25 Best Science Fiction Fantasy Books (2020)

Science fiction is among the most thrilling reading genres out there as you never know what you might find in the adventures that follow the fictional characters in those stories.

When you combine sci-fi with epic fantasy worlds and amusing and unique characters, you get exciting stories that no sci-fi or fantasy story enthusiast can resist. The books in this best science fiction fantasy books review are a few of the top ones out there so be sure to choose one that looks most exciting to start.

 

Best Science Fiction Fantasy Books

 

The Stand by Stephen King

Stephen King is an author who rarely needs an introduction as this author manages to write some of the most unique and most exciting stories ever written.

He is most famous for his outstanding horror stories that just hook you to read until you finish his huge books. The Stand is a sci-fi fantasy book by the author that talks about computers and deadly threats.

The story starts as you find out that an error that happens in a mere fraction of a second manages to put the whole world in danger. A huge chunk of the population dies and those who are left must choose sides before it’s too late. The book also deserved its place among the best post-apocalyptic books. Make sure to check it out!

 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

This is another thrilling space story and one of the best science fiction fantasy books where you get to read about a destroyed Earth, not an almost destroyed one but a completely annihilated Earth because it was blocking the way for the construction of a galactic freeway. If you want to get more information about the series, check out our article about the top sci-fi book series out there!

You get to meet Arthur Dent, one of the main characters in this book who is saved mere seconds before the Earth was obliterated.

A friend of his, Ford Prefect, manages to save him and these two begin their exciting space adventures. You get to meet a ton of other unique and interesting characters, some will be allies to these guys and some foes, but that’s all a part of this exciting journey that is about to begin. If you are looking for similar books, take a look at our review of the top science fiction books!

 

Dune by Frank Herbert

The plot in this story takes place in a futuristic world and focuses on an interstellar empire where planetary dynasties are controlled by noble houses. All of these houses owe allegiance to the Imperial House Corrino. The book is part of the series with the same name, that you can read more about in our selection of the best space opera books and the best science fiction book series!

After finding out about all of this, you meet the main character of the story, Paul Atreides. He is the heir to House Atreides and his family has just accepted the control of the desert planet Arrakis.

Ironically, their House is now in control of the planet that provides the only source of the most valuable thing in this empire, the spice melange, a drug that has outstanding effects. A lot of exciting events await to be read in this book. No wonder that we included it in our ultimate lists of the best science fiction books and the best classic science fiction books as well!

 

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

This story introduces you to three child characters who will have a lot of unique experiences on the mission that is about to be presented to them. The story starts on a dark and stormy night as you get to find out a little bit about Charles and Meg Wallace, and their friend Calvin. We also included the books in the reviews of the top sci-fi books with female protagonists and the best science fiction books for kids!

They would have never expected to hear this news, but when a strange visitor comes knocking on their door, so begins their thrilling space adventure. They are on the search to find their father who has been on a secret space mission for a long time as now a deadly threat is attempting to destroy the universe. This book is perfect for a young audience, that’s why we covered it in our selection of the best science fiction books for teens!

 

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein

Stranger in a Strange Lane is the next book on our best science fiction fantasy books list and this one talks about a very unique and interesting character. We also covered the book in our review of the top classic science fiction books!

This is the story about a character named Valentine Michael Smith, he is a human who was born and raised on the planet Mars and he is just about to go to Earth and see what life is like with his own kind.

But, this character is a very different one than the rest of the humans as he has completely different understandings about many things than the rest. He has trouble understanding a lot about his fellow humans and starts teaching them his own beliefs which do actually make a lot of sense as you will find out for yourself. You can also find Robert’s name (multiple times) on our lists of the best sci-fi books and the best science fiction books for children.

 

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Here is another incredible science fiction fantasy world that is nothing like our own but it’s scary to think about even living in one like it. For more information, you can also check out our article about the top sci-fi books for teens.

The world that this story talks about is an interesting one as society is divided into 5 factions and each of those factions is dedicated to a particular virtue. There is Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite.

The main character of the story who will be showing you a thing or two more about this dystopian world is Beatrice Prior and she is about to experience what every 16-year-old teenager must when they come of age, choosing which faction to dedicate the rest of her life to. Her choice will start the series of events that are about to follow. The book can be also found in our review of the top science fiction books with female protagonists!

 

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This is another story where the real world has become a totally inhospitable place and the only place where people find peace and comfort is in virtual reality worlds.

This is one of those stories and it takes place in the year 2044 as you get to meet a character known as Wade Watts. He is one of the many others who enjoy the virtual reality world known as OASIS more than being in the real world.

