The most recommended books on spaceflight

Who picked these books? Meet our 49 experts.

49 authors created a book list connected to spaceflight, and here are their favorite spaceflight books.
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What type of spaceflight book?


Book cover of Shards of Honour

Brock E. Deskins Author Of The Sorcerer's Ascension

From my list on to travel the best path to magic and adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fantasy has always intrigued me since I read The Once and Future King in grade school. The number of fantasy books I’ve read number in the hundreds if not topping a thousand. In my twenties, you never saw me without a book in my hand, my nose pressed into the pages. If I wasn’t reading, I was dreaming up fantasy stories in my head, and this was long before I ever thought of writing my first book. I was a dreamer from birth and will die as one if I live to be 100 like my granny.

Brock's book list on to travel the best path to magic and adventure

Brock E. Deskins Why did Brock love this book?

Stepping out of the theme of fantasy, I have to say I am a huge fan of science fiction, nearly as much as fantasy. One of the first books/series that springs to mind when speaking of this genre is the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois Mcmaster Bujold. I’d read a lot of Sci-Fi prior to this series, but mostly the Battletech books. If Battletech was my favorite fast-food books, then The Vorkosigan Saga was an 8-course meal at a 5-star restaurant. While it did not delve into the intricacies of space travel and technology to the point I felt like I was taking an advanced college course, she does create a living galaxy and intricate characters you can’t help but chase after like a starstruck fan seeing Mark Hamill at a Star Wars convention. While there is an overall theme to the large series, each book is unique to itself, so…

By Lois McMaster Bujold,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cordelia Naismith is enjoying a baptism of fire. Her first mission is to captain a throwaway warship of the Betan Expeditionary Force on a mission to destroy an entire enemy armada. Discovering deception within deception, treachery within treachery, she is forced into an uneasy peace with her nemesis: Lord Aral Vorkosigan. Discovering that astrocartography is not the soundest training for a military leader, Cordelia rapidly finds herself the prisoner of the Barrayaran Captain Aral Vorkosigan, also known as 'The Butcher of Komarr'. But the notorious captain is not quite the beast Cordelia was expecting and a grudging respect develops between…

Book cover of The Deep Sky

Nancy A. Hewitt Author Of Radical Friend: Amy Kirby Post and Her Activist Worlds

From Nancy's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Historian 1960s generation Historic sites fan Feminist Avid reader

Nancy's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Nancy A. Hewitt Why did Nancy love this book?

Kitasei combines a science fiction thriller with a searing exploration of women’s friendships across time, race, ethnicity, and politics.

With Earth increasingly uninhabitable, a group of 80 women of childbearing age are sent into space with vials of semen to recreate human life on a distant planet.

Kitasei reveals the growing conflicts among the women, which intensify when one of them dies while trying to repair the ship. Asuka, the beautifully drawn central character, feels insecure about her place among the women and worries that, as their anxieties intensify, she might be targeted as the traitor in their midst.

By Yume Kitasei,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Deep Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Yume Kitasei's The Deep Sky is an enthralling sci fi thriller debut about a mission into deep space that begins with a lethal explosion that leaves the survivors questioning the loyalty of the crew.

They left Earth to save humanity. They'll have to save themselves first.

It is the eve of Earth's environmental collapse. A single ship carries humanity's last hope: eighty elite graduates of a competitive program, who will give birth to a generation of children in deep space. But halfway to a distant but livable planet, a lethal bomb kills three of the crew and knocks The Phoenix…

Book cover of Project Hail Mary

Luke Mitchell Author Of Red Gambit

From my list on sci-fi character journeys you’ll probably never forget.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an ex-neuroengineer turned sci-fi pen monkey (turned melted heap of goo on the floor). More than anything, though, I’m a guy who simply could NOT get enough Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Indiana Jones as a kid, and it’s probably somewhere between those formative years and all the amazing books and movies I’ve gobbled down since that the writing bug seeped into my veins. Much as my writing has changed the way I read, this list constitutes 5 of the types of stories that made me fall so deeply in love with fiction (and good characters!) that I couldn’t help but eventually pick up the pen myself.

