The best science fiction books right now

Your shortcut to the future.
Reading a book in low light
Some of the best contemporary sci-fi out there. Yuliya Kosolapova via Unsplash

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Loathe to pick up Frankenstein once again? Try these recent sci-fi picks instead.

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This sprawling trilogy starts in the Cultural Revolution, when a young woman trained as an astrophysicist meets an alien from the planet Trisolaris. The resulting series, which was a catalyst for the resurgence of sci-fi in China, takes readers on an ethically-charged, carefully conceptualized journey through Cixin Liu’s fictional universe.

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Before Blake Crouch’s novel about a New York City cop investigating “False Memory Syndrome” was even published, Hollywood mogul Shonda Rhimes published the rights to turn the book into a film and/or television series. Now, the part-sci-fi, part-thriller is finally here, and readers are satisfactorily shook.

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In this idiosyncratic sci-fi novel, Ling Ma explores the legacy of memory and the tyranny of capitalism when fungal disease has turned everybody in New York City except one into quiet, habit-loving zombies.

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In Aurora Rising, recent graduates of a prestigious training academy get their first assignments—and things don’t go as planned. “They’re not the heroes we deserve,” the book’s tagline says. “They’re just the ones we could find.”

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If you don’t want to commit to a single narrative, consider Yoon Ha Le’s new short story collection. The author offers several smaller stories, all set in the Ninefox Gambit universe.

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Eleanor Cummins

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Eleanor Cummins is a freelance science journalist writing about death, disaster, and bowling balls. Between 2017 and 2019 she worked at Popular Science, where she worked her way up from intern to assistant editor. She is an adjunct professor in New York University’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program.