Top 5 Tuesday

Top 5 Tuesday: Books Set In Space

Oh boy, am I excited about today’s Top 5 Tuesday from Shanah over at the Bionic Book Worm, because the focus is on books set in space—a topic squarely in my field of vision. And, as someone who read a lot of SFF over the years (check out the SFF books in my Library) I can now share some of my favourite titles with you.

#1. RIMRUNNERS — by C. J. Cherryh is one of Cherryh’s numerous Company War novels. But this one is dark, gritty and a great view of military ‘grunts’ in space. As WO Bet Yeager, from the losing side, is forced to hide in plain sight aboard an enemy ship—with a death warrant on her head—and try to figure out a way to survive long enough to get off.

#2. THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY — by Douglas Adams, yes, I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll probably mention it again at some point in the future DON’T PANIC! This classic is a fun (and at times yes, silly) read in which you suspend your disbelief and go, well, hitchhiking around the galaxy with Arthur Dent and his guide, Ford Prefect.

#3. THE SHIP WHO SANG — by Anne McCaffrey is the first in a series of novels about sentient ships, which pair the ship with a “brawn” or person. In this case, Helva, the brain, is paired with Niall, her pilot. And yes, this idea now seems somewhat dated and has been superseded by others who’ve taken her idea and ran off with it—think Anne Leckie and Gareth L. Powell to name a few. But McCaffrey was the first.

#4. TAU ZERO — by Poul Anderson is about a generational ship, the Leonora Christine, on the long voyage from earth to colonize the stars. And what happens to people, on long voyages, cooped up in a tin-can, when personalities fray, as things start to go wrong. Not only classic SF but what is now referred to as ‘diamond-hard’ SF, with the emphasis not just on the science, but also the characters. Might seem a little dated now, but this one was always about big ideas.

#5. SPACE CADET — by Robert A. Heinlein [a Heinlein Juvenile] This is the seminal novel of a young man’s education as a member of an elite, paternalistic non-military organization of leaders dedicated to preserving human civilization, the Solar Patrol, a provocative parallel to Heinlein’s famous later novel, Starship Troopers (which is military SF).

You should also check out my post: 6 Sci-Fi Book Suggestions For People Who Don’t Like SF, for more reading suggestions.

So, there you are, a few of my favourite science fiction classics, all set in space. So what are yours?


  1. Ah, i knew i’m gonna find some cool stuff here 🙂
    I read hitchhiker’s guide, and it was hilarious. I like the one with the sentient ships a lot! Found it on amazon and they have a kindle version <3

    • I’m glad you found a gem or two in my list, Norrie. I loved Douglas Adams’s sense of humour and the depressed robot. And the Ship Who Sang was inventive, back when it was first published. I hope you enjoyed that one too, though it might seem a little dated now. 😀

    • For you it’s space, Christina, for me it’s romance! Ha! Ha! I hope you at least enjoyed the Hitchhiker’s Guide with the silly sense of English humour!

    • It’s totally silly fun, Sophie. If you want to just take a trip off world with lots of humour, then try this one.

  2. I really need to try some more Cherryh. I think the only one of hers I’ve read is The Paladin, and I really disliked how often the main character in that excused himself for wanting to have sex with his unwilling apprentice by saying things like “what does she expect, staying here alone with me?” etc. Not a character arc I enjoy, so that kind of put me off Cherryh!

    • Oh dear not the best intro to Cherryh’s canon. She does write a lot of books and covers mostly SFF, so there should be something in there for you. Rimrunners was a straightforward military-style sf. But I liked her standalone Hunter of Worlds and Serpent’s Reach. And also the Morgaine Chronicles (fantasy).

  3. Hithhiker’s! Which is also the only book I’ve read on your list haha. The idea of McAffrey sounds really interesting though. Totally can see why others ran with it haha.

    • I don’t read that much SFF these days, so these are all as old as I am! 😉 I really need to get back into the genre … one day!

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