Total Nerd The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People  

Ranker Books
928 votes 123 voters 3.4k 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.

list ordered by

1
36 4
1984 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
1984 George Orwell

2
45 9
Dune is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Dune Frank Herbert

3
30 9
Brave New World is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Brave New World Aldous Huxley

4
32 11
Foundation is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Foundation Isaac Asimov

5
24 9
The Man in the High Castle is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People

6
19 6
Stranger in a Strange Land is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein

7
21 10
The Martian Chronicles is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury

8
12 4
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut

9
20 12
Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Starship Troopers Robert A. Heinlein

10
15 8
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Martian Andy Weir

11
18 11
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
2001: A Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke

12
23 16
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
9 3
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
14 8
Rendezvous with Rama is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Rendezvous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke

The Best Sci-Fi Novels About Outer Space

15
9 4
The Left Hand of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added The Left Hand of Darkness Ursula K. Le Guin

16
8 3
We is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added We Yevgeny Zamyatin

17
13 8
A Canticle for Leibowitz is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
looksharp added A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter M. Miller, Jr.

18
10 5
Ringworld is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Ringworld Larry Niven

19
11 7
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
10 7
Cat's Cradle is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Cat's Cradle Kurt Vonnegut

21
8 5
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

The Scariest Novels of All Time

22
10 8
A Scanner Darkly is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
A Scanner Darkly Philip K. Dick

23
10 8
The Dispossessed is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Dispossessed Ursula K. Le Guin

24
9 7
Old Man's War is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Old Man's War John Scalzi

25
6 4
Time Enough for Love is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Time Enough for Love Robert A. Heinlein

26
6 4
Tau Zero is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Tau Zero Poul Anderson

27
5 3
The Elementary Particles is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added The Elementary Particles Michel Houellebecq

28
5 3
Metropolis is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Metropolis Thea von Harbou

The Best Intelligent Sci-Fi Movies of All Time

29
6 5
The Diamond Age is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Diamond Age Neal Stephenson

30
5 4
The Ringworld Engineers is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added The Ringworld Engineers Larry Niven

31
5 4
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
3 2
Ravage is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Ravage René Barjavel

33
3 2
Les racines du mal is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Les racines du mal Maurice G. Dantec

34
3 2
Heliopolis is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Heliopolis Ernst Jünger

35
3 2
Eumeswil is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Eumeswil Ernst Jünger

The Best Movies Based on Short Stories

36
3 2
Le Grand Secret is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Le Grand Secret René Barjavel

37
3 2
Use of Weapons is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Use of Weapons Iain Banks

38
3 2
Le voyageur imprudent is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Le voyageur imprudent René Barjavel

39
3 2
Blindsight is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Blindsight Peter Watts

40
3 2
Forever Peace is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Forever Peace Joe Haldeman

41
3 2
Heart of a Dog is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Heart of a Dog Mikhail Bulgakov

42
3 2
Alraune is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Alraune Hanns Heinz Ewers

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

43
3 2
The Ice People is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added The Ice People René Barjavel

44
3 2
Revelation Space is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Revelation Space Alastair Reynolds

45
2 1
The Iron Heel is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added The Iron Heel Jack London

46
2 1
Ich werde hier sein im Sonnens... is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Ich werde hier sein im Sonnenschein und im Schatten Christian Kracht

47
2 1
Il grande ritratto is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Il grande ritratto Dino Buzzati

48
2 1
Der Tunnel is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Der Tunnel

49
2 1
Er ist wieder da is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Er ist wieder da Timur Vermes

50
2 1
The Mind Parasites is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added The Mind Parasites Colin Wilson