The best sci-fi and fantasy audiobooks

Sci-fi and fantasy allows us to escape into weird and wonderful worlds completely unlike our own. Here is our pick of the best sci-fi and fantasy audiobooks to immerse yourself in.

From space exploration to alternative histories full of magic and dragons, science fiction and fantasy stories open up a whole range of new worlds to explore. Hearing a book read aloud can bring the story to life in a whole new way, so immerse yourself in a new universe with our selection of the best sci-fi and fantasy audiobooks. 

Looking for even more inspiration? Discover our edit of the best science fiction books and the best fantasy books to add to your reading list in 2021.

Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt series

Discover the world of the kinden, where different human lineages share characteristics of insects. All ten books in the epic series of empire and war are available as audiobooks, read by Ben Allen.

Empire in Black and Gold

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Book cover for Empire in Black and Gold

Empire in Black and Gold is the first instalment in Adrian Tchaikovsky's critically-acclaimed fantasy series, Shadows of the Apt.

The Lowlands’ city-states have lived in peace for decades, hailed as bastions of civilization. Yet that peace is about to end. A distant empire has been conquering neighbours with highly trained soldiers and sophisticated combat techniques. And the city-states are its desirable new prize. Only the ageing Stenwold Maker – spymaster, artificer and statesman – foresees the threat, as the empires’ armies march ever closer. So it falls upon his shoulders to open the eyes of the cities’ leaders. He sees that war will sweep through their lands, destroying everything in its path.

But to warn his people, he must stay alive.

Dragonfly Falling

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Book cover for Dragonfly Falling

Every hero must face a test . . .

The Wasp Empire’s armies are on the move – and the city of Tark will be first to feel their might. Salma and Totho prepare for battle, alongside their Ant-kinden brethren. And within Tark’s walls, they’ll face a force greater than any Lowlander has ever seen. Stenwold Maker predicted this threat, and the Empire's secret service now deems him too dangerous to live. So he’s to be eliminated, and his beloved city of Collegium destroyed. For if this centre of learning is lost, it will crush Lowland resistance and trigger a reign of blood lasting a thousand years. 

Dragonfly Falling is the second book in the critically acclaimed epic fantasy series Shadows of the Apt

Blood of the Mantis

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Book cover for Blood of the Mantis

A dread ritual casts a deadly shadow . . .

Achaeos the seer has finally tracked down the stolen Shadow Box. But he has only days before this magical artefact will be lost to him forever. Meanwhile, the Empire's dread forces are mustering for their next great offensive. Stenwold and his followers have only a short time to gather allies, before the enemy's soldiers march again – to conquer everything in their path. If Stenwold cannot hold them back, the hated black and gold flag will fly over every city in the Lowlands before the year's end, and nothing will save the world from the Emperor's relentless ambition.

Blood of the Mantis is the third novel in the Shadows of the Apt series

Discover the rest of Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt series here.

Best science fiction audiobooks

Shards of Earth

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Book cover for Shards of Earth

Described by Christopher Paolini as 'one of the most interesting and accomplished writers in speculative fiction', whether you're a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, or both, Adrian Tchaikovsky's books are not to be missed. His latest novel, Shards of Earth, is the first instalment in the Final Architecture trilogy. 

Eighty years ago, Earth was destroyed by an alien enemy – the ‘Architects’. Many people escaped, but millions more died. So mankind created enhanced humans ­such as Idris - who could communicate mind-to-mind with our aggressors. Then the Architects simply disappeared and Idris and his kind became obsolete. . .

Now, he and his crew have discvered something strange, abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects – but are they really returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy as they search for answers, for they now possess something of incalculable value, and many would kill to obtain it.

The Saints of Salvation

by Peter F. Hamilton

Book cover for The Saints of Salvation

The Saints of Salvation is the epic conclusion to the Salvation Sequence by Peter F. Hamilton.

Humanity welcomed the Olyix and their utopian technology. But mankind was tricked. Now these visitors are extracting a terrible price. For two years, the Olyix have laid siege to Earth, harvesting its people for their god. One by one, cities are falling to their devastating weaponry. 

As Earth's defeat draws near, a team attempts to infiltrate the Olyix’s arkship. If it succeeds, those chosen will travel to a hidden enclave thousands of light years away, where they must signal its location to future generations, to bring the battle to the enemy. . .

