24 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Picks to Shake Up Your Book Club

Posted by Hayley on April 10, 2019
Browse through the most popular book club titles on Goodreads, and you'll notice the same genres over and over again: historical fiction, mystery, literary fiction. There's nothing wrong with that! Comfort zones are comfortable for a reason. But if you or your book club want to try something new, we've got you covered.

And don't panic—the fantastical doesn't have to be too unfamiliar. If you love reading about World War II, then why not World War II plus a time machine? Can't resist a good murder investigation? Find out how thrilling those can be on the moon.

Explore the books below and add what catches your eye to your Want to Read shelves. Of course, this isn't an exhaustive list of spectacular sci-fi and fantasy options for book clubs; share your own recommendations in the comments!



Literary musings...at the end of the world


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Historical fiction...with a side of time travel


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Detectives...in other worlds and other times


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Great discussions...under dystopian circumstances


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Zombies...used to be people, too


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Bold fantasy epics...for casual Game of Thrones fans


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Have your own book club recommendations? Share them with us in the comments!

Check out more recent articles:
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The Hottest New Releases of April
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Comments Showing 1-46 of 46 (46 new)

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message 1: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Myers Including Vox over the far superior The Handmaid's Tale, The Power, Native Tongue, Parable of the Sower, The Left Hand of Darkness, A Door Into Ocean, or He, She and It...

...As Tatianna would say: That was a choice.


message 2: by Sara (last edited Apr 10, 2019 02:43AM) (new)

Sara Pleased to see Jodi Taylor on here! The St Mary’s series is one of my favourites.


message 3: by Roger (new)

Roger Bailey My suggestion is to not lump science fiction and fantasy together. They are the difference between astronomy and astrology, chemistry and alchemy. They are as far apart as any two literary genres can be. So why are they always lumped together as if they are one genre?


message 4: by Holly (new)

Holly Roger wrote: "My suggestion is to not lump science fiction and fantasy together. They are the difference between astronomy and astrology, chemistry and alchemy. They are as far apart as any two literary genres c..."

Agreed. I read a lot of fantasy, but I can't stand sci fi.


message 5: by Dave (new)

Dave Delfavero I agree. Should not lump fan and sci fi together.


message 6: by Cendaquenta (new)

Cendaquenta These are amazing recommendations. I particularly loved Station Eleven and all the books under the "bold fantasy epics" heading.


message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. Pure genius.


message 8: by Ann (new)

Ann Any Allan dean foster books coming out?


message 9: by Paola (new)

Paola Roger wrote: "My suggestion is to not lump science fiction and fantasy together. They are the difference between astronomy and astrology, chemistry and alchemy. They are as far apart as any two literary genres c..."

Agree. Though i love both.


message 10: by Erin (new)

Erin My book club is reading The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter this month. Historical mystery with a twist of "monsters"!


message 11: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Roger wrote: "My suggestion is to not lump science fiction and fantasy together. They are the difference between astronomy and astrology, chemistry and alchemy. They are as far apart as any two literary genres c..."

As a fan of both, I agree. I feel like they get lumped together as "lesser literature". They deserve to be taken more seriously and seen as two separate, valid forms of literature.


message 12: by Mackay (new)

Mackay Daniel wrote: "Including Vox over the far superior The Handmaid's Tale, The Power, Native Tongue, Parable of the Sower, [book:The Left Hand ..."
So right!


message 13: by David (last edited Apr 10, 2019 09:19AM) (new)

David Roger wrote: "My suggestion is to not lump science fiction and fantasy together. They are the difference between astronomy and astrology, chemistry and alchemy. They are as far apart as any two literary genres c..."

Uhhhh...what? They are, in fact, very close to each other, and share an absolutely massive overlap in readership. Fantasy is closer to scifi than it is to, say, literary fiction, or billionaire romances, or military fiction, or anything grounded in the present day real world. Many, many works straddle the line between them and are hard to define as either one or the other, hence "science fantasy," as an ad-hoc genre descriptor, of which Star Wars is the most popular example. Most people read Book of the New Sun and think it's fantasy, because it has the trappings of fantasy. Low tech society, young man with a sword on a quest, but in reality it's far future scifi earth. There is scifi that cares not a whit about actual science and treats science like magic that moves the plot forward, while there is fantasy that treats its magic like another discipline of science we just haven't discovered yet, or that doesn't exist on our planet/universe. Brandon Sanderson took his medieval level tech society in mistborn and advanced it to post industrial, and plans to take it to 80s level tech and then space opera, all the while maintaining the magic system they had and in fact incorporating it into their method of creating advanced technology. Dragonriders of Pern is about a far future human colony riding genetically engineered dragons in a low tech agrarian society. Is that scifi or fantasy? Hard to say, right?

