Two weeks ago we wrote a piece on the best fantasy books series. For fans of science fiction, don’t worry we haven’t forgotten you. Introducing our list of the best science fiction book series to start reading next. Now we don’t have as many science fiction timelines listed on the site as we do fantasy, but more continue to show up. Just this week we added a new timeline for the Red Rising series, which you can consider an honorary mention to the following list. We hope you enjoy!
Set in the distant future when the sun is dimmer and the Earth has cooled, the Solar Cycle is a series of series by Gene Wolfe. The primary series is called the Book of the New Sun. This is definitely a series you should pick up if you’re into extremely distant future scenarios.
Where to start: We recommend starting at the beginning with the first book published The Shadow of the Torturer. Then you can read some of the prequel short stories.
Known Space represents another series of series. The most well-known series would be the Ringworld books by Larry Niven. He and other authors have written much of the other books and short stories in the timeline. There are quite a few anthologies of short stories that you can enjoy as well. It’s definitely one of the more expansive universes on this list.
Where to start: The best place to start on this list is probably the Ringworld series. This is both the chronological beginning and the most well-known books of the series.
Where would this list be without a good YA dystopian science fiction, and The Hunger Games is perhaps the best example of modern dystopian fiction. Set in the future where war has driven mankind into factions controlled by the Capital who forces children to fight in an epic battle to the death. The writing is great and it’s no wonder that this series (and the films based on it) have taken the world by storm.
Where to start: Since there are only three books, start with the first, The Hunger Games.
An older classic, A Wrinkle in Time was one of the first acclaimed sci-fi books in what we would now call YA literature. The series follows a family through time and space as they learn the technical and philosophical implications of doing so. It’s a classic that no sci-fi fan should skip.
Where to start: Start at the beginning, with A Wrinkle in Time.
You’ve probably heard of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film was written concurrently with the book by Arthur C. Clarke, one of science fiction’s top authors. He wrote several sequels and even a spiritual successor series focusing on time exploration instead of space exploration.
Another classic science fiction, but this time with a comedy twist. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy remains one of the best tongue-in-cheek depictions of a science fiction universe. Whether you’ve watch the movie or read the book, it’s a fresh take you won’t want to miss out on.
Where to start: There are actually several good places to start here. The audio drama came first, but the book or the film are also fine places to start. We’ll let you take your pick. Just don’t read the sequels before starting with the first story.
Isaac Asimov is the father of modern science fiction. His earlier works have paved the way for many sci-fi authors since and in the future. The Foundation series consists of many different series of books, most notably the Foundation trilogy, and the I, Robot books/short stories. You will also find several books written by other science fiction authors in tribute to Isaac Asimov; you can read those later.
Where to start: Even though it’s a prequel book that was written after the original series, we recommend starting with Prelude to Foundation, then reading the rest of the series after that.
Orson Scott Card wrote this series, which is actually more like two series. Both start with Ender’s Game, and then it branches into two separate series in tone. The first is a military sci-fi that focuses on Ender’s battle-school teammates. The second focuses on Ender himself, but years later thanks to the theory of relativity. The second series is far more philosophical than the first, and will appeal to a separate audience.
Where to start: There’s no question you should start with Ender’s Game. However, since there are two series that branch off from that, you can pick which one you will prefer: military or speculative sci-fi.
For the same reason that we named Lord of the Rings at the top of our fantasy list, we have to put Dune at the top of our sci-fi list. The world of Dune is so incredibly expansive and detailed, that no other series comes close to feeling as real. The first books were written by Frank Herbert, while a few sequels and several prequels were written by his son Brian Herbert, in collaboration with Kevin J. Anderson. We highly recommend reading this series if you haven’t already.
Where to start: The best place to start is with the first published book, Dune. After that, you can either keep reading Frank Herbert’s books (which get progressively weirder), or start with some of the prequel books.