This page links to recommended reading lists for a range of science fiction sub-genres as well as other sci-fi resources. It also lists science fiction authors whose work you may like to try - including familiar names and some that may be new to you.
Alien worlds, inter-species politics, exploration and survival, adventure and romance - science fiction is a genre that mixes the purely imaginative with serious science content. Many science fiction novels are now considered classics, not just of the genre itself but of literature generally.
From a time machine built in Victorian England, to man-made machinery taking on an intelligence of its own, to social commentary on politics and the nature of humanity, science fiction presents the reader with a version of the universe as it could be.
Prefer magic to science? Try our Fantasy fiction genre guide.
Authors of science fiction:
- Douglas Adams
- Isaac Asimov
- Iain M. Banks
- Stephen Baxter
- Greg Bear
- Octavia Butler
- Becky Chambers
- Arthur C. Clarke
- James S. A. Corey
- Philip K. Dick
- William Gibson
- Peter F. Hamilton
- Frank Herbert
- Hugh Howey
- N. K. Jemisin
- Ursula Le Guin
- Ann Leckie
- Stanislaw Lem
- Cixin Liu
- Jack McDevitt
- Richard Matheson
- Elizabeth Moon
- Larry Niven
- Alastair Reynolds
- Kim Stanley Robinson
- Dan Simmons
- Neal Stephenson
- Jeff Vandermeer
- Andy Weir
- H. G. Wells
- Martha Wells
- Timothy Zahn
The alien invasion genre stems the fear of discovering ourselves lower on the food chain. The superior alien race is often used as an allegory for military hegemony as an uneasy reminder of just how cold and calculating humans can be when it comes to displacing native inhabitants for access to resources. Who will win? us or them?
The 'SF Masterworks' series is dedicated to reprinting some of the best sci-fi stories in history. These authors and titles truly stand the test of time and this list is but a small taster of very rich pickings indeed. A great place to launch on your Sci-Fi reading journey, to revisit old favourites, or even make a new discovery of an old master.
These stories explore the intersection of humanity and computers/robotics - set against an explosive, gritty, twisted and dystopian backdrop. If you're into worlds where hackers, artificial intelligence and shady megacorporations coexist, these are the books for you.
Presents powerful critiques of the dominant culture, imagining far futures and alternate worlds - utopian, dystopian and skewed - in which power structures are shifted or intensified in ways that illuminate issues in our time.
The sub-genre that puts the ‘science’ in ‘Science Fiction’. These stories have high levels of scientific and technical accuracy, and speculate about potential futures or imagined alternative futures for humanity, with an emphasis on the scientific elements that could make such futures possible.
Science Fiction which does not takes itself too seriously. Characters with razor sharp wit, plot-lines which boggle the mind and warp reality in a zany fashion, and epic world-building - a usual hallmark of great science-fiction. Satire, sarcasm, pure silliness... there will be something here to tickle everyone's funny bone.
This list has stories about LGBTQIA+ characters set in Sci-Fi or Fantasy worlds. These stories are often dark and full of drama with life-threatening adventures, or with bright and fantastical settings filled with strange creatures and bursting with magic. If you like stories based around awesome environments, and cool, interesting characters grab one of these and get transported into another world!
Expect battles against an unknowable enemy, faster than light travel to leave you reeling, and an honour-bound duty to protect humanity and to secure peace across the galaxy. It’s no small thing being a space marine. These are big stories, most are the beginning of larger series - you’ll find action, adventure, and camaraderie.
A selection of titles celebrating Fantasy, Horror, and Sci-Fi born from the minds of talented, sometimes legendary New Zealand authors. There are epic quests, magical happenings, ghouls, and supernatural creatures from Māori myth, as well as slashers and killers. Some stories have distinctly Kiwi settings, others a more international flavour.
What could be more terrifying than the unknown threat from a dominant species from the depths of space? Or perhaps the violent invasion of a race of super-beings, the biological threats of widespread infection, the unknown consequences of relic discovery - it all looks bad for us puny humans facing the unknown of the deep black universe.
Part science fiction and part speculation about society. Social Science Fiction blends the otherworldly epic story-telling of traditional sci-fi with critical social commentary to create beautiful narratives that are bound to stay with you long after you have finished reading them.
Whether it be intergalactic travel, deep space warfare, or alien encounters expect storytelling on a grand scale.
On alien worlds there’s no telling the dangers, so our heroes must use every ounce of their sound judgement and intellect to keep themselves and the human race from extinction. Sometimes science heavy, sometimes wild and adventurous, these titles explore what it takes to survive in the face of unknowable perils.
We’re all travelling forwards through time at a constant rate of exactly one second per second, but what if things were different? What if we could jump back in history, or ahead to the future, or sideways to another dimension where history isn’t quite what we learnt at school?
A great collection of sci-fi stories from the near future to far flung galaxies, interstellar travel, cyborgs, alien encounters and space warfare.
For more science fiction try:
- Selected list of Science fiction, horror and fantasy short stories
- Selected list of Sci-fi/Fantasy Adventure graphic novels
- Selected list of Dystopian Adventure novels
- If you like... Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams
- Science fiction blog posts Library staff recommend and review science fiction titles
- eBook science fiction titles on Overdrive
- Read our bi-monthly Fantasy & Science Fiction newsletter
- Browse Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror
- See all genre guides
- Hugo awards For Science fiction and Fantasy from the World Science Fiction Society
- Sir Julius Vogel awards Science fiction, fantasy and horror by New Zealanders
- SWFA Nebula awards As voted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America