Explore the best new sci-fi books to read in 2023. Read the highest-rated sci-fi books, modern sci-fi novels, & YA sci-fi books for teens & adults.
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Fun & Thought-Provoking New Sci-Fi Books
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Updated May 12, 2023, by Jella Erhard.
Are you ready to travel through space and time? Then check out some of the most intriguing and brilliantly crafted new sci-fi books that’ll take you on unforgettable adventures. You’ll find here new sci-fi books for young adults and adult readers who love complex stories and eccentric characters.
We added some of the highest-rated sci-fi books set in immersive worlds and with thought-provoking stories that are not only relatable but highly emotional. While some of these stories have a more atmospheric and cozy vibe there are also those that deal with darker themes and hold up a mirror hold a mirror up to society and to their readers.
RELATED: Fun Books Set In Space
However, not all of these new sci-fi books are hard-sci-fi since some of the authors have been mixing fantasy with science to create truly one-of-a-kind stories and worlds for their readers. From epic and interplanetary love stories to ancient mysteries, and epic adventures through the Universe, you can get lost in all kinds of stories that will take you to the future and around a breathtaking Universe.
No matter if you prefer classic science fiction books or modern sci-fi novels because you’ll find here a treat for your every mood. From feel-good stories to dark and mysteries-filled lands, these intense tales will make you think, cry, and smile while keeping you on the edge of your seat until the end.
20| Star Splitter by Matthew J. Kirby – April 2023
If you’re a fan of heart-pumping, YA science fiction that takes you on a thrilling adventure through the vast expanse of space, then you won’t want to miss Star Splitter. Crash-landing on a desolate planet, sixteen-year-old Jessica Mathers finds herself surrounded by destruction and must uncover the truth about what happened.
With the questionable intentions of a familiar stranger and the mystery of the planet she finds herself on, Jessica’s fight for survival will keep you on the edge of your seat. Kirby’s expertly crafted story will have you turning the pages with spine-tingling tension, wondering what’s going to happen next.
Star Splitter will transport you to a world where questions of self-determination and survival collide in this thrilling adventure that spans both space and time.
19| Translation State by Ann Leckie – June 2023
Translation State is one of the most gripping new sci-fi books with a fascinating tale about three people who’re on a collision course across galaxies, all seeking their own unique sense of belonging.
Enae inherits a diplomatic assignment to track down a fugitive, Reet yearns to understand his identity and roots, and Qven rebels against their predetermined path to find a way to belong on their own terms. As their paths converge and a Conclave approaches, the fate of the long-standing treaty between humans and aliens hangs in the balance.
Translation State is a thought-provoking page-turner that will leave you pondering long after you finish reading.
18| Paradise-1 by David Wellington – April 2023
Are you a fan of spooky horror sci-fi stories that keep you on the edge of your seat? Then you won’t want to miss David Wellington’s latest novel, Paradise-1.
When Special Agent Petrov and Dr. Lei Zhang are abruptly awoken from cryogenic sleep to a ship’s alarms blaring in the background, they know something is seriously amiss.
And they’re not wrong! It turns out that they’ve been met by another vessel – a ship from Paradis-One, Earth’s first deep-space colony, and their final destination.
But here’s the twist: the ship is empty, and it brings with it the disturbing message that all communication from the 150,000 inhabitants of Paradis-One has completely ceased.
Petrov and Zhang must board the abandoned ship and venture deeper into deep space to uncover the truth behind the colony’s disappearance, but they soon realize that danger lurks around every corner.
Paradise-1 is one of the most thrilling new sci-fi books with a story that is packed with suspense, and mystery, that also has a dash of horror.
17| Infinity Gate by M.R. Carey, March 2023
Infinity Gate is a thrilling new sci-fi book that explores the concept of multiple dimensions and the possibility of artificial intelligence posing a threat to humanity.
The story takes place in the Pandominion, a political and trading alliance made up of many versions of Earth in different dimensions. The Pandominion will do whatever it takes to protect their way of life, even if it means sacrificing human lives.
Infinity Gate takes its readers on a thrilling ride through multiple dimensions and a race against time to stop a catastrophic threat to the Pandominion.
16| The Blighted Stars by Megan E. O’Keefe – May 2023
The Blighted Stars is one of the most exciting new science fiction books that’s a perfect choice for anyone who loves a thrilling adventure filled with unexpected twists and turns.
The story follows Naira Sharp, a revolutionary who’s determined to take down the powerful Mercator family. She knows that they’ve been exploiting resources and controlling space exploration for their own benefit, and she’s on a mission to bring them down.
Tarquin Mercator, the heir to the dynasty, is tasked with monitoring the mining of a new planet, and Naira plans to sabotage his ship. But things don’t go according to plan, and they both end up stranded on a dead planet.
