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The best sci-fi books of 2022

We take a look at the most exciting new sci-fi books of 2022, the best sci-fi books of 2021, as well as the best science fiction novels of all time.

From spectacular sequels and award-winning novels to continuing adventures in science fiction's most popular universes, our list of sci-fi books includes some of the most anticipated reads of 2022. No matter what kind of science fiction fan you are – space opera, dystopian, or even a classic sci-fi book fan – we're sure you'll find something to add to your reading list. We also take a look back at some of the best sci-fi books of 2021, and for even more inspiration, we share some of the best sci-fi novels of all time. 

Looking for your next fantasy novel? Read our edit of the very best new fantasy books, here.​

The best new sci-fi books of 2022

Upgrade

by Blake Crouch

Book cover for Upgrade

Upgrade is the mind-bending sci-fi thriller from Blake Crouch, author of the bestselling Dark Matter and Recursion.

What is you were the next step in human evolution? If your concentration was better, if you could multitask quicker, read faster, memorize more? For Logan Ramsay, it’s happening. He knows that it’s not natural, that his genes have been hacked. He has been targeted for an upgrade, and with a terrifying plan in place to replicate his upgrade throughout the world’s population, he may be the only person capable of stopping what has already been set in motion . . .

A Desolation Called Peace

by Arkady Martine

Book cover for A Desolation Called Peace

This spectacular sequel to Arkady Martine’s Hugo Award-winning debut sci-fi book sees the Teixcalaanli Empire facing an alien threat which could bring about its complete destruction. Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus is all that stands between the empire and all-out war, so in desperation, he sends an envoy to negotiate with the mysterious invaders . . . Arkady Martine’s Teixcalaan duology s a must-read for fans of epic space opera. 

Eyes of the Void

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Book cover for Eyes of the Void

Thoughtful, inventive and high octane, Eyes of the Void is the second instalment of Adrian Tchaikovsky's Final Architecture space opera trilogy. Following eighty years of shaky peace, the alien enemy is back, conducting a terrible one-sided battle and consuming entire planets. Nobody is safe, and the Human Colonies are in chaos. As the threat grows ever closer, Idris has the chance to turn the tide for humanity. But to do so, he must face his demons in unspace. And what he finds there will change everything . . .

Sea of Tranquillity

by Emily St. John Mandel

Book cover for Sea of Tranquillity

It's 1912, and eighteen-year-old Edwin St. Andrew is on a journey across the Atlantic, having been exiled from society in England. Arriving in British Columbia, he enters a forest, mesmerised by the Canadian wilderness. All is silent, before the notes of a violin reverberate through the air. Two centuries later, and acclaimed author Olive Llewelyn is travelling over the earth, on a break from her home in the second moon colony. At the heart of her bestselling novel, a man plays a violin for spare change in the corridor of an airship terminal, as a forest rises around him. This compelling novel immerses the reader in parallel worlds, and multiple possibilities.

Classic Science Fiction Stories

by Adam Roberts

Book cover for Classic Science Fiction Stories

Bringing you aliens from outer space, intriguing inventions, zany future tech and whole imaginative worlds to explore, this collection of short stories is a treasure. From the 1750s to the start of the twentieth century, it includes work by star authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, H. G. Wells and H. P. Lovecraft, as well as giving a voice to less acclaimed but equally brilliant writers including Florence McLandburgh and Ambrose Bierce. Macmillan Collector’s Library titles come cloth-bound, with gold foil edges and handy ribbon markers.

Weaponized

by Neal Asher

Book cover for Weaponized

A bright new future for humanity – or a dark and inescapable past.

Ursula has lived twice the normal human lifespan, courtesy of the latest technology. But now she’s struggling to find excitement and purpose, so signs up to the Polity’s military. She excels in weapons development, and progresses rapidly up the ranks. But after botching a powerful new ammunition test, she’s dismissed from service.

Hunting for a simpler, more meaningful existence, the ex-soldier heads for the stars. And after founding a colony on the hostile planet of Threpsis, Ursula finally feels alive. Then deadly raptors attack and the colonists are forced to adapt in unprecedented ways. The raptors also raise a deeply troubling question: how could the Polity miss these apex predators? And alien ruins? Meanwhile, biophysicist Oren has formed his own survival plan – one he’ll pursue at any cost.

