What are the best title names of science fiction stories, books or series?

Science-fiction authors are tremendously innovative thinkers. But some title names are definitely better than others. There are funny ones, thoughtful ones, spoiler alerts but there are also some kind of bland ones. Just considering the titles, what are some of your favorites? And let us know what your criteria are! Is the title that you nominated just a really epic one? Does it have one of your favorite made-up technologies in it?

This week you can nominate as many as you like, next week we will narrow down to the top 10. You can check out how people are voting over on the Discover Sci-Fi Facebook group here.

What are some of the best science-fiction story, book or series *titles*?
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What’s your pick for the best title names of science fiction stories, books or series?

Last week you suggested some truly amazing sci-fi titles that cause delight, nostalgic remembering, and even some laughs.

Based on your nominations here on our blog and the DiscoverSciFi Facebook group, we've tallied up your favourite title names and have a list of the top 10.

Want to see the full list you guys put up to the vote? Click here to check it out and see what technology didn't make the cut.

*The results were decided by you based on votes tallied up between our blog and on our Facebook group.


From this list, what is the best sci-fi *title*?

The Top 10 Greatest Sci-Fi Writers

It was a painful vote for many of you, especially to narrow it down from over one hundred nominations to the top ten sci-fi writers of all time. As so many of you pointed out, there are wonderful writers that should have been on the list! But, according to our tallies here on the Discover Sci-Fi blog, and over on the Facebook group these were the top 10 writers you all voted for, interestingly, in a slightly different order on Facebook than on the blog.

If you'd like to view the original nomination list here on the blog, you can find it here.

Of course, it's impossible to really list all the great works of these phenomenal writers, so we've just chosen one to highlight, but please, share with us your favorites in the comments below!

And now, without further ado, here are the top 10 writers in order from tenth to the very best sci-fi writer of all time (according to you!)!

*The results were decided by you based on votes tallied up between our Facebook group and on our blog.


10. Frederik Pohl

Frederik Pohl (1919 – 2013) had an illustrious career spanning nearly 75 years. He won four Hugo and three Nebula Awards among many other awards. He wrote under a number of pseudonyms including Charles Satterfield, Paul Flehr, Ernst Mason, Jordan Park (two collaborative novels with Kornbluth), and Edson McCann (one collaborative novel with Lester del Rey). One of his later works, The Last Theorem, he worked on with Arthur C. Clarke, another writer on this list!

It was The Space Merchants with which Pohl blasted onto the literary scene, writing it while he was fighting during World War II. As would become his future style, The Space Merchants demonstrates his uncanny trend-forecasting style for futurism and satire. An author within a genre that wasn't really a genre for another decade or so.

Share some of your other favorites of Pohl's incredibly long and varied career in the comments below. And if you're looking for The Space Merchants, you can find it on Amazon, here.


9. Larry Niven

Larry Niven (1938 – ) has won Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, Nebula awards, among others. (You're going to see a lot of award winners on this list!) He has written numerous novels and short stories, beginning with his 1964 story “The Coldest Place”. His other writing endeavours have included TV scripts and also writing for the DC Comics character Green Lantern!

One of his most famous books (which became a series) is Ringworld. The concept is based on his idea of a kind of Dyson sphere world, in this case, a Ringworld: a band of material, roughly a million miles wide, of approximately the same diameter as Earth's orbit, rotating around a star. This influenced Iain M. Banks in his Culture series, which features about 1/100th ringworld–size megastructures.

As a mega sci-fi influencer there are many other works we could have highlighted to demonstrate Niven's influence on the sci-fi genre. Want to recommend some others? Drop a line in the comments below. You can find book one of Niven's influential Ringworld series on Amazon, here.


8. Anne McCaffrey

We are so proud to have Anne McCaffrey (1926 – 2011) on this list as she is the only woman to have made this top 10 list… something we hope to see changing over the coming years as more female authors get exposure. McCaffrey held a 46-year career as a writer, and she became the first woman to win a Hugo Award for fiction and the first to win a Nebula Award.

She is probably best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series. Marvellously, her 1978 novel The White Dragon (the third in the series) became one of the first science-fiction books to appear on the New York Times Best Seller list. Another favorite that we've shared when McCaffrey was on our top 10 list of favorite bio-tech enhancements was The “Brain & Brawn Ship series” (or Brainship or Ship series) which starts with The Ship Who Sang.

Please share with us your other McCaffrey favorites in the comments below. And you can find the first book of the Dragonriders of Pern (Dragonflight) series on Amazon, here.


7. Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury (1920 – 2012) worked in a number of genres, including fantasy, horror and mystery fiction, but is perhaps best known for his science-fiction. He was the recipient for numerous awards, including a Pulitzer citation, and had an impact crater on the Earth's moon named Dandelion Crater by the Apollo 15 (1972) astronauts, in honor of his novel Dandelion Wine!

One of his most famous works is Fahrenheit 451, a dystopian science-fiction novel in which television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, since rather than putting fires out, firemen start them, and have burned almost all the books known to have existed. This kind of dystopic, societal-critique is a common theme in Bradbury's work, including in his many short stories.

It's terribly hard to choose just one Bradbury work to feature, and his Martian Chronicles would be the next we would choose. Do you have another recommendation? Share it with us below!

And you can find Fahrenheit 451 on Amazon, here.


6. H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells (1866 – 1946) is often referred to as the “father of science fiction” alongside Jules Verne. He wrote in many genres and, as many of these great authors, was a social critic and wrote about politics. The science fiction historian John Clute describes Wells as “the most important writer the genre has yet seen”, and notes his work has been central to both British and American science fiction.

A renowned futurist and “visionary”, Wells foresaw the advent of aircraft, tanks, space travel, nuclear weapons, satellite television and something resembling the World Wide Web. His first novel was The Time Machine, a science fiction tale about a gentleman inventor living in England, who traverses first thousands of years and then millions into the future, before bringing back the knowledge of the grave degeneration of the human race and the planet.

As a prolific author, it's hard to recommend just one of his titles. What do you think, have you read this one, or do you prefer one of his others? Share in the comments below. And as always, you can find The Time Machine on Amazon, here.


5. Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert (1920 – 1986) held a number of other titles (ecological consultant, photographer, journalist, etc.) as well as being a famous science-fiction author. As with many other of these great authors, Herbert's debut on the sci-fi scene was with a short story, “Looking for Something”, in 1952. Herbert was the first science fiction author to popularize ideas about ecology and systems thinking. He stressed the need for humans to think both systematically and long-term.

Herbert's novel Dune is the best-selling science fiction novel of all time, and the whole series is widely considered to be among the classics of the genre. The novel originated when he was supposed to do a magazine article on sand dunes in the Oregon Dunes near Florence, Oregon. He became too involved and ended up with far more raw material than needed for an article. The article was never written, but instead planted the seed that led to Dune.

The Dune series is a marvelous one, but he wrote several others, including some that were published posthumously. Do you have a preference for one of his other works? Please let us know about it!

And you can find the first novel in the Dune saga on Amazon, here.


4. Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick (1928 – 1982), sometimes known as PKD, also wrote under a couple pen names, including Richard Phillipps and Jack Dowland. He started publishing science fiction in 1951 but it wasn't until 1962 when he published the alternative history novel The Man in the High Castle that Dick earned acclaim, including a Hugo Award for Best Novel.

A variety of popular Hollywood films based on Dick's works have been produced, including Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall (adapted twice: in 1990 and in 2012), Minority Report (2002), A Scanner Darkly (2006), and The Adjustment Bureau (2011). Meanwhile, the novel The Man in the High Castle (1962) was made into a multi-season television series by Amazon, starting in 2015.

The movie Blade Runner (1982) is now a classic, and the novel that inspired it Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is a thrilling one, published in 1968 in the middle of Dick's heyday. It's a prescient novel to read (or re-read) now, since it is set in 2021, when the World War has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Driven into hiding, unauthorized androids live among human beings, undetected. Rick Deckard, an officially sanctioned bounty hunter, is commissioned to find rogue androids and “retire” them. But when cornered, androids fight back—with lethal force.

Philip K. Dick's works are stunning and thought-provoking. What are some of your favorites? Mention them in the comments below. Or check out Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? on Amazon, here.


3. Arthur C. Clarke

Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917 – 2008) was a British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist,[3] inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host. He was made a Knight Bachelor “for services to literature” at a ceremony in Colombo.

Clarke was a lifelong proponent of space travel and he is famous for being co-writer of the screenplay for the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Clarke was a science writer, who was both an avid populariser of space travel and a futurist of uncanny ability. 2001: A Space Odyssey, was extended well beyond the 1968 movie as the Space Odyssey series. This allegory about humanity’s exploration of the universe—and the universe’s reaction to humanity—is a hallmark achievement in storytelling that follows the crew of the spacecraft Discovery as they embark on a mission to Saturn. Their vessel is controlled by HAL 9000, an artificially intelligent supercomputer capable of the highest level of cognitive functioning that rivals—and perhaps threatens—the human mind.

