16 Best Sci-Fi Space Travel Books & Novels | Books set in Space
Explore exciting, funny, and dark sci-fi space travel books that will let you travel through the universe and explore planets you know and love and ones you’ve never heard before.
These stunning space books and space novels have kept readers captivated for decades by letting them take thrilling trips to the future.
So, if you’re looking for your next space opera book, cyberpunk, a stunning comic book set in space, or a dark dystopian read then check out our list with the best science fiction space novels.
Read captivating classics, lesser-known book series, and stand-alone novels set in space. Let your imagination run wild while enjoying some of the most creative novels ever written.
If you’re looking forward to the not so distant future when space tourism can finally become reality then you should read these fascinating space travel books… before you travel.
Magical Sci-fi Space Travel Books to Read
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16| Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders, Young Adult Sci-Fi Novel, Published: 2021
If you’re looking for an epic young adult sci-fi novel you should check out Victories Greater Than Death. This is one of the most exciting new sci-fi novels of 2021 and it has a great queer love story, cloning, epic battle scenes, and a wide range of aliens.
The story follows Tina a humanoid girl with the cloned body of a past leader. She knows that once her beacon will turn on she’ll have to take on the responsibility of saving the whole universe. Thankfully the book is fast paced and her journey starts right away.
The Royal Fleet tries to get their old leaders’ memories back into Tina’s body so they can find the Talgan stone before Marrant who wants to conquer and rule over the galaxy.
Victories Greater Than Death is a fast-paced, thrilling sci-fi novel with a charming queer love story and stunning world-building.
15| Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, #1) by Timothy Zahn
Following the historic events of the feared Death Star’s destruction and elimination of the dark lord, Darth Vader, a new order is forming, but peace doesn’t come cheap.
For those, who are obsessed with the Star Wars universe and love sci-fi space books, the first of The Thrawn Trilogy will be a fantastic read.
If you ever wondered what may have happened after “Return of the Jedi,” you are going to get some answers while having plenty of fun. There are some great action scenes built into an imaginative scenario of regrouping at the dawn of a new world. Is it going to be peaceful? Well, it doesn’t seem to be as long as the remaining members of the Imperial fleet are still around.
You can also learn about what role Leia, Han Solo and Luke are taking on to build a new world.
The book and the trilogy is suitable for almost all ages as it is not violent and doesn’t use any foul language.
The Thrawn Trilogy Timothy Zahn are some of the best space fantasy books everyone can enjoy if not a huge Star Wars fan.
14| Red Rising (Red Rising Saga #1) by Pierce Brown
The bestseller dystopian series by Pierce Brown has quickly become a new favorite all around the world. This young adult science fiction novel is actually pretty actual.
Now, that we are racing towards the Red Planet, plenty of questions arise; how are we going to colonize, who will own its resources and when are we going to get there.
Well, we’re not saying that you’ll get all the answers from these books, mainly because we are really hoping that some of the answers this book has remain fiction forever.
In the future, when people have already explored and colonized Mars, there is injustice forcing a huge number of people to live and work like slaves.
There are castes sentencing newborn children to a lifetime of mining or similar hard work.
We follow Darrow, a teenager who isn’t willing to accept his destiny and intends to fight for his rights and force a change in the system.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown is one of the most exciting dystopian sci-fi novels set in space for YA and adult readers.
13| Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer
We have already included this magnificent book in our best fantasy audiobooks collection because it is just amazing for so many reasons.
First of all, if you enjoy fairy tales retold in a completely different setting, then Marissa Meyer’s astonishing imagination is a great match for you.
Secondly, it is categorized as a YA novel, however, we are sure the adventures of cyborg mechanic Cinder will glue you to the edge of your seat even if you are an adult reader.
Thirdly, while it is somewhat dark, there is just something elevating about the kick-ass girl, who had enjoyed very little love in her life, still, she is not afraid for a moment to go all out for saving the world.
If you enjoy space books with devastating plagues, amazing female leads, and fresh takes on fairytales, then Cinder’s adventures are for you without a doubt.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer is hands down one of the best sci-fi fantasy books you must read if you love fairytale retellings.
12| Binti (Binti, #1) by Nnedi Okorafor
The first book of the Binti trilogy is a fascinating new addition to the most interesting space novels you are going to fall in love with.
Binti is the first Himba person ever to be admitted to the most prestigious university in the galaxy. She is dedicated even if soaking in knowledge means she may not see her family for a while.
