Skip to Main Content

Rapid Readers' Advisory: "Hard" Science Fiction (SciFi)

This LibGuide helps librarians and library patrons quickly connect with popular and relevant books and eBooks by genre, theme, medium, or language.

Library of Congress (LC) Subject Headings

If you'd like to browse our circulating stacks on-site, the following Call Number ranges may help you find a good read:

PAP Paperbacks (these are usually in an area separate from the Circulating Stacks)

PN Drama, poetry, movies etc.

PQ Romance Literature

PR English Literature

PS American Literature

PZ Fiction in English

The Martian by Andy Weir

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney was one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark is stranded alone with no way to even signal Earth. Even if he could, he wouldn't last until rescue arrived. Chances are, though, he won't starve -- so many other things are likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. (Bestseller, 2014) Made into a major motion picture in 2015, "The Martian" stars Matt Damon. #OuterSpace #InterplanetaryVoyages #Survival

The unreal and the real : selected stories of Ursula K. Le Guin

Volume 2. #OuterSpace #Mazes

Dune by Frank Herbert

Frank Herbert's classic masterpiece--a triumph of the imagination and one of the bestselling science fiction novels of all time. A mythic and emotionally charged hero's journey, Dune tells the story of Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, who must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet's exclusive supply of the most previous resource in existence -- a commodity capable of unlocking humanity's greatest potential--only those who can conquer their fear will survive. #PoliticalResistance #InterplanetaryVoyages #War #Survival #Precognition

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company. (New York Times Bestseller) #MemoryLoss #OuterSpace #InterplanetaryVoyages #Survival #AlienEncounters

The unreal and the real : selected stories of Ursula K. Le Guin

Volume 1. #Sleepwalking

Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

Dune Messiah continues the story of Paul Atreides, better known -- and feared -- as the man christened Muad'Dib. As Emperor of the known universe, he possesses more power than a single man was ever meant to wield. Worshipped as a religious icon by the fanatical Fremen, Paul faces the enmity of the political houses he displaced when he assumed the throne -- and a conspiracy conducted within his own sphere of influence. And even as House Atreides begins to crumble around him from the machinations of his enemies, the true threat to Paul comes to his lover Chani and the unborn heir to his family's dynasty... #War #PoliticalResistance #Precognition

Artemis by Andy Weir

Augmenting her limited income by smuggling contraband to survive on the Moon's wealthy city of Artemis, Jazz agrees to commit what seems to be a perfect, lucrative crime, only to find herself embroiled in a conspiracy for control of the city. #Conspiracy #OuterSpace #Crime

Kindred by Octavia Butler

The visionary time-travel classic whose Black female hero is pulled through time to face the horrors of American slavery and explores the impacts of racism, sexism, and white supremacy then and now. “I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm.” Dana's torment begins when she suddenly vanishes on her 26th birthday from California, 1976, and is dragged through time to antebellum Maryland to rescue a boy named Rufus, heir to a slaveowner's plantation. She soon realizes the purpose of her summons to the past: protect Rufus to ensure his assault of her Black ancestor so that she may one day be born. As she endures the traumas of slavery and the soul-crushing normalization of savagery, Dana fights to keep her autonomy and return to the present. #TimeTravel #Slavery

Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

The Children of Dune are twin siblings Leto and Ghanima Atreides, whose father, the Emperor Paul Muad'Dib, disappeared into the desert wastelands of Arrakis nine years ago. Like their father, the twins possess supernormal abilities -- making them valuable to their manipulative aunt Alia, who rules the Empire in the name of the House Atreides. Facing treason and rebellion on two fronts, Alia's rule is not absolute. The displaced house Corrino is plotting to regain the throne while the fanatical Fremen are being provoked into open revolt by the enigmatic figure known only as The Preacher. Alia believes that by obtaining the secrets of the twins prophetic visions, she can maintain control over her dynasty. But Leto and Ghanima have their own plans for their visions -- and their destinies... #Twins #Precognition 

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Child hero Ender Wiggin must fight a desperate battle against a deadly alien race if mankind is to survive.  #ChildSoldiers #WarGames #OuterSpace

Unexpected Stories by Octavia Butler

 Two never-before-published stories from the archives of one of science fiction's all-time masters. The novella “A Necessary Being” showcases Octavia E. Butler's ability to create alien yet fully believable “others.” Tahneh's father was a Hao, one of a dwindling race whose leadership abilities render them so valuable that their members are captured and forced to govern. When her father dies, Tahneh steps into his place, both chief and prisoner, and for twenty years has ruled without ever meeting another of her kind. She bears her loneliness privately until the day that a Hao youth is spotted wandering into her territory. As her warriors sharpen their weapons, Tahneh must choose between imprisoning the newcomer—and living the rest of her life alone. The second story in this volume, “Childfinder,” was commissioned by Harlan Ellison for his legendary (and never-published) anthology The Last Dangerous Visions™. A disaffected telepath connects with a young girl in a desperate attempt to help her harness her growing powers. But in the richly evocative fiction of Octavia E. Butler, mentorship is a rocky path, and every lesson comes at a price. #Prisoners #Telepathy

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

"In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuilding civilization under orders from the provisional government based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan. Armed forces have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street -aka Zone One - but pockets of plague-ridden squatters remain. While the army has eliminated the most dangerous of the infected, teams of civilian volunteers are tasked with clearing out a more innocuous variety - the "malfunctioning" stragglers, who exist in a catatonic state, transfixed by their former lives." #PostApocalyptic #Zombies #Pandemic

©2022 Houston Community College Libraries