Science Fiction novel suggestions

a list of 90 sci-fi books enjoyed by Cora Dean

A friend’s teenage daughter recently asked me for sci-fi novel suggestions. Here’s the list of books that immediately came to mind (a few fantasy titles snuck in too of course, couldn’t be helped). I’m sure I’ve missed many wonderful authors and books, since I’m nowhere near being an expert. Apologies to any of my friends who have written sci-fi books that I haven’t included, if I’ve missed something you wrote let me know and I’ll update the list. Please keep in mind that many of the authors mentioned are quite prolific, these are just my favourites of their books.

If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the responses or pm them to me. Thanks! *(see note at end)

Neal Stephenson

Diamond Age, or a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer* (one of my favorite books)

Snow Crash

Octavia Butler



Annals of the Western Shore series:

· Gifts

· Voices

· Powers

Xenogenesis series

• Dawn

• Adulthood Rites

• Imago

• Xenogenesis

  • Lilith’s Brood

Ursula LeGuin

The Left Hand of Darkness (sci-fi)

Earthsea series (fantasy):

· A Wizard of Earthsea

· The Tombs of Atuan

· The Farthest Shore

· Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea

· The Other Wind

Stanislaw Lem


Laura Esquivel

The Law of Love

Ray Bradbury

Farenheit 451

Sabrina Vourvoulias


M.T. Anderson


Haruki Murakami

Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Daína Chaviano

The Island of Eternal Love

Isaac Asimov

The Caves of Steel

I, Robot

William Gibson

Burning Chrome

China Miéville

Perdido Street Station

The City and the City

Philip Pullman

His Dark Materials series

  • The Golden Compass
  • The Subtle Knife
  • The Amber Spyglass

Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle In Time Quintet:

· A Wrinkle in Time

· A Wind in the Door

· A Swiftly Tilting Planet

· Many Waters

· An Acceptable Time

An Endless Ring of Light

Alaya Dawn Johnson

Love Is the Drug

Philip K Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Bladerunner is based on this book)

A Scanner Darkly

Literally everything he wrote:

Carl Sagan


Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go

José Saramago


Paolo Bacigalupi

The Windup Girl

N. K. Jemisin

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale

Nisi Shawl

Filter House

Jeanne DuPrau

City of Ember

Marjorie Lu


Sofia Samatar

A Stranger in Olondria

The Winged Histories

Jasper Fforde

The Eyre Affair

Hao Jingfang

Folding Beijing (read online:

N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season

Junot Díaz

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Nalo Hopkinson

Brown Girl in the Ring

The Salt Roads

The New Moon’s Arms

Andrea Hairston


Ian M. Banks

Use of Weapons

Marge Piercy

Woman on the Edge of Time

Michael Chabon

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union

Emma Bull & Steven Brust

Freedom & Necessity

Mikhail Bulgakov

The Master and Margarita

Kim Stanley Robinson

The Mars Trilogy

Ian Watson

Slow Birds

Oscar Wilde

The Happy Prince and Other Stories

Toni Morrison


Gregory Maguire


Garth Nix


Lloyd Alexander

The Chronicles of Prydain

• The Book of Three

• The Black Cauldron

• The Castle of Llyr

• Taran Wanderer

  • The High King

Mary Stewart

The Arthur Series:

  • The Crystal Cave
  • The Hollow Hills
  • The Last Enchantment
  • The Wicked Day

Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Life, the Universe and Everything

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Mostly Harmless

And Another Thing…

Walidah Imarisha (Editor)

Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements

Grace L Dillon (Editor)

Walking the Clouds An Anthology of Indigenous Science Fiction

Good sci-fi short story collections on this list:

I’m not familiar with all of these authors’ biographies, so hopefully I haven’t included anyone too problematic. If you have anything negative to say about Octavia Butler or Philip Pullman, neither I nor anyone on Earth needs to hear from you. Please no Orson Scott Card suggestions. A favourite when I was in high school, in college I found out that he’s a publicly homophobic bigot (you can google his name + homophobia if you want to know more) and that Ender, which most readers assume is a castigation of child abuse and the use of child soldiers, is actually a prescription for those things. When I (with hesitation) broke the news to my friend’s daughter, she was upset, as I had been, but very brilliantly responded: “I think the author’s intention doesn’t really matter after a certain point. The reader gets to interpret what they’ve been given however they want to. Sometimes the author thinks they’re saying one thing, but really they’re saying something completely different.”

It turned into an interesting discussion about how, often, bigotry is rooted in self-hate and the suppression of the hater’s own desires, or their jealousy of someone else’s ability to self-express and live a genuine life. Many of the titles on this list take place in dystopian futures, but conversations with kids like her give me a lot of hope for this world.