Science-Fiction Book Suggestions for Newbies

sci-fi recs for newbies

A friend of mine recently asked what books I’d recommend for her niece to get into science-fiction and I thought, “Hey there’s an idea! I read enough and I love the idea of telling people what to read!” 🙂

Some of these books were literally gazing at me from my shelf. So anyway below are the books I think would help people launch themselves into the sci-fi genre. While I don’t believe in age limits on what books people should read (no one is to old for YA for instance) I tried to pick a good spectrum of books.


Mary Shelley is often called the “teenage girl who invented science-fiction,” for a reason. This is science gone wrong after all. As Frankenstein must deal with the mess that and the thorny questions of existence his creation brings up. I love science-fiction that is entertaining but also makes me think about important moralistic questions.

And for a classic it’s a fast read.


I’m not as in love with the Illuminae Files series as I know some people are but the first one was definitely my favorite. You’ve got space. You’ve got Aiden (I love my artificial intelligence stories) and I think anyone who wants to get into sci-fi should give a go to a good questionable AI story.

Plus you have the super unique format of the story told with vast amounts of art, text and computer messages and video recaps. So even if dense sci-fi isn’t really your thing or you don’t think it is this is a good one to pick up and give a try.

the long way to a small, angry planet

I honestly can’t think of anything more science-fiction then people traveling through the reaches of space together forming a ship family and all that good stuff. The word “rag tag” usually comes up. The Long Way to a Small , Angry Planet is part of a series that I admit I haven’t kept going with (so many series…) but I enjoyed this one a great deal. I also know that people greatly love the series as a whole.

(* TV Tip: Firefly and/or Farscape are good shows to check out if you want to give space adventuring a go!)


Speaking of series there’s always The Lunar Chronicles. Cinder has robotic Cinderella, future world, cool robot sidekick and royalty living on the moon. Especially good if you’re a fan of fairy tale retellings this entire series is a brilliant mix- further books including, Red Riding Hood, Snow White and Rapunzel.

Oh, there’s even the very sci-fi like desperate illness element underlying much of the story!

the martian

Okay, there is admittedly a lot of science in this. Especially in the beginning which I myself thought I wasn’t going to be able to get through. But if you can it’s an excellent read because it’s a survival story and anyone can enjoy those! Plus the main character whose trapped on Mars is like positive attitude plus and one of the funniest characters I remember reading in ages!

After the first 50 or so pages I could not put this one down.

Princess of Alderaan

Pick a Star Wars novel. Any Star Wars novel. (Though I suggest Leia Princess of Alderaan and Bloodline both by Claudia Gray.) The Captain Phasma novel and Lost Stars also get good reviews. I’ve read several of the older novels as well including the Thrawn novels. All of them are enjoyable quick reads.

I don’t think you necessarily need to have seen the movies either. But I find like The Martian- it’s always good to have a film version especially if you’re trying something new and different.

18 thoughts on “Science-Fiction Book Suggestions for Newbies

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  1. I love fairy-tale retellings, and I definitely loved Cinder. Haven’t read the others, but I’ve heard of a couple and it seems like the perfect list!

  2. The Long Way To A Small Anget Planet is one of my faves. And Illuminae is a great choice as well. I agree about the Star Wars books (although I haven’t read Leia).

    1. I definitely want to read the rest of that series. The Leia books are great reads though I prefer Bloodline over Princess of Alderaan mostly because she’s older Leia and it’s only a bit before the Force Awakens!

  3. Pretty awesome suggestions!
    I loved the Martian, and i think even those people who don’t read sci-fi often would enjoy it for the humour alone.

    Illuminae is on my list too. I’m still debating if i should get it on kindle or in paper version. Normally i’d buy kindle, but it’s such a strange format, it might look weird.

  4. I keep forgetting there are ROBOTS in The Lunar Chronicles! I should really check it out sometime. And I’ve watched the Martian movie, which I really liked, but have yet to check out the book. Humourous scifi is a rare beast and I think we could use more of them. Awesome recs! 😀

  5. The Martian taught me so much science that I actually took note off all the math and facts separately in my pocket diary. Kudos to Andy weir for writing such a gripping book

  6. I was hoping there wouldn’t be too much, well, science in The Martian because it’s pretty hard to wrap your head around and that makes me really nervous. But it’s nice to know that it gets better after 50 pages, you never know when you might need those survival skills.

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