As they work together to survive, they uncover a massive conspiracy that’s bigger than either of them. The Blighted Stars is a fast-paced and action-packed novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. But it’s not just about the plot – the characters are complex and well-developed, and their interactions are a joy to read.
Get ready to be transported to a galaxy far, far away, where anything can happen and nothing is as it seems.
The Blighted Stars is a great choice for readers of all ages who is fans of space operas, political intrigue, and thrilling adventures.
15| I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself by Marisa Crane – January 2023
I Keep My Exoskeletons is a fantastic science fiction book that explores a United States where the Department of Balance has implemented a unique form of law enforcement. Instead of incarceration, wrongdoers are given a second shadow as a constant reminder of their crime. This system has led to an underclass of “Shadesters” who are publicly shamed and stripped of their rights.
The story follows Kris, a Shadester who is also a new mother to a baby born with a second shadow. Struggling with the loss of her wife and the challenges of raising a child alone, Kris grapples with self-loathing and turns to alcohol to cope. However, as her child grows, Kris finds strength in parenting and raising a child who refuses to let the world dim their spirit.
I Keep My Exoskeletons is a powerful first-person narrative sci-fi novel that perfectly showcases the emotional depth of the characters, and it explores meaningful themes such as grief, parenting, and queer resistance.
14| More Perfect by Temi Oh – May 2023
More Perfect explores relevant issues of our time, such as the impact of technology on our lives and the balance between security and privacy. The use of social media and the government’s regulation of it is a timely and thought-provoking topic and the reimagining of the Greek myth of Eurydice and Orpheus adds an intriguing layer of depth to the story.
It gives the readers a familiar narrative to follow while exploring the novel’s central themes.
Its story takes place in a near-future London where people have implants that allow them to experience a more immersive social media experience. The story follows a young woman named Eurydice, who dies suddenly and is given the opportunity to return to the world of the living by uploading her consciousness into a digital afterlife. However, Eurydice’s lover, a musician named Orpheus, is determined to bring her back to the physical world.
Meanwhile, the British government has taken control of the social media implants and uses them to surveil the population, gradually eroding privacy and civil liberties in the name of safety. As Orpheus navigates the dark underbelly of the government’s control, Eurydice grapples with the nature of existence in the digital afterlife.
Oh’s writing is engaging and well-crafted. The plot is fast-paced and the characters are well-developed, making it easy for readers to become invested in their journeys.
More Perfect is a compelling and timely science fiction novel that offers readers a thought-provoking exploration of the relationship between technology and society.
13| The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal
Tesla Crane, a brilliant inventor and an heiress, is on her honeymoon on an interplanetary space liner, cruising between the Moon and Mars. She’s traveling incognito and is reveling in her anonymity. Then someone is murdered and the festering chowderheads who run security have the audacity to arrest her spouse. Armed with banter, martinis and her small service dog, Tesla is determined to solve the crime so that the newlyweds can get back to canoodling—and keep the real killer from striking again.
The Spare Man is one of the most exciting new hard sci-fi books for adults that has an an immersive world with a thrilling romance-murder mystery and it’s set aboard a space cruise ship.
12| The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler
Humankind discovers intelligent life in an octopus species with its own language and culture, and sets off a high-stakes global competition to dominate the future.
Rumors begin to spread of a species of hyperintelligent, dangerous octopus that may have developed its own language and culture. Marine biologist Dr. Ha Nguyen, who has spent her life researching cephalopod intelligence, will do anything for the chance to study them.
The transnational tech corporation DIANIMA has sealed the remote Con Dao Archipelago, where the octopuses were discovered, off from the world. Dr. Nguyen joins DIANIMA’s team on the islands: a battle-scarred security agent and the world’s first android.
The octopuses hold the key to unprecedented breakthroughs in extrahuman intelligence. The stakes are high: there are vast fortunes to be made by whoever can take advantage of the octopuses’ advancements, and as Dr. Nguyen struggles to communicate with the newly discovered species, forces larger than DIANIMA close in to seize the octopuses for themselves.
But no one has yet asked the octopuses what they think. And what they might do about it.
The Mountain in the Sea is one of the most thought-provoking new sci-fi books about aliens, AI, consciousness, and the future of humanity.
11| Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Her city is under siege.
The zombies are coming back.
And all Nona wants is a birthday party.
In many ways, Nona is like other people. She lives with her family, has a job at her local school, and loves walks on the beach and meeting new dogs. But Nona’s not like other people. Six months ago she woke up in a stranger’s body, and she’s afraid she might have to give it back.
