The best sci-fi books that make you feel part of their strange new worlds

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a passion for sci-fi my entire life, ever since 1993 when I was captivated by the Brachiosaurus walking across the screen in Jurassic Park. My passion for storytelling manifested as I made homemade movies, drew comic strips, performed in theater, and eventually wrote my own stories. Today, I’m a part-time self-published author of four science fiction books with many more in the pipeline, so I keep reading these stories to fuel my creative juices. Stories are what keep me going in this world, as I’m sure they do for many of you, and I hope you get the same enjoyment out of these recommendations.


I wrote...

Erinyes

By Matthew Romeo,

Book cover of Erinyes

What is my book about?

Once the ultimate warrior for the Sol Imperium, Aelec Xero is now nothing more than a cunning thief. After unforeseen circumstances capsized his life as a soldier, he left the galactic armada, pretending it didn't sting.

Knowing there must be more to the story, Aelec has made it his mission to accrue money, supplies, and crew so that he can claim the ultimate prize: closure. In order to obtain the answers he seeks, he and his squad must plan a daring heist in the lawless sectors of the galaxy. Yet, heists rarely go according to plan. The team must adapt, connive, and unveil more secrets if they are to succeed. It’s Ocean’s Eleven meets Guardians of the Galaxy in this thrilling sci-fi adventure where there’s more to what’s on the surface.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Red Rising

Matthew Romeo Why did I love this book?

I binged Red Rising and its sequels over a weekend because it’s a non-stop thrill ride with countless characters to fall in love with. It’s a character-driven sci-fi story, which makes it easy for readers to pick up, and they don’t have to fear encountering confusing technobabble. Red Rising is the book that reinvigorated my passion for storytelling because it is a masterclass of showing an extremely competent yet incredibly flawed protagonist.

By Pierce Brown,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Red Rising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, BUZZFEED, GOODREADS AND SHELF AWARENESS

Pierce Brown's heart-pounding debut is the first book in a spectacular series that combines the drama of Game of Thrones with the epic scope of Star Wars.

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'Pierce Brown's empire-crushing debut is a sprawling vision . . . Ender, Katniss, and now Darrow' - Scott Sigler, New York Times bestselling author of Pandemic

'[A] top-notch debut novel . . . Red Rising ascends above a crowded dystopian field' - USA Today

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Darrow is a Helldiver. A pioneer…


Book cover of Dune

Matthew Romeo Why did I love this book?

Dune is a sci-fi story that really makes you think in the abstract and it poses a lot of deep questions about leadership. While Dune is a tough read with strange protagonists, its worldbuilding is what sucks you because it’s so richly detailed. It’s an immersive book, and I consider it the sci-fi equivalent of Lord of the Rings for setting the standard for sweeping space operas. I read Dune before self-publishing my most recent book, and it made me want to retool the way resource control worked in my book’s universe.

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

51 authors picked Dune as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender's Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person's lifespan to making interstellar travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world of Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of…


Book cover of The Martian

Matthew Romeo Why did I love this book?

It’s hard to pull off comedy in a sci-fi story, but The Martian does it in spades. On the surface, this book might turn some readers away because of its abundance of NASA technobabble, but the comedic commentary from the protagonist is what helps gloss over that. The Martian’s protagonist is extremely likable, innovative, witty, and an underdog in a survival situation. I ended up listening to the audiobook while working from home, and the narration is incredible.

By Andy Weir,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked The Martian as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old human error are…


Book cover of Darth Plagueis: Star Wars Legends

Matthew Romeo Why did I love this book?

Did you ever hear about the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise? If you’re a Star Wars fan, this is the book that really humanizes the evil side of the galaxy far, far away. While it has the typical sorcery, lightsaber fights, and sweeping space opera, this book, at its core, is the story of a dark father-son relationship. Even the overarching villain of the Star Wars saga, Palpatine, is given a lot of backstory, depth, and humanity in this story. I read this book in college, and it’s what spurred my writing journey.

By James Luceno,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Darth Plagueis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This essential Star Wars Legends novel chronicles the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise, and the origins of the saga’s most enduring evil—the malevolent Sith master Palpatine.

“The best Star Wars publication to date . . . [James] Luceno takes Darth Plagueis down the dark path and never looks back.”—Newsday
 
Darth Plagueis: one of the most brilliant Sith Lords who ever lived. Possessing power is all he desires; losing it is the only thing he fears. As an apprentice, he embraces the ruthless ways of the Sith. When the time is right, he destroys his…


Book cover of Jurassic Park

Matthew Romeo Why did I love this book?

To anyone who has seen the movie, I implore you to read/listen to the book because it provides such a nice contrast to the film. Jurassic Park was the first film I remember seeing and it’s been a part of my life for nearly 25 years. The book, while having the same plot beats as the film, has much more of a horror vibe that paints the dinosaurs as terrifying creatures. Such detail is given to how they move, smell, and sound that it really immerses the reader and makes you fear them. What’s also great is that neither the movie nor the book is better than the other; they both excel in different areas to provide unique experiences.

By Michael Crichton,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Jurassic Park as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Crichton's most compulsive novel' Sunday Telegraph
'Crichton's dinosaurs are genuinely frightening' Chicago Sun-Times
'Breathtaking adventure. . . a book that is as hard to put down as it is to forget' Time Out

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The international bestseller that inspired the Jurassic Park film franchise.

On a remote jungle island, genetic engineers have created a dinosaur game park.

An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now one of mankind's most thrilling fantasies has come true and the first dinosaurs that the Earth has seen in the time of man emerge.

But, as always, there is a…


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Book cover of Shortcake

Christopher Gorham Calvin

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Enter a captivating world where science fiction and thrilling suspense converge. After plummeting from the roof of Helix Unbound, Amanda awakens to a life devoid of memories. Desperately longing to fit in, yet sensing she harbors an extraordinary secret beneath her seemingly ordinary facade, she explores the unfamiliar world in an effort to find herself. But when a companion from her forgotten past becomes entangled in a serial killer’s deadly game, Amanda is thrust into a race against time to prevent a catastrophe of massive proportions.

Dive into this gripping techno-thriller series that explores the emotional turmoil of life, resilience in the face of tragedy, the ever-present specter of death, and the eternal struggle to find the inherent goodness within us all.

Shortcake

By Christopher Gorham Calvin,

What is this book about?

A genetically engineered child with no memory of her past. A killer with dreams of destruction. And the fate of a city hanging in the balance…

Enter a captivating world where science fiction and thrilling suspense converge. After plummeting from the roof of Helix Unbound, Amanda awakens to a life devoid of memories. Desperately longing to fit in, yet sensing she harbors an extraordinary secret beneath her seemingly ordinary facade, Amanda explores the unfamiliar world in an effort to find herself. And when a companion from her forgotten past becomes entangled in a serial killer’s deadly game, Amanda is thrust…


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