The Kaiju Preservation Society

by John Scalzi

Book cover for The Kaiju Preservation Society

The Kaiju Preservation Society by the legendary John Scalzi is a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set on an alternate Earth – perfect for fans of Adrian Tchaikovsky and Charles Stross.

In New York, Jamie is a driver for food delivery apps, looking for any opportunity to escape his daily schedule. Then, after making a delivery to old acquaintance Tom, he gets the chance to escape more than just his delivery gig. 

Tom works for an animal rights organisation – but not any that you've heard of. Known as the 'Kaiju Preservation Society', Jamie unwittingly signs on with Tom to venture to the Earth of an alternate dimension, where massive dinosaur-like creatures called 'Kaiju' roam a human-free world. They’re the universe’s largest and most dangerous animal, and they’re in trouble – the Society are not the only ones who have found their way to the Kaiju world. . .

Invisible Sun

by Charles Stross

Book cover for 
Invisible Sun

In this chillingly resonant dystopian adventure, two versions of America are locked in conflict. The New American Commonwealth is caught in a deadly arms race with the USA, its parallel-world rival. And the USA’s technology is decades ahead. Yet the Commonweath might self-combust first – for its leader has just died, leaving a crippling power vacuum. Minister Miriam Burgeson must face allegations of treason without his support, in a power grab by her oldest adversary. Invisible Sun is the final installment in Charles Stross’s Empire Games trilogy.

Jack Four

by Neal Asher

Book cover for Jack Four

Jack Four – one of twenty human clones – has been created to be sold. His purchasers are the alien prador and they only want him for their experimentation program. But there is something different about Jack. No clone should possess the knowledge that’s been loaded into his mind. And no normal citizen of humanity’s Polity worlds would have this information. . .

Leech

by Hiron Ennes

Book cover for Leech

A masterpiece of gothic sci-fi, Leech is sure to be unlike anything you've read before. In an isolated chateau, that baron's doctor has committed suicide, and the Interprovincial Medical Institute sends out a replacement. But the new physician soon discovers that his predecessor was hosting a parasite, which should have been impossible, as the physician was already possessed – by the Institute. For hundreds of years, the Institute has taken root in young minds and shaped them into doctors to protect humanity from the horrors their ancestors unleashed, but now there’s competition: a parasite is spreading . . .


The best sci-fi books of 2021

Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

by Douglas Adams

Book cover for Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Dirk is a self-styled private investigator at the Holistic Detective Agency, whose mission is to prove the essential connectedness of everything – linking a computer whizz kid with a dead cat, an Electric Monk, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and lots and lots of pizza. He also plans to save the human race – at no extra cost.

This classic novel by Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, has given birth to endless radio, television, theatre and comic book adaptations – look for our forthcoming audiobook voiced by Stephen Mangan, who played Dirk Gently in the BBC adaptation. 

Deep Wheel Orcadia

by Harry Josephine Giles

Book cover for Deep Wheel Orcadia

Discover a quirky science-fiction read like no other . . .

Deep Wheel Orcadia is a remote and failing space station that is struggling for survival as the pace of change threatens to leave the community behind. It is here that Astrid and Darling first meet – Astrid on her way home from art school on Mars and searching for inspiration, and Darling, fleeing a life that never fit, searching for somewhere to hide . . .

The strikingly unusual sci-fi setting is mirrored in the unique form of this verse novel, which is written in the dialect of the Orkney islands, with a parallel English translation. Magical and compellingly readable, Deep Wheel Orcadia is an outstanding literary creation by Orcadian poet and performer Harry Josephine Giles.

Remote Control

by Nnedi Okorafor

Book cover for Remote Control

From Nebula and Hugo Award-winner Nnedi Okorafor comes Remote Control. An alien artefact turns Fatima into the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death, and from that day on she would be known not as Fatima, but as Sankofa­­.

Her touch is deadly and entire town can fall with a single glance, but is there a greater purpose for Sankofa as she searches for the object that fell from the sky and changed her life forever?

