16 Great Science-fiction Books You May Not Have Heard Of, but Should Read

More and more science-fiction books are getting turned into high-profile adaptations, from The Handmaid’s Tale to The Expanse to Dune and Station Eleven. But there are still a ton of novels and series with lower profiles that haven’t reached cultural saturation.

Here are some sci-fi novels that every fan should know about.

The Stainless Steel Rat (1961) – Harry Harrison

The novel is basically a cowboy story with Jim as the swashbuckling loner enforcing order on the frontier. Still, the plot never stops thumping and the pages turn quickly.

Babel-17 (1966) – Samuel Delany

One of Delany’s most accessible books, a rip-roaring adventure novel disguised as a work of linguistic theory, or maybe vice versa.

The City of Gold and Lead (1967) – John Christopher

Set after the conquest of Earth, two human resisters infiltrate one of the central city of the alien Tripods, pretending to be happy mind-controlled slaves in order to gather information.

The Man Who Folded Himself (1973) – David Gerrold

David Gerrold is most famous for writing the Star Trek episode “The Trouble With Tribbles.” But The Man Who Folded Himself may be an even greater achievement.

The Dispossessed (1974) – Ursula Le Guin

The Dispossessed imagines a functional but imperfect anarchist society. Everyone is equal, everyone works together. No one is in charge. Or are they?

The Forever War (1974) – Joe Haldeman

It explores the misery of training, the alienation from the home front, and the myriad ways death can seek you out in the military. War is an experience of impotence, terror, panic and dislocation.

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