15 Interesting Sci-Fi Books Worth Reading

After writing a list of interesting horror books, I’ve decided that some of our readers could also be interested in a similar article concerning sci-fi. Would you add any titles? Please let me know in the comments. 

Interesting sci-fi books

1. Blindsight – Peter Watts

While usually associated with hard science fiction, Blindsight is also an excellent sci-fi horror. The story presented by Peter Watts is densely packed with ideas, which force the reader to wonder – how would the first contact with an alien civilization look like? Would we be even able to communicate with each other? If you like thought-provoking, well-written sci-fi horror – this one won’t disappoint you. 

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2. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is, without a doubt, one of the best weird sci-fi novels ever written. By sending us into a world harrassed by Palmer Eldritch’s disturbing visions, Philip K. Dick makes us question the reality as we know it and ask ourselves a lot of questions concerning faith, God, and possible first contact with other civilization. If you are looking for a good, ambitious novel – this one shouldn’t disappoint you.

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3. A Canticle for Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller Jr.

I believe A Canticle for Leibowitz is a perfect example showing that science fiction genre, often disregarded, offers much more than just lasers, spaceships, and terrifying aliens. Miller’s novel is a book about faith, science, and finding the right balance between them. Highly recommended.

You don’t have a soul, Doctor. You are a soul. You have a body, temporarily.

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4. Roadside Picnic – Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky is a profound, thought-provoking novel, forcing the reader to reflect on the nature of man and his place in the universe. The story is also a good start if you would like to get to know other sci-fi books written by those Russian authors.

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5. The Three-Body Problem – Cixin Liu

In my opinion, The Three-Body Problem is one of the best hard sci-fi novels in recent years. The story written by Cixin Liu presents an original look at our place in the universe, while also heavily depending on science.

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6. Invisible Planets – anthology edited by Ken Liu

If you would like to get to know Chinese sci-fi better, there is no better place to start than Invisible Planets – anthology edited by Ken Liu. Apart from short stories, the book also contains some fascinating essays concerning the development of sci-fi in China.

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7. Flowers for Algernon – Daniel Keyes

Flowers for Algernon is a genuinely timeless novel, drawing our attention to the dehumanization of science and human cruelty towards the weak. Daniel Keys encourages the readers to question the world as we know it and hang to our humanity. 

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8. The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury is a true gem of sci-fi and in my opinion, one of the best ways to introduce someone to the genre. The short stories contained in this anthology are full of nostalgia and loneliness, which, combined with timeless problems raised by the author, make the reader wonder about the fate of our civilization. 

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9. Solaris – Stanisław Lem

Lem’s Solaris is one of the best Polish sci-fi novels and definitely an interesting proposition for any fan of the genre. Peter Watt’s Blindsight is often compared to this one, as the idea for the first contact with an alien civilization is pretty similar in both of these great books. 

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10. Stand on Zanzibar – John Brunner

The Earth is overpopulated; people try to escape the depressing reality by using new types of drugs, and machines are getting dangerously intelligent. John Brunner’s novel Stand on Zanzibar is definitely one of the most interesting and disturbing visions of the future, you can find in sci-fi. 

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11. Hyperion – Dan Simmons

The intergalactic war is coming, something strange is starting to happen in the Valley of Time Tombs, and a terrifying creature called Shrike is somehow connected to all of this. In the meantime, seven pilgrims decide to set out on a journey to the planet Hyperion, which might offer an answer to all their questions. In my opinion, next to Terror, this novel is one of the best Dan Simmons’ works. 

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12. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress – Robert Heinlein

Facing problems of overpopulation and hunger on the Earth, the governments decided to send their convicts to the penal colony placed on the Moon. There are no bars, no guards, the prisoners may complain about their situation, but what can they really do? Many of the themes presented in Heinlein’s books were then re-used in other sci-fi works – it’s one of the classics really worth knowing. 

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13. The Sirens of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut

While Kurt Vonnegut wrote many great novels, I have a kind of special sentiment towards this one. The Sirens of Titan presents the story of Malachi Constant – rich degenerate who is offered a chance to set out on a space journey. The author encourages us to question the purpose of human life while not forgetting to lighten the mood (only a little) with his unique sense of humor. 

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14. Metro 2033 – Dmitry Glukhovsky

While right now there are dozens of novels placed in the universes created by Dmitry Glukhovsky, I think that Metro 2033 is undoubtedly the best one of them. The remnants of humanity try to survive in dangerous, dark Moscow underground, full of strange, mutated creatures. Glukhovsky’s novel is not only highly entertaining but also really well written. Great proposition for any fan of post-apocalyptic books and interesting sci-fi books in general. 

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15. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

The novels start when the Earth is about to be demolished in order to make way for a galactic freeway. Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect, armed with the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, leave the planet and set off on a crazy journey during which they will, for example, find the answer for the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Light, funny, and thought-provoking, Douglas Adams’ book is a must-have for any sci-fi fan and an obvious choice on any list of interesting sci-fi books.