The Saints of Salvation

by Peter F. Hamilton

Book cover for The Saints of Salvation

The Olyix have laid siege to Earth, harvesting people for their god. Cities are falling to their devastating weaponry and millions have either fled to seek refuge in space or are fighting a war that seems unwinnable. As Earth's defeat draws ever closer, a team are sent to infiltrate the Olyix's arkship. Their plan? To signal its location to future generations and bring the battle to the enemy . . . This is the final sci-fi novel in Peter F. Hamilton's stunning series The Salvation Sequence

Discover all Peter F. Hamilton's books and series.

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 masterful epic science fiction novel from New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author, Christopher Paolini. 

The novel 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.

Read Christopher Paolini on why he was inspired to write about first contact.

Rabbits

by Terry Miles

Book cover for Rabbits

Described by Nicholas Eames as 'Murakami meets Ready Player One', Terry Miles' novel Rabbits is an electrifying, compulsive read based on the hit podcast from the Public Radio Alliance – perfect for fans of Stranger Things and Black Mirror.

Rabbits is a secret, dangerous and sometimes fatal underground game. The rewards for winning are unclear, but there are rumours of money, CIA recruitment or even immortality. Or it might unlock the universe’s greatest secrets. But everyone knows that the deeper you get, the more deadly the game becomes – and the body count is rising. Since the game first started, ten iterations have taken place. The eleventh round is about to begin, and what happens in the game, stays in the game . . . 


The best sci-fi books of all time

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

by Douglas Adams

Book cover for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Towels at the ready and DON'T PANIC, but yes, Douglas Adams' science-fiction classic really did celebrate its 42nd anniversary in 2020. 

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy began life as a Radio 4 show in 1978 and has since spawned adaptations across almost every format, making it a staple on every respectable list of the best sci-fi books. Following the galactic adventures of Arthur Dent after his house's untimely demolition to make way for a new hyperspace express route, this new edition of 'The Guide' features exclusive bonus archive material and a new introduction from Russell T. Davies. This classic science fiction novel is a must-read for fans of the genre. 

Don't miss our complete guide to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books.

The Invisible Man

by H. G. Wells

Book cover for The Invisible Man

An absolute classic of early science fiction, H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man blends high tension with sharp wit and fear. A stranger arrives at a rustic Sussex inn on a chill wintery night, his face wrapped in bandages and his body enveloped in a heavy coat. Locked away in his room, the man mixes chemicals in elaborate glass bottles. His secret? The man is invisible, a scientist desperately trying to find a cure for his unhappy, perilous fate. 

Exhalation

by Ted Chiang

Book cover for Exhalation

Named in Barack Obama's 2019 summer reading list, this groundbreaking collection of science fiction short stories is the second from acclaimed author Ted Chiang. In these nine stunningly original and poignant stories, we encounter a portal through time in ancient Baghdad, a scientist who makes a shocking discovery that will affect all of humanity and a woman who cares for an AI ‘pet’ for over twenty years. Addressing, among others, essential questions around the nature of the universe and what it means to be human, this is science fiction writing at its most thoughtful.

Lovecraft Country

by Matt Ruff

Book cover for Lovecraft Country

An imaginative blend of magic, power, hope, and freedom that stretches across time, touching diverse members of two Black families, Matt Ruff's sci-fi horror is a devastating kaleidoscopic portrait of racism – the terrifying specter that continues to haunt us today.

The Time Machine

by H. G. Wells

Book cover for The Time Machine

H. G. Wells was among the first to express a plausible scientific method of time travel, and he also coined the term ‘time machine’ in this science fiction novella. The book has been adapted into three different films, and still influences science fiction writers today. The Time Machine is a pioneering classic that is considered by many to be the most influential sci-fi book of all time.

Recursion

by Blake Crouch

Book cover for Recursion

This high concept sci-fi thriller asks the question: what if someone could rewrite your entire life? When Detective Barry Sutton is called to help a woman threatening to jump from a building, he’s unaware of the series of events the incident will trigger. Unable to stop the woman taking her own life, the last words she says to him are ‘My son has been erased.’ As Barry begins to investigate her case, he finds she’s not the only one making such claims. All over the country, people are waking up to different lives, an epidemic the media have dubbed ‘False Memory Syndrome’. But what if the cause is more sinister than a disease?