Peace and order are threatened by a hostile alien species called the Meduse. In these desperate times, an unexpected responsibility is bestowed upon the smart but young girl.
Using her wits she has brought from home and all the knowledge she has obtained attending the university, she has to survive in these terrible times.
Nnedi Okorafor has written a superb book that will become a new favorite to all sci-fi and fantasy lovers right after the first chapter.
Binti is certainly among the best space travel books readers of all ages can enjoy.
11| The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers
For a truly entertaining read with colorful characters and a fantastic space adventure, pick up Becky Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet.
It is such a delightful book with so many things to love, you are quickly going to get hooked on the adventures of the little old, but almost fully functional spaceship Wayfarer.
Rosemary Harper is trying to get away from her past and couldn’t have found a more suitable home away from the long-abandoned home of hers.
After a fairly short time she gets to realize, this ship is way more than just a bed for her. Its crew is her new family and she gladly joins a mission that may earn money that will allow them all to get by for years.
But the reward doesn’t come easy; there are lives going to be at risk.
What makes this superb story one of the best space opera books are the incredibly well-written characters, the huge world Chambers has created and of course, the fact that there is not one page that isn’t captivating.
We also love the openness about homosexuality and diversity, which unfortunately many sci-fi books are still lacking.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is hands down amidst the best diverse space fantasy novels everyone should read.
10| A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1) by Madeleine L’Engle
Let’s continue with a superb classic from the sixties that has empowered little girls and entertained millions over the decades.
Many may even think this book was an inspiration for authors of coming-of-age adventures.
Madeleine L’Engle has done a great job of creating an interesting story but also added a large amount of science to the story.
Sometimes it even feels like that the story was written for physicists rather than children with data being on a level even adults would need research on. Still, it is great to find a children’s book that doesn’t look down on its readers.
Following Meg and her brother Charles Wallace embark on an awesome journey with their friend Calvin that takes you around in time and space.
A Wrinkle in Time is one of the best books set in space for children and adults alike.
9| Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey
James S.A. Corey invites us to peek into the future when humanity has already got to utilizing resources from all around the solar system. Everything is covered with mines; the Moon, Mars, and even the asteroid belt.
We follow executive officer Jim Holden, who is assigned to lead an ice miner that commutes between the belt and Saturn.
He has seen many things throughout his career, however, what he is about to discover next will change his life and may even create tension in the system overall.
Holden crosses paths with detective Miller, who is in search of a little girl, daughter of wealthy parents. It soon turns out the men’s fate are much more closely connected than they would have ever imagined.
They are trying to get to the end of this mystery which could even mean the end of the precious balance in the solar system.
Leviathan Wakes is a great read for lovers of space opera books and mysteries.
8| 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
British author Arthur C. Clarke was a remarkable person; he wasn’t only a futurist and inventor but also enjoyed scuba diving that led to a fascinating discovery in Sri Lanka.
Clarke has written a number of novels set in space and essays creating quite a buzz around science fiction and futurism overall in the 60s.
His most well-known piece is 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was soon brought to screens resulting in him not only writing a book, but co-writing a screen for an all-time classic. Naturally, his masterpiece is a cult item for geeks, but all space lovers appreciate his work.
If you aren’t yet familiar with the plot, an alien race places a large monolith to investigate Earth.
Then we jump in time, around 3 million years to the end of the 20th century. Humans are finally sending people into the unknown space but things do take an unexpected turn on Saturn.
2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke is among the must-read books set in space if you like classic sci-fi.
7| Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos #1) by Dan Simmons
In the darkest hours of the galaxy, when a terrible war is devastating planets, there is a world where there is a monster more deadly than war.
In the mysterious world of Hyperion there is a powerful creature some consider to be a deity and others fear it. Few are sworn to trace it and capture or hunt it down.
Seven pilgrims come to Hyperion in the hopes of finding answers to questions no one was able to retort yet.
Each of them carries secrets and baggage not many would want to live with, and there is one who might even be the only person to save humanity from extinction.
Hyperion is full of action and secrets that will leave you wondering until the very end. It is a fun read for YA and adult readers with some horror elements as well to keep you alert at all times.
Hyperion by Dan Simmons is surely one of the best horror sci-fi space fantasy novels.
6| Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1) by Orson Scott Card
Andrew Wiggin has remarkable talents, something Earth desperately needs in these depressing times.
Humanity is in a never-ending war with an alien race that has been going on for a century. Scientists and military officials have been looking for the right person to lead their armies, and Andrew (Ender) seems to be the one they all have desperately wished for.
