The 19 Best Science Fiction Books of 2022 (and Our Most Anticipated)

2022 is overflowing with the best Science Fiction books I’ve read in years.

Praise the space-faring muses and the publishing deities, because this year is stuffed with SCIENCE FICTION GOODNESS, and I can’t wait to share these books with you. Here, you’ll find:

  • Award-winning Science Fiction masterpieces
  • Indie gems that will slake your thirst for adventure
  • Alien technology, deadly space battles and world-shattering galactic conflicts
  • Thrilling space horrors, lighthearted romps with Kaiju or bounty-hunter lovers, mind-bending time travel, and Pulitzer prize-winning prose…

…and a few villains you’ll fall in love with (or fall in hate with, depending on your preferences. You’ll see).

Before we dive in, don’t forget to check out these other lists!

1. Sea of Tranquility

By Emily St. John Mandel 

The author of Station Eleven is back with a beautiful science fiction novel that spans centuries. Every page of this narrative is lovingly, masterfully crafted, and it will sweep you off your feet and into a world full of nostalgia, cities on the Moon, plagues, and the meaning of life throughout the wilderness of time itself. 

A rare mix of beauty and intellectual exploration of existential science fiction concepts, Sea of Tranquility starts with three separate protagonists across three centuries, and coalesces their stories into a climactic vision of utter beauty. This story will whisk you away from the very first page.

Read This if You Like:

  • Literary science fiction with time travel and metaphysics
  • Sweet, funny, and smart stories with more than a touch of inner darkness
  • Station Eleven, or transcendental fiction (sometimes, I get real Cormac McCarthy vibes from Mandel’s writing)

Pre-Order on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

2. Dead Silence

By S. A. Barnes

Under mysterious circumstances, a luxury liner on a journey through the stars (think the Titanic, if it were a spaceship), is lost in the void. When Claire and her salvage crew stumble upon the ship, they realize they have a once-in-a-lifetime salvage opportunity. This could be the haul that changes everything.

But the truth behind the ship’s mysterious disappearance, and the horrors they find inside the ship are so utterly unspeakable, they will make Claire fight for her life, even as she questions her sanity…

Read This if You Like:

  • Horror Science Fiction like Alien or Dead Space or The Thing
  • A high-risk space operation performed by a crew with nothing left to lose
  • Cold, dark, claustrophobic science fiction (and deep-space madness) that you can’t stop reading

Pre-Order on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

3. Eyes of the Void (The Final Architecture #2)

By Adrian Tchaikovsky

A world-shattering space opera (seriously), where humanity and a few of our nieghboring alien civilizations ramp up to war—not just with each other, but with an ancient race of incomprehensible power called “The Architects.” 

Take elements of Warhammer 40k, Iain Banks The Culture, and throw them into a fast-paced space action rife with danger and discovery. Very alien discoveries. 

You’ll love this if you love epic warfare, tight-knit spaceship crews, and universe-ending science fiction.

Read This if You Like:

  • A refreshing space opera universe filled with long-forgotten wonders
  • Impossibly powerful Elder Gods, or the Warp from Warhammer 40,000
  • A main character with truly unique powers that allow him to traverse space

Buy on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

4. How High We Go in the Dark

By Sequoia Nagamatsu

Dramatic, mind-bending science fiction that is at times wonderful, weird, and deeply moving. This story weaves together numerous narratives across centuries of space and time as humanity struggles to survive and rebuild itself in the wake of a plague brought on by melting glaciers.

This heartfelt narrative is full of interweaving threads and complex, tender relationships that are sometimes painful, and sometimes painfully sweet. Above all, it’s about the spirit of Humanity in times of great hardship.

Read This if You Like:

  • Tender, provocative science fiction prose about the spirit of Humanity
  • Beautiful, deeply reflective interweaving stories reminiscent of Station 11 or Cloud Atlas

Buy on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

5. Stringers

By Chris Panatier

Stringers is a gleeful (and absurd) space adventure, in the vein of Hitchhiker’s Guide, except with less depressing androids and more pickle jars. Oh, and lots of “useless” bug facts.

