The 100 Most Popular Sci-Fi Books on Goodreads

Posted by Cybil on July 7, 2020


Dystopias, alien invasions, regenerated dinosaurs, space operas, multiverses, and more, the realm of science fiction takes readers out of this world to tackle all-too-real issues, including oppression, bigotry, censorship, and the horrors of war. To celebrate the most inventive of genres, we’re exploring readers’ 100 most popular science fiction novels of all time on Goodreads.

As all good sci-fi readers know, the science behind the story is half the fun. To create our list, we ran the data to reveal the most reviewed books on our site. Additionally, each title needed at least a 3.5-star rating from your fellow readers to join this list. And, since science fiction is known for its continuing voyages, in the case of multiple titles from the same series, we chose the one with the most reviews.

Here are the top science fiction novels on Goodreads, listed from 1 to 100. We hope you discover a book or two you’ll want to read in this lineup, whether it’s a classic of the genre or one of the newer entries to sci-fi.


#1

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#2

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#3

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#4

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#5

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#6

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#7

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#8

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#9

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#10

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#11

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#12

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#13

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#14

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#15

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#16

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#17

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#18

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#19

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#20

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#21

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#22

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#23

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#24

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#25

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#26

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#27

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#28

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#29

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#30

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#31

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#32

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#33

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#34

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#35

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#36

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#37

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#38

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#39

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#40

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#41

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#42

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#43

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#44

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#45

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#46

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#47

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#48

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#49

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#50

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#51

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#52

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#53

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#54

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#55

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#56

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#57

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#58

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#59

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#60

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#61

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#62

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#63

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#64

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#65

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#66

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#67

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#68

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#69

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#70

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#71

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#72

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#73

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#74

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#75

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#76

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#77

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#78

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#79

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#80

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#81

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#82

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#83

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#84

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#85

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#86

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#87

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#88

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#89

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#90

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#91

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#92

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#93

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#94

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#95

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#96

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#97

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#98

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#99

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#100

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How many of these books have you read? What’s your favorite sci-fi novel of all time? Let’s talk books in the comments!
 

Comments Showing 1-50 of 533 (533 new)


message 1: by Jane (new)

Jane Mitchell-Barnes I was disappointed that Iain M Banks was not higher on this list. Consider Phlebas is one of my favourite books of any genre. His culture novels are epic.


message 2: by Rawzer (last edited Jul 07, 2020 02:26AM) (new)

Rawzer looking forward to spending some time working through this list. Obviously its wrong because Dune is definitively No 1 on any list of greatest SciFi novels, but looks like its got some great stuff on there!


message 3: by Omar (new)

Omar Kooheji Jane wrote: "I was disappointed that Iain M Banks was not higher on this list. Consider Phlebas is one of my favourite books of any genre. His culture novels are epic."

I'm not sure the Phlebas is that accessible, I read it and I found it a bit of a slog, I enjoyed it in the end, but it put me off reading the later novels in the series.


message 4: by Dirk (new)

Dirk Van Read 31, and a lot still on my to-read list.
Missing a couple of very good recent ones:

The Vanished Birds

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...

Oona out of Order:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...

Network Effect:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5...

The City we Became:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...


message 5: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Not read 1984 since I was in school. Must re-read it. I dont remember it being good enough to be in the top 50. Influential? Sure. But thats not the list title.


message 6: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Jane wrote: "I was disappointed that Iain M Banks was not higher on this list. Consider Phlebas is one of my favourite books of any genre. His culture novels are epic."
Agreed! There are also novels here that aren't really SF... 'Animal Farm' for example...
But still includes some really good books...
Try Dan Simmons Hyperion. Another favourite writer of mine.


Людовика Фьюртенде Wow! Whole THREE books by not English-speaking authors! Congratulations.


message 8: by Liz (new)

Liz Read 14. Started in 1960s with John Wyndham’s Chrysalids, still a readable book. Gradually moved onto the sci fi/fantasy spectrum. Favourite sci fi has to be Left Hand of Darkness. I own all Le Guin’s novels, poetry, and essays, plus books about her books!


message 9: by Steve (new)

Steve Hudson I'm sorry, but Tiger Tiger (The Stars my Destination) by Alfred Bester is the real No. 1


message 10: by Omar (new)

Omar Kooheji Dirk wrote: "Read 31, and a lot still on my to-read list.
Missing a couple of very good recent ones:

The Vanished Birds

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4...