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

by Christopher Paolini

Book cover for To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is the highly-anticipated brand new epic science fiction audiobook from New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author, Christopher Paolini. 

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars follows xenobiologist Kira Navárez as she discovers an alien relic that thrusts her into the wonders and nightmares of first contact. Epic space battles for the fate of humanity ensue, taking her to the farthest reaches of the galaxy and, in the process, transform not only her – but the entire course of history.

The Doors of Eden

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Book cover for The Doors of Eden

A new audiobookfrom Adrian Tchaikovsky to get excited about in 2020, The Doors of Eden is a standalone sci-fi adventure set in the world of MI5 investigations and in the depths of Bodmin Moor. Following an attack on a government physicist and rumours of monsters and missing people, the British security forces are sent to investigate. When they discover that there are cracks between our world and countless others it shatters everything they previously thought about the universe.

A Memory Called Empire

by Arkady Martine

Book cover for A Memory Called Empire

Arkady Martine's debut sci-fi novel is an immersive political space opera for fans of Ann Leckie and Iain M. Banks. A Memory Called Empire introduces the idea of a technology by which a select few can carry their predecessors in their minds and take advantage of their wisdom and memories - a fascinating theme for the reader to wrap their head around. The first book in the Texicalaan duology, fans will be eagerly awaiting news of the second novel from this exciting new science-fiction writer.

Salvation Lost

by Peter F. Hamilton

Book cover for Salvation Lost

Salvation Lost is the second book in Peter F. Hamilton’s bestselling science fiction series, The Salvation Sequence. The comparatively utopian world of 23rd century Earth is about to change forever, as the alien race the Olyix, previously thought to be benign, plan to harvest humanity as an offering to their god at the end of the universe. With almost no time to fight back, some want to flee, but others refuse to back down. John Lee’s reading vividly brings the Salvation Sequence universe to life.

Buy Salvation, the first book in The Salvation Sequence

Here, Peter F. Hamilton introduces The Salvation Sequence

Children of Ruin

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Book cover for Children of Ruin

Set in the same universe as the Arthur C. Clarke award-winning Children of Time, Children of Ruin sees humanity return to the abandoned world called Nod, colonised by terraformers aeons ago. But the ancient terraformers awoke something that was better left undisturbed, and it’s been waiting for humans to return . . . Immerse yourself in the atmospheric audiobook read by Mel Hudson.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

by Douglas Adams

Book cover for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has been a radio show, TV show, stage play, comic book and film, and is and a work of utter comic genius from Douglas Adams. One Thursday lunchtime the Earth is unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. It's the final straw for Arthur Dent, who has already had his house bulldozed that morning. But for Arthur, that is only the beginning . . .

In the seconds before global obliteration, Arthur is plucked from the planet by his friend Ford Prefect – and together the pair venture out across the galaxy on the craziest, strangest road trip of all time. All five books in Douglas Adams’s ‘trilogy’ are available as audiobooks read by Stephen Fry and Martin Freeman, both of whom appeared in the film version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Best fantasy audiobooks

The Library of the Dead

by T. L. Huchu

Book cover for The Library of the Dead

The Library of the Dead is the first book in T. L. Huchu's Edinburgh Nights series.

Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and she now speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honour bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world.

The Unspoken Name

by A. K. Larkwood

Book cover for The Unspoken Name

The first book in the The Serpent Gates series, The Unspoken Name is an epic coming-of-age tale that follows Csorwe, who, on her fourteenth birthday will be sacrificed by the death cult who raised her. Offered a chance to escape her fate by a sorcerer who wants her as his assistant, sword-hand and assassin, Csorwe spends years living on a knife-edge until she is forced to confront her past . . . Let narrator Avita Jay transport you to a world of magic and danger. 

Blood of an Exile

by Brian Naslund

Book cover for Blood of an Exile

In Brian Naslund's must-read debut fantasy novel we meet Bershad, an adventurer sentenced to kill dragons for a living after being caught trying to assassinate a fellow noble. When the king who sentenced Bershad offers him a way out of his forced occupation and exile, Bershad sees a way to earn redemption, but it won't be easy. Blood of an Exile, the first book in the Dragons of Terra series is packed with adventure and of course, lots of dragons.

A Time of Dread

by John Gwynne

Book cover for A Time of Dread

The Ben-Elim once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished Lands with an iron fist. When Drem finds mutilated corpses in the forest, he discovers that their ancient enemy may not be as crushed as they thought. And in the south, hot-headed Riv is faced with a dangerous rift within the Ben-Elim themselves.

