14 Best Classic Science Fiction Books (2020)

No matter what genre you are reading about, there are always going to be those classics that every enthusiast of that genre has heard of, maybe not everyone has read them, but those books are present in every genre and the ones you are about to see in this article are some of the best classic science fiction books out there.

 

Best Classic Science Fiction Books

 

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

Imagine being able to teleport instantly as far as one thousand miles with a single thought, it sounds super exciting, doesn’t it? Well, some characters in this first book in our article have this same exact ability. This type of travel is called “jaunting” and not everyone is blessed with this power. You can also find this book on our list of the top space opera novels.

The world in which this thrilling story takes place has a lot of rich characters who spare no expense when it comes to their protection, they surround their properties with huge labyrinths and hire hitmen to protect them 24/7.

After finding out all of this, you get to meet a special character in this story who actually becomes the most valuable person in this world, you get to find out for yourself why exactly that is. Learn more about this book in our selection of the best sci-fi books ever!

 

Dune by Frank Herbert

Dune is a science fiction book that is the first volume of an exciting sci-fi series by Frank Herbert, also called Dune. You can also find this book on our lists of the best space opera books and the best science fiction fantasy books!

There is a special character who is also the main one in this story and the entire series, his name is Paul Atreides but he will soon be known by another name after he manages to uncover a power within him, a power so huge that no man was meant to have all for himself.

The whole story is a vast one and there are many thrilling events that you can’t miss out on, and even more thrilling characters who will all influence the outcome of the story. If you adore sci-fi stories, then this is the perfect one for you. For more similar books, take a look at our ultimate lists of the best science fiction books or the best science fiction books series!

 

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

Our next book on this best classic science fiction books list is a story about rebellion that involves a small penal colony that lives on the Moon. You can read more about this book in our review of the best space opera novels.

This rebellion that the penal colony has started is against their masters who live on Earth, the people on the Moon have had enough of the life that they are forced to live so the story of their freedom finally begins.

You get to meet a few special characters in this thrilling story, some of them are a skilled computer technician, a female character who lives for rebellion and fighting, a bunch of elderly academics, and of course, the supercomputer Mike who will make sure to surprise you every step of the way. If we made you interested in Robert’s work, take a look at our selection of the best science fiction books, where you can find his name as well.

 

Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven

Here is a thrilling science fiction story that tells you a classic story that revolves around the planet Earth being in danger of a huge object that was thought would miss the planet and move on.

But as it got closer, the chances of it hitting the Earth kept getting bigger and bigger and then fear struck the people as the collision appeared almost unavoidable.

This story offers you a chance to read about some very thrilling events that happen on Earth as all of the characters who you get to meet await an impending doom that could mean the end of civilization. The series of events are exciting to read about and who knows, the characters might even be able to save themselves from this whole disaster.

 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Another spine chilling dystopian world is introduced to you in this great sci-fi book in which the main character who will be showing you around is called Montag. You can also find this book in our review of the top science fiction books.

This character has a very weird profession, he is a part of a fire brigade but not like the ones you know here, his fire brigade has a duty to provoke fires, not stop them.

His mission is to burn books, burn as many books as he can because in his world, reading books is a great crime and it is forbidden. The reason for this is because reading forces the people to think on their own, and thinking then forces them to be somewhat unhappy, and being unhappy in this world is also forbidden.

 

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

Here is an old science fiction classic from the year 2003. This is a story in which the main plot revolves around a great war between humans and aliens, a war that goes on far away from Earth and a special character is about to find out the price he has to pay for fighting in that war. Learn more about this book in our articles about the top space opera books or the top military science fiction books.

His name is Private William Mandella and in order for him to go to the battlefield, he must use interstellar travel and this has quite the unwanted side effect. While Mandella is gone for a few months, the Earth has aged a couple of centuries actually and you definitely want to see his reaction when he comes back. We covered the series in a standalone article, for more info take a look at The Forever War book series review. We also included it in the selections of the best time travel book series and the best sci-fi books ever!

 

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

When it comes to the best classic science fiction books, this one by Robert Heinlein hits the spot as the story in this book is thrilling to read as you get to know more and more about the main character in it. For more information, take a look at our review of the top science fiction fantasy books

His name is Valentine Michael Smith and you will quickly find out that this character is not like the rest on Earth. In fact, he isn’t even from Earth as he is a human who was born and raised on Mars.

Now, he finally has his chance to go to Earth and live among his own kind but he will soon realize that his way of life is very different from the people on this planet. He has different understandings about many things and you are about to find out why. We also included this book in our list of the great science fiction books, you must check it out!

 

Ringworld by Larry Niven

Ringworld is a thrilling sci-fi book in which you get to see a great deal of exploration and mystery as a bunch of aliens discover a huge artifact in the middle of space. We also included this book in our selection of the best sci-fi fantasy books.

