Why We Love Science Fiction Books (And You Should, Too!)

Cyborg Science Fiction

Science fiction is a genre that’s grown in readership in the past ten years. It’s also grown in capacity with sub-genres like dystopian and steampunk. But at it’s core, it’s often exploring issues of science, technology and future worlds. Here are a few things that we think make it special.

The Wind Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi cover imageThe Imagery

We don’t mean to get all English Lit. 101 on you, but Science Fiction has awesome imagery. Yes, they create a world for you, but they also allow for your imagination to soar. A time machine with a million buttons becomes YOUR time machine with a million buttons.

We tip our hats to the writers who create world’s like Paolo Bacigalupi’s epic novel The Windup Girl.


The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood cover imageThe Characters

Science fiction allows for a lot of interesting character creation because there are no limits to what characters are capable of doing or being. Think of all those bots in Star Wars. They have unique functionality and personalities to go along with that. But characters don’t have to be strange and futuristic. They can be human and layered and living in a world that binds them in unique ways.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood now makes many best fiction lists and that’s a testament to the rich characters she builds along with her sci-fi world.


Soulless by Gail CarrigerThe Costumes

Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction but we love it. Mostly for the costumes. Victorian worlds with mini-hats, parasols, and amazing dresses are A-OK in our book. And that’s only touching on the apparel. Machinery like dirigibles and weaponry that excite the imagination are crucial to the vast plots of steampunk.

Books like Soulless, the first in The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger are a great entry into this realm and a welcome addition to any sci-fi collection.


Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut cover imageThe Deep Thoughts

Few can do what Kurt Vonnegut does in science fiction. His blend of humor, the absurd, but mixed with very deep and thoughtful observations about our world.

His bibliography touches on issues like race, class, intelligence, religion, war, the list goes on and on.



What are we missing? Let us know in the comments.



  1. Jeffrey Campbell says:

    Phillip K. Dick. Everyone knows about him, mostly because of Blade Runner, based on “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.” But he’s got a lot more where that came from. Check out “Flow My Tears the Policeman Said.” Amazing stuff. Not sure you could even make a movie out of that book. It would require an explanatory seminar afterward.

    Another amazing author is Harlan Ellison. Wrote mainly in the 60s through 80s. Wrote some Star Trek episodes too. Definitely Sci-Fi for grownups. Superior writer, funny, acerbic, angry, everything you’d ever want!

    • Great suggestions, Jeffrey! There’s definitely a discernible difference between Sci-Fi and Sci-Fi for grownups.

    • Thanks for bringing up Phillip K. Dick and for the recommendations. I’ve been meaning to read his stuff.

    • Andrew Harner says:

      “I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream” is a great work by Harlan Ellison, if anyone out there is looking to start reading his stuff.

  2. Steve Cianfichi says:

    If you want a Science Fiction book by Kurt Vonnegut I would have recommended The Sirens of Titan before Cat’s Cradle. As Wikipedia says, “The Sirens of Titan is a Hugo Award-nominated novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., first published in 1959. His second novel, it involves issues of free will, omniscience, and the overall purpose of human history. Much of the story revolves around a Martian invasion of Earth.” It also has a lot of comedy which makes it a fun read.

  3. Steve Cianfichi says:

    I would also recommend Jack Chalker’s The Saga of the Well World series , Steven Brust’s The Vlad Taltos novels, and Edgar Rice Burroughs Venus Novels. I love this list as all three series are completely different. It’s like being an Eclectic music listener and enjoying county, jazz, and rap.

  4. BlackBeltAuntie says:

    Great sci fi to check out: Octavia Butler – no describing her work, an utterly unique writer which is why she was chosen for MacArthur Grant; Connie Willis – time travel with wit and punch; Ursula K. LeGuin – the well-crafted story with both a brain and a heart; Robert A. Heinlein – the great classic sci fi writer; Orson Scott Card – Ender’s Game was only the beginning; Vernor Vinge – the post-singularity future is both scary as hell and oddly familiar. A great anthology: Women of Wonder (2 books) will lead you to more great writers like Nancy Kress.

  5. Check out a new SCI-FI novel that I discovered called Dwellers of Ravenstone: Keeper of Secrets Book One. It looks like it’s written by a mother and daughter team and seems to be a series which I found out by reading their profile page on Amazon.com. I read only the sample chapters and I loved them, and can’t wait to read more. It’s of a supernatural and paranormal nature with a little steampunk touch to it. Very unique and different. At least I think so. Check it out.

  6. James Scanlan says:

    You are missing some great authors from the mid-century. Asimov, Anderson, Heinlein. Reading some of the early ones gives you an interesting view of what was expected of “future” , Philip Jose Farmer did a pre steampunk series “RiverWorld” Heinlein wrote a bunch of juvenile stories early in his career: he was an engineer and developed the idea of the waldo remote control arm. P K Dick’s and H Ellison foreshadowed the cyber-punk of Gibson and Sterling. There are lots of good story tellers out there.