What are your other favorites of Clarke's? Share them below and check out 2001: A Space Odyssey, the first in the Space Odyssey series, on Amazon, here.


2. Robert Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein is another author who has made our top 10 lists multiple times, including top military sci-fi books and top sci-fi books of all time. The favorite around here is often Starship Troopers.

Heinlein was an American science-fiction author, aeronautical engineer, and retired Naval officer. Sometimes called the “dean of science fiction writers,” he was among the first to emphasize scientific accuracy in his fiction, and was thus a pioneer of the subgenre of hard science fiction. His published works, both fiction and non-fiction, express admiration for competence and emphasize the value of critical thinking. His work continues to have an influence on the science-fiction genre, and on modern culture more generally. And rightfully so! His work has appeared in almost every one of the top 10 lists we host here on this blog.

Heinlein used his science fiction as a way to explore provocative social and political ideas, and to speculate how progress in science and engineering might shape the future of politics, race, religion, and sex. Within the framework of his science-fiction stories, Heinlein repeatedly addressed certain social themes: the importance of individual liberty and self-reliance, the nature of sexual relationships, the obligation individuals owe to their societies, the influence of organized religion on culture and government, and the tendency of society to repress nonconformist thought. He also speculated on the influence of space travel on human cultural practices.

What are your other favorites of Heinlein's? Share them below and check out Starship Troopers, here.


1. Isaac Asimov

We heard you! With over 500 total votes, Isaac Asimov (1920 – 1992) was the resounding top science fiction favorite of all of us Discover Sci-Fi readers.

Asimov was one the world's most celebrated and prolific science fiction writers, having written or edited more than 500 books over his four-decade career. His Foundation Trilogy is recognized by sci-fi fans everywhere as one of the greatest books in the genre. In 1966, the Foundation Trilogy received the Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series, beating out the Lord of the Rings.

Some well-deserved praise for Isaac Asimov and his Foundation series:

“A true polymath, a superb rationalist, an exciting and accessible writer in both fiction and nonfiction, Isaac Asimov was simply a master of all he surveyed.”Greg Bear

“Asimov served wondrous meals-of-the-mind to a civilization that was starved for clear thinking about the future. To this day, his visions spice our ongoing dinner-table conversation about human destiny.” David Brin

What are your other favorites of Asimov's? Share them below and check out the Foundation Trilogy on Amazon.

So… What do you think of that list? Did you agree with all of the books chosen on this list? Join us here in our Facebook group to chime in on the debate, and then check out our most recent poll while you're there. Don't have Facebook? You can share your views in the comments below.

*Some book-related copy in this post was pulled from Amazon & Wikipedia.

Top Ten Poll: Who is the greatest sci-fi writer of all time?

Over on the Facebook group, we were discussing how selecting the “greatest sci-fi writer of all time” is a bit silly in its over-selectivity, however, it does promote some excellent conversation and debate! And it is a fun way to pick each other's brains on what makes some writers so good. To say nothing of getting more ideas for future authors to check out!

From over 100 total nominations and nearly 300 voters from this blog and the Facebook group, we have narrowed down the list of nominations to a top 10 list. Your heavy task this week is to take a look at the authors and choose just one. Don't forget you can check out the full list of nominations from last week's post to get even more ideas for your reading list!

Who out of these top 10 authors is the greatest sci-fi writer of all time?

Who is the greatest sci-fi writer of all time?

This week let's take the pulse of a broader subject for all of us Discover Sci-Fi readers. It's a simple question with excellent debate points. Who do you think is the greatest sci-fi writer of all time? It's a tricky question, since this necessarily tends to support the classics more than more recent authors, by virtue of their time-worn accolades. But, maybe some contemporary authors will make the nomination list? We'll see!

Take a look at the list below, and feel free to add any great science fiction writers you think we should know about. You can nominate and vote for as many writers as you like for this round.

Who are the best science fiction writers of all time?
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The Top 10 Bio-Tech Enhancements from a Sci-Fi Book or Series

The variety of biotech in science fiction novels is inspiring and mind-boggling. Some of it is even literally for mind-boggling! From super-soldiers, to brain implants, to hormone glands, to extracorporeal pregnancies, you nominated an eclectic assortment of biotech on this blog and on the Discover Sci-Fi Facebook group which you would most like to have or see in existence in the real world.