I'm not going to say separating them for lists such as these is a bad idea, that would also be fine with me, but to say they are "as far apart as any two literary genres can be," is very silly and almost entirely opposite the truth. They're two sides of the same coin, the only two genres that can be and do anything, more a difference in presentation than in preparation.


message 14: by Nicko (new)

Nicko Moknu Read most of the epic fantasy ones... except The Fifth Season. Need to do a bit more documentation on that one before I pick it up.


message 15: by Julia (new)

Julia Roger wrote: "My suggestion is to not lump science fiction and fantasy together. They are the difference between astronomy and astrology, chemistry and alchemy. They are as far apart as any two literary genres c..."

True, but alchemy was the first steps to modern chemistry!
Just sayin'!

But yes, I read tons of fantasy and very little science fiction. They really should be separately categorized.


message 16: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca The Claidi Journals by Tanith Lee!
They're YA books, but they're fantastic!


message 17: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Some of these make sense, other's don't. I get that everyone and their mom is jumping on the Fifth Season train, but it does not, in any universe, belong on a list of Fantasy Epics. It's a self contained meditation on rape and slavery that just so happens to be set in a fantasy world


message 18: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Daniel wrote: "Including Vox over the far superior The Handmaid's Tale, The Power, Native Tongue, Parable of the Sower, [book:The Left Hand ..."

Very much agree


message 19: by Cendaquenta (new)

Cendaquenta To be fair, I see why Parable of the Sower wasn't there, since the list already has an Octavia Butler book.
And The Handmaid's Tale is mentioned on almost literally every other Goodreads blog article.


message 20: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Myers Cendaquenta wrote: "To be fair, I see why Parable of the Sower wasn't there, since the list already has an Octavia Butler book.
And The Handmaid's Tale is mentioned on almost literally every other Goodreads blog article."


Fair enough, but my main point is that Vox is poorly written with an unlikeable protagonist and a predictable plot that's riddled with inconsistencies and plot holes, and there are many other sci-fi or fantasy books that deal with feminist issues.


message 21: by Kavan (new)

Kavan Kindred is one of the best books I've ever read. That book has so much to say about slavery, economics, the notion of home and love...


message 22: by Brooks (new)

Brooks Holly wrote: "Roger wrote: "My suggestion is to not lump science fiction and fantasy together. They are the difference between astronomy and astrology, chemistry and alchemy. They are as far apart as any two lit..."

Indeed! Thank you for this, I hate seeing these two very different and diverse genes mixed together. It's like saying ice cream and lubricant are the same thing.


message 23: by Dan (new)

Dan McCarthy Agree that sci-fi and fantasy are very different but splitting them risks creating too many genres. I’ve just read a novel The Great Divide, set in the Canadian Rockies and could be called contemporary fantasy. No sci-fi but mystical creatures, and a great villain as main character. Well written with many plot twists. A great read, especially if you’re planning on visiting the misty mountains. The Great Divide


message 24: by Brooks (new)

Brooks Daniel wrote: "Agree that sci-fi and fantasy are very different but splitting them risks creating too many genres. I’ve just read a novel The Great Divide, set in the Canadian Rockies and could be called contempo..."

The fact is, they are different genres already. Lumping them together is the problem. They are also both separate from Horror and romance. There are overlapping elements in each of them, but the same can be said for Mystery and Drama too.

Really, too many genres really is not a problem.


message 25: by Mags (new)

Mags Richard wrote: "Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. Pure genius."