Luke's book list on sci-fi character journeys you’ll probably never forget

Luke Mitchell Why did Luke love this book?

This book was just fun. (And informative!) As my editor, Lisa Poisso, put it (paraphrased), “I’ve never seen an author manage to build so much narrative tension around something so simple as, ‘And now I have to push this button.’”

So yes, Weir continues to be awesome at making hard sci-fi fun and thrilling. What really stuck with me most, though, was the relationship the main character, Ryland Grace, forms with his unexpected interstellar buddy, the Eridian he dubs Rocky. The care and thought Weir puts into every aspect of their interactions… Those were the moments that got me. Never have I ever had so much fun watching a character think about how to solve problems. And who couldn’t use a bit more laughter and problem-solving in their life?

By Andy Weir,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked Project Hail Mary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space…

Book cover of Claiming T-Mo

Seb Doubinsky Author Of The Song of Synth

From my list on to bend your mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer of dystopian novels, I have always been interested in narratives that challenge the reader. Why? Because I firmly believe that if literature is, as they say, "a window on the world," then mind-bending texts create their own windows, and hence allow the readers to free themselves from all sorts of conventions. What's more, many of my novels deal with a drug, "Synth," that allows the users to change their surroundings at will. So I do write some “mind-bending” stuff myself, with precisely the purpose I mentioned above. To challenge yourself through fiction is to challenge a reality you have not chosen to live in. It is not only an act of defiance, but also, very often, an act of courage. 

Seb's book list on to bend your mind

Seb Doubinsky Why did Seb love this book?

In Claiming T-Mo, Australian-African writer Eugen Bacon re-invents and shatters all the familiar codes of the magical sci-fi genre. A novel about women, magic, fate, and freedom, Claiming T-Mo is also a deep reflection on motherhood, love, masculinity, and identities. As the different female narrators share their views and feelings about T-Mo, the elusive central character, more questions about filiation and heritage unroll, making the reader a part of the quest. I love Eugen Bacon because she is an incredibly versatile talent, who turns everything she writes about into pure gold. 

By Eugen Bacon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Claiming T-Mo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this lush interplanetary tale, Novic is an immortal Sayneth priest who flouts the conventions of a matriarchal society by choosing a name for his child. This act initiates chaos that splits the boy in two, unleashing a Jekyll-and-Hyde child upon the universe. Named T-Mo by his mother and Odysseus by his father, the story spans the boy’s lifetime — from his early years with his mother Silhouette on planet Grovea to his travels to Earth where he meets and marries Salem, and together they bear a hybrid named Myra. The story unfolds through the eyes of these three distinctive…

Book cover of Aurora Rising

Devri Walls Author Of Magic Unleashed

From my list on not requiring a genealogy chart to track the story.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a bullied teenager I wanted to escape and fantasy was my drug of choice. (My parents may have grounded me from the library, which by the way—not cool.) I love working within fantasy worlds and magic systems but my true passion lies in the story itself. I write character based books focusing on the inner workings of all of us. Occasionally when writing a battle scene in a gladiator arena with three levels, multiple characters with magical abilitiesm and a secondary magical system in the background, I wonder why I can’t just tell a story in freaking Chicago for goodness sake! But fantasy is where it's at for this girl! 

Devri's book list on not requiring a genealogy chart to track the story

Devri Walls Why did Devri love this book?

I’m a sucker for good dialogue and this is about as good as it gets. This book nails sarcasm, wit, and humor. You can hear every quip and see every facial expression as you spend the entire book wishing you could have a seat in that spaceship—even if they are facing certain doom. I basically wanted to be best friends with every character… and the authors. (So umm *clears throat* if anyone has Amie or Jay’s number…hook a girl up.)

By Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Aurora Rising as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

'Aurora Rising is to sci-fi what Stranger Things is to the cinema of the eighties - a fusion of everything you love about the genre that adds up into something completely fresh.' Samantha Shannon

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling authors of The Illuminae Files comes a new science fiction epic...