Our definition of biotech was “any biotechnology that has modified humans, or another species to soup them up to anything more than they were when they were born, for example, a fancy eyeball, extra appendages or replaced appendages, brain implants, a productivity drug etc.” Some of the nominations are a little on the fringe of that, as is always the case in the weird and wonderful world of science fiction, and the discussion has been interesting particularly on the Facebook group. Click here to view the original poll that inspired this list. As always, if you don't agree with the nominations, make your voice heard! Are you a fan of one of the books below and want to add more details? Post here in the comments and be sure to participate in the next poll so our democracy can be perfected!

Finally, from 10th to the most desirable piece of biotech, we present the top 10 selections for the best pieces of bio-tech from a sci-fi book or series of all time.

Click on the links to check out the books featuring these favorites to add to your collection, and then add your comments at the bottom of this post (or in our Facebook group) to let us know if you agree (or not!).

*The results were decided by you based on votes tallied up between our Facebook group and on our blog.


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10. Gamera Special Forces in “Old Man’s War” by John Scalzi

Old Man's War by John Scalzi was also in last week's poll. It is a six-book, military space opera series and an extra short fiction. Each book is set in the same world, but follows a different main character.

The first book in the series opens with John Perry, a 75-year old whose wife has just passed and he has become a volunteer recruit for the Colonial Defense Forces who protect human interplanetary colonists. He joins other retirees who all obtain souped-up bio-tech younger bodies to fight the war. The story follows Perry's tale from recruit through battles and challenges to his eventual promotion as captain.

The Gamera Special Forces are a new humanoid special-forces race. One could argue that calling the Gamera Special Forces a unique option isn't fair, because they also use BrainPal, a computer in their brains that enable things like communication, but there is more to them than just that. They have also been engineered to survive in open space! Their need for communication via Brainpal is because their unusual bodies have no audio.

Click here to find the first book in the series, Old Man's War, on Amazon.

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9. Uterine replicators from the “Vorkosigan” series by Lois McMaster Bujold

The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold is another series that has been nominated on previous Discover Sci-Fi polls. It includes a remarkable series of 30-publications and counting, including novels and a few shorter stories. While it is a series, each book is written intended to be a stand-alone piece, so a reader could theoretically jump in anywhere. Works in the series have received numerous awards and nominations, including five Hugo award wins including one for Best Series. The order of recommended reading is a bit up for debate since the chronology of publication does not follow the internal chronology of the Vorkosigan world. The author recommends reading the books in order of the internal chronology. So that's probably the best place to start!

The uterine replicators is a technology that allows for unborn human fetuses to be gestated in vitro, rather than in a woman's body. This is what spurred all sorts of experimentation on the human species and triggered the development of Quaddies and Betan hermaphrodites. This fascinating biotech definitely fits into our local definition of a piece of technology that has modified humans! It's also related to something that current scientists research, namely, a biobag that is used to support prematurely delivered lambs.

For the first book in the internal chronology of the Vorkosigan Saga, Falling Free, click here.


8. Protomolecule enhancement from “The Expanse” series by James S.A. Corey

Yet another novel series that has been previously nominated on Discover Sci-Fi polls, the Expanse is a series of (so far…) eight science fiction novels (and related novellas and short stories) by James S. A. Corey, the joint pen name of authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

The first novel, Leviathan Wakes introduces Captain James Holden, his crew, and Detective Miller. When they are confronted with a case of a single missing girl they realize it leads to a solar-system-wide conspiracy. With fantastic character development and truly Space Opera-tic levels of adventure, it seems almost cinematic.

The protomolecule is used to create enhancements in humans by infectious means. It is used for alterations like creating super-soldiers, and the creation of a hive mind out of an entire population which then links to a computer.

Click here to find the first book in the Expanse series, Leviathan Wakes on Amazon.


7. The gland options in “The Culture” series by Iain M. Banks

The Culture series by Iain M. Banks has been a top 10 lister for Discover Sci-Fi readers before! The series gets its name from an extremely advanced, post-scarcity society called The Culture comprised of various humanoid races and AIs. There is little need for laws or enforcement since there are no dramatic needs such as food, or work. The members live in spaceships and other off-planet constructs. However, The Culture is just one of several “Involved” civilizations that take an active part in galactic affairs. And the differences between these civilizations has landed them in inter-galactic warfare.