This artifact resembles a ring and this ring was six hundred million miles long and 90 million miles in radius so you can imagine what we mean when we say huge.

The aliens fear to encounter the creators of this enormous creation so they assemble a team of two humans, a mad puppeteer, a creature that looks like a cat, and a kzin to go deeper into this huge building and discover its secrets. The story from there is pure thrill as you discover what secrets lie within this amazing ringworld. For more information, take a look at our list of the top space opera books!

 

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Here is an ancient sci-fi classic, coming to you from the year 1932, Aldous Huxley writes a thrilling story that takes place in a futuristic world where the inhabitants are genetically modified for specific reasons and the intelligence of humans has grown a lot.

You get to see quite the advanced technologies in this book as most of the things that this author imagined in 1932 are still not perfected to this day. Some of those technologies include learning anything while sleeping, perfect reproductive tech, complete psychological manipulation, and much more.

All of these things help in the control of society and all of the people live controlled lives, except one person, the story’s protagonist. You will get to meet this person soon enough after you start this thrilling book and find out if this person will be able to restore the old and free world. Read more about this book in our article about the top science fiction books.

 

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

This next book in our best classic science fiction books review is more than half a century old and it has well deserved its title of sci-fi classic book. This story follows a character called Bill Masen, a person who is about to see the place where he lives being changed in a mere glimpse of an eye.

Ironically, most of the people in his town have become sightless and only Bill and another character, called Josella, were lucky enough to recover.

Not knowing what caused this and being afraid, these two leave town in fear that it will never be the same again. They discover that this has affected much more than their home, the world has become post-apocalyptic and the reason for this could be the new plants that have started appearing recently, called the Triffids.

 

The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven

The Mote is an isolated start that humans have discovered in a thick dust cloud in the far reaches of space. The most interesting parts of the story happen in this world called the Mote as humans finally discover intelligent civilization. You can also find this book on our list of the top sci-fi fantasy books.

The year in which all of these exciting events are about to happen is 3016 and humans are able to travel freely and fast through space. When they discover the inhabitants of Mote, they seem like a friendly and welcoming species, they are kind and present no threat whatsoever.

This species is actually well over 1 million years old but the humans later discover that these aliens have a dark problem that they haven’t been able to resolve for over 1 million years. You can learn more about this amazing book in our selection of the best space opera books.

 

To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer

This book is the first volume of Philip’s all-time favorite sci-fi book series called Riverworld. This book is a Hugo-Award winner and you are about to find out why.

An exciting story begins with this book, a story about a unique and interesting adventurer, called Sir Richard Francis Burton. The story follows him as very soon after the book starts, this character dies. But don’t worry, you are going to see much more of him throughout the whole series.

When this famous adventurer dies, he doesn’t expect to wake up in a world unknown to him, naked and confused. He and billions of other humans have been resurrected on this unknown planet and they all have a container that provides them with three meals a day, cigarettes, alcohol, a lighter, and a strange tube of lipstick. This is all very weird and so begins the adventure of discovering what all of this means.

 

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

This is the store of a lonely human emissary who has set out on a mission to make things easier for a growing intergalactic civilization. He has traveled to a planet called Winter and this planet is inhabited by aliens who have the ability to change their gender at will.

You are about to make a lot of discoveries about this alien race alongside this human emissary as he doesn’t know what he is walking into as well.

The characters of this civilization are way different than what he is used to between his own people but he must use everything he has learned to make this mission a success. We also covered this book in our review of the best LGBT science fiction books, make sure to check it out! You can also find Ursula’s name in our selection of the top science fiction book series.

 

1984 by George Orwell

The last book in our review is about to show you what a truly frightening dystopian world looks like. The leaders of this world who control everything make Stalin and Hitler look like pretty cool fellas.

Everything in this world is controlled by the state, every choice you make during the day, everything you have to eat, what you have to work, where you have to do, all of that is controlled so lack of freedom is already established.

Misbehaving can have some of the deadliest punishments and there are all sorts of technologies that will detect and punish you, even the children in this world will not hesitate to betray thanks to some modifications. Be sure to find out just how much of this the people can take.

There you have it, our top picks for the best classics in this genre, and be sure to make them for all of them as it doesn’t get any better than this. These are classic sci-fi books for a reason and you will definitely realize why once you start reading. It is really not so surprising that this book is also covered in our article about the top sci-fi books.

Author

Robert Hazley

Robert Hazley

Robert is a science fiction and fantasy geek. (He is also the best looking Ereads writer!) Besides reading and writing, he enjoys sports, cosplay, and good food (don't we all?). Currently works as an accountant (would you believe that?)