The Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of 2018 (So Far)

Posted by Marie on August 20, 2018
Goodreads SFF Week 2018

If you're looking for a ticket into the far future or a faraway kingdom, science fiction and fantasy novels offer some of the best round-trip destinations. This year, our readers have found retreats in the Nikara Empire and along the edges of the Unknown Regions. But which of these travel spots can be considered 2018's best of the best (so far)? We've got the answer.

For this roundup, we focused on the most popular science fiction and fantasy books published from January to August. To measure this, we took a look at how many times a book has been added to Goodreads members' shelves. From there, we narrowed down our list to include only titles that have a minimum four-star rating.

How many of these books have you read? Don't forget to add your favorites to your Want to Read shelf!


Fantasy
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Science Fiction
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Comments Showing 1-50 of 78 (78 new)


message 1: by Anissa (new)

Anissa I've read Martha Wells' Artificial Condition and have Reynolds' Elysium Fire on my to read list as I've read The Prefect this year. I've heard great things about Robinette Kowal's The Calculating Stars & broke down and purchased it while on vacation so I'm looking forward to that.

I think I'm losing or have already lost my enthusiasm or momentum for the Red Rising series. I bought Iron Gold as soon as it came out but put it down after a couple chapters and haven't been pulled back to it.


message 2: by Tracy (new)

Tracy I have such a strange, deep fondness for the Murderbot in Martha Wells' novellas. All Systems Red has now received a Nebula, a Locus award, and a Hugo as well! In typical selfish reader mode, I can only wish each story was longer because I like them so much.


message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert Buelow You are missing David Weber's Call to Vengeance.


message 4: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale Could not tell what the hell was going on in The Tea Master and the Detective.


message 5: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Mcnelis The Infinet, by John Akers, is definitely worth a read, though it likesly has too few reviews to have made it to this list.


message 6: by Lana (new)

Lana why don't i see any indie authors amongst the favourites at all? they write amazing fantasy and sci fi books too and they are the only ones i am reading at the moment!!


message 7: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale Because most GR users don't read indie authors? I wonder if you thought of that, Lana, before asking.


message 8: by Colin (new)

Colin Evans Soldier Neal Asher


message 9: by Francisco (new)

Francisco Gámiz A list with incredible titles! But I think Children of Blood and Bone it should also be there.


message 10: by Barbara ★ (new)

Barbara ★ I'm currently reading Record of a Spaceborn Few


message 11: by Jenny (last edited Aug 20, 2018 04:15PM) (new)

Jenny Lana, if you like sci fi indie authors have a look at The Halls of Avienne by John Zakis


message 12: by Elisabeth (new)

Elisabeth Clearly I have been out of loop...lots of great books here!


message 13: by Reflector (new)

Reflector Is Jim Butcher good? I keep getting recommended his books based on what I've read.


message 14: by Hladini (new)

Hladini Francisco wrote: "A list with incredible titles! But I think Children of Blood and Bone it should also be there."

I completely agree! I was actually looking for CBB on the fantasy list. A bit disappointed that it wasn't there as it really is a fantastic breakout fantasy book!


message 15: by Randy (new)


message 16: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Replogle Just finished John Scalzi's Head On. Wow! THAT was a good read!


message 17: by Tanya (new)

Tanya From this list, I've only read Iron Gold. I loved it. I love tge different POVs, as opposed to the one POV in the previous three books. I added Senlin Ascends and Circe to my TBR list.


message 18: by Lana (new)

Lana Lana wrote: "why don't i see any indie authors amongst the favourites at all? they write amazing fantasy and sci fi books too and they are the only ones i am reading at the moment!!"

Lana wrote: "why don't i see any indie authors amongst the favourites at all? they write amazing fantasy and sci fi books too and they are the only ones i am reading at the moment!!"

sorry for asking amber, you did not have to be so rude and arrogant in your reply it was just a question, maybe cause i am just reading indie authors that i asked!!


message 19: by Mark (new)

Mark Lawrence Great to see Grey Sister up there!