The glands are an interesting hormonal source of drugs that a Culture individual can use for hundreds of enhancements. A handful are described on the ScifiFandom Wiki:

These allow owners to secrete on command any of a wide selection of synthetic drugs, from the merely relaxing to the mind-altering: ‘Snap' is described in Use of Weapons and The Player of Games as “The Culture's favourite breakfast drug”. “Sharp Blue” is described as a utility drug, as opposed to a sensory enhancer or a sexual stimulant, that helps in problem solving. “Quicken”, mentioned in Excession, speeds up the user's neural processes so that time seems to slow down, allowing them to think and have mental conversation (for example with artificial intelligences) in far less time than it appears to take to the outside observer. “Sperk”, as described in Matter, is a mood- and energy-enhancing drug, while other such self-produced drugs include “Calm”, “Gain”, “Charge”, “Recall”, “Diffuse”, “Somnabsolute”, “Softnow”, “Focal”, “Edge”, “Drill”, “Gung”, and “Crystal Fugue State”. The glanded substances have no permanent side-effects and are non-habit-forming.

Click here to find the first book in the series, Consider Phlebas, on Amazon.


6. Nano-tech enhancement from “The Jon and Lobo” series by Mark L. Van Name

Mark L. Van Name is the author of the five-book Jon and Lobo military sci-fi series. It opens with the book One Jump Ahead which introduces us to Jon Moore and Battlewagon Lobo. Moore is a nanotech-enhanced soldier-of-fortune who grew up in a prison laboratory, and Lobo an A.I.-equipped intelligence and weapons platform/assault vehicle. With a bounty on Moore's head, they attempt to rescue yet again the young woman they accidentally delivered into the wrong hands. But with the help of an old lover and under-the-table support from the mercenary outfit that made him, Moore just might beat the odds, save the girl, and get out of this one a little richer and one step closer to making it back to the strange world of his origin. Jon Moore's nanotech enhancements include nano-machines (and the ability to talk to machines) but it's difficult to describe much about them at risk of spoilers!

Find One Jump Ahead and the rest of the Jon and Lobo series here on Amazon.


5. BrainPal in “Old Man’s War” by John Scalzi

Is this déja-vu? Yes, Old Man's War by John Scalzi was nominated twice this week for different biotech!

The BrainPal is semi-organic computer, thoroughly integrated with the human brain which enables a number of extra-human functions including communication abilities. It also has other nifty feature, like the ability to suddenly charge your blood so you can pop mosquitos while they bite you! And much more…

Scroll up to the tenth nomination to find out more about Old Man's War. And click here to find the first book in the series, Old Man's War, on Amazon.

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4. The “sleeve” consciousness back-up from “Altered Carbon” by Richard K. Morgan

Altered Carbon is the first book in the Takeshi Kovacs Novels series by Richard K. Morgan. In it we meet ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs. Having just been killed (again) he is dispatched one hundred eighty light-years from home, re-sleeved into a body in Bay City and thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy.

It's the “sleeve consciousness” back-up that makes it possible for Takeshi to live again, of course. A sleeve is a body you can transfer your consciousness into via an implant is a spare body you can transfer your consciousness into by use of an implant called the Stack. Religious groups have condemned the company behind the body transfers, saying that the technology is immoral, and that lab-grown bodies and clones are an affront.

You can find the start of the Takeshi Kovacs series, Altered Carbon, here on Amazon.


3. Super soldier enhancements from “The Portal Wars” series by Jay Allen

Jay Allen‘s Portal Wars series is an alien invasion/colonization series of (currently) three books. Although Jay's books have been nominated as Top 10's in our polls before, this is the first time for Portal Wars.

The series opens with Gehenna Dawn, a reference to the searing hot, hostile planet Gehanna where men from earth, like Jake Taylor, a regular New Hampshire farmboy, are sent to fight. In this alien hell, Jake and his cybernetically-enhanced comrades fight their never-ending war against the servants of the Tegeri, the manufactured soldiers they call simply, the Machines. When he finally discovers a terrible secret…that everything he’d believed, all he’d fought for his entire life, was nothing but a monstrous lie, he must decide who is the real enemy, and how far he is willing to go to right a horrific wrong.

The super-soldier enhancements are on both sides of the battles, including the protagonist, Jake Taylor himself, the aliens called Tegeri, and the Black Corps, a force created by Earth's government to destroy them. Some of the enhancements include things like being unable to go against orders, which creates fierce weapons out of humans!

You can find the first book in the Portal Wars series by clicking here.


2. The brain ships from the “Brain & Brawn” series by Anne McCaffrey

The “Brain & Brawn Ship series” (or Brainship or Ship series), written by Anne McCaffrey and others, is sometimes called the “Ship Who Sang series” based on the first book in the series.