Since he has been six years old, Ender’s life was all about experiments and playing, which turns out to be much more than a game.
He has come out of the race as the winner ahead of his older siblings, the dangerously violent Peter and the smart Valentine. The two may be acting out of jealousy, but their future depends on Ender’s success.
Ender’s Game is a bit dark, yet very much enjoyable young adult novel, the first one of the Ender’s saga which contains another six fantastic space books.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is a great adventure for all enthusiasts of young adult sci-fi space books.
5| The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Another one of the biggest sci-fi writers of the 20th century was Ray Bradbury. His often dystopian pieces have made everyone become science fiction fans because he had a very enjoyable way of presenting the usually rather negative future that could be ahead of us.
The Martian Chronicles opened the line of many coming short stories and space travel books that focussed on colonizing Mars.
In this extraordinary book, humanity struggles to gain ownership over the red planet because of a strong indigenous species, that are capable of shapeshifting and projecting hallucinations.
Over time more and more humans try their luck, however, it doesn’t take long until each and every one of them falls ill thanks to the tricks their minds play with them.
With the usual fascinating style, Bradbury wrote a number of short stories, that make up the chronicles.
Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles is definitely among the most remarkable books set in space.
4| Dune (Dune, #1) by Frank Herbert
Just as the outstanding authors above, Frank Herbert was way ahead of his time as well. His imaginative space fantasy books of the Dune series deservedly gained critical acclaim as well as the love of millions of fans.
Despite being written in the 1960s, Dune is unquestionably among the most exciting space books even in the 21st century. The world-building is incredibly unique, while the characters would kick ass nowadays too.
We are taken to a faraway planet called Arrakis, where nothing counts but the precious drug melange (or “spice”) for what everyone is willing to go to extreme lengths. It has qualities that offer a longer life with enhanced consciousness.
Our hero, Paul is the descendant of a noble family once will have to take on the responsibility of ruling this hostile world. When his family is destroyed, Paul has to set out on a journey no one would want to be part of.
Don’t forget to read it before the next Dune movie comes out in 2020 directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Timothée Chalamet.
Dune by Frank Herbert is deservedly regarded as one of the biggest space fantasy novels of all time.
3| Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
If you are in search of beautifully drawn and memorably written space opera graphic novels, then Saga is certainly for you.
This epic story of forbidden love and war is without question a great piece of art, but we only recommend it for adult and YA (16+) readers.
It is not mainly about erotic moments or violence, still, there are scenes, where Brian K. Vaughan (writer) & Fiona Staples (artist) didn’t shy away from showing a little bit of this and that.
This modern-day Romeo and Juliet is a very exciting read, you are going to be rooting for the heroes throughout the whole book.
You will also find yourself constantly amazed by the eye-catching art and the fascinating world built around the story. There aren’t many space travel books that get so emotional yet perfectly full of action and surprises.
Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan is surely among the most remarkable sci-fi space comic books.
2| The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, #1) by Douglas Adams
No question, if anyone asks about space travel books, Douglas Adams’ hilarious book is very likely to pop into most sci-fi lovers’ minds.
The lovable writing style of Adams makes reading the series very easy and of course, it would not be a proper science fiction book without odd creatures and gadgets with difficult-to-remember names.
Arthur Dent and Ford Perfect, two good friends embark on a trip to the wide galaxy. Just after being saved by Perfect, Ford is openly diving into the adventures accompanied by the famous The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
On the way, the two meet some unlikely characters from all around, and the two humans quickly forget about Earth being destroyed to make way to the intergalactic highway.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is definitely one of the funniest space books you will ever read.
1| Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov
Many consider Asimov to be the father of science fiction as there are many writers, who based their worlds on the foundation of his works.
He was certainly a remarkable visionary with such an insight into a world that barely had any references in his time.
The first book of the Foundation series takes us to a time when the Galactic Empire that has ruled for over twelve millennia is on the brink of falling apart.
There is a human possessing prodigious talent who takes on the responsibility of preserving humanity’s knowledge by gathering the biggest minds of his species. He names this oasis of scholars and scientists Foundation.
Nothing comes without a price; in the wake of a new era, new leaders rise, who do not appreciate the value of what Seldon has created and he has to decide, are they willing to engage in a war or kneel before the barbarians.
If you are new to sci-fi space books, then you should definitely pick up the Foundation series because it’s an essential read.
Thank you for reading!