Here are a few of my favorite science fiction novels, organized by decade. These books grabbed hold of some part of my consciousness and refused to let go. I love science fiction with some kind of sociological or anthropological bent, but you’ll also find some space opera, cli-fi, semi-fantastical, and pulpy selections. Some I read decades ago and might not impress me as much today, but if I loved it when I read it, it made the short list.

Links are affiliate links to amazon.com, but if you have a local bookseller, please shop there instead!

I’ll update this list occasionally. Feel free to recommend your personal favorites in the comments.

2010’s
ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY by Charlie Jane Anders
LEXICON by Max Barry
THE PERIPHERAL by William Gibson
THREE BODY PROBLEM by Cixin Liu
SEVENEVES by Neal Stephenson
ANCILLARY JUSTICE by Ann Leckie
ANCILLARY SWORD by Ann Leckie
TIME AND ROBBERY by Rebecca Ore
ANNIHILATION by Jeff Vandermeer
AUTHORITY by Jeff Vandermeer
ACCEPTANCE by Jeff Vandermeer
WOOL by Hugh Howey
HYDROGEN SONATA by Iain Banks
READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline

2000’s
NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro
THE WINDUP GIRL by Paolo Bacigalupi
ORYX AND CRAKE by Margaret Atwood
CLOUD ATLAS by David Mitchell
GLASSHOUSE by Charles Stross
ILIUM by Dan Simmons
OLYMPOS by Dan Simmons
FLEDGLING by Octavia Butler
SURFACE DETAIL by Iain Banks
TRANSITION by Iain Banks
OLD MAN’S WAR by John Scalzi
THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy
EVOLUTION by Stephen Baxter
FORTY SIGNS OF RAIN by Kim Stanley Robinson
FIFTY DEGREES BELOW by Kim Stanley Robinson
SIXTY DAYS AND COUNTING by Kim Stanley Robinson

1990’s
PARABLE OF THE SOWER by Octavia Butler
PARABLE OF THE TALENTS by Octavia Butler
THE SPARROW by Mary Doria Russell
CHILDREN OF GOD by Mary Doria Russell
THE FALL OF HYPERION by Dan Simmons
ENDYMION by Dan Simmons
DIAMOND AGE by Neal Stephenson
CRYPTONOMICON by Neal Stephenson
RED MARS by Kim Stanley Robinson
JURASSIC PARK by Michael Crichton
ENDER’S SHADOW by Orson Scott Card
THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling

1980’s
HYPERION by Dan Simmons
NEUROMANCER by William Gibson
DAWN by Octavia Butler
ADULTHOOD RITES by Octavia Butler
IMAGO by Octavia Butler
ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card
SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD by Orson Scott Card
LORD VALENTINE’S CASTLE by Robert K. Silverberg
SPLIT INFINITY by Piers Anthony
THE POSTMAN by David Brin

1970’s
KINDRED by Octavia Butler
CLUSTER by Piers Anthony

1960’s
STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND by Robert A. Heinlein
MACROSCOPE by Piers Anthony
FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON by Daniel Keyes
DUNE by Frank Herbert

1950’s
FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury

1940’s
1984 by George Orwell

1930’s
BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley

Current To-Read List:
MATTER by Iain Banks
ANATHEM by Neal Stephenson