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That’s it then – my list of interesting sci-fi books. Have you read all of them? What are your thoughts? Please let me know in the comments.

Interesting horror books which you should read

Recently I’ve written about a few outstanding weird fiction novels, such as John Langan’s The Fisherman and Peace by Gene Wolfe. After this, one of the readers asked me to prepare a list of interesting horror books in general. So here we are. I’m sure that the list will lack some novels that are worth reading, so if you come up with some good positions, please let me know in the comments section. Enjoy.

PS. The books are ordered randomly; it’s not a ranking.

1. The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty

In 1973, William Peter Blatty received an Oscar for the screenplay used in the film The Exorcist and thus revolutionized, to some extent, the image of horror in pop culture, at the time bombarded with occult pulp stories. Why is the book also considered to be a classic of the genre? Well, The Exorcist is a terrifying story showing us not only how fragile and sensitive beings we are, but also that we are capable of inhuman cruelty. Timeless classic.

You can buy the book here

2. Teatro Grottesco – Thomas Ligotti

Weird fiction stories by Thomas Ligotti are perfect examples showing, that horror, often associated with light entertainment, can be ambitious literature. In my opinion, Teatro Grottesco is a masterpiece that I can honestly recommend to any book lover, who is ready to plunge into a disturbing, surreal world of nightmares created by the author.

Yoy can buy the book here

3. The Secret of Ventriloquism – Jon Padgett

The Secret of Ventriloquism is a real gem of weird fiction genre. The constant feeling of anxiety accompanying the reader throughout the whole book and unique description of the fallen Dunnstown will surely stay in the readers” memory long after putting the short story collection back on the shelf. I must admit that Jon Padgett joined my favorite weird fiction authors, and I’m looking forward to read his next works. Great read.

You can buy the book here

4. Agents of Dreamland – Caitlin R. Kiernan

Agents of Dreamland gave me exactly what I expected from it – great entertainment mixed with the kind of anxiety, you can get only from good weird fiction works. If you have ever wondered how would a crossover between The X-Files and Lovecraft’s short stories look like – Caitlin R. Kiernan’s book, in my opinion, is as good an answer as you can get. 

You can buy the book here

5. Ghost Story – Peter Straub

Peter Straub’s novel is undoubtedly a real gem when it comes to horror literature. The multifaceted, complexed story forces its readers to actually think through the presented events and look for intertextual references hidden in Ghost Story. The atmosphere created by Straub is definitely unique and if you are a patient reader willing to dedicate some time to really appreciate the author’s masterpiece – don’t hesitate and just read it.

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6. The Great God Pan and Other Horror Stories – Arthur Machen

Another great weird fiction short story collection. Some of Machen’s masterpieces such as The Great God Pan or The White People inspired many other authors, among others, H.P. Lovecraft. A must-have for every weird fiction fan wanting to get to know the beginnings of our favorite genre.

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7. The Motion Demon – Stefan Grabiński

Stefan Grabiński, often called Polish Lovecraft, wrote many interesting, weird fiction short stories, such as The Motion Demon or White Wyrak. His works usually confronted people working as railwaymen or firefighters with otherworldly powers lurking under the veil of reality as we know it. If you liked short stories by M.R. James or Algernon Blackwood, you will also not be disappointed with Grabiński.

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8. The Fisherman – John Langan

The Fisherman is one of the best weird fiction novels I have ever read. The wonderful, fluid narrative, surreal visions, and disturbing atmosphere make reading John Langan’s book pure pleasure. A real treat for the fans of horror literature.

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9. Dracula – Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker’s novel is certainly an impressive record of changes happening in the 19th century, as well as a source of pop culture references. If you are one of those lucky people who still haven’t read Dracula, I strongly encourage you to do it. A true horror classic.

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10. The Terror – Dan Simmons

It’s almost impossible to find a better novel to read during a long winter evening. The author really makes us feel the cold constantly harassing the participants of the Franklin’s Expedition. If you like Lovecraft’s story In the Mountains of Madness or John Carpenter’s excellent movie The Thing, there is a high chance that The Terror will join your favorites.

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11. Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories – Algernon Blackwood

H.P. Lovecraft called Blackwood’s The Willows the best weird fiction story ever, and while I would put some other texts in front of this one, it’s undoubtedly true that we are dealing with a masterpiece of horror. The author makes us wonder how mysterious and powerful nature really, by often confronting his protagonists with the unknown. The Wendigo, Sand, and other stories included in this collection are all worth reading.

You can buy the book here

12. House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski

Danielewski’s novel is, in fact, a literary experiment that is often included in texts concerning the best and most disturbing horror books. Peculiar construction, frequent narrator changes, references to non-existent books, and many others make reading House of Leaves a real challenge. Actually the plot in itself is one big puzzle. If you are looking for a demanding horror novel, I think that you should give this one a shot.