Blake Crouch shares his all-time favourite science fiction.  

A Memory Called Empire

by Arkady Martine

Book cover for A Memory Called Empire

Arkady Martine's debut sci-fi book 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

by Peter F. Hamilton

Book cover for Salvation

The first book in bestselling science fiction author Peter F. Hamilton’s series the Salvation Sequence boasts genetically engineered soldiers, alien shipwrecks and voyages across the galaxy – what more could a space opera fan want? 

It’s AD 2204, and a mysterious shipwreck appears on a planet at the edge of the galaxy. Its cargo is troubling, so a team led by Security Director Feriton Kayne is sent to investigate. But what they discover raises bewildering questions – and could predict humanity’s demise.

War of the Worlds

by H. G. Wells

Book cover for War of the Worlds

The inspiration for countless science fiction stories and novels, H. G. Wells’s sci-fi classic is a must for any science fiction fan’s bookshelf. Written in semi-documentary style, the 1938 radio adaptation famously caused panic when listeners believed the fictional new bulletins were real, and this novel about a terrifying alien invasion still grips readers to this day. 

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

by Jules Verne

Book cover for Journey to the Centre of the Earth

When the chance discovery of an ancient cryptogram reveals a path to the Underworld, the adventurous Professor Otto Lidenbrock sets off to Iceland, determined to reach the centre of the earth. But nothing can prepare him and his nephew Axel for what they will find beneath the ground; measureless caverns and vast subterranean seas reveal all of the earth's known history and more, while dinosaurs do battle, giant men herd mastodons, and danger and excitement wait around every corner.

Parable of the Sower

by Octavia E. Butler

Book cover for Parable of the Sower

No list of the best sci-fi books is complete without Octavia Butler’s science fiction classic Parable of the Sower. Set in a dystopian Los Angeles in a crumbling America, Lauren Olamina struggles to survive in a world destroyed by drugs, disease and war as she battles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.

Zone One

by Colson Whitehead

Book cover for Zone One

 Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Colson Whitehead was inspired to write this apocalyptic sci-fi novel because of his teenage fascination with the work of Stephen King and Issac Asimov. A plague has ravaged the planet, and the population is divided into the living and the living dead. Mark Spitz is working on a task force to clear the infested from ‘Zone One’, but things quickly go from bad to worse . . . 

Binti

by Nnedi Okorafor

Book cover for Binti

Binti is the first person in her family to be accepted at the prestigious Oomza University, but to take up the place will mean leaving all she knows for a new life travelling among the stars. And there are dangers in this new life, for the university has long warred with a nightmare alien race called the Meduse . . . This Hugo Award-winning novella is the first in Nnedi Okorafor’s science fiction series. 

American War

by Omar El Akkad

Book cover for American War

Nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Omar El Akkad's vision of a plague-ridden America embroiled in a second Civil War is deeply imaginative and immensely powerful. In 2074, Sarat and her family find themselves caught deep in the middle, and must face the most devastating policies and deadly weapons of the country they call home. 

Dune

by Frank Herbert

Book cover for Dune

Frank Herbert’s science fiction classic is one of the bestselling sci-fi books of all time and was adapted into the film of the same name directed by David Lynch. Set 20,000 years in the future, the universe depends on the supply of Melange, a rare element, which can be used for everything from extending life-spans to interstellar travel. This precious element is found on only a single planet, Arrakis. And whoever controls Arrakis controls the universe . . . 

Frankenstein

by Mary Shelley

Book cover for Frankenstein

Mary Shelley's story of a man who creates a monster he cannot control was a precursor of modern science fiction and a must-read for any sci-fi fans wanting to understand the history of the genre. 

 Victor Frankenstein, a brilliant but wayward scientist, builds a human from dead flesh. Horrified at what he has done, he abandons his creation. The hideous creature learns language and becomes civilized but society rejects him. Spurned, he seeks vengeance on his creator.