Oona out of Order:

htt..."


I don't think there are multiple books in the same series there, so All Systems Red covers Network Effect. And the City we Became is Horror not Science fiction.

I'm going add Oona out of Order and Vanished birds to my to read pile though.


message 11: by Taalteek (new)

Taalteek For me the all-time number one is The Left Hand of Darknees by Ursula K. LeGuin.


message 12: by Phil Hartley (new)

Phil Hartley Really? No Sanderson? Mistborn is absolutely epic, no Feist? Lawrence? GRRM? Gemmell? This list is terrible, old does not equal best.


message 13: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Joseph wrote: "Not read 1984 since I was in school. Must re-read it. I dont remember it being good enough to be in the top 50. Influential? Sure. But thats not the list title."

Possibly the best book ever written. Not one word wasted.


message 14: by Nina (new)

Nina I do not understand why, there a so little recent scifi books


message 15: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Rawzer wrote: "looking forward to spending some time working through this list. Obviously its wrong because Dune is definitively No 1 on any list of greatest SciFi novels, but looks like its got some great stuff ..."

And only one Dune book to boot!? Madness!


message 16: by Paul (last edited Jul 07, 2020 04:01AM) (new)

Paul Brant A lazy pretty predictable list .
SF has moved on from this , become mainstream ?
ALL of the Culture works from Iain Banks should be in the top ten surely!


message 17: by Mark Reynolds (new)

Mark Reynolds Dune is #1, sorry | both Children of and Chapterhouse should also be in the list.
The list should also include Friday (Heinlein) for a good old fashioned romp.
The Caves of Steel - made such a deep impression on extremes of society, Welcome to the Monkey House (Vonnegut) and The Grey Lensman were all formative with Dune.

It's also truely disappointing that James DiGritz has not made an appearance for the sidewards look at the future; in fact nothing from Harry Harrison (a legend), Ben Bova (Peacekeepers in particular), Greg Bear (Eon et al) or Anne McCaffrey (Tower & Hive).


message 18: by Katie (new)

Katie Read 51 of these, for those commenting on the missing names etc. it is the all time most popular SF books on Goodreads so you are not likely to see all of your favourites, it is in my view a pretty good list to get you started in the genre and a feel for its development, really new books are not going to appear because they have not as yet got a following which will make them the best sellers of the future, give it time...


message 19: by James (new)

James Whitaker 40/100. Lists are a perversion, even if they are interesting! Utterly begs the question of what we feel "science fiction" to be. Get away from a linear presentation with no indication of how many nominated each book/author. What about a list of authors? Or series (e.g. Ringworld)?
You have already cost me a trip to Amazon and I worry that there may be more. :-)
Now let us see 101- 200?


message 20: by Rawzer (new)

Rawzer Mark Reynolds wrote: "Dune is #1, sorry | both Children of and Chapterhouse should also be in the list.
The list should also include Friday (Heinlein) for a good old fashioned romp.
The Caves of Steel - made such a deep..."


Chapterhouse is an interesting call, we probably need to create our own 'greatest Dune novels' list


message 21: by Colin (new)

Colin Murtagh Phil Hartley wrote: "Really? No Sanderson? Mistborn is absolutely epic, no Feist? Lawrence? GRRM? Gemmell? This list is terrible, old does not equal best."

It's SF not Fantasy


message 22: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Cooper My favourite sci-fi book of all time is 2001 a space odyssey. It's the best sci-fi book in existence.


message 23: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 07, 2020 04:52AM) (new)

26 of these, some many, many years ago. Those that stick in memory are Pratchett, Heinlein, Asimov, Adams and LeGuin.


message 24: by Peter (new)

Peter Breingan I cannot understand why Greg Bear is missing.
Aeon and Forge of God are my most favourite sci-fi reads.


message 25: by George (new)

George Lattimore No John Brunner. His "The Sheep Looked Up" was ahead of its time with respect to the environment. Should be somewhere on that list.


message 26: by Paulo (new)

Paulo Consider Phlebas is on the list, at 78.


message 27: by George (new)

George Lattimore Mark Reynolds wrote: "Dune is #1, sorry | both Children of and Chapterhouse should also be in the list.
The list should also include Friday (Heinlein) for a good old fashioned romp.
The Caves of Steel - made such a deep..."


