Prepare to be enthralled by award-winning works, visionary sagas, and thought-provoking adventures that delve into themes of alien cultures, interplanetary diplomacy, artificial intelligence, and the complexities of the human condition. With every turn of the page, you will be transported to distant galaxies, where humanity grapples with its place in a vast cosmos and confronts the enigmatic beings that dwell beyond the stars.
Are you ready to explore the cosmos? Check out 27 of the Best Alien Sci Fi Books!
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Best Alien Sci Fi Books
From the realms of Isaac Asimov to the visionary worlds of Octavia Butler, from the philosophical inquiries of Ray Bradbury to the epic space adventuresof H.G Wells, these 27 alien sci-fi books are ready to ignite your sense of wonder and take you on a thrilling adventure that transcends the boundaries of our known universe. Buckle up and prepare for an exhilarating ride through the cosmos.
Lilith’s Brood – Octavia E. Butler
Lilith Iyapo is in the Andes, mourning the death of her family, when war destroys Earth. Centuries later, she is resurrected — by miraculously powerful unearthly beings, the Oankali. Driven by an irresistible need to heal others, the Oankali are rescuing our dying planet by merging genetically with mankind. But Lilith and all humanity must now share the world with uncanny, unimaginably alien creatures: their own children.
The War of the Worlds – H.G Wells
Written between 1895 and 1897, H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds is one of the earliest stories that detail a conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race. Filmed numerous times, this science fiction classic retains its power to disturb readers more than a century later.
Binti – Nnedi Okorafor
This new-release in the world of alien Sci Fi books is taking YA by storm!
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.
Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.
If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself — but first she has to make it there, alive.
The Three-Body Problem – Cixin Liu
The Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience the Hugo Award-winning phenomenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.
Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.
The Lives of Tao – Wesley Chu
When out-of-shape IT technician Roen woke up and started hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumed he was losing it.
He now has a passenger in his brain – an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Now split into two opposing factions – the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix – the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries. Both sides are searching for a way off-planet, and the Genjix will sacrifice the entire human race, if that’s what it takes.
Meanwhile, Roen is having to train to be the ultimate secret agent. Like that’s going to end up well…
Foreigner – C. J. Cherryh
It had been nearly five centuries since the starship Phoenix, lost in space and desperately searching for the nearest G5 star, had encountered the planet of the atevi. On this alien world, law was kept by the use of registered assassination, alliances were defined by individual loyalties not geographical borders, and war became inevitable once humans and one faction of atevi established a working relationship. It was a war that humans had no chance of winning on this planet so many light-years from home.
Now, nearly two hundred years after that conflict, humanity has traded its advanced technology for peace and an island refuge that no atevi will ever visit. Then the sole human the treaty allows into atevi society is marked for an assassin’s bullet. The work of an isolated lunatic? The interests of a particular faction? Or the consequence of one human’s fondness for a species which has fourteen words for betrayal and not a single word for love?
The Reality Dysfunction – Peter F. Hamilton
Space is not the only void. . .
In AD 2600 the human race is finally beginning to realize its full potential. Hundreds of colonized planets scattered across the galaxy host a multitude of prosperous and wildly diverse cultures. Genetic engineering has pushed evolution far beyond nature’s boundaries, defeating disease and producing extraordinary spaceborn creatures. Huge fleets of sentient trader starships thrive on the wealth created by the industrialization of entire star systems. And throughout inhabited space the Confederation Navy keeps the peace. A true golden age is within our grasp.
But on a primitive colony planet, a renegade criminal’s chance encounter with an utterly alien entity unleashes the most primal of humanity’s fears. An extinct race which inhabited the galaxy aeons ago called it “The Reality Dysfunction.” It is the nightmare which has prowled beside us since the beginning of history.
Dune – Frank Herbert
Frank Herbert’s classic masterpiece—a triumph of the imagination and one of the bestselling alien sci fi books of all time.
Set on the desert planet Arrakis, Dune is the story of Paul Atreides—who would become known as Muad’Dib—and of a great family’s ambition to bring to fruition mankind’s most ancient and unattainable dream.
A stunning blend of adventure and mysticism, environmentalism and politics, Dune won the first Nebula Award, shared the Hugo Award, and formed the basis of what is undoubtedly the grandest epic in science fiction
Solaris – Stanislaw Lem
Despite two films made with panache „Solaris” remains a book constantly rediscovered by new generations of readers. The moving story of contact with alien intelligence serves as a canvas for discussion of our mind’s limitations and the nature of human cognition. A love story for some readers, a philosophical treatise for others; Lem’s inspiring masterpiece defies unambiguous interpretations. “A brilliant mind with a hearty appetite for science, philosophy and literature.” (“The New York Times Book Review”)
The novel has been translated into over forty languages and sold several million copies. This is the first English translation directly from the original.