Soon, he is going to discover that even this world is not as good as it seems as killers have appeared who are searching for the ultimate prize that the creator has hidden in his favorite puzzles.

 

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Here is a science fiction story that also involves a lot of romance in it as this romantic story will show you if true love can really withstand everything, even the strange sci-fi things that are happening in the relationship you are about to read about.

This story talks about a character known as Henry DeTamble and his wife. Henry is an unusual fellow who works as a librarian and has a sort of curse on him that forces him to slip in and out of time.

This is completely out of his control and you are about to meet his wife Clare also who has to worry and deal with his frequent jumps between time. Learn more about the book in our standalone review of The Time Traveler’s Wife.

 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is a very popular fantasy book series and movie series that shows you about an incredible dystopian world in which you meet some very fascinating characters. The fictional nation of Panem, located in North America, is where most of the fun in this story will happen.

The annual event known as the Hunger Games is the main source of entertainment in this world and every year, kids between the ages of 12 and 18 are forced into battle to the death to determine the winner’s future and for other reasons that will be made clear in the book. That made the series a perfect fit for our selection of the top science fiction books for teens!

The protagonist who will be taking you along is a 16-year-old girl called Katniss Everdeen. That is the reason why we also covered it in our selections of the best science fiction books with female protagonists and the best post-apocalyptic book series.

 

Hyperion by Dan Simmons

This next book is a book that has earned its spot on many best books lists and you are about to find out why. The main plot in the story revolves around a feared and deadly creature known as the Shrike. The story takes place in a world called Hyperion where a civilization known as Hegemony of Man lives. For more information, take a look at our review of the top space opera books!

There are plenty of characters to meet here as you find out each of their relations to this deadly creature. Some want to join it, some want to stay away, and others want to kill it, as foolish as that sounds. We have no other options than to include this amazing book in our selection of the top sci-fi books out there!

The book is part of the series called Hyperion Cantos, for more information take a look at our review of the best sci-fi book series!

 

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Behold a fascinating fantasy story that lies just under the streets of London. This story begins as you read about the normal city of London until you find out what goes on beneath it. There are things that people wouldn’t even believe if they saw them with their own eyes.

Richard Mayhew is a young businessman who is about to find out what kind of monsters, saints, murderers, angels, knights, and all sorts of stuff is hidden in this underground city.

There is actually a lot more to this Richard Mayhew than meets the eye as he might just belong perfectly with the others down there.

 

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

This is a sci-fi fantasy story that also has a lot of romance present. This romance is actually the main focus of the plot and the two main characters who will be showing you around are Tristran Thorn and the lovely Victoria Forester.

These two live in a town called Wall, named that way because of the huge barrier that separates the town from a grassy meadow outside.

The main focus of this story follows Tristran as he vows to win the heart of Victoria by retrieving a fallen star and delivering it to her. This adventure of his sends him outside the walls of their town and so begin the exciting events that follow.

 

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

This is an amazing fantasy story about a girl called Lyra and you are about to see why this story fits perfectly in our best science fiction fantasy books list.

This girl Lyra is about to travel to the North, a place where a lot of dangerous things are present. A few of those that we will tell you about are witch clans that rule some areas of those places alongside armored and deadly bears.

Then there are Gobblers who steal children for who knows what purpose, and then there is also her uncle, Asriel, who is currently building a bridge that will be able to open a gate to parallel worlds.

 

Ringworld by Larry Niven

Here is an amazing science fiction story that will be showing you an enormous structure that resembles a ring and is located somewhere deep in space. In fact, it is six million miles long and ninety million miles in diameter so imagine just how huge that is. You can also find Niven’s name in our selection of the best classic science fiction books.

Then you read about some aliens who discover this strange piece of technology but they are too afraid to explore any further so they create a team of explorers that consists of two humans, a mad puppeteer, a huge cat-like alien, a kzin, and they send them to check out this thing. You can read more about the book in our review of the top space opera books!

 

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin

We have another story here that talks about the world ending again, here is how it happens in N.K. Jemisin’s book. The book starts out by introducing you to Essun, a woman who has just witnessed her husband killing their son and kidnapping their daughter.

In the meantime, a strange rift has opened in the middle of the Earth and suddenly the planet is set into a long period of darkness. War starts everywhere for the basic resources for survival and you get to read about Essun who will destroy everything if she has to in order to save her daughter.

 

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

Shevek is the main character of this thrilling science fiction story and you are about to read about his hard journey that he must start alone. Shevek is an amazing physicist and he is motivated to seek answers that no one else has sought and to ask questions that no one before has asked. Take a look at our selection of the best solarpunk books to learn more.