Here’s the story: 

Ben knows way too much about animals and wristwatches. Nothing wrong with that, except for one thing; Ben has no idea how he knows these things.

When Ben is kidnapped by an insectoid bounty hunter, and discovers his mysterious gift is deeply coveted by greater alien powers, he will find himself fleeing across the stars and uncovering a few secrets of his own. 

Read This if You Like:

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe
  • Slapstick and lyrical humor, often with a dark spin
  • Hilarious Science Fiction adventure with its fair share of sweet moments

Buy on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

6. A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Monk and Robot, #2)

By Becky Chambers

A few decades ago, all the robots packed up and disappeared into the wilderness of Panga. The reason for their exodus is still a mystery. Yet, even without their servile machines, humanity exists in a kind of lush, peaceful utopia where people are kind to each other and “tea monks” are held in the highest esteem. 

But Dex isn’t happy. Dex wants to know: how do you find purpose in such a paradise?

Becky Chamber is a master of her craft. Her stories are bright and heart-warming, deeply undercut with the greatest philosophical questions that science fiction has to offer, and I always find myself getting immersed in her characters. I think she writes some of the best friendships in all literature, let alone Science Fiction, and A Prayer for the Crown-Shy is no different. 

Read This if You Like:

  • Cozy, low-stakes adventures on a “paradise” world
  • The Midnight Library, or shows like Firefly, with heart-warming casts of characters
  • Advanced technology mixed with nature, and deep philosophical questions that make Science Fiction truly great

Buy on Amazon

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7. The Last Human

By P. S. Hoffman

Full disclosure: I spent the last year writing this novel, and it’s been an amazing experience. Hundreds of readers have given me outstanding feedback on the first drafts, so I’m excited to include it on this list.

Humankind is extinct. So why do we still worship them as gods?

In the milenia after humanity disappeared, Alien civilizations rose up and started worshiping “the old gods,” and the incredibly powerful gifts they left behind. One alien Empire even learned how to use humanity’s ancient weapons in their quest to dominate the galaxy. 

The avians of Karam have been conquered by the Empire, and while some avians still pray for salvation, most have given up hope. 

Eolh lives a life in the gutters, as he thieves, runs jobs, and sells his services as a freelance listener to the last gangs of Lowtown. He trusts no one, and only looks out for himself.

But when an unusual heist takes a deadly turn, Eolh must bargain with an overzealous android who carries an impossible secret—one that will shake the foundations of the universe. There is one last hope for salvation.

This is the story of The Last Human.

Read This if You Like:

  • Dune, Star Wars, or any space operas with a “prophetic hero”
  • HFY stories with droids and alien characters who worship extinct Humanity as gods
  • Primitive civilizations clashing with galactic empires, and the rediscovery of ultra-powerful “forgotten” technology

Read the First Chapters for Free.

Buy on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

8. The Kaiju Preservation Society

By John Scalzi

A hilarious romp through a secret world populated with scientists, saboteurs, and the footsteps of mountain-sized monsters.

Jamie is whisked away from a dead-end job—and a dead-end life—and lands in the world’s best-kept secret… a hidden base where scientists from around the world study the rarest creature of all: Kaiju.

This hilarious romp is a bite-sized adventure through a dangerous world filled with monsters (both great and small). But this time, it’s about keeping the monsters safe… without getting yourself killed.

Read This if You Like:

  • Kaiju, with a focus on the biology of giant monsters
  • Light-hearted science fiction like Men in Black, Galaxy Quest, or Hitchhiker’s Guide
  • Wholesome scientists working together (with a healthy dose of Scalzi’s trademark sarcasm)

Buy on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

9. January Fifteenth

By Rachel Swirsky

“January Fifteenth—the day all Americans receive their annual Universal Basic Income payment.”

This novella follows four women from vastly-different backgrounds as they receive their UBI payment, and how they choose to spend it. From the disgustingly privileged to life-or-death desperation, January Fifteenth is the day that all fortunes can change.

This novella is a punchy, thoughtful exploration across the class divides, through the lens of one of my favorite economic science fiction concepts: Universal Basic Income. 

