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The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People  

Ranker Books
2.4k votes 331 voters 7.3k views 93 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
Dune is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Frank Herbert
2
1984 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
George Orwell
3
Foundation is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Isaac Asimov
4
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Arthur C. Clarke
5
Brave New World is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Aldous Huxley
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 Robert A. Heinlein
7
The Left Hand of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Ursula K. Le Guin
8
Ender's Game is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Orson Scott Card
9
Rendezvous with Rama is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Arthur C. Clarke
10
The Martian Chronicles is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Ray Bradbury
11
The Mote in God's Eye is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle
12
Ringworld is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Larry Niven
13
Slaughterhouse-Five is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Kurt Vonnegut
14
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Andy Weir
15
The Forever War is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Joe Haldeman
16
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
Starship Troopers is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Robert A. Heinlein
18
The Man in the High Castle is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
19
Old Man's War is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added John Scalzi
20
Something Wicked This Way Come... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Todd King added Ray Bradbury
21
Cat's Cradle is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Kurt Vonnegut
22
The Dispossessed is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Ursula K. Le Guin
23
Red Mars is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Kim Stanley Robinson
24
Tau Zero is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
Poul Anderson
25
Protector is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Sci Fi Novels for Smart People
jess-hart added Larry Niven