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I’m the sort of reader who can find something to enjoy in many different genres and subgenres.
To be perfectly honest with you, I was a little intimidated by hard science fiction when I first encountered it because I didn’t know how much the authors who wrote it would expect their readers to know about the various scientific disciplines and theories they were focused on.
Most of the stories I’d read up until that point were much more fanciful, but I soon found plenty of books in this subgenre that I loved. Here are some of my recommendations for anyone who already loves hard science fiction or who would like to give it a try.
1. Wool by Hugh Howey
What I Loved About It: The world building, especially when it came to explaining how large groups of humans could permanently live indoors in silos that provided for all of their needs.
2. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
What I Loved About It: The descriptions of how Mars was terraformed over the course of many years!
3. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (My review)
What I Loved About It: It’s difficult to discuss my favourite portions of this book without giving away spoilers. I did adore the first few scenes that gave a realistic depiction of how weak someone would be after waking up from a long, artificially-induced sleep as well as how long it would take them to recover from it and start building enough muscle to look after themselves again.
4. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr
What I Loved About It: Humanity’s painfully slow rediscovery of critical knowledge after a cataclysmic event. There are so many other things I’d gush about if I could, but like Project Hail Mary this is something that works best if you know as little about the storyline as possible in advance.
What else would you add to this list? Most of the ones I thought of are older, and I wish I could remember more of the ones I’ve enjoyed that are on the tip of my tongue. I’m sure there are many other wonderful hard science fiction tales out there.
52 Responses to Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read if You Love Hard Science Fiction
Just seeing the words “hard science fiction” is kinda intimidating 😂 I do enjoy SF but I don’t know if any of the ones I’ve read would count as ‘hard’? I do have Project Hail Mary on my TBR though!
Aww, you don’t have to be intimidated. Lots of these books explain stuff really well.
Hope you like Project Hail Mary!
I loved Project Hail Mary, and I’ve had a copy of Wool on my shelf for years now. Great choices! I’ve suggest The Expanse series too. Such great characters and a great set-up.
Ooh, I’m looking it up now. Thanks.
Gosh, I don’t hard science fiction at all. But I do want to try Andy Weir.
Will take a look at a few of your other recommendations as well.
Thank you! Weir is a great place to start.
I don’t really read sci-fi, but these do sound like they would be good recommendations.
I don’t read a lot of Sci-Fi but I did enjoy the few books I’ve read in the genere. I’m a reader that reads a lot of genres and sub-genres as well.
I don’t read that much sci-fi, but I did enjoy The Martian and am super intrigued by Project Hail Mary.
Since you liked The Martian, I think you’ll like Project Hail Mary as well!
I’m always intimidated by sci-fi, but I did fall in love with the Red Rising series, so maybe it’s time to give some more a try!
I hope you like them if you do!
There are so many different types of sci-fi out there. 🙂
Great list! I do enjoy hard science fiction on occasion, but I’m drawing a blank about other titles to add to your list.
I went the opposite direction on my TTT this week: https://bookwyrmknits.com/2021/11/16/top-ten-tuesday-comfy-sff-books/
I love how many different types of SFF there are out there.
I don’t really do science fiction, and have told myself that I do need to read more of it to give it a chance, but some of these sound fascinating!
I hope you like them if you read them!
I love the idea of terraforming Mars so that one is a slamdunk for me.
I really struggle with hard sci-fi too.
I loved Project Hail Mary! Making note of the rest. Im am engineer and just getting into scifi, this is perfect.
This is a new genre for me. Thanks for explaining and post examples!
When I first saw your topic, I thought “this doesn’t really apply to me”! But I loved LOVED PHM and didn’t stop to think that it might be hard science fiction! I FEEL SO SMART! 😂😂😂 Andy Weir makes his scifi so accessible!
Yay! That’s awesome.
And Weir is amazing at making hard science fiction accessible to everyone.
I struggle with science fiction, so I can’t offer any recs–but I’m glad you’ve been getting some of them!
Thank you and no worries. 🙂
Science fiction, not just hard science fiction, has always intimidated me a bit. The few times I have read science fiction I have ended up liking the stories. It’s just making the leap to actually opening the book in the first place. It’s always easier when you have recommendations, so thank you for that.
You’re welcome. I hope you find lots of great things to read this autumn.
Project Hail Mary is the only one from your list that I’ve read and I loved it for, I think, the same reasons you did. Too spoilery to mention though. 🙂
Heh, I’m glad you get it!
So, when I saw the term “hard science” in your title, I immediately that “Nope, not for me.” However, I have read WOOL and I really enjoyed it (although I still need to read the sequels). Mostly this isn’t my genre, but my husband loves it (he adores Andy Weir). I’ll have to show him this list.
Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!
I’m glad you liked Wool! Hope your husband finds something wonderful to read, too.
I used to read some Sci-fi when I was younger, but don’t anymore. I’ll have to try and read some more one day.
I loved Wool. I’ve not read the others – I really need to read more sci-fi but the phrase ‘hard sci-fi’ usually makes me run a mile.
Heh, no worries. I’m glad you liked Wool.
I am a little intimidated by this genre to by honest. Maybe I’ll try one of these though.
There are so many great books in it! No need to be intimidated. 🙂
I definitely read more fantasy than science fiction, and I feel like most of the Sci-Fi I’ve read is stuff like Vicious by VE Schwab which is softer science fiction!
My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2021/11/17/top-ten-tuesday-342/
That’s cool. 🙂
Hard sci-fi isn’t one of my go to types of the genre, but Project Hail Mary has been one of my favorite reads of this year!
Check out my TTT
It was so good! Will you be watching the film when it comes out?
I am not sure if I have read much hard scifi, though it is certainly not a genre I seek out normally (The Martian has been on my tbr though).. My TTT is here
The Martian was excellent. If you like it, know that the film was just as good!
I am not big on science fiction but Project Hail Mary keeps coming up in my life so I think I may need to read it.
I hope you like it!
I can never seem to like sci-fi fiction. I feel like I’ve read very few (maybe something “light” in YA?), so it could just be that I haven’t read the “right” one, but also, I don’t think it’s “my” genre either. 😀 Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland on this week, Lydia!
And no worries. Not every genre will appeal to everyone. 🙂