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29 Of The Top Sci-Fi Books Every Geek Must Read

Space, dystopian futures, robots, technology, aliens . . . what is there not to love about science fiction, a genre that stretches the imagination and offers a glimpse into what lies in a galaxy and time far, far away? 

If you’re new to the genre or want to explore new corners of its galaxy, this list of some of the top sci-fi books out there—according to one particular, idiosyncratic deep-dive on Goodreads—is a great place to start.

TOP CLASSIC SCIENCE FICTION BOOKS
With “classic” defined, basically, as “published in the 20th century and still regularly discussed.”

1. LILITH’S BROOD BY OCTAVIA BUTLER

Unsurprisingly, Butler’s books are frequently and highly rated on Goodreads. This one—a collection of three volumes (Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago) previously published as Xenogenesis—is one of the most popular. Like most of Butler’s books, it builds an incredibly rich and fascinating world, which the author uses to explore race, gender, sexuality, and more. Read More.
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2. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY BY ARTHUR C. CLARKE

Unusually, 2001: A Space Odyssey was written at the same time as the screenplay to the film of the same name (which was co-written by Clarke and director Stanley Kubrick) and was actually released after the movie’s premiere. The absolutely iconic status the film holds in 20th century sci-fi cinema also clearly lodged the novel in the collective memory (of Goodreads reviewers, at least). Read More.
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3. DUNE BY FRANK HERBERT

If I’m honest, everything I know about Dune can be summarized in one word: “sandworm.” That might not be fair, but it actually speaks well of the book and its legacy: I can’t name many other imaginary creatures introduced in science fiction novels, after all, but “sandworm” is super-familiar. Which may explain why so many people love this book and the five sequels and film and television adaptations it spawned. Read More.
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