Rendezvous with Rama – Arthur C. Clarke
One of the Modern Best Alien Sci Fi Books.
An enormous cylindrical object has entered Earth’s solar system on a collision course with the sun. A team of astronauts are sent to explore the mysterious craft, which the denizens of the solar system name Rama. What they find is astonishing evidence of a civilization far more advanced than ours. They find an interior stretching over fifty kilometers; a forbidding cylindrical sea; mysterious and inaccessible buildings; and strange machine-animal hybrids, or “biots,” that inhabit the ship. But what they don’t find is an alien presence. So who—and where—are the Ramans?
The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury
Bradbury’s Mars is a place of hope, dreams and metaphor-of crystal pillars and fossil seas-where a fine dust settles on the great, empty cities of a silently destroyed civilization. It is here the invaders have come to despoil and commercialize, to grow and to learn -first a trickle, then a torrent, rushing from a world with no future toward a promise of tomorrow. The Earthman conquers Mars … and then is conquered by it, lulled by dangerous lies of comfort and familiarity, and enchanted by the lingering glamour of an ancient, mysterious native race.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
It’s an ordinary Thursday morning for Arthur Dent . . . until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly after to make way for a new hyperspace express route, and Arthur’s best friend has just announced that he’s an alien.
After that, things get much, much worse.
With just a towel, a small yellow fish, and a book, Arthur has to navigate through a very hostile universe in the company of a gang of unreliable aliens. Luckily the fish is quite good at languages. And the book is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy . . . which helpfully has the words DON’T PANIC inscribed in large, friendly letters on its cover.
Douglas Adams’s mega-selling pop-culture classic sends logic into orbit, plays havoc with both time and physics, offers up pithy commentary on such things as ballpoint pens, potted plants, and digital watches . . . and, most important, reveals the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything.
Now, if you could only figure out the question. . . .
The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin’s groundbreaking work of science fiction—winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.
A lone human ambassador is sent to the icebound planet of Winter, a world without sexual prejudice, where the inhabitants’ gender is fluid. His goal is to facilitate Winter’s inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the strange, intriguing culture he encounters…
Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of intellectual science fiction.
A Fire Upon The Deep – Vernor Vinge
Thousands of years in the future, humanity is no longer alone in a universe where a mind’s potential is determined by its location in space. From superintelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures, and technology, can function. Nobody knows what strange force partitioned space into these “regions of thought”. The warring Straumli realm use an ancient Transcendent artifact as a weapon. They unwittingly unleash an awesome power that destroys thousands of worlds and enslaves all natural and artificial intelligence.
Fleeing this galactic threat, Ravna crash lands on a strange world with a ship-hold full of cryogenically frozen children. The only survivors from a destroyed space-lab. They are taken captive by the Tines, an alien race with a harsh medieval culture, and used as pawns in a ruthless power struggle.
Dragon’s Egg – Robert L. Forward
“In science fiction there is only a handful of books that stretch the mind—and this is one of them.”—Arthur C. Clarke
In a moving story of sacrifice and triumph, human scientists establish a relationship with intelligent lifeforms—the cheela—living on Dragon’s Egg, a neutron star where one Earth hour is equivalent to hundreds of their years. The cheela culturally evolve from savagery to the discovery of science, and for a brief time, men are their diligent teachers.
Ringworld – Larry Niven
Louis Wu, accompanied by a young woman with genes for luck, and a captured kzin – a warlike species resembling 8-foot-tall cats — are taken on a space ship run by a brilliant 2-headed alien called Nessus. Their destination is the Ringworld, an artificially constructed ring with high walls that hold 3 million times the area of Earth. Its origins are shrouded in mystery.
The adventures of Louis and his companions on the Ringworld are unforgettable . .
Contact – Carl Sagan
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and astronomer Carl Sagan imagines the greatest adventure of all—the discovery of an advanced civilization in the depths of space.
In December of 1999, a multinational team journeys out to the stars, to the most awesome encounter in human history. Who—or what—is out there? In Cosmos, Carl Sagan explained the universe. In Contact, he predicts its future—and our own.
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars – Christopher Paolini
Kira Navárez dreamed of life on new worlds.
Now she’s awakened a nightmare.
During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.
As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.
While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s
Project Hail Mary – Andy Weir
Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery—and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away. He’s got to do it all alone.
Or does he?
Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut.
Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers. But mostly fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.
Starship Troopers – Robert A. Heinlein
Johnnie Rico never really intended to join up—and definitely not the infantry. But now that he’s in the thick of it, trying to get through combat training harder than anything he could have imagined, he knows everyone in his unit is one bad move away from buying the farm in the interstellar war the Terran Federation is waging against the Arachnids.