The Ship Who Sang introduces us to a brainship, Helva. She was born human, but only her brain had been saved—saved to be schooled, programmed, and implanted into the sleek titanium body of an intergalactic scout ship. She must choose a human partner—male or female—to share her exhilirating excapades in space!

Although McCaffrey wasn't the first to come up with the concept of brainships, her original imaginings of it are unique:

I remember reading a story about a woman searching for her son's brain, it had been used for an autopilot on an ore ship and she wanted to find it and give it surcease. And I thought what if severely disabled people were given a chance to become starships? So that's how The Ship Who Sang was born.
— Anne McCaffrey, Anne McCaffrey: Heirs to Pern, Locus Magazine

Click here to find the first book in the Brain & Brawn Ship series on Amazon.


1. The Babel Fish from “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” (series) by Douglas Adams

Hitchhiker's Guide is a long-time, comic beloved classic of science fiction readers and is the title of a book series that has been adapted to film, TV, radio and even more forms of media.

With the opening book, author Douglas Adams introduces us to hapless hero Arthur Dent as he travels the galaxy with his intrepid pal Ford Prefect, getting into horrible messes and generally wreaking hilarious havoc. Dent is grabbed from Earth moments before a cosmic construction team obliterates the planet to build a freeway… and comedic chaos ensues.

Some famous pop-culture slogans are from The Hitchhiker's Guide, including “Don't Panic,” “42,” and references to a towel being the most useful thing a hitchhiker can have.

A “Babel Fish” is an admirably useful piece of biotech. According to one of the BBC broadcasts of Hitchhiker's Guide describes it thus:

“The Babel fish is small, yellow, leech-like – and probably the oddest thing in the universe. It feeds on brain wave energy, absorbing all unconscious frequencies and then excreting telepathically a matrix formed from the conscious frequencies and nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain, the practical upshot of which is that if you stick one in your ear, you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language: the speech you hear decodes the brain wave matrix.”

Click here to find The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on Amazon.


What do you think? Is there a piece of bio-tech your fellow readers should know about that didn't make it on the list? Join us here in our Facebook group to chime in on the debate, and then check out our most recent poll while you're there. Don't have Facebook? You can share your views in the comments below.

*Some book-related copy in this post was pulled from Amazon & Wikipedia.

What’s your pick out of the Top Ten pieces of bio-tech?

Last week you suggested some epic bio-tech mods you would like to have, based on SF books. Does make you wonder how far away some of those enhancements are in our future…🤔🔬

Anyway, based on your nominations here on our blog and the DiscoverSciFi Facebook group, we've tallied up your bio-tech preferences and have a list of the top 10.

Want to see the full list you guys put up to the vote? Click here to check it out and see what technology didn't make the cut.

*The results were decided by you based on votes tallied up between our blog and on our Facebook group.

From this list, what piece of biotech from a sci-fi book or novel series would you most like to have?

What’s the Best Piece of Biotech from a Sci-Fi book?

There is some truly fantastic biotech in science fiction novels, some more likely than others, and some more useful. In this case, let's define biotech as any biotechnology that has modified humans, or another species to soup them up to anything more than they were when they were born, for example, a fancy eyeball, extra appendages or replaced appendages, brain implants, a productivity drug etc. Sometimes biotech books fit into a more cyberpunk or “biopunk” scene. So, here's the question, what single piece of biotech from a sci-fi book or novel series would you most like to have? It could be biotech from a human, humanoid, or completely different species. Vote for one of the selections below, or nominate your own preference by adding it into the poll. You can also check out what folks are nominating in the poll on Facebook here.

What piece of bio-tech from a science fiction novel would you most like to have?
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The Top 10 Space Opera books or series of all time

Well, we did it, folks. Together with votes on this blog and on the Discover Sci-Fi Facebook group you nominated, discussed, and voted for the top Space Opera books (or series). This poll had some heated debate over on the Facebook group about what books should count as Space Opera!

Now, ordered from 10th to the very top Space Opera book, we present the top 10 selections for the best Space Opera books and series of all time.

Click on the links to check out the books featuring these favorites to add to your collection, and then add your comments at the bottom of this post (or in our Facebook group) to let us know if you agree (or not!).

Want to see who didn't make the cut? Click here to view the original poll that inspired this list.

*The results were decided by you based on votes tallied up between our Facebook group and on our blog.


10. Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons

The title of this series comes from the first two books, Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion. It now refers to the 4 book series, and some short stories. Several of the books have won awards, including the Hugo, Locus, and British Science Fiction Association Awards, and the series has been nominated for various science fiction awards.