I totally agree, fantastic read.


message 26: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Mcglone The Three Body Problem by Liu is one of the best sci-fi novels. The two books in the series are also excellent


message 27: by KIM (new)

KIM I love the Brenna Strachan series by Hadena James in fantasy books and her Dreams and Reality series for serial killer thriller mystery. Since HJ is an independent author I never see her books on the best lists but she's great, she has become my favorite author and the only one I will pay to read. Everything else is KU.


message 28: by Elena (new)

Elena You should read Maggie Stiefvater's books like Shiver, Linger, and Forever.


message 29: by Ken (new)

Ken Try the Johannes Cabal series (5 books) by Jonathan L. Howard. Fantasy with a touch of steampunk, vampirism, zombies, demons and ghouls all set in early 1900s Europe centering on an amoral anti-hero reminiscent of Sheldon Cooper.....sarcasm with a distinctly Dickensian flavor. Highly recommended.


message 30: by Anissa (new)

Anissa I see plenty of people have already covered my usual request of Goodreads to give science fiction & fantasy separate quarter when they make such lists (glad I'm not the only one), so I'll just get on to what books I'd suggest for book club reading that haven't been mentioned:

Apocalyptic & post: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, The Book of M

Detectives in space: Places in the Darkness, The Disappeared (it's the first in a series), The Prefect (also first in a series)

Short but worth it: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, Prime Meridian, Love Minus Eighty

And lastly, Salvage.


message 31: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Richard wrote: "Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. Pure genius."

Yes! I had my book club read it this winter, and we had a really interesting discussion.

I just finished his Pines trilogy which were a lot of fun!


message 32: by Allison (new)

Allison Holly wrote: "Roger wrote: "My suggestion is to not lump science fiction and fantasy together. They are the difference between astronomy and astrology, chemistry and alchemy. They are as far apart as any two lit..."

Also agree. It bothers me when they are lumped together because I much prefer fantasy to sci fi.


message 33: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Eades Right so this might sound bad, but I'm sure I read station 11. Like I remember buying it and looking forward to it ... But I can't for the life of me remember actually reading it. Anything anyone can say about it that I would definitely remember if I had read it??


message 34: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Eades Vox really wasn't that bad. It was no handmaid's tale but then if you do t compare them it has some merit in it's own right. And good as a quick read. I have read so much worse.


message 35: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Eades One of us is well worth a read. I felt it was sci fi ish with a clear historical undertone about racism. A different story to the norm.


message 36: by Elena (new)

Elena Can you name some books for me that have wolves in them or vampires?


message 37: by Denise (last edited Apr 16, 2019 07:33PM) (new)

Denise Tremblay I recommend the book "Daram" and its sequel, "Varashti", by Hetty Crane and P.J. Merchant. The series is a wonderfully written portal fantasy with a romantic bent, full of unexpected twists and turns, in a world where music has magical power. I hated to see the second book end!
www.talesfromtaihandria.com


message 38: by Ann (new)

Ann Denise wrote: "I recommend the book "Daram" and its sequel, "Varashti", by Hetty Crane and P.J. Merchant. The series is a wonderfully written portal fantasy with a romantic bent, full of unexpected twists and tur..."

I am not into this genre however after you description it sounds rather intriguing Thanks I love music so....


message 39: by Elena (new)

Elena Denise I can not get on that website. I am on a school computer, and can't get on it.


message 40: by Denise (new)

Denise Tremblay Shelby wrote: "Denise I can not get on that website. I am on a school computer, and can't get on it."

Shelby: you can try to get the ebook here, from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Daram-Tales-Ta...


message 41: by Elena (new)

Elena No Ma'am. I can't. I am McComb High School in McComb, and they block a lot of things here. So no I can't.


message 42: by Dave (new)

Dave J. Is there a way an author can get their book on a list like this? I'm not trying to self-promote, but I have been seeking to get my book out there more and gain lots of readers. It is a fantasy and I am planning on making it into a series.


message 43: by Ann (new)

Ann Dave (David) wrote: "Is there a way an author can get their book on a list like this? I'm not trying to self-promote, but I have been seeking to get my book out there more and gain lots of readers. It is a fantasy and ..."

New release section? you can also add a book manually to their search section


message 44: by Jdawg (new)

Jdawg I agree. Also a lot of book publishers/editors/critics/etc lump sci-fi and horror together too.

There should be 3 categories: sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.


message 45: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn Stanley No Ursula le Guin


message 46: by Aman (new)

Aman Joshi thats amazing..... you may also like Learn Programming WhatsApp Groups


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