& I am really pleased to see Senlin Ascends get the reception it so richly deserves.


message 20: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Morris Colin wrote: "Soldier Neal Asher"
Hard to believe they don’t have Neal Asher books on here. He writes great science fiction! His Polity Universe is amazing.


message 21: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Morris Reflector wrote: "Is Jim Butcher good? I keep getting recommended his books based on what I've read."

Jim Buthcer IS good. You will enjoy his characters.


message 22: by Christina (new)

Christina Amber wrote: "Because most GR users don't read indie authors? I wonder if you thought of that, Lana, before asking."

I mean, it's not insane to think that some users actually come to Good Reads to find Good Reads... even off the beaten path.

So, like, holy gods your tone is really very rude.


message 23: by Christina (new)

Christina Lana wrote: "Lana wrote: "why don't i see any indie authors amongst the favourites at all? they write amazing fantasy and sci fi books too and they are the only ones i am reading at the moment!!"

Lana wrote: "..."


Lana, if you haven't read Rivers Solomon's An Unkindness of Ghosts, you really must add it to your list. I LOVED it and I'm not normally a sci-fi reader. (Though it's gotten me interested in the genre and I'm definitely looking for recommendations.)


message 24: by Andy (new)

Andy Lana wrote: "why don't i see any indie authors amongst the favourites at all? they write amazing fantasy and sci fi books too and they are the only ones i am reading at the moment!!"

I read Senlin Ascends during its original release as an indie, so if you had to pick one on here that’s at least indie-ish you could go with that one.


message 25: by Amber (last edited Aug 21, 2018 12:21PM) (new)

Amber Martingale Reflector wrote: "Is Jim Butcher good? I keep getting recommended his books based on what I've read."

Depends on what you like on your urban fantasy if you're gonna start with The Dresden Files If you like urban fantasy AND you like your heroes to be snarky smart alecks, you'll love Harry Dresden, which means you'll love Jim Butcher.

Lana: you're the first person I've seen on GR who (that I can remember) who reads indie writers.

Christina: Not so much rude as blunt. I don't mince words. That said, you're right that I could probably have handled my reply to Lana better. That too said, you try keeping up with this thread while being involved in at least a dozen other threads at the same time and YOU try to keep your temper in check. Trust me on this: it ain't easy. *s*


message 26: by Ivie (new)

Ivie Lana wrote: "why don't i see any indie authors amongst the favourites at all? they write amazing fantasy and sci fi books too and they are the only ones i am reading at the moment!!"

There are lots of fans of Indie authors on here, myself included. Indie authors are growing in popularity and sometimes, their books are better. I'm disappointed I didn't find any Indie authors on here, either. I was looking for one of my favorites, K.A Emmons. Not sure if you've heard of The Blood Race or Worlds Beneath, but both books are stunning. :D

Have an awesome day.


message 27: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Stoolfire I'm so pleased to see Senlin Ascends on this list! It was so awesome!


message 28: by Kelley (new)

Kelley Ceccato Spinning Silver is amazing so far!


message 29: by Luna (new)

Luna Lovegood Iron Gold was amazing- I can’t wait for Dark Age!


message 30: by Jay (new)

Jay I finished Iron Gold, but I didn’t like how Pierce Brown antagonized Darrow


message 31: by James (new)

James i am hoping the future holds more independent authors and more female/people-of-color/LTBTQ authors... also, hoping there are more great standalone books, i am so tired of these multi-book behemoths :)


message 32: by James (new)

James another Dan Simmons book would be great too :)
(and yes, i do see the irony in that, as his Science Fiction releases are multi-book behemoths...)


message 33: by Taryn (new)

Taryn Lana wrote: "why don't i see any indie authors amongst the favourites at all? they write amazing fantasy and sci fi books too and they are the only ones i am reading at the moment!!"

Seconded. I've been reading a lot of indie books lately because the popular mainstream books are disappointing me.

