When you're looking for a good sci-fi book, you don't need to be told the classics. Dune, Foundation, Neuromancer—you already know those, and most likely you've even read them. What I love is when someone tells me about a book they loved that I've never even heard of! So with a small hope that maybe you could find a couple gems here, here are my top five underrated science-fiction books.
1. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers: Fans of Star Trek and Firefly often claim they are good because you love everyone in the crew. I love everyone on the Wayfarer. Even Corbin.
2. Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson: An author best known for steampunk paranormal romance kills it telling a compelling backstory for one of Star Wars' most underutilized movie characters. Not only will Captain Phasma make more sense after you read this, but you get an amazing story of a postapocalyptic society.
3. After On by Rob Reid: If you've read tech news for the past 5-10 years, you must read this book. Superintelligence, quantum computing, and biohacking are just the base of modern trends that form a fun adventure as a Silicon Valley startup tries to convince a budding AI that she can trust them.
4. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest: Steampunk zombies in a fictional Seattle. It makes Amazon and Microsoft's troubles look like a walk in the park—or a bicycle in the park, maybe.
5. Clans of the Alphane Moon by Philip K. Dick: You think you know Philip K. Dick because you've seen Total Recall, Blade Runner, and Minority Report, right? I submit that you don't really know Philip K. Dick until you read this book set on a planet that is also a mental institution where clans have arisen centered around their diagnosis. It features a slime mold named Lord Running Clam.
For 21 more sci-fi reading suggestions, check out my list of the top 26 most underrated science-fiction books.
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Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, covering the most important tech issues of the day with the smartest minds in technology.