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would…

Book cover of Voyage of the Dogs

Clare Rhoden Author Of The Pale

From my list on dystopian books with heart, soul, and dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

The first book I read on my own was the Little Golden Book of Puppies and Kittens. I decided then, aged three, that the best books have animals in them…and I haven’t changed my mind. While fantasy novels with animals are among my all-time favorites, I’ve developed a deep love for dystopian novels which leave room for hope. I especially love the stories that show more than just humans living on Planet Earth. What better species to represent all that’s good on Earth but dogs? I can’t imagine ever writing a story without a dog in it. 

Clare's book list on dystopian books with heart, soul, and dogs

Clare Rhoden Why did Clare love this book?

Lopside the Barkonaut is sure to make you smile. Humanity needs to find a new planet to live on, and the Barkonauts go along to ensure the best qualities of both humans and dogs survive.

Voyage of the Dogs is a middle-grade book (ages 10+) but completely enjoyable for dog lovers of all ages. Disaster strikes when the human astronauts disappear – are they dead? – and the Barkonauts have to figure out stuff for themselves. 

I love that all of these space-faring dogs have flaws and a past history that they have to carry around. Lopside discovers that some of his fellow Barkonauts are nothing like what they seem. Despite all the obstacles, eventually, there is a wonderful outcome that will bring you joy for a long time after you finish reading. Read it for yourself – or even better, read it to a kid who needs strength and…

By Greg Van Eekhout,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Voyage of the Dogs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Dogs in space! Share this book with middle graders who enjoy stories about dogs, space adventures, or action adventure stories-or all three! Perfect for fans of Homeward Bound and Woof.

Lopside is a Barkonaut, a specially trained dog who assists human astronauts on missions in space. He and the crew aboard the spaceship Laika are en route to set up an outpost on a distant planet.

When the mission takes a disastrous turn, the Barkonauts on board suddenly find themselves completely alone on their severely damaged ship.

Survival seems impossible. But these dogs are Barkonauts-and Barkonauts always complete their mission.…

Book cover of Catalyst

Carol Van Natta Author Of Pets in Space 6: A Science Fiction Romance Anthology

From my list on science fiction stories with pets.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hi, I'm Carol Van Natta, USA Today bestselling science fiction and paranormal romance author. I write the award-winning Central Galactic Concordance space opera series and the Ice Age Shifters® paranormal romance series. In addition, I edit the bestselling Pets In Space science fiction romance anthology. I share my home with several eccentric cats. If I ever get to explore the stars or visit a magical sanctuary town, I'm taking them with me. My reader candy is science fiction stories that include pets, so I have some recommendations for you. When I read them aloud to my cats (doesn't everyone do this?), these stories are the most appreciated.

Carol's book list on science fiction stories with pets

Carol Van Natta Why did Carol love this book?

Catalyst (and the sequel, Catacombs) are for anyone who cherishes cats. It’s obvious that McCaffrey and her frequent collaborator Scarborough know cats very well indeed. In this universe, a ship's cat has proven to be as essential a crew member as captain, navigator, or engineer. (I find this totally believable, as one of my cats has decided his job is to notify me when someone has left a package on my porch.) The cats in the story are evolving to be even more valuable to humans, especially when it comes to alien relations and saving a colony's livestock from destruction. Do yourself a favor and read Catacombs, too, to find out what happens when the Barque Cats meet a cat god.

By Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Pilot, navigator, engineer, doctor, scientist—ship's cat? All are essential to the well-staffed space vessel. Since the early days of interstellar travel, when Tuxedo Thomas, a Maine coon cat, showed what a cat could do for a ship and its crew, the so-called Barque Cats have become highly prized crew members. Thomas's carefully bred progeny, ably assisted by humans—Cat Persons—with whom they share a deep and loving bond, now travel the galaxy, responsible for keeping spacecraft free of vermin, for alerting human crews to potential environmental hazards, and for acting as morale officers.

Even among Barque Cats, Chessie is something special.…

Book cover of Cosmic

Emily Snape Author Of Fergus the Furball

From my list on reluctant readers aged 7-11.

Why am I passionate about this?

