5 Out-Of-This-World Science Fiction Stories
Science fiction has always remained a popular genre, although many readers were once reticent to share their passion for out-of-this-world adventures or speculative science fantasy. Today, though, there’s been a resurgence in the genre – driven by comic book adaptations dominating the box office, and sci-fi shows ruling the roost on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In fact, there’s never been a better time to let your nerd flag fly; and that’s why we’ve selected some of the best science fiction books to share with you, as recently reviewed by Hidden Gems subscribers.
Fight the Good Fight by Daniel Gibbs
We chatted to author Daniel Gibbs just a few weeks ago, so it should probably come as no surprise that his Hidden Gems reader reviews would be good enough to earn him a place on our list of best science fiction books. Subscribers have had the opportunity to read and review most of the series, but it’s the first one that consistently gets attention; setting up a universe-spanning space opera that features a richly-woven tapestry of faith, religion, humanity, and war.
“A hardcore sci-fi novel that exceeds expectations,” wrote reviewer Jonah Erickson. “Fight the Good Fight was full pf surprises. Not only was it polished and well-constructed, but it sparked a trilogy that you will not want to put down after the first book. This really reminded me of the Halo novels, and if you are a fan of that style of militaristic sci-fi fiction, then this will be right up your alley. There is a lot of hard science mixed in with the fictionalized plot, as well as religious alliances that add both historical context and gravity to the consequences and logic of the story. This is true-to-form world building, and will not disappoint both seasoned veterans and entry-level sci-fi readers. The main character, Col. David Cohen, has a lot of depth and motivation that other sci-fi protagonists lack. Whether this is due to his orthodox Jewish belief system, or the complicated politics and warfare that he must navigate throughout the course of the story, it is easy to get immersed and lost in this world through Cohen’s eyes. I also appreciated the fact that the story didn’t rely upon grotesque action sequences or sexual content to promote itself. The story is incredibly engaging on its own, and I believe that anyone who gives this a read will be satisfied and entertained!”
Revenge by Cora Foerstner
We move from the far reaches of space to post-apocalyptic Earth in this next recommendation. Author Cora Foerstner introduced us to 22nd century assassin Fortinbras in the first book in this series, and now he’s back with an unlikely group of comrades, on the lookout for a child-kidnapping madman in a dark and dangerous new era for mankind.
Reviewer Tricia Schiro gave the book a 5-star review, writing: “I really enjoyed this book. It is Book Two is a series but can definitely be read as a stand alone novel. The characters are so rich and intriguing and each is dealing with their own inner turmoil. Even though it is set in the future it has a timeless quality about it. I didn’t read Book One but I enjoyed this one so much I’m definitely going to get it and read the back story on these interesting people and this new world.”
“A riveting Sci-Fi mystery,” writes reviewer Jessica Trost in her 5-star review. “Cora Foerstner’s Revenge is a sci-fi mystery that pulls you in and keeps you interested until the end. I found myself emotionally invested in the story from the start. I do hope that Cora chooses to continue this series. I would love to come back to see how Orange Hope, Corday and Fortinbras, as well as Jo and the others, are coming along. Thought she has concluded the novel very well there is an opening for a continuation as well.”
The City Above and Below by Matthew Nesheim
Author Matthew Nesheim manages to achieve the rare goal of creating a vividly-realistic universe in his first novel, part of the planned Song of the Weaver Series. This is because a lot of what happens was inspired by Matthew’s real-life experiences with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan, which brings a vivid and visceral edge to this tale of timeless war and political machinations on the distance world of Arc.
“Fantastic!” Writes Jennifer Adahl in her 5-star review. “It was hard to put down this novel, having stayed up late many nights as I needed to know what was going to happen next. Between the dynamics of each chapter and the details that went into this novel, I was able to be brought into a unique and fun world. The author did a wonderful job depicting the characters and taking me into an amazing Science Fiction realm.”
“A real gem,” writes David North. “I grabbed this out of random curiosity with few expectations. What a pleasant surprise! I was stunned at the cast of characters, the dialogue and their likability. They cover a sweeping range of races, technologies and social classes and all are interesting. The story itself is flowing and moves along well and has a sense of suspense and drama plus has great, original concepts as well. Really worth the time and a satisfying book.”
Amidst Alien Stars by Clayton Graham
When Laura Sinclair and son, Jason, awaken to find themselves abducted by aliens, they don’t just sit around waiting for the probing to begin. Instead, they lead a plucky band of survivors in a desperate battle for survival. Written by British author Clayton Graham, this addition to our list of the best science fiction books is the second in the Milijun series – which asks “what would interaction with aliens really be like?” The answer is probably a lot different from what you suspected.
Mallory A. Haws of The Haunted Reading Room Reviews gave this book five stars, writing: “Admirable world-building and the unsurpassable, indefatigable, drive of the human spirit to not just survive, but to thrive, power this engrossing sequel to the author’s debut science fiction novel. On an orbiting compound above a vastly alien planet, abducted humans must discern with the old X-FILES precept: ‘Trust No One.'”
“This story picks up after a group of humans get abducted and transported to outer space,” writes reviewer mauireader. ” It is a diverse unfolding mystery with lots of layers to sort through. The humans are torn with who can they trust and the real reason they are there. They woke up discovering they are on a space station somewhere in the universe on a potentially dangerous planet. The story gives you a lot of their feelings and fears as it goes along. I did enjoy reading the book, which did have a decent flow to it, the author can write well. Trying to figure out the mystery kept me engaged to the end, and it did have a surprise ending.”
Bad Riddance, Book 1: Brent by Robert Caryl
Set in a future in which prisons have become obsolete, this first book in the Bad Riddance series delves deep into the very core of good sci-fi writing by asking a simple question and then exploring the dark and unexpected answer. In this tale, prisons have been eliminated, and instead criminals and offenders have their brains re-written to be compliant and law-abiding. But who is doing the re-writing, and can the results be trusted?
Given how we’re already discovering more and more about the workings of the human brains, this book is remarkably pertinent – and led reviewer Ashley Schweitzer to write: “It was a great sci-fi read and really got you thinking about how someone or government can have to much control. It also shows what can happen when the wrong people get in a position of power.”
Our friend Mallory A. Haws of The Haunted Reading Room Reviews also reviewed the tale, writing: “A riveting-from-page-one action-packed futuristic science fiction mystery/thriller, loaded with multiple plot strings and many characters and nonstop action. Eagerly awaiting more!”