Total Nerd The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People  

Ranker Books
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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
33 4
1984 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
1984 George Orwell

2
43 8
Dune is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Dune Frank Herbert

3
29 8
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
29 11
Foundation is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Foundation Isaac Asimov

5
22 7
The Man in the High Castle is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People

6
20 9
The Martian Chronicles is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury

7
15 6
Stranger in a Strange Land is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein

8
11 3
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
8 2
Something Wicked This Way Come... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Something Wicked This Way Comes Ray Bradbury

10
16 10
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
2001: A Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clarke

11
18 12
Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Starship Troopers Robert A. Heinlein

12
9 4
Ringworld is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Ringworld Larry Niven

13
12 7
A Canticle for Leibowitz is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
looksharp added A Canticle for Leibowitz Walter M. Miller, Jr.

14
7 2
We is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added We Yevgeny Zamyatin

The Best Sci-Fi Novels About Outer Space

15
13 8
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Martian Andy Weir

16
20 16
Ender's Game is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Ender's Game Orson Scott Card

17
10 6
A Scanner Darkly is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
A Scanner Darkly Philip K. Dick

18
11 8
Rendezvous with Rama is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Rendezvous with Rama Arthur C. Clarke

19
9 6
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
7 4
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
6 3
Red Mars is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Red Mars Kim Stanley Robinson

The Best TV Shows Based on Books

22
5 2
The Ringworld Engineers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added The Ringworld Engineers Larry Niven

23
5 2
Enemy Mine is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Enemy Mine David Gerrold, Barry B. Longyear

24
5 2
Tau Zero is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Tau Zero Poul Anderson

25
9 7
The Forever War is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Forever War Joe Haldeman

26
8 6
The Dispossessed is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
The Dispossessed Ursula K. Le Guin

27
6 4
The Left Hand of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added The Left Hand of Darkness Ursula K. Le Guin

28
5 3
The Sparrow is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added The Sparrow Mary Doria Russell

The Best Sci Fi Television Series of All Time

29
4 2
Metropolis is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Metropolis Thea von Harbou

30
4 2
The Elementary Particles is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added The Elementary Particles Michel Houellebecq

31
3 1
Heart of a Dog is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Heart of a Dog Mikhail Bulgakov

32
3 1
Eumeswil is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Eumeswil Ernst Jünger

33
8 7
Old Man's War is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Old Man's War John Scalzi

34
4 3
Time Enough for Love is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Time Enough for Love Robert A. Heinlein

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

The Best Books Written Under Pen Names

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

37
3 2
The Possibility of an Island is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added The Possibility of an Island Michel Houellebecq

38
3 2
The Camp of the Saints is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added The Camp of the Saints Jean Raspail

39
3 2
Heliopolis is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Heliopolis Ernst Jünger

40
3 2
Use of Weapons is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Use of Weapons Iain Banks

41
3 2
Le voyageur imprudent is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Le voyageur imprudent René Barjavel

42
3 2
Les racines du mal is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Les racines du mal Maurice G. Dantec

The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies of All Time

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

44
3 2
Blindsight is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Blindsight Peter Watts

45
3 2
The Ice People is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added The Ice People René Barjavel

46
3 2
Alraune is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Alraune Hanns Heinz Ewers

47
2 1
The Iron Heel is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added The Iron Heel Jack London

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

49
2 1
Hellstrom's Hive is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Hellstrom's Hive Frank Herbert

50
2 1
Fugue for a Darkening Island is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Mollevangsvagen added Fugue for a Darkening Island Christopher Priest