The story arc of the series at first follows the stories of travelers on a pilgrimage to the Time Tombs on Hyperion to a creature called Shrike. Some worship it, some want to destroy it. It is Armageddon, and the entire galaxy is at war.

The first two books are influenced by The Canterbury Tales and the poetry of John Keats (in the form of dreams of John Keats), respectively. Later, in the third and then fourth book, the story jumps forward in time and deals more focusedly on a few characters as they encounter various futuristic religious complications.

Click here to find Hyperion on Amazon.


9. Old Mans War by John Scalzi

Old Man's War is a six-book, military space opera series and an extra short fiction. Each book is set in the same world, but follows a different main character.

It starts with John Perry, a 75-year old whose wife has just passed and he has become a volunteer recruit for the Colonial Defense Forces who protect human interplanetary colonists. He joins other retirees who all obtain souped-up bio-tech younger bodies to fight the war. The story follows Perry's tale from recruit through battles and challenges to his eventual promotion as captain.

Although each book is unique, the world-building links the tales together and is really phenomenal at developing a vivid world out there.

Click here to find the first book in the series, Old Man's War, on Amazon.


8. The Culture Series by Iain M. Banks

The Culture series gets its name from an extremely advanced, post-scarcity society called The Culture comprised of various humanoid races and AIs. There is little need for laws or enforcement since there are no dramatic needs such as food, or work. The members live in spaceships and other off-planet constructs. However, The Culture is just one of several “Involved” civilizations that take an active part in galactic affairs. And the differences between these civilizations has landed them in inter-galactic warfare.

The first book in the series, Consider Phlebas introduces readers to the utopian conglomeration of human and alien races that explores the nature of war, morality, and the limitless bounds of mankind's imagination. The book follows the story of a shapechanging agent of the Iridans during the Culture-Iridan war, who undertakes a clandestine mission to a forbidden planet in search of an intelligent, fugitive machine whose actions could alter the course of the conflict.

Click here to find the first book in the series, Consider Phlebas, on Amazon.


7. The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold

The Vorkosigan Saga is a series of 30-publications and counting, including novels and a few shorter stories. While it is a series, each book is written intended to be a stand-alone piece, so a reader could theoretically jump in anywhere. Works in the series have received numerous awards and nominations, including five Hugo award wins including one for Best Series. The order of recommended reading is a bit up for debate since the chronology of publication does not follow the internal chronology of the Vorkosigan world. The author recommends reading the books in order of the internal chronology. So that's probably the best place to start!

The stories feature different planetary systems in the “Vorkosiverse,” a galaxy colonized by humans. The stories feature several planetary systems, each with its own political organization, including government by corporate democracy, rule by criminal corporations, monarchies, empires and direct democracies. The main character viewpoints include a diverse set of characters including several women, a gay man, a pair of brothers, one of whom is physically handicapped and the other a clone, and others.

According to the internal chronology, the first book is Falling Free. It has about four to five character points of view, but mainly follows Leo, a teaching engineer, and his students, the Quaddies (who have an extra set of arms instead of legs), a genetically modified species of humans designed to function in zero gravity environments. The students are not treated as full humans, and have been raised as such. When the company that owns the Quaddies abandons them, Leo has to decide how, and whether to, save them.

For the first book in the internal chronology of the Vorkosigan Saga, Falling Free, click here.


6. The Expanse series, by James S.A. Corey

The Expanse is a series of (so far…) eight science fiction novels (and related novellas and short stories) by James S. A. Corey, the joint pen name of authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. The first novel, Leviathan Wakes, was nominated for a Hugo Award and Locus Award and the series as a whole was nominated for the Best Series Hugo Award in 2017.

Leviathan Wakes introduces Captain James Holden, his crew, and Detective Miller. When they are confronted with a case of a single missing girl they realize it leads to a solar-system-wide conspiracy. With fantastic character development and truly Space Opera-tic levels of adventure, it seems almost cinematic. And indeed, the book was turned into an Amazon Prime Original series!

Click here to find the first book in the Expanse series, Leviathan Wakes on Amazon.


5. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game is the first book in a quartet, but can definitely be read as a stand-alone book. It actually originated as a short story by the same name, in 1977, and became a book in 1985, updated again in 1991 to reflect contemporary political events. It has won the Hugo and Nebula awards and has been developed into a somewhat controversial film, as well as into two comic book series.

The first book, Ender's Game, follows the story of a boy, Ender, who is selected to go up into space for a the training program, Battle School. He, and other boys, are put through a variety of technically challenging “games” during which Ender's prowess as an analyzing and creative leader is revealed. Battle School prepares them to fight the war against the “Buggers,” an undergoing war which they might be close to losing…

Click here to find Ender's Game on Amazon.