The whole city is falling to pieces. A monstrous blue sphere hangs on the horizon, ready to tear the planet apart. Blood of Eden forces have surrounded the last Cohort facility and wait for the Emperor Undying to come calling. Their leaders want Nona to be the weapon that will save them from the Nine Houses. Nona would prefer to live an ordinary life with the people she loves, with Pyrrha and Camilla and Palamedes, but she also knows that nothing lasts forever.
And each night, Nona dreams of a woman with a skull-painted face…
Nona the Ninth is one of the most popular new LGBTQ+ fantasy/sci-fi book series with fun characters, dark secrets, and a brilliantly crafted and immersive world.
10| A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers
After touring the rural areas of Panga, Sibling Dex (a Tea Monk of some renown) and Mosscap (a robot sent on a quest to determine what humanity really needs) turn their attention to the villages and cities of the little moon they call home.
They hope to find the answers they seek, while making new friends, learning new concepts, and experiencing the entropic nature of the universe.
Becky Chambers’s new series continues to ask: in a world where people have what they want, does having more even matter?
They’re going to need to ask it a lot.
A Prayer for the Crown-Shy is one of the most feel-good and atmospheric new dystopian sci-fi books with a short but powerful philosophical story about humanity, love, and compassion.
9| The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi
The Kaiju Preservation Society is John Scalzi’s first standalone adventure since the conclusion of his New York Times bestselling Interdependency trilogy.
When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls “an animal rights organization.” Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.
What Tom doesn’t tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm and human-free world. They’re the universe’s largest and most dangerous panda and they’re in trouble.
It’s not just the Kaiju Preservation Society that’s found its way to the alternate world. Others have, too–and their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die.
The Kaiju Preservation Society is one of the most hilarious new sci-fi books for adults who love light and entertaining epic space adventure stories, eccentric characters, as well as snappy and laugh-out-loud funny dialogues.
8| Drunk on All Your Strange New Words by Eddie Robson
A locked room mystery in a near future world of politics and alien diplomacy.
Lydia works as translator for the Logi cultural attaché to Earth. They work well together, even if the act of translating his thoughts into English makes her somewhat wobbly on her feet. She’s not the agency’s best translator, but what else is she going to do? She has no qualifications, and no discernible talent in any other field.
So when tragedy strikes, and Lydia finds herself at the center of an intergalactic incident, her future employment prospects look dire–that is, if she can keep herself out of jail!
But Lydia soon discovers that help can appear from the most unexpected source…
Drunk on All Your Strange New Words is one of the most exciting new sci-fi mystery thrillers set in the near future in which humanity tries to live together with another alien race. It’s perfect for those who are interested in alien diplomacy and love post-contact sci-fi stories.
7| The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu
An epic fantasy ode to martial arts and magic—the story of a spoiled hero, an exacting grandmaster, and an immortal god-king from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lives of Tao.
It has been foretold: A child will rise to defeat the Eternal Khan, a cruel immortal god-king, and save the kingdom.
The hero: Jian, who has been raised since birth in luxury and splendor, celebrated before he has won a single battle.
But the prophecy was wrong.
Because when Taishi, the greatest war artist of her generation, arrives to evaluate the prophesied hero, she finds a spoiled brat unprepared to face his destiny.
But the only force more powerful than fate is Taishi herself. Possessed of an iron will, a sharp tongue—and an unexpectedly soft heart—Taishi will find a way to forge Jian into the weapon and leader he needs to be in order to fulfill his legend.
What follows is a journey more wondrous than any prophecy can foresee: a story of master and student, assassin and revolutionary, of fallen gods and broken prophecies, and of a war between kingdoms, and love and friendship between deadly rivals.
The Art of Prophecy is one of the most exciting new sci-fi/fantasy book series for adults who are new to sci-fi or looking for a thrilling story with light sci-fi elements. It’s a fast-paced novel with epic fight scenes, great characters, and an ancient prophecy.
6| Second Spear by Kerstin Hall
After surviving the schemes of a vengeful goddess and learning some shattering truths about her former life, the warrior Tyn feels estranged from her role guarding her ruler. Grappling with knowledge of her identity, she unleashes her frustrations on all the wrong people.
When an old enemy returns wielding an unstoppable, realm-crushing weapon and Tyn is swept up in the path of destruction, she must make a choice about who she is and who she wants to be.
Second Spear by Kerstin Hall is another great choice for those who love fantasy and want to start reading more sci-fi stories but want to ease into the genre. It’s a magical new fantasy story set in a world with mighty warriors, gods, and disturbing but highly immersive realms.
