9 Must-Read Contemporary Sci-Fi Novels

By
Mon, 3 Dec 2018

Science fiction can go beyond the bounds of reality and take readers on anything from a journey through time to a space expedition to a tour through a terrifying dystopia. If you want to check out some amazing books in this fascinating genre, you've come to the right place. The nine novels below feature compelling protagonists, skilled world-building, and stories that will keep you eagerly turning pages from start to finish. When you click links from this website, we may receive advertising revenue to support our research. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

9 Must-Read Contemporary Sci-Fi Novels

Title Author More by the Author
1. The Lost Time Accidents John Wray Godsend Lowboy
2. Change Agent Daniel Suarez Influx Daemon
3. The Darwin Variant Kenneth C. Johnson The Man of Legends V: The Original Miniseries
4. Side Life Steve Toutonghi Join
5. An Unkindness of Ghosts Rivers Solomon The Deep Not So Stories
6. The Freeze-Frame Revolution Peter Watts Blindsight Echopraxia
7. Twinmaker Sean Williams Crashland The Force Unleashed
8. Kill Process William Hertling Kill Switch A.I. Apocalypse
9. Burning Midnight Will McIntosh Watchdog The Future Will Be BS Free

Great Sci-Fi Films

5 Classic Works of Sci-Fi

The authors on this list stand on the shoulders of many famous writers who came before them and influenced the genre. Here are a few works that made science fiction what it is today:

  1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  2. Dune by Frank Herbert
  3. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  4. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
  5. Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Five Eras of Science Fiction History

In Depth

Sci-fi is a genre of speculative fiction that explores theoretical advancements in science and technology. This style is beloved by people who enjoy imaginative concepts and riveting stories. In no particular order, here are nine must-read contemporary sci-fi novels.

Starting off at #1 is "The Lost Time Accidents" by John Wray. The book revolves around Waldemar "Waldy" Tolliver, a young man who has been mysteriously detached from the normal flow of time. His journey through time and space follows his family's intriguing history, a scientific mystery, and an ill-fated romance.

At #2 is "Change Agent" by Daniel Suarez. The storyline is set in futuristic Southeast Asia, where underground laboratories offer genetic editing to people who want to have perfect children. While this kind of DNA processing is rampant in the area, it is still considered illegal, and the Interpol is in charge of hunting down these black market labs.

The storyline is set in futuristic Southeast Asia, where underground laboratories offer genetic editing to people who want to have perfect children.

Kenneth Durand leads the team in capturing Marcus Demang Wyckes and his cartel. But after being dosed with a strange chemical, Durand's genes are altered, and he becomes his own wanted criminal.

Next, at #3 is "The Darwin Variant" by Kenneth Johnson. This literary work narrates an apocalyptic tale as Earth successfully evades a colliding comet, but it goes wrong as icy fragments start to turn living things into horrific mutants. Infected animals, plants, and humans become aggressive and deadly.

Dr. Susan Perry of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention learns that the creatures are not just changing, but are also plotting a conspiracy to change mankind. She teams up with fourteen-year-old Katie McLane in order to put a stop to this terrifying plan.

Dr. Susan Perry of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention learns that the creatures are not just changing, but are also plotting a conspiracy to change mankind.

At #4 is "Side Life" by Steve Toutonghi. The story starts with Vin, the former CEO of a tech company, who has been given a part-time job house-sitting an extremely modern mansion in Seattle. When the main character explores the manor, he finds a laboratory full of caskets.

Vin tries to enter one, and he is taken to a different part of history through the eyes of Winston Churchill. He wakes up, conscious about what has transpired, although he has no control of his body. He goes back again and again, as a different person each time.

Following at #5 is "An Unkindness of Ghosts" by Rivers Solomon. This novel features a space vessel named "HSS Matilda," which carries the last remnants of humankind in search of the "Promised Land." The ship's passengers are stratified into racial classes, starting with the lowest deck where the dark-skinned slaves reside.

The ship's passengers are stratified into racial classes, starting with the lowest deck where the dark-skinned slaves reside.

Aster Gray is a woman who belongs to the lower platform of the fleet, and has the ability to heal and make medicine. Her fate turns around when she discovers the connection between the Sovereign's recent death and her mother's encrypted diary entries.

At #6 is Peter Watts' "The Freeze-Frame Revolution," a novella from the "Sunflower Cycle" series. It focuses on Sunday Ahzmundin, a crew member of a spacecraft named "Eriophora," which has been traveling through the universe for thousands of years.

The protagonist has a soft spot for Chimp, an artificial intelligence that controls the ship, and she considers him a friend. However, other passengers are planning a rebellion against the A.I. Eventually, Sunday is torn between her affection for Chimp and her uncertainties about him as a ruthless machine.

The protagonist has a soft spot for Chimp, an artificial intelligence that controls the ship, and she considers him a friend.

Next, at #7 is "Twinmaker" by Sean Williams. This narrative centers on a dystopian realm where an invention called "d-mat" has enabled people to travel across the world. The main heroine, Clair Hill, is an ordinary teenage girl who has spent her life in the shadow of her popular best buddy Libby.

When a new technology, called "Improvement," arises and promises to enhance a person's beauty and strength, Libby gives it a try but soon falls into a trap. Clair joins forces with Jesse, the school freak and Q, their mysterious online friend, to rescue her BFF from impending doom.

At #8 is "Kill Process" by William Hertling. Angelina "Angie" Benenati is a data analyst who works for a social networking giant called "Tomo." Unknown to many, Angie has conflicting personalities. Outside, she is a brilliant tech wizard, but inside, she is a brutal serial killer.

Unknown to many, Angie has conflicting personalities.

Finally, at #9 is "Burning Midnight" by Will McIntosh. The storyline is set in a world where abilities are encapsulated in spheres. The color of each little globe signifies what gift it holds. For instance, a pink one can make you hold your breath longer, while a yellow one can make you grow taller.

David "Sully" Sullivan collects oddly-pigmented orbs, then sells them at the flea market. One day, Sully and his partner Hunter happen upon a unique golden sphere, which may possess a great power. They must protect it from an diabolic mogul threatening to use it for evil.