4. Lensman series by E.E. “Doc” Smith

The Lensman series, written by Edward Elmer “Doc” Smith, is a six-book series (plus sequel) that was a runner-up for the 1966 Hugo award for Best All-Time Series.

E.E. “Doc” Smith is sometimes referred to as “the father of space opera” because of this series. It is a truly remarkable world-building saga. It opens with the book Tripleplanetary in which a inhabitants of the planet Nevia descend on earth to loot it of iron. After destroying the city of Pittsburgh the Nevians head home with with three human specimens in its hold. Among them is Conway Costigan, an undercover intelligence operative for the Triplanetary Patrol. From deep within the bowels of the enemy ship, Costigan must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the Nevians before every man, woman, and child on Earth is annihilated.

Find Tripleplanetary, and the rest of the Lensman series here on Amazon.


3. Dune by Frank Herbert

The Hugo and Nebula award-winning book Dune is the first of many Dune books (you can find the full list and order here). It started in 1965, and after the original author, Frank Herbert, died in in 1986, his son, Brian Herbert, and science fiction author Kevin J. Anderson published a number of prequel novels, as well as two which complete the original Dune series. It has been adapted to film and TV multiple times, and is currently under development as a film by Warner Bros. which will be released in November 2020.

In the first novel, Dune, noble families of the distant future control fiefs of an inhopsitable planet, Arrakis, covered in sand dunes. A drug called “spice melange” is the only substance of value and is coveted across the universe. Through sabotage and treachery some nobles cast young Duke Paul Atreides out into the planet's harsh environment to die. He doesn't die, however, and grows up with a tribe of desert dwellers who become the basis of the army with which he will reclaim what's rightfully his. As he grows up, he realizes he has unique powers, and appears to be the end product of a very long-term genetic experiment designed to breed a super human. He might even be a messiah…

You can find the start of the Dune saga on Amazon, here.


2. Blood on the Stars series by Jay Allan

The most recent Blood on the Stars book, The Colossus, was just released in April 2019, and the next one, The Others is coming out this month!

One of the best things about this series is that the cast of characters is so well developed that even some of the “bad guys” are characters you want to root for. The series opens with Duel in the Dark which introduces the leaders of opposing captains of space battleships. It is a heavy, gritty, emotional read. When the exhausted crew of the Confederation battleship Dauntless are sent to the Far Rim as the sole assistance to a distress call out there, captain Barron knows it is his sole responsibility to stop the attack at the disputed border and to win victory to prove his worth as the lineage of a family of heroes.

You can find book one of the Blood on the Stars book Duel in the Dark on Amazon here, or the first three books in a three box set, here.


1. Honor Harrington series by David Weber

And the number one, all time best space opera as selected by DiscoverSciFi readers is the Honor Harrington series! Otherwise known as The Honorverse, most of the more than 20 novels and anthology collections cover events between 4000 and 4022 AD. Much of the series' political drama follows that of Europe's political scene from the 1500's to 2000's.

The first book, On Basilisk Station, follows Commander Honor Harrington and Her Majesty’s light cruiser Fearless during their assignment to the Basilisk system. Actually, Honor Harrington has been essentially exiled to the Basilisk, her crew is annoyed with her, and her ship is aged and can hardly be expected to police an entire star system. As much as the Basilisk system was supposed to be a less-than-interesting punishment assignment, it turns out to be a bit of a linch pin in a the aggressive plans of the Haven Republic. And the only one in position to stop them is Honor Harrington and her crew.

You can find book one of the Honor Harrington series, On Basilisk Station on Amazon here.


The space opera genre is full of great, mainly military series, and not everyone agrees on what exactly fits into the category. What do you think? Did you agree with all of the books chosen on this list? Join us here in our Facebook group to chime in on the debate, and then check out our most recent poll while you're there. Don't have Facebook? You can share your views in the comments below.

*Some book-related copy in this post was pulled from Amazon & Wikipedia.

You Can Only Choose One: Best Space Opera

Last week you entered your nominations for the best Space Opera book or series of all time.

After hundreds of votes and nominations here on our blog and in our Facebook group, we have narrowed it down to a top ten list for you to vote from.

Want to see the full list you guys put up to the vote? Click here to check it out and see which books didn't make the cut.

*The results were decided by you based on votes tallied up between our blog and on our Facebook group.

Which book or series is the best Space Opera of all time?