50 Essential Sci-Fi Books, according to someone

Hey ya’ll! So AbeBooks put out this list recently of 50 Essential Sci-Fi Books, and you know how I like to go through these lists and mark off what I’ve read! So do that I shall. I highly recommend clicking on the link, because they show the covers and give descriptions for each book and that’s awesome. I’m adding some to my TBR list now. Also, they listed the books in order from oldest to newest, which is kind of cool.

I’ll bold the ones I’ve read. I’m putting a * next to the onesΒ already on my TBR list, and + to the ones I’m adding to my TBR list as a result of this list.


  1. A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
  2. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells*
  3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley*
  4. When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer+
  5. Odd John by Olaf Stapledon
  6. 1984 by George Orwell
  7. Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
  8. Foundation by Isaac Asimov*
  9. The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
  10. The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
  11. Ring Around the Sun by Clifford D. Simak
  12. Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement
  13. The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
  14. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
  15. The Death of Grass (or No Blade of Grass) by John Christopher+
  16. Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
  17. The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
  18. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
  19. A Canticle by Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller*
  20. Venus Plus X by Theodore Sturgeon+
  21. Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
  22. The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
  23. Hothouse by Brian Aldiss
  24. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  25. Dune by Frank Herbert *
  26. Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison+
  27. Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan
  28. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick*
  29. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  30. Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock
  31. Ringworld by Larry Niven+
  32. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
  33. Roadside Picnic / Tale of the Troika by Boris & Arkady Strugatsky
  34. The Female Man by Joanna Russ+
  35. Man Plus by Frederik Pohl
  36. The Stand by Stephen King
  37. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  38. Nor Crystal Tears by Alan Dean Foster
  39. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  40. Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks
  41. Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold
  42. Hyperion by Dan Simmons
  43. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson*
  44. Ribofunk by Paul Di Filippo
  45. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
  46. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld*
  47. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
  48. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow*
  49. Acme Novelty Library #19 by Chris Ware+
  50. Embassytown by China Mieville


7 out of 50. Ouch! There’s a lot on here that I’m adding to my TBR though because they sound good. It would be cool to someday read this whole list… but I’m no where near ambitious enough to start trying that now.

I feel like they were being a little pretentious with this list. It also seems like they made an effort not to list any authors twice which seems fair, but also not fair because some authors (Clarke, Vonnegut, Le Guin, Wells, etc.) have written more than one novel that I think deserve to be on this list. I also think it was a mistake to leave Frankenstein by Mary Shelley off of this list – I haven’t even read it, but it ISΒ a major classic with sci-fi elements.

What’s your number? Oh and feel free to copy and paste this list from me if you want to do your own post. (I had to type it all out, so sorry for any typos.)




  1. 5/50! Jeez… I agree it’s a bit of an odd list (for example, I think “The Day of the Triffids” is usually referred as, let’s say “best” work – which I have read), but still, embarrassing… I feel the sudden need to improve, but with this pile of classics-that-need-to-be-read looming in front of me right now there is no chance. Although at least a few from this list are also in my classics list.


    1. I feel that urge to try to read more from that list too. Some I’m really interested in and I probably will read sometime this year. But I’m doing the Classics Challenge for the next 5 years and I want to kind of focus on that, you know?


  2. Wow, I’ve only read 2 of them! 3 others I started but never finished and I’ve got quite a few on my TBR. I do love science fiction but don’t seem to read much of it, not sure why. So one of my goals this year is to read more and this list has plenty of ideas. And I agree with Riv, The Day of the Triffids is AMAZING and I’d highly recommend it.


    1. I’ll look for The Day of the Triffids, I’ve never even heard of it!

      I read sci-fi, but a lot of what I’ve read isn’t on this list. OR I read sci-fi books but some of the authors listed here, but not the book that they picked as “essential”.


  3. Totally agree that Frakenstein should be on this list. Disappointing it’s been left off.

    I’ve only read 7 out of the 50. Oops. And I totally plan on posting this list on my site cos like you, I love me a list


    1. Yay I’m glad you’re gonna do the list too! List posts are fun.

      The honeyman was telling me that it’s “debateable” whether Frankenstein should count as sci-fi or not. He agrees that it should, but he said he can see why some people wouldn’t. I don’t really, it seems like it was only left off because it was a very early classic written by a woman.


      1. I believe there are arguments that it’s not really sci-fi (though I’d like to hear them). I believe it should be, but then again when I took a sci-fi class this was used as an example of the start of sci-fi. So I always consider it as such.


Talk to me.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s