Sci-fi books are possibly one of the most imaginative pieces of content we can access today for unwinding. They’ve got it all: epic adventures, out of this world details that can truly be amazing, as well as surprisingly realistic political overviews (the time and technologies may change, but human nature stays the same). Perhaps only fantasy books can come in second after sci-fi books; hardcore fantasy fans may beg to differ and the matter is debatable, of course, but the fact remains that sci-fi books are among the few things that still manage to make us read nowadays.
The only thing holding many of us back from the reading is this: many popular sci-fi books come with the bad habit of being part of huge series stretching out numerous volumes. Contemplating how much more reading you actually have ahead of you is enough to postpone the reading of those wonderful sci-fi books indefinitely, or simply quit and just see some similar movies instead.
Here’s the good news: we have put together a brief list of top 5 great sci-fi books that aren’t part of a series, and that can open back your appetite for reading. That’s right: these 5 masterpieces are completely stand-alone and won’t overwhelm you with tens of volumes to go through. Our list could go on, but we decided to share these 5 ones for starters, and come back with more suggestions in the future.
1. Dark Run, by Mike Brooks
One of the most stunning debut works from a relatively young author, Dark Run was a pleasant surprise to all of its readers, managing to verge on a classic quality. The characters are clean-cut, the political complexity of our world fast forward into the future by about 200 years is deliciously plausible, and the mindfulness with which the author treats minority cultures is refreshing. If you fancy space smugglers, rebelliousness against corruption and an immersive world that doesn’t become overbearing with details, this is the book for you. You can find it on Amazon (in both paperback and Kindle editions).
2. Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor
If you like exploring non-Western writings in addition to being attracted to sci-fi books, then our next suggestion is definitely the right choice for you. It’s the story of an African girl, the first of her nation who gets accepted into a prestigious university on another planet, and about her journey to the new school which awaits. The predictable tale of a young and hopeful new student then gets intertwined with a classic sci-fi when her ship gets attacked. The ending will surprise you, and it would be safe to say that overall the book is nothing like you’d expect it to be, in a good way. You can find the book on Amazon.
3. Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson
Our next choice comes from a multi-awarded author for a change, so if you haven’t managed to read anything by him yet, this is the perfect entry to get you started. One of the most popular sci-fi books of the recent years, Snow Crash is about Sumerian mythology brought into the present and the future through the lens of a mega cyber intelligence. A pizza delivery boy in the normal world, Hiro (our main character) is also a warrior prince in the Metaverse (an alternate universe which coexists and intertwines with ours). Surely this is enough to peak your interest. You can find it on Amazon.
4. Arkwright, by Allen Steele
This newly released book has very high chances of becoming the next sci-fi book enthusiast Bible. It features classic, hard sci-fi imaginative works, with a multi-generational plot through various planets and space travel, as well as bow-down references to the most important sci-fi writers of all time. It also includes the setting of a colony in extra-terrestrial space, in deliciously elaborate details. If you’re usually a fan of works such as Asimov’s, then you’ll definitely enjoy this one as well. You can find it here.
5. Orleans, by Sherri Smith
If you liked the Fallout games, then you’ll definitely like Orleans. Set into an almost post-apocalyptic future, Sherri Smith’s novel tells the tale of a desolate and sinking Orleans, and of the surprising discovery that years after the cataclysms and the abandoning of the entire Gulf Coast, a new primate society was formed in its ruins. You can find the book on Amazon.