#RRSciFiMonth: Skeptical About SciFi? Try These

Sci-Fi November

Sci-Fi November is a month-long blog event hosted by Oh The Books and Rinn Reads this year, created to celebrate everything amazing about science fiction! From TV shows to movies, books to comics, and everything else in between, it is intended to help science fiction lovers share their love and passion for this genre and its many, many fandoms.

Science fiction is a tricky genre. Some people define it very specifically as fiction that contains actual, realistic science; everything else is fantasy. Some are more lenient and slot anything broadly space and technology-related into the category. According to the Wikipedia entry:

Science fiction is largely based on writing rationally about alternative possible worlds or futures. It is similar to, but differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated physical laws (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation).

Here are ten examples of books that cover the wide spectrum that makes up science fiction. If you are skeptical of trying out the genre, perhaps one of these might inspire you.

time machineThe Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Considered the first time travel story, H.G. Wells introduces us to the Time Traveller and his Time Sled, which has, according to the narrator, taken him into a distant future where two unusual species exist, the Eloi and the Morlocks. He tells his tale in the present time to a learned group of scholars, scientists, and journalists, so he does speak in those terms, but the detailing of the adventures is quite intriguing as he speculates about what this future means for the present.

stranger in a strange landStranger in a Strange Land by Robert E. Heinlein

A manned mission to Mars results in the crew going missing, however, years later, the offspring of one of the couples comes to earth as a Martian emissary. Valentine Michael Smith looks, in physical form, like a grown adult, but he is very much a child in both Martian terms, and in his knowledge of earth. The story takes the readers on a journey with Michael as he learns how grok humanity.

26a85-thedarwinelevatorThe Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough

Jason M. Hough’s debut novel involves alien devices landing on earth and spreading a disease that turns almost everyone into feral beasts. For some strange reason, Darwin, Australia is the only place left untouched, which is why everyone who could, has made their way there. Darwin is also the location of the elevator that, like everything else the mysterious aliens have left on earth, has yet to be figured out. It’s up to Skyler Luiken and his team of immunes to determine what is going on—and the clock is ticking.

shade's childrenShade’s Children by Garth Nix

You’ve probably heard of The Hunger Games by now, and maybe even heard that it was supposedly a rip off of Japan’s Battle Royale. Well, dystopian futures where children are made to fight each other isn’t a new concept. In fact, Shade’s Children was written before either of these books, and features children who, at the age of 13, are taken away, genetically modified, and made to fight for the amusement of the alien overlords that now rule the earth. But the enigmatic Shade has other plans, and enlists a group of youngsters to stop the aliens, even at the cost of their own lives.

a9e23-arenamodeArena Mode by Blake Northcott

Metahumans have appeared all over the world—super humans with the kind of powers you once read about in comic books. In this future world, Matthew Moxon must compete against several of these powerful beings in a deathmatch to earn prestige and enough money to save him from the tumour that is threatening his life.

the inevitableThe Inevitable by Daniel Hope

Tuck is a robot. A robot with feelings. A robot with feelings that is afraid to die. After the robot uprising that saw the persecution of thousands of his kind, he has been on the run for decades, carefully trying to keep himself together and keep himself out of the hands of collectors and those who would try to do him harm. He comes into contact with a businessman who can offer him his dreams, but at a price. If there’s one thing Tuck fears more than death, it’s having to kill more humans.

star wars heir to the empireStar Wars: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn

Star Wars might be the closest some readers get to stepping into the scifi genre. Normally, I avoid novels based on movies, but in this case, I do recommend the original trilogy, especially The Empire Strikes Back. But if you want to dig into the expanded universe (with the understanding that Disney has decreed this is no longer canon—but they are still excellent reads), then check out the Thrawn Trilogy.

lilith's broodLilith’s Brood by Octavia E. Butler

Butler did not particularly like having her work classified as science fiction, but understood the publisher’s need for labels for the sake of marketing. Still, there are definitely scifi elements involved in all of her writing, and she delves deeply into social science as she holds up a mirror to society. Lilith’s Brood collects three books, starting with Imago, and is the first of her works that I read. A race of aliens has come to earth to save the species from its own destruction by collecting Lilith and a few others. But saving humans means giving birth to an entirely new breed of creatures.

ready player oneReady Player One by Ernest Clines

This book is any gamer and child of the ‘80s dream. Put on your virtual gear and step into the world of OASIS, which the evil big corporation wants to control. But the creator of the game has something up his sleeve: a competition to find the secret treasure that wills the game to whomever unlocks it.

best of all possible worldsThe Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord

This is a sweet romance story disguised as science fiction. That is, there certainly are a lot of science fiction elements, what with the planet of Sadira being destroyed and its survivors seeking integration into the various taSadiri clans on the planet Cygnus Beta, but the focus is on the main character Grace Delarua, and the Sadiri counsellor, Dllenakh, who seem to be the last people to realize that they should be together.


18 Comments on “#RRSciFiMonth: Skeptical About SciFi? Try These

  1. Ah Sci-fi, you know how I am about it but it’s true that I can have a good time. I think it depends on the books. I need them not too complicated too. thanks for the recommandations!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Altered Carbon? I will have to add that to my list.

      I actually didn’t like RP1. I thought the writing was very amateur. But the concept was great and fun, so that balanced it out somewhat.

      There are a few others I could add for sure, but I tried to be good and keep it at 10.


  2. Stranger with the Martian man child sounds interesting. I’m only worried that the Darwin Elevator would be too much like a zombie story. I liked Nix’s Sabriel so Shade’s Children might be worth checking out. Inevitable sounds really good too! I was curious which Star Wars books were the best. Great list!


    • Stranger is very unique and probably more relatable. Darwin’s Elevator doesn’t focus too much on the ‘zombie’ aspect or the alien aspect. It’s more about the survivors and how they are dealing with the situation. I like to think of it as a good way to ease into the scifi that deals more heavily with space etc.


  3. Well, I’m definitely not skeptical as to my love for sci-fi BUT I was curious what you would recommend for beginners to read, since I am by no means a sci-fi pro either. Quite a few of these are already on my tbr shelf but there are some new ones here too which I think I’d like 😀 Thanks for the recs ^^


    • I thought that Darwin’s Elevator was a very good place to get into the more space and aliens kind of scifi. It actually doesn’t focus too much on the space and aliens aspect, though they are an ever present threat and puzzle. Instead, it focuses more on the people and how they are surviving and dealing with the situation.

      Meanwhile Stranger in a Strange Land is a more interesting approach, with an alien coming to earth and learning about us.


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