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13. Peace – Gene Wolfe

Peace is a unique novel, requiring its reader to devote enough time and energy needed to discover the truth hiding behind Weer’s story. If you are looking for an ambitious ghost story that will make you feel uncomfortable and stay in your memory long after finishing it – don’t hesitate and plunge into the weird world of Alder Weer’s memories.

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14. The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is without a doubt one of the best weird sci-fi novels ever written. By sending us into a world harrassed by Palmer Eldritch’s disturbing visions, Philip K. Dick makes us question the reality as we know it and ask ourselves a lot of questions regarding faith, God and possible first contact with other civilization. If you are looking for a good, ambitious novel – this one shouldn’t disappoint you.

You can buy the book here

15. The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft

Any list concerning best horrors, of course, could not be missing stories by H.P. Lovecraft. In most of his works you can see the author sublime, beautiful writing style and his infatuation with 18th-century. Another characteristic of Lovecraft’s work is his fear of human nature and the vastness of the universe. Apart from some exceptions, protagonists here are usually enlightened people such as antiquarians or scientists, who are confronted with some otherworldly power.

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16. The Ghost Stories of M.R. James

Works written by M.R. James are true classics of horror literature. The author always carefully reveals exactly enough to interest the reader, but at the same time, hides some part of the story to stimulate his imagination. The descriptions are suggestive and detailed – I guarantee that some of them will come back long after finishing the book to haunt you in your nightmares.

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17. Best Ghost Stories of J.S. Le Fanu

Another classic of horror literature. Some of his works even became a part of pop culture as we know it – for example, vampire Carmilla. Definitely worth taking a closer look at.

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18. The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane – Robert E. Howard

Many Robert E. Howard’s works can be regarded as horror literature, and I think that those dedicated to Solomon Kane are the best in this aspect. His stories are dynamic, full of twists and turns, exciting fights, and blood-chilling moments. If you are looking for an entertaining horror – give Solomon Kane a chance.

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19. Looking for Jake and Other Stories – China Mieville

Mieville’s short story collection included really good examples of weird fiction, gore, ghost story, and even Lovecraftian horror. In my opinion, Looking for Jake is a great start for every reader who would like to start his adventure with books written by this author.

You can buy the book here

20. Blindsight – Peter Watts

While usually associated with hard sci-fi, Blindsight is also an excellent sci-fi horror. The story presented by Peter Watts will stay with you for a long time putting the book back on the shelf. One of my favorites.

You can buy the book here

21. Red Snow – Ian MacLeod

Red Snow is a melancholic, atmospheric novel, concerning topics such as the fall of ideals, human cruelty and loneliness. Although the ending of the book was kind of disappointment for me, I think that MacLeod’s book is worth the effort.

You can buy the book here

22. In Heaven Everything is Fine: Fiction Inspired by David Lynch

In Heaven Everything is Fine is a very solid collection of short stories, including such gems like Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti, Hadley by Ben Loory or Finding yourself as someone else by Matthew Revert. All works are somehow corresponding with the works of David Lynch – if you are a fan, it should be a real treat.

You can buy the book here

23. The King in Yellow – Robert W. Chambers

This legendary collection of stories has recently gained in popularity thanks to the excellent TV series True Detective, where we can find many references to Chambers’ book. The unique, mysterious atmosphere and feeling of anxiety makes The King in Yellow an instant classic.

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24. The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

The novel started to become popular again thanks to the tv series loosely based on The Haunting of the Hill House, which some time ago appeared on Netflix. Three extremely different people enter the aforementioned haunted house – how will it end? Like many other books on the list, this one is also widely considered to be a weird fiction masterpiece.

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25. Salem’s Lot – Stephen King

When it comes to horror literature, I, of course, had to mention at least one book by Stephen King. While I like a lot of his stories, Salem’s Lot is my favorite one. The novel is full of pop-cultural references and scenes which will be remembered long after Stephen King finishes his career.

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26. The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies – Clark Ashton Smith

The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies is full of hauntingly beautiful while also disturbing stories, written by a member of the so-called “Lovecraft Circle”. A real gem of weird fiction and horror literature as a whole.

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27. The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All – Laird Barron

The first short story collection by Laird Barron I’ve read, which made me instantly fall in love with his works. Nowadays, the author is one of the most popular weird fiction writes, often put in the same sentence as H.P. Lovecraft or Thomas Ligotti. If you would like to check if his stories are a good match for you – give Blackwood’s Baby a shot, you won’t regret it.

You can buy the book here

So, that would be it for now. With time I will try to update the list with new interesting horror books. How many of the mentioned works have you read and which ones are your favorites? How would your list look like? Please let me know in the comments.