8 Best Sci Fi Books For Adults Update 05/2022

Science fiction stories are filled with stories about people from all walks of life and all kinds of things they do. When you mix these elements with the classic themes and big ideas of the genre, you’re sure to get some great books. One of the most interesting ways to think about the category is when we follow adult characters through a speculative world. I don’t think it’s bad to read YA books. But when you have to work and take care of your family, sci-fi novels are more relatable.

It doesn’t matter if a story isn’t about what it’s like to be an adult, because sometimes science fiction stories can be more interesting when they look at the big problems in society and the world around us. Some adult sci-fi books fit the bill. Let’s look at some of them.

Aftermath By LeVar Burton

In 1997, LeVar Burton’s first book was released. It’s still relevant and timely two decades later. As soon as the first African-American president is elected, he is killed by a white supremacist. This causes a lot of chaos all over the United States. When there are riots and economic problems, there is a civil war.

As people try to stay alive after the war, three main characters emerge. Each of them comes from a completely different background, but they’re called together for a common goal that could lead to a new and better start.

Involution Ocean By Bruce Sterling

If Moby Dick were a sci-fi book, what would it look like to read? By reimagining the classic book, Bruce Sterling tells a tale in which an addict goes on a hunt for whale-like creatures on a planet that is not like Earth.

He sells Flare, a drug that can only be made from these huge monsters. When the galaxy bans the drug, Newhouse has no choice but to get it for himself. For him, there is an addiction to be fed, and there are people he needs to please. Newhouse isn’t the only one who has personal reasons for joining the crew. There are a lot of other people, too. The people who play with him have their own reasons for doing what they do, and some of them could cause a lot of trouble.

Amnesiascope By Steve Erickson

When you hear the words “post-apocalyptic Los Angeles,” you probably think of a picture. If you think about it, post-apocalyptic stories are a big part of the sci-fi genre. When we think of survival stories, we usually think of plot-driven survival stories. Amnesiascope, on the other hand, takes a different approach, and isn’t the kind we’ve come to expect from this genre.

This is not what happens. Instead, we follow a former novelist who lives in the ruins of Los Angeles and writes for the newspaper that is run out of the old Egyptian Theater. In this case, the big question isn’t about science, but rather whether what’s going on in the book is real or just the narrator’s imagination.

A Memory of Empire By Arkady Martine

This book is a mix of space opera, mystery, and political intrigue. It’s about an ambassador who moves to a new country and finds out that not everything is as it seems. Mahit Dzmare comes from a small world. When he comes to the heart of the Teixcalaanli Empire, he finds that the previous ambassador is dead. This is a problem, but it isn’t impossible to get around; under normal circumstances, she would still be able to talk to him. This is bad, but the technology that makes it happen isn’t working, either. That leaves only one conclusion: he was killed.

People won’t even admit to, or even talk about, the slaughter because they don’t want to. Mahit now has to figure out why her predecessor was killed and make sure she doesn’t do the same thing.

The Sparrow By Mary Doria Russell

A secret mission is organized to make the first contact with an alien race, and the only survivor of that mission returns to Earth traumatized in both body and spirit. This is a philosophical sci-fi book.

In some sci-fi books, alien races are very different from humans on the surface. There are huge cultural differences in The Sparrow. Even though they seem small at first, they end up causing major problems for two alien races and killing a group of humans who wanted to learn more about life outside of Earth.

Ancillary Justice By Ann Leckie

The question of what makes humans and machines different is a common theme in science fiction. Ancillary Justice looks at this idea from a different angle. Huge starships in the galaxy-spanning Radch Empire communicate with ancilliaries, people who do the daily chores that keep these huge warships running. These people are called “ancilliaries.” Those people will have to figure out what to do when they lose their starship, though.

How did Breq, one of the last people to serve on a now-defunct starship, find out? She’s going to find out while trying to get back at the Empire she once served.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet By Becky Chambers

There are a lot of big ideas in sci-fi, but it can also be dark and grim. Becky Chambers’s Wayfarers series takes a more character-driven and optimistic look at sci-fi, and it’s written by her. Rosemary Harper is a young woman who is used to relying on only herself for everything. When she joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she sees it as a chance to start a new life. Is it a surprise that she’ll find a new family on the ship?

Parable of the Sower By Octavia E. Butler

She has written some of the best adult sci-fi stories. Her Parable/Earthseed duology is insightful, incisive, and foretelling, to say the least.

Parable of the Sower was first published in 1993. It is set in the 2020s and shows the United States in turmoil because of income inequality, unchecked corporate greed, and climate change, among other things. It sounds very familiar. We learn about a young woman who is forced out of her safe L.A. home when it’s destroyed. Lauren, a young woman from her home, goes out into a world that is on the verge of breaking down with other people who have been there. Because she wants to see a better future for humanity, she has to fight against the parts of the United States that aren’t very good anymore. Parable of the Sower is hard to read at times, but it shines a light on some of our society’s flaws and makes us think about how we got to where we are now.

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