Houellebecq

35
5 3
Use of Weapons is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Use of Weapons Iain Banks

36
4 2
Blindsight is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Blindsight Peter Watts

37
4 2
Revelation Space is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Revelation Space Alastair Reynolds

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

39
6 5
The Three Body Problem is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
DillonLouis added The Three Body Problem

40
5 4
Farnham's Freehold is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Farnham's Freehold Robert A. Heinlein

41
4 3
Incandescence is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Incandescence Greg Egan

42
4 3
Heliopolis is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Heliopolis Ernst J√ľnger

43
4 3
Heart of a Dog is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Heart of a Dog Mikhail Bulgakov

44
4 3
City is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added City Clifford D. Simak

45
3 2
VALIS is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added VALIS Philip K. Dick

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 2
Ich werde hier sein im Sonnens... is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Ich werde hier sein im Sonnenschein und im Schatten Christian Kracht

48
3 2
The Gripping Hand is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added The Gripping Hand Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle

49
3 2
Schismatrix is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Schismatrix Bruce Sterling

50
3 2
The Integral Trees is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added The Integral Trees Larry Niven