Read This if You Like:

  • Near-future speculative fiction (emphasis on “what if?”)
  • Award-winning prose that will quickly pull you into the mind of each character
  • The drama of economics and wealth disparity… and a sudden change of fortune for those who need it most

Buy on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

10. The Candy House

By Jennifer Egan

In a word, this novel is spellbinding. 

The plot revolves around a new technology that allows you to download and externalize every memory you’ve ever had, but it’s the writing style that elevates this book to a new level. A masterfully-crafted narrative saga, with social media, gaming, and alternate reality at the focus, this story shifts points of view from first person, to omniscient, to epistles and tweets, and so many more. 

This is intense literary science fiction at its finest, and will leave you asking questions about our near future. 

Read This if You Like:

  • Complex literary science fiction with masterfully executed narrative devices
  • Pulitzer-prize winning prose (seriously, Jennifer Egan wins awards for a reason)
  • Deeply speculative fiction about modern-day or near-future topics like online privacy and alternate identities

Buy on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

11. Braking Day

By Adam Oyebanji

One hundred years ago, three generation ships fled Earth, and headed toward a distant star. 

The story begins right before Braking Day, the day when the ships will finally begin their braking descent to their new home. But as life is about to change for everyone, one lower-level engineering tech named Ravi begins to experience strange visions. 

Ravi sees a girl, floating out in space, without a helmet. He knows he should tell someone, but if people think he’s crazy, he might jeopardize his family’s standing among the ship. 

This is an exciting adventure with a handful of wonderful characters who will pull you into a far-out world that will take you on a journey to some (very) unexpected places and one stunning finale.

Read This If You Like:

  • Crafty main characters who can think outside the box
  • Deep Space Mysteries that take place at the literal edge of human existence
  • Worldbuilding delight, featuring the inner workings of spaceships, AI, and a host of other distant star elements

Buy on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

12. Prison of Sleep (Journals of Zaxony Delatree #2)

By Tim Pratt

The narrative of this duology switches between two individuals who are closely intertwined: one, a man who discovers that every time he falls asleep, he wakes up in another world. The other: a woman who knows why. 

The second book expands the world and elevates its mysteries, while keeping that “rising urgency” feeling from the first. If you love exploring worlds so alien, they don’t even fit in our universe, then you will love this book.

Read This if You Like:

  • Science fiction thrillers with an emphasis on great characters … and a hint of romance
  • Multiverse fiction (with great worldbuilding and a wide variety of weird multiverse beings)

Buy on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

13. No Song, But Silence (Wind Tide, #3)

By Jonathan Nevair

In this expansive space opera trilogy, a sprawling, political empire creeps across the arm of the galaxy, conquering everyone who resists. But the resistance refuses to die…

The first book begins with Razor, a rebel pilot who must capture Keen, a diplomat on his way to an important political council. The second and third book pick up new protagonists, as this story spans the decades, and chronicles the changes within a galactic empire.

Most uniquely, the primary resource is one I’ve never seen before: in this world, wind is precious. This series is packed with philosophical ideas on government and power, political intrigue, and more action than you can shake a starship at. 

Read This is You Love:

  • Science Fiction stories of resistance, rebellion, and skullduggery
  • Galaxy-Sized Space Opera with mysteries, empires, and great, poetic prose
  • Dystopian worlds ruled by monopolies (but you still kind of want to live there)

Buy on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

14. Memory’s Legion (The Expanse, #10)

By James S. A. Correy

For those who haven’t heard of the Expanse, it’s a thrilling, ultra-realistic Space Opera where humanity colonized Mars, the asteroid belt, and a few planetary bodies beyond… and then got stuck. 

It’s brimming with political intrigue, military science fiction, noir-like mysteries, and takes a dramatic plot development in Book #3 that massively expands the universe. If you love really, really in-depth first contact stories, you will love this series.

Even better: after nine books, The Expanse is finally complete. And damn, if it isn’t a masterpiece.

Memory’s Legion is not a new book. Instead, this is a collection of all the short pieces in the universe. I’m putting it on this list because, yeah, if you enjoyed the Expanse, you must read these stories.

Read This if You Like:

  • First contact with a supremely powerful alien species
  • Battlestar Galactica, or any character-driven dramatic Space Opera
  • Military Science Fiction, with extremely realistic science (I LOVE their space ships)

Buy on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

15. Child Zero

By Chris Holm

A dark, viral thriller in the vein of Michael Crichton. 

