6 Sci-Fi Book Suggestions For People Who Don’t Like SF

Following on from Norrie over at, Reading Under The Blankie, I’m offering up a few suggestions of book choices, for those of you afraid to dip your toes into the SF swimming pool.  

So, go grab your water wings, and let’s jump in at the deep end shall we:

Let’s get funny

For me the Piers Anthony and his Xanth series was a huge discovery, as a teen. The books are full of silly puns, fun characters, who go on weird-ass quests, where just about anything goes in a Xanth novel. 

Start with: A Spell For Chameleon (Del Rey, 1977)

Alternate history and timelines

If you are a regular to my blog, then you will have seen a couple of reviews of mine for Gareth L. Powell’s Ack-Ack Macaque trilogy. Which is a fun fast mix of an alternate timeline, with a generous heaping of steampunk overtones, and characters that will make you sit up and go, wtf! As you’re introduced to a cigar-chewing sentient macaque who flies a Spitfire, circa WWII. Intrigued? You should be, these books are great fun to read.

Start with: Ack-Ack Macaque (Solaris Books)

Intergalactic war with a twist

What better books to read than The Sim War military SF series from Henry O’Neil, in which your deadliest foe turns out to look like you! Excellent writing, believable warfare and characters that really bring the story to life. Full of twists and turns. 

Start with: Glory Main (Harper Voyager)

Wormhole wizardry

No, nothing to do with actual wizards, but books that feature travel to distant the stars using wormholes, or wormhole technology. Try one or all of these reads to get you started on a journey far beyond our our solar system:

  • Tunnel in the Sky — Robert A. Heinlein
  • Beyond the blue event horizon — Fredrik Pohl

Mind boggling Science

In one of his ‘adult’ novels, The Number of the Beast, Robert Heinlein first of all pays homage to Edgar Rice Burroughs in naming three of his characters, Zebadiah John Carter, Dejah Thoris “Deety” Burroughs, and her professor father, Jacob Burroughs. These scientists are working on a device that will take them across the threshold of not one, or even two dimensions, but six. Which allows them to visit a number of parallel universes. I won’t tell you how many, you’ll have to read the book to find out. 

Let’s get colonizing

There are many authors out there writing about colonizing other worlds, but none did it quite so well as Anne McCaffrey who wrote what can be described (loosely) as speculative fantasy, with her Dragon Riders of Pern series, and Harper Hall series of books. Colonists in a literal battle for survival go all Medieval and, in order to survive, create a species of fire-breathing dragons they can fly. Oh, how I wished I could fly one of those dragons.

Start with: Dragonflight (1968) or Dragonsong (1977) 

Have you read any of these books and if so, what did you think of them? Or are you thinking you might give one of these a go? As always, leave your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. November 17, 2018

    Thank you so much for including my Sim war series on this list, Alexandra–I’m honored! –Vincent H. O’Neil (aka Henry V. O’Neil)

    • November 19, 2018

      Thanks for stopping by Vincent. And I’m only too happy to include your work, the first book was outstanding read.

      BTW, I’m currently (re)reading book 2, Orphan Brigade, for review during this, SciFiMonth. I’ll let you know when the review goes live.

  2. November 9, 2018

    I’m intrigued by The Number of the Beast – it could be due to my inner geek / scientist- I really like the sound of it. I may even start reading sci-fi! I’m currently going through fantasy obsession – enjoying Tamora Pierce’s Wild Magic, but once the right mood strikes, I’m planning on giving sci-fi books a go.

    • Alexandra
      November 9, 2018

      The Number of the Beast is as good a place to start with Robert Heinlein. Though the science might seem a little dated by today’s standards, still, always an interesting read. And Anne McCaffrey wrote fantasy, her Dragon books were great adventure stories maybe you would like those too. And like Holly Black, I keep hearing about Tamora Pierce too. I really need to check them out.

      • November 9, 2018

        Thanks for recommending Anne McCaffrey – her work is not known to me but I will definitely seek her out.

        Tamora Pierce is such a great writer. There are so many wonderful authors yet to explore – that’s what so fun about reading. All those books yet to be read and enjoyed. x

        • November 9, 2018

          Oh, I know. There’s just so many books and great authors that sometimes it’s hard to keep up. But yes, if you like fantasy, and like it with SF over tones and, maybe, a little romance too, then try Anne McCaffrey. The Dragon books were always a fun read.

  3. November 8, 2018

    I see you own your Sci-Fi stories Alexandra! Thanks for all these recommendations! The one I could think of to recommend (and I just voted for this book on Goodreads) is Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff!

    • alexandra
      November 8, 2018

      Oh yeah, I’m a certified book hoarder! And proud of it. lol

      Lifel1k3 is on my radar too, on one of my lists to check out. Everyone has been saying good things about it, and the author.

  4. November 7, 2018

    Ah, what a sweet list! I have to further investigate these <3

    • Alexandra
      November 7, 2018

      I’m really enjoying SF month, to be honest. Because it’s giving me the opportunity to share a number of my fav books with everyone.

      I hope you do some digging for some classic SF! 😀

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