On that note, the GoodReads yearly awards are always filled with mainstream books and the same authors always seem to win. Within all of the categories I regularly read, I was able to accurately guess who would win. It would be nice if they did awards for indie books as well, to showcase some lesser known works and authors. Just because they're not NYT bestsellers doesn't mean they aren't good and enjoyable!


message 34: by Richp (last edited Aug 22, 2018 12:43PM) (new)

Richp Taryn wrote: "Lana wrote: "why don't i see any indie authors amongst the favourites at all? they write amazing fantasy and sci fi books too and they are the only ones i am reading at the moment!!"

Seconded. I'v..."


GR may have been created as a book readers site, but bills need to get paid and it was sold to book sellers (I believe Amazon). While readers supply most of the content, sellers are motivated to go with what is most likely to sell most in the future.

I do wish the list titles were more honest. Best of the most popular is a bit awkward, but not deceiving.


message 35: by Kenya (last edited Aug 22, 2018 01:14PM) (new)

Kenya Starflight Aw, c'mon, no love for Space Opera? Easily one of the best sci-fi books I've read this year...

EDIT: Okay, so it looks like "Space Opera" didn't meet the "at least 4-star rating" requirement. Evidently I'm in the minority thinking it's one of the best sci-fi books...


message 36: by James (new)

James Kenya wrote: "Aw, c'mon, no love for Space Opera? Easily one of the best sci-fi books I've read this year...

EDIT: Okay, so it looks like "Space Opera" didn't meet the "at least 4-star rating" r..."


"Space Opera" never got interesting for me... methinks CMV is becoming too enamored with her skills at language-play and creativity, and skips on plot development... i love a lot of her works, but her recent forays have been splashy but vapid :/


message 37: by Elise (new)

Elise I think my favorite so far this year has been Grey Sister, but I’ve only read handful. I generally don’t read too many new releases the same year they come out except by favorite authors.


message 38: by Dario (last edited Aug 22, 2018 05:18PM) (new)

Dario Judicibus English only. So what about fantasy and sci-fy novels in other languages? Why non-English authors are always discriminated?


message 39: by Taryn (new)

Taryn Kenya wrote: "Aw, c'mon, no love for Space Opera? Easily one of the best sci-fi books I've read this year...

EDIT: Okay, so it looks like "Space Opera" didn't meet the "at least 4-star rating" requirement. Evidently I'm in the minority thinking it's one of the best sci-fi books... "


I find the four-star or higher requirement very misleading. I can't even count how many books I've seen with 4+ star ratings that haven't been released yet, or people who give 5 star ratings on books that they haven't read just because they love the author/series. GR needs a better algorithm.

Richp wrote: "GR may have been created as a book readers site, but bills need to get paid and it was sold to book sellers (I believe Amazon). While readers supply most of the content, sellers are motivated to go with what is most likely to sell most in the future.

I do wish the list titles were more honest. Best of the most popular is a bit awkward, but not deceiving. "


Pretty sure it's Amazon. And yeah, I understand that. Doesn't mean it isn't annoying and a tiny bit unfair. That's why I suggested separate indie awards for lesser known titles.


message 40: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Circe is my fave read of 2018, and I also love Seanan McGuire's series!

I am really looking forward to Spinning Silver, having read Uprooted by the same author.


message 41: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Francisco wrote: "A list with incredible titles! But I think Children of Blood and Bone it should also be there."

Yep!


message 42: by Scarlett (new)

Scarlett Lana wrote: "Lana wrote: "why don't i see any indie authors amongst the favourites at all? they write amazing fantasy and sci fi books too and they are the only ones i am reading at the moment!!"

Lana wrote: "..."


I just thought the same thing! Funny how we all agreed that Amber is a bitch :)


message 43: by Juliet (new)

Juliet Smith James wrote: "i am hoping the future holds more independent authors and more female/people-of-color/LTBTQ authors... also, hoping there are more great standalone books, i am so tired of these multi-book behemoth..."
Have you read any of Malinda Lo's books. She is both a lesbian and POC (Asian). I've only read a short story of her's but it was amazing and surprisingly lyrical.


message 44: by Susan (new)

Susan Frances Hi I'm new to the conversation. I'm a new author. My brand book is out, title "A Glimpse Beyond The Aether". I actually have three sci fi / romance books, and I take special care that my females, my heroines, are strong and iconic.
"A Glimpse Beyond The Aether" is about a future world where knowledge of the afterlife is absolutely known. TMI !!!
My heroine is the pivital character.
Anybody read it? Would love to read your book too.
Susan


message 45: by Tom (new)