He begins his journey to restore the connection between his world and the rest of the civilized universe as they have been isolated for a long time. He must travel to a utopian planet called Ursa and there begin his true struggles to accomplish his goals. We also mentioned Ursula’s name in our review of the top sci-fi book series out there!

 

Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

You get to travel to the city of New Crobuzon in this amazing story where you will meet a man named Isaac. This city that he lives in is located underground, beneath the ribs of a dead and enormous ancient beast that once lived.

Isaac is a scientist who lives a solitary life and he is about to witness a few changes after a half-bird and half-human creature comes to visit him and request something very strange. After that, a terrible terror comes to New Crobuzon and you get to find out for yourself what exactly is going on there. You can learn more about the book in our selection of the best steampunk books!

 

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

This is the first story of the sci-fi books series by Jules Verne called Captain Nemo and you are about to read one of the best science fiction fantasy books of all time.

The story starts out with an unidentified monster-like creature that has threatened international shipping so a few characters are sent to kill it and restore the shipping industry.

As the main characters search for this monster, they later discover that this is in fact a futuristic submarine, something no one had ever seen before, and you get to find out yourself what events take place after this discovery. For more information about the book, take a look at our review of the top steampunk books.

 

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russel

This thrilling story will introduce you to the first alien life that the people inside the book will finally meet. The year is 2019 and humans have just witnessed the first signs of an alien civilization.

The signs are coming from a planet that will later be known as Rakhat and the people in charge are debating a first contact mission.

In the meantime, the Society of Jesus is forming their own scientific first contact mission and what they find on that planet is something so mind-blowing that will even make them question their own existence. You can also find it on our list of the best Christian science fiction books!

 

The Mote in God’s Eye by Larry Niven

The year in this sci-fi story and one of the best science fiction fantasy books takes place in the year 3016, a time when humans have the tech to travel at unbelievable speeds thanks to the Alderson Drive.

They travel to an isolated star called Mote where they finally discover alien civilization, a kind, welcoming civilization that has a very dark problem that they haven’t been able to solve in more than a million years. The travelers don’t know how this will end up but you sure can find out as you read this amazing story by Larry Niven.

 

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake is an amazing story that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where there is still a bit of hope for survival as you get to meet a few of the main characters from the story. Jimmy, also known as Snowman, is among the first who you get to meet and he is struggling to survive as he might be the last human in this world.

His journey to come will be alongside the green-eyed Children of Crake as they show you this devastated but mysterious new world in search of any hope of survival. For more information, take a look at our top post-apocalyptic book series review. If we made you interested in Margaret’s work, make sure to check out our selection of the best books by Margaret Atwood!

 

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Doomsday Book is the first book of Connie’s Oxford Time Travel series in which you get to read about amazing adventures happening through time as the students from this school do their research about great historical times.

This particular story focuses on a character called Kivrin and she has been tasked with doing a study about one of the deadliest eras in human history. The time she travels back to is the fourteenth century and you get to see what it takes to do this type of research as one little mistake can throw the whole world off-balance.

 

Anathem by Neal Stephenson

The main character in this thrilling sci-fi book is FraaErasmas, he is living in one of the most wondrous and mysterious places in the world, the Concent of SauntEdhar.

This place is sort of a sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, philosophers, and all of the people inside this place are protected from any sort of outside influence from the world and society.

There are times when those people can leave and wander in the world and it is now time for the FraaErasmas to prepare for his venture in the outside world. If we made you interested in Stephenson’s work, we covered some of his books in our review of the top science fiction books and the best steampunk books!

 

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin

George Orr is the main character in this thrilling story and the plot follows him as one day his whole life changes after realizing that his dreams actually have the power of affecting reality. The book was written by brilliant author Ursula K. Le Guin and her name can be also found on the list of the best science fiction books!

Dr. William Haber is another character who you will be reading about in the book and he is the man who George seeks help from about his condition.

Haber will soon become the antagonist of the story as he realizes how strong this power is as he tries to manipulate Orr for his own selfish needs. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this whole adventure.

 

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe

The last book and one of the best science fiction fantasy books is this thrilling story coming from Gene’s The Book of the New Sun series. This one is the first volume of that series and it talks about Severian, a young apprentice in the Guild of Torturers in a world called Urth. You can read more about the series in our selection of the top science fiction book series!

This character has been exiled from this home because he committed the ultimate sin, he showed mercy to his victim. Now you get to read about what happens to him as he has been thrown out of his home city, Nessus.

Hopefully, you enjoyed our picks for the best science fiction and fantasy books as the stories and adventures inside are definitely something you don’t want to miss if you are a huge sci-fi and fantasy enthusiast.

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?)