5| The Orville: Sympathy for the Devil by Seth MacFarlane
An original novella set in season three of The Orville—straight from the pen of Seth MacFarlane, creator of the beloved sci-fi TV show! When Captain Ed Mercer and the crew of the U.S.S. Orville come face-to-face with one of humanity’s most vile ideologies, they must solve the moral conundrum of who to hold accountable for evil deeds real… and imagined. Occurring just after episode 308, this is the Orville like you’ve never seen it before.
The Orville: Sympathy for the Devil is one of the shortest but most thought-provoking new sci-fi novels for adults. It’s perfect for those readers who love dark and heartbreaking stories that are deeply reflective of human nature and society.
4| Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings
Fleeing the final days of the generations-long war with the alien Felen, smuggler Jereth Keeven’s freighter the Jonah breaks down in a strange rift in deep space, with little chance of rescue—until they encounter the research vessel Gallion, which claims to be from 152 years in the future.
The Gallion‘s chief engineer Uma Ozakka has always been fascinated with the past, especially the tale of the Fortunate Five, who ended the war with the Felen. When the Gallion rescues a run-down junk freighter, Ozakka is shocked to recognize the Five’s legendary ship—and the Five’s famed leader, Eldric Leesongronski, among the crew.
But nothing else about Leesongronski and his crewmates seems to match up with the historical record. With their ships running out of power in the rift, more than the lives of both crews may be at stake.
Under Fortunate Stars is a great choice for classic space opera fans who are looking for a modern LGBTQ+ sci-fi adventure that’s perfect for adults and teens. It’s a fast-paced and action-filled light and fun science fiction story that transports its readers through space and time.
3| January Fifteenth by Rachel Swirsky
January Fifteenth—the day all Americans receive their annual Universal Basic Income payment.
For Hannah, a middle-aged mother, today is the anniversary of the day she took her two children and fled her abusive ex-wife.
For Janelle, a young, broke journalist, today is another mind-numbing day interviewing passersby about the very policy she once opposed.
For Olivia, a wealthy college freshman, today is “Waste Day”, when rich kids across the country compete to see who can most obscenely squander the government’s money.
For Sarah, a pregnant teen, today is the day she’ll journey alongside her sister-wives to pick up the payments that undergird their community—and perhaps embark on a new journey altogether.
In this near-future science fiction novella by Nebula Award-winning author Rachel Swirsky, the fifteenth of January is another day of the status quo, and another chance at making lasting change.
January Fifteenth is a short but absorbing new sci-fi novel set in the near future that deals with many different themes including materialism, power, and mental health.
2| A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys
On a warm March night in 2083, Judy Wallach-Stevens wakes to a warning of unknown pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay. She heads out to check what she expects to be a false alarm–and stumbles upon the first alien visitors to Earth. These aliens have crossed the galaxy to save humanity, convinced that the people of Earth must leave their ecologically-ravaged planet behind and join them among the stars. And if humanity doesn’t agree, they may need to be saved by force.
The watershed networks aren’t ready to give up on Earth. Decades ago, they rose up to exile the last corporations to a few artificial islands, escape the dominance of nation-states, and reorganize humanity around the hope of keeping their world liveable. By sharing the burden of decision-making, they’ve started to heal the wounded planet.
But now corporations, nation-states, and networks all vie to represent humanity to these powerful new beings, and if any one accepts the aliens’ offer, Earth may be lost. With everyone’s eyes turned skyward, everything hinges on the success of Judy’s effort to create understanding, both within and beyond her own species.
A Half-Built Garden is one of the most rousing and thoughtful new hard sci-fi books for adults who are looking for atmospheric dystopian first-contact stories with meaningful themes about climate and extraterrestrial diplomacy.
1| Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
A novel of art, time, love, and plague that takes the reader from Vancouver Island in 1912 to a dark colony on the moon three hundred years later, unfurling a story of humanity across centuries and space.
Edwin St. Andrew is eighteen years old when he crosses the Atlantic by steamship, exiled from polite society following an ill-conceived diatribe at a dinner party. He enters the forest, spellbound by the beauty of the Canadian wilderness, and suddenly hears the notes of a violin echoing in an airship terminal—an experience that shocks him to his core.
Two centuries later a famous writer named Olive Llewellyn is on a book tour. She’s traveling all over Earth, but her home is the second moon colony, a place of white stone, spired towers, and artificial beauty. Within the text of Olive’s bestselling pandemic novel lies a strange passage: a man plays his violin for change in the echoing corridor of an airship terminal as the trees of a forest rise around him.
When Gaspery-Jacques Roberts, a detective in the Night City, is hired to investigate an anomaly in the North American wilderness, he uncovers a series of lives upended: The exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.
Sea of Tranquility is a touching and intimate new sci-fi book with an absorbing story that takes its readers on an unforgettable journey across time and space.
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