My sons were both reluctant readers and that made me want to write books that they wouldn’t be able to resist reading! Reading should be a pleasure and this list is packed with books that are impossible to put down. They are perfect for young, reluctant readers, as they are not trying to be too serious or worthy or overwhelming with too much text. They pull you in and hook you from the start and you can’t help being moved by the characters as they grow and develop, fostering a love of books and fiction. I love comedy in books, but funny books also have to have heart, believable characters, and a great plot that keeps you reading till the very end.

Emily's book list on reluctant readers aged 7-11

Emily Snape Why did Emily love this book?

I love all of Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s books. They are funny and clever and the stories are full of twists and loveable characters. This book hooks you from the start and takes you on an adventure you would never have expected. It will make you laugh out loud and bite your nails with worry and you won’t want to stop reading till the end! The story follows the life of Liam, an extraordinarily tall boy, who with one small lie, ends up being launched into space in an ice cream van.

By Frank Cottrell Boyce,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cosmic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Liam has always had trouble keeping his feet on the ground. Being 239,000 miles from earth doesn't make it any easier.

Book cover of Dead Silence

Amy Goldsmith Author Of Those We Drown

From my list on spooky ships.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always lived by the coast and have a healthy respect for the sea and a mortal fear of everything within it. It’s truly terrifying to me that around 80% of the ocean is unexplored – what is down there? This fear partly inspired me to write Those We Drown, my YA horror debut set aboard a cruise ship and featuring a splash of oceanic horror.

Amy's book list on spooky ships

Amy Goldsmith Why did Amy love this book?

Here we have a haunted ship -- in space!

Claire is days away from losing her job on a salvage ship when she receives a distress call from long-missing space-liner, The Aurora – likened to the Titanic in space. Having nothing to lose, she convinces the crew to investigate, reasoning that they will make a fortune from the wreckage. Once they board the ship, things take a swiftly sinister turn.

This book is so much fun and incredibly cinematic. Space horror deserves to be a much more popular genre. If you like the movie Event Horizon, you will love this book. 

By S.A. Barnes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dead Silence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Claire Kovalik is days away from being unemployed - made obsolete - when her beacon repair crew picks up a strange distress signal. With nothing to lose and no desire to return to Earth, Claire and her team decide to investigate.

What they find is shocking: the Aurora, a famous luxury spaceliner that vanished on its maiden tour of the solar system more than twenty years ago. A salvage claim like this could set Claire and her crew up for life. But a quick search of the ship reveals something isn't right.

Whispers in the dark. Flickers of movement. Messages…

Book cover of Revenger

James L. Cambias Author Of The Scarab Mission

From my list on exploring big things in space.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first stumbled on the idea of colonizing space when I read Adrian Berry's The Next Ten Thousand Years and T.A. Heppenheimer's Colonies in Space, back in the late 1970s. In those post-Apollo, pre-Space Shuttle years, colonizing outer space seemed inevitable. I was hooked: this stuff was real, and it was going to happen. It might even happen to me. But living in space isn't very exciting to read about. Of course, just a few years after reading those books I was watching Indiana Jones dodge deathtraps in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Combine the two: space colonies full of danger and surprises are much better!

James' book list on exploring big things in space

James L. Cambias Why did James love this book?

Revenger is a ripping space pirate yarn, but grounded in solid science. Amid all the yo-ho-ho tropes it includes a gripping section in which a rag-tag crew of scavengers penetrate into a sealed asteroid tomb-world. They must survive perils, find what they're looking for, and get out before it seals itself up again. I expect this book will be considered a classic in future decades.

By Alastair Reynolds,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The galaxy has seen great empires rise and fall. Planets have shattered and been remade. Amongst the ruins of alien civilisations, building our own from the rubble, humanity still thrives.

And there are vast fortunes to be made, if you know where to find them . . .

Captain Rackamore and his crew do. It's their business to find the tiny, enigmatic worlds which have been hidden away, booby-trapped, surrounded with layers of protection - and to crack them open for the ancient relics and barely-remembered technologies inside. But while they ply their risky trade with integrity, not everyone is…