When a bioterrorism attack shakes the world, all the diseases humanity once thought “gone” come back with a raging vengeance. Years later, in a world completely changed by old infections, a detective’s daughter becomes ill once more. 

Her father, Detective Jake Gibson, is brought to a mass murder scene with an unusual cause… that might hold the key to saving his daughter. 

What really sets this book apart is the science: the author was a molecular biologist before turning to fiction, and his expertise greatly uplifts the quality of the story.

Read This if You Love:

  • Urgent, twisting, thrilling tales set in a pandemic dystopia
  • Books like Andromeda Strain or any Michael Crichton novel

Buy on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

16. Station Eternity

By Mur Lafferty

Mallory, an amateur detective, has had it. Everywhere she goes, she always seems to stumble across one murder or another. So, she heads off to the most remote place in the galaxy: a sentient space station with no humans, only aliens. Surely that will solve her problem, right? 

Want something light and dark to fill your science fiction palate? Station Eternity is an intergalactic romp that both adores—and makes fun of—every mystery trope ever. Mur Lafferty is an outstanding writer, and I have no doubts this book will be the start of a new, truly wonderful series.

Read This if You Love:

  • Fun, fast-paced intergalactic mystery thrillers
  • Sentient space stations and loud, vivacious characters

Pre-order on Amazon

Releases Oct. 4, 2022

Save it on Goodreads

17. Hunt the Stars

By Jesse Mihalik

Need more romance in your Science Fiction? This is your next read.

It would be a really bad idea to take on this bounty. So bad, it might even start an interplanetary war. 

But Tavi and her crew really need the money. 

To make things worse, taking on this job means Tavi’s crew will have to work alongside an old enemy, a former general named Torran. Normally, working alongside a general would make things easier… but this one is crafty. And he’s hiding some very important details about the mission from Tavi.

And, Tavi and Torran have some unfinished history, which—against all of Tavi’s desire—could blossom into something more.

Read This if You Like:

  • Found families barely scraping by on their starship
  • Bounty Hunters on the edge of terrible failure/glorious fortune
  • Romantic space opera that twists, turns, escalates, and twists again

Bonus: book #2 is also coming out this year!

Buy on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

18. The Blood Trials

By N. E. Davenport

Ikenna has a thirst for revenge. She will have the blood of the people who killed her grandfather.

To seek her revenge, she must join the Praetorian Guard. That means battling her way through a violent set of trials. The problem? Only a quarter of aspirants survive these trials, and fewer still make it into the Guard.

But she has a secret weapon; Ikenna has trained all her life to use the bloodgift—a brutal, forbidden power that grants her mastery over blood itself.

This is a world where ancient magics compete with new-fangled technology to create an action-packed story of revenge.

Read This If You Like:

  • Violently bloody revenge stories where the hero holds nothing back
  • Science Fiction + Fantasy (dark magic meets new-age military tech)

Buy on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

19. Eversion

By Alastair Reynolds

Alastair Reynolds writes incredible space thrillers that usually take place across galaxies. This time, he’s written something darker, more mysterious, and more focused.

Eversion takes place across three centuries, and across three doomed voyages (1800s, 1900s, and one in the far future). One weird thread binds them all: Dr. Silas Coade is aboard all three vessels. Even stranger, Silas begins to realize that pieces of these events keep repeating themselves. It might have something to do with that alien artifact they discovered…

Only Silas can figure out what is truly going on – and how to stop it.

Read This if You Like:

  • Hard Science Fiction Mystery with a Dark, Thrilling Plot
  • Mind-bending stories that slowly put the pieces together into a tense climax
  • Dread-inducing cosmic terror balanced against the optimism of great character relationships

Buy on Amazon

Save it on Goodreads

Want More of the Best Science Fiction Books?

That’s all I’ve got for 2022 (so far). 

Check out the previous years’ lists for dozens more novels that will take you out of this world…

Quick Question:

I wanted to ask you: which of these books are you most excited for? 

Send me an email, or tell me in the comments below!

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