The Ruin of Kings

by Jenn Lyons

Book cover for The Ruin of Kings

Kihrin, a bard’s apprentice, has grown up with epic tales of legendary deeds. He is desperate to buy his way out of the slum where he lives, by stealing if necessary, but when a raid goes wrong he is marked by a demon and his life changes forever. He catches the attention of royalty, who claim him as the lost son of the immoral prince. Escaping from his new family and their ruthless ambitions, things get worse for Kihrin when he discovers he’s at the centre of an ancient prophecy and is destined to destroy the earth. Every side, from gods to dragons, want him as their pawn in this epic of imperial politics and magic. The audiobook of this hugely anticipated debut novel is read by Feodor Chin, Soneela Nankani and Vikas Adam, with each narrating a different timeline within the novel.

Children of Blood and Bone

by Tomi Adeyemi

Book cover for Children of Blood and Bone

Zélie remembers when Orisha was full of magic. When different clans ruled with unique powers, including her Reaper mother who could summon forth souls. 

But everything changed when the ruthless king had anyone with powers killed. Now only a few people still have the power to use magic, and they must stay hidden. Zélie is one of those people, but now she has the chance to bring magic back to her people and strike against the monarchy . . . 

Spinning Silver

by Naomi Novik

Book cover for Spinning Silver

Influenced by classic folktales, Spinning Silver is a rich story inspired by the tale of Rumplestiltskin. Miryem comes from a long line of moneylenders, but her father is too kindhearted to collect the debts owed to him. Determined to keep her family out of poverty, Miryem takes over his work, and her success in the job starts a rumour that she can turn silver into gold. Hearing this, the fairy king of winter sets her an impossible challenge – to fail means certain death, but to succeed may mean an even worse fate. Read by Kate Sobey, the audiobook brilliantly brings to life this magical world.


by Frances Hardinge

Book cover for Deeplight

Enter the world of Myriad – made up of a cluster of islands – each of which was once ruled by a powerful god. Since the gods died out, the hunt for and sale of ‘godware’, the last remnants of Myriad’s deities, has turned into a thriving trade. Meanwhile, Huck, a young ‘artful dodger’ type, survives the streets on small-time scams. Things escalate quickly however, when Huck’s mysterious friend Jelt ropes him into a far more ominous scheme. And so begins a richly woven adventure that perfectly balances light and dark.

Gilded Cage

by Vic James

Book cover for Gilded Cage

A thrilling Orwellian vision of Britain, with a rebellious Hunger Games heart, Gilded Cage is the astonishing debut novel from Vic James, and the first title in her electrifying The Dark Gifts Trilogy.

Britain's magically skilled aristocracy compels all commoners to serve them for ten years - and now it's the Hadleys' turn. Abi Hadley is assigned to England's most ruthless noble family. The secrets she uncovers could win her freedom - or break her heart. Her brother Luke is enslaved in a brutal factory town, where new friends' ideals might cost him everything.

Then while the elite vie for power, a young aristocrat plots to remake the world with his dark gifts. As Britain moves from anger to defiance, all three must take sides. And the consequences of their choices will change everything, forever.

The Last Days of New Paris

by China Miéville

Book cover for The Last Days of New Paris

A thriller of a war that never was - of survival in an impossible city - of surreal cataclysm. In The Last Days of New Paris, China Miéville entwines true historical events and people with his daring, uniquely imaginative brand of fiction, reconfiguring history and art into something new.

1941. In the chaos of wartime Marseille, American engineer and occult disciple Jack Parsons stumbles onto a clandestine anti-Nazi group, including Surrealist theorist André Breton. In the strange games of dissident diplomats, exiled revolutionaries, and avant-garde artists, Parsons finds and channels hope. But what he unwittingly unleashes is the power of dreams and nightmares, changing the war and the world for ever.

1950. A lone Surrealist fighter, Thibaut, walks a new, hallucinogenic Paris, where Nazis and the Resistance are trapped in unending conflict, and the streets are stalked by living images and texts - and by the forces of Hell. To escape the city, Thibaut must join forces with Sam, an American photographer intent on recording the ruins, and make common cause with a powerful, enigmatic figure of chance and rebellion: the exquisite corpse.

But Sam is being hunted. And new secrets will emerge that will test all their loyalties - to each other, to Paris old and new, and to reality itself.