You are right of course as the Real #1. Dune rules, even all these years later


message 28: by Martin (last edited Jul 07, 2020 05:08AM) (new)

Martin Whitfield Some very, very tired worthy stuff.
Starship Trooper, Dirk Gently and Ready Player One ?
Really ? I liked the books but top 100 ?
Love Scalzi but 3 books by him and nothing from Peter Hamiliton, Alistair Reynolds or Neal Asher seems a bit greedy?
Though nice to see that Corey and Morgan scraped in.


message 29: by Daniel Kavanagh (new)

Daniel Kavanagh Surprised Lucifers hammer didn’t make the cut


message 30: by Fiona (new)

Fiona Orr Strange list - not one Anne McCaffrey title?!


message 31: by Jon (new)

Jon Davis Jane wrote: "I was disappointed that Iain M Banks was not higher on this list. Consider Phlebas is one of my favourite books of any genre. His culture novels are epic."

I am with you there, dude. Top 10 at least


message 32: by Federico (new)

Federico I was disappointed not to find any of Jack McDevitt's works in this list. After reading pretty much everything he's published, I would strongly recommend:
The Hercules Text
Eternity Road
Ancient Shores
The Engines of God


message 33: by Federico (new)

Federico Peter wrote: "I cannot understand why Greg Bear is missing.
Aeon and Forge of God are my most favourite sci-fi reads."

Agreed!


message 34: by Rob (new)

Rob Milnes It's true. Ian M Banks is (tragically, was) the best sf writer and consider phloebas is not nearly his best tho v v good. Consider Against a dark background and Player of Games (definitely his best). A desperate shame that he is no longer with us. No Hamilton either????


message 35: by Jacques (new)

Jacques Lajoie Daniel Kavanagh wrote: "Surprised Lucifers hammer didn’t make the cut"

And many others from Larry Niven, like the Ringworld series, or The Integral Trees... The triumph of imagination !


message 36: by Peter (new)

Peter Lanier's 'Hiero's Journey' & it's sequel are my all time favourite sci-fi novels, just nudging Iain M Banks's Culture novels into next place


message 37: by Anne (new)

Anne Rather pleased and surprised to see that I have read quite a number of these considering that I wouldn't say it was my favourite genre. What about "on the Beach" by Neville Shute which was foretelling the future- or not!


message 38: by John (new)

John How are these sorted? For example, Crouch's Recursion has about 5,000 more ratings than Morgan's Altered Carbon, and has an average rating of 4.17 vs. 4.05. But it's ranked lower?

Not to mention Altered Carbon is just not good. Bad, really bad.


message 39: by Dirk (new)

Dirk Van Rob wrote: "It's true. Ian M Banks is (tragically, was) the best sf writer and consider phloebas is not nearly his best tho v v good. Consider Against a dark background and Player of Games (definitely his best..."

Don't forget Exession!
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

As always these lists are just the numbers. 1984 has more than 3 million ratings!!! And almost 50 % of them 5 stars and that is why it is on top of the list.
The Vanished Birds, one of the recent books I mentioned before has just a bit north of 1000 ratings with 40% 5 stars.


message 40: by Anne (new)

Anne The Hopkins Manuscript by R C Sherriff - when the moon collides with earth... written in 1939 but well thought out and made me ask if it was possible/likely!


message 41: by Gene (new)

Gene Takach Is there any reason "The Expanse" series books are not mentioned?


message 42: by Caryn (new)

Caryn HEEEELLLLLLLOOOOOOO!!!! NK Jemison, people!!!!!!!!!!


message 43: by Raymond (new)

Raymond Thompson I have read 44.

Le Guin's The Dispossessed should be higher.

Obviously we all have our own favourites that we would like to see included. Two of mine are McCaffrey's Dragonflight and Zelazny's Lord of Light, which I found very imaginative when I first read them.


message 44: by Björn (new)

Björn Friðgeir "we ran the data to reveal the most reviewed books on our site"
Obviously so many commenters failed to read this.


message 45: by Fay (last edited Jul 07, 2020 06:47AM) (new)

Fay Ratta Omar wrote: "Oona out o..."

Oona was such a disappointment for me and I am a huge time travel fan. I think there were enough people who didn't like it to keep it off the list


message 48: by John (new)

John 44 Some I don't even recognise , I'm sure there are a few I add instead.


message 49: by Angie (new)

Angie You missed any book by N. K. Jemisin, especially The Fifth Season (Broken Earth Series, #1).


message 50: by Claude (new)

Claude Rothman Where is "The great book of Amber" by Roger Zelazny?


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