Tom Grant Circe is great. Iron Gold is not nearly as good as the preceding three. Children of Blood and Bone presents a wonderful new voice. I will probably try some others on this list, Scalzi, in particular, has a great track record. I'm less eager to try Chambers again.


message 46: by Deborah (new)

Deborah for Lana and others of you out there in the indie quest:

After reading these comments I simply Googled "best indie authors fantasy" and found 2 healthy lists ON GOODREADS. So at least two other people are Goodreads members and read indie books!

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/2...

Over 1300 readers voted in each of these lists (can't say how many are crossovers), so know you're not alone in being an indie reader!

FYI, I found (not on Goodreads) this list:
http://bestfantasybooks.com/best-indi...

So, Lana, keep on looking for those indie authors!
And Amber, yeah. Try to remember that Goodreads is a site for avid readers, no matter the genre, personal taste in books, or recognition or status given to any author. Let's keep it kind here, ok?


message 47: by Laurel (new)

Laurel I'm not sure how Dennis E. Taylor's The Singularity Trap isn't on this list.


message 48: by Amber (new)

Amber Martingale Dario wrote: "English only. So what about fantasy and sci-fy novels in other languages? Why non-English authors are always discriminated?"

Because this is America and the GR headquarters are full of English speakers.

Scarlett: Bitches don't apologize, to the best of my knowledge. I, however, do apologize...eventually.

Susan: DON"T ADVERTISE HERE, PLEASE!


message 49: by James (new)

James wow, these discussions are funny as hell! why can't people just accept everyone has their opinion about what is good, indie, POC, etc.? and be OK with Amazon owning goodreads, it ain't changing, and it sure doesn't keep you from buying books or rating books or just taking your shite elsewhere... read what you want, tell people about it, and be OK with someone thinking your choice is awful or lame or great or whatever... when did people start needing so much validation from any- and everyone about their choices?!?!? there isn't any quality that will get me to read a book besides it being written well, so i don't particularly care if the author is gay or black or gay AND black, or agnostic and vegan, or agnostic and vegetarian, or LGBTQIA or female with a dick or a man transitioning to hermaphrodite... all this jibberjabber about inclusion and "don't judge me by my skin/sex/gender/hair color/whatever!", but so many people are pointing out their specifics and using them as badges to collect readers, like any book written by someone in "their group" is automatically great and should be 5-starred by everyoen, else they disrespect "the cause of the marginalized"... question: does propping up crappy fiction boost the cause for marginalized writers, or does it just make readers think of tribalism and exclusion and separateness? yes, we need more non-white, non-male, non-staright writers, but we also need them to be GOOD! many famous white/straight/male writers are famous because they write good shit... yes, many that don't fit that group have been passed over, no doubt, but shoveling your crap to readers with the implication others must like it because it NOT by straight/white/males is just dumb as fuck... sure, maybe some authors will never escape their ultraspecific and self-applied label, and why does that matter? black people can only read black authors if they want... choices... i don't read romance, EVER, but that doesn't mean it's crap, it just means i don't read it... but i'm not apologizing for that or taking shit from people for it either... nor are any romance authors strafing me for NOT reading their stuff... BTW, what is an independent author anyway? and why does anyone think they deserve to be read just because they don't have a publicist or whatever? when do they cease to be "indie", whatever that means?? "indie" sounds like a marketing tool, and it seems to work, so have at it, "indie" authors... but if your books are shite, i'm out and your "fans" probably will desert you too... lots of great books by a variety of authors to read, wasting time on any specific genre/writer-type to "further their cause" is just silly... i don't care where you came from or how hard it was to get your book out there, you CHOSE to be an author... so, be a GOOD one and things will work out... probably... if they don't, suck it up... billions of people have it harder than you do, trust me...


message 50: by Samuel (new)

Samuel A particularly missing title from the sci-fi discussion is Christopher Ruocchio's Empire of Silence.


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