Children of Time – Adrian Tchaikovsky
Adrian Tchaikovksy’s award-winning Alien Sci Fi Books Children of Time, is the epic story of humanity’s battle for survival on a terraformed planet.
Who will inherit this new Earth?
The last remnants of the human race left a dying Earth, desperate to find a new home among the stars. Following in the footsteps of their ancestors, they discover the greatest treasure of the past age — a world terraformed and prepared for human life.
But all is not right in this new Eden. In the long years since the planet was abandoned, the work of its architects has borne disastrous fruit. The planet is not waiting for them, pristine and unoccupied. New masters have turned it from a refuge into mankind’s worst nightmare.
Now two civilizations are on a collision course, both testing the boundaries of what they will do to survive. As the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, who are the true heirs of this new Earth? Span
Remnant Population – Elizabeth Moon
For forty years, Colony 3245.12 has been Ofelia’s home. On this planet far away in space and time from the world of her youth, she has lived and loved, weathered the death of her husband, raised her one surviving child, lovingly tended her garden, and grown placidly old. And it is here that she fully expects to finish out her days—until the shifting corporate fortunes of the Sims Bancorp Company dictates that Colony 3245.12 is to be disbanded, its residents shipped off, deep in cryo-sleep, to somewhere new and strange and not of their choosing. But while her fellow colonists grudgingly anticipate a difficult readjustment on some distant world, Ofelia savors the promise of a golden opportunity. Not starting over in the hurly-burly of a new community . . . but closing out her life in blissful solitude, in the place she has no intention of leaving. A population of one.
The Mote in God’s Eye – Larry Niven
The united ‘Second Empire of Man’ spans vast distances, due to the Alderson Drive which has enabled humans to travel easily between the stars. After an alien probe is discovered, the Navy dispatches two ships to determine whether the aliens pose a threat… Called by Robert A. Heinlein: “Possibly the greatest science fiction novel ever written,” this magnificent exploration of first contact and a truly alien society is a “must read” for science fiction fans.
Babel-17 – Samuel R. Delany
At twenty-six, Rydra Wong is the most popular poet in the five settled galaxies. Almost telepathically perceptive, she has written poems that capture the mood of mankind after two decades of savage war. Since the invasion, Earth has endured famine, plague, and cannibalism—but its greatest catastrophe will be Babel-17.
Sabotage threatens to undermine the war effort, and the military calls in Rydra. Random attacks lay waste to warships, weapons factories, and munitions dumps, and all are tied together by strings of sound, broadcast over the radio before and after each accident. In that gibberish Rydra recognizes a coherent message, with all of the beauty, persuasive power, and order that only language possesses. To save humanity, she will master this strange tongue. But the more she learns, the more she is tempted to join the other side . . .
Hyperion – Dan Simmons
A stunning tour de force filled with transcendent awe and wonder, Hyperion is a masterwork of science fiction that resonates with excitement and invention, the first volume in a remarkable epic by the multiple-award-winning author of The Hollow Man.
On the world called Hyperion, beyond the reach of galactic law, waits a creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all.
On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope—and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands.
Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke
In the Retro Hugo Award–nominated novel that inspired the Syfy miniseries, alien invaders bring peace to Earth—at a grave price: “A first-rate tour de force” (The New York Times).
In the near future, enormous silver spaceships appear without warning over mankind’s largest cities. They belong to the Overlords, an alien race far superior to humanity in technological development.Their demands, however, are surprisingly benevolent: end war, poverty, and cruelty. Their presence, rather than signaling the end of humanity, ushers in a golden age . . . or so it seems.
Without conflict, human culture and progress stagnate. As the years pass, it becomes clear that the Overlords have a hidden agenda for the evolution of the human race that may not be as benevolent as it seems.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is alien science fiction?
Alien science fiction, often referred to as “alien sci-fi,” is a subgenre of science fiction literature that focuses on the exploration of extraterrestrial life, civilizations, and the implications of human interaction with beings from other worlds. These books typically feature imaginative depictions of alien species, advanced technologies, and interstellar travel.
What makes alien sci-fi books different from other science fiction genres?
Alien sci-fi books stand out from other science fiction genres due to their primary emphasis on encounters with extraterrestrial life. While other subgenres may explore various scientific concepts or futuristic societies, alien sci-fi specifically delves into the possibilities and consequences of interacting with beings from other planets.
Which are the best Alien Sci Fi books?
Some of our favourites include:
- Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
- Dune by Frank Herbert
- Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
- The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Enjoyed these Alien Sci Fi books? Why not try out some Hard Sci Fi?