Top 5 Science Fiction Books // 5 Fall Favorites 2022 Day 3

Hello Reader! Today is the halfway point of the Five Fall Favorites party – I hope you have been enjoying it so far, and are finding a lot of new-to-you books to read. I enjoyed getting to know the other participants on day one, and yesterday’s discussions of fantasy books led me to listen to the Chronicles of Narnia soundtrack while working. I used to listen to that while writing all the time!

In case this is the first time you’ve heard of FFF, Five Fall Favorites is an annual blog party and a time for the bookish community to come together and celebrate fall and good books. Each day has a genre theme, around which participants share five book recommendations. There is a fall-themed giveaway that you can earn entries toward throughout the week, and several authors offer freebies or deals on their ebooks during this event. If you are looking for a good book or want to revel in the autumnal aesthetic, I hope you will stick around! More details and the giveaway can be found on the host’s site/landing page, Once Upon an Ordinary.

Today’s theme is actually mysteries, but in the course of preparing for this week I realized that it has been AGES since I read a proper mystery! Sure, there are mysteries in some of the books that I read, but extremely few that actually fit the genre as a whole. If I stuck with mysteries, I would probably end up using all Nancy Drew books! (Side note, if you grew up with Nancy Drew like I did but never got around to reading alllll of the iterations, Bargain Book Sleuth did a fun series rereading and discussing the original mysteries in their various versions.) So instead I’m using one of the swap options today, and sharing my favorite science fiction books.

Like like yesterday’s fantasy recommendations, these are books that took hold of my imagination and never let go. The settings are out of this world and the stories are both insightful and fun. Today let’s have a seat in the kitchen, with a pot of coffee brewing while a loaf of pumpkin bread bakes, and discuss all things sci-fi books.

Top 5 Science Fiction Books

Starting off with one of my absolute favorites: Matched by Ally Condie (Matched Trilogy #1) (2010). Don’t try to tell me this is just another YA dystopian story, because this one is, in my opinion, the very best! It may have lost some of its original distinction as the market has been flooded with this genre over the past decade, but when it was new, it was unique. Regardless, this book is incredibly well-written and stands out for the way that it presents and builds on other stories. Where authors like Rick Riordan may introduce mythology bluntly and make surface-level analogies, Matched makes the reader dig a little deeper. Philosophers, historians, and myths are mentioned, but to understand their application to the story, the reader has to be familiar with the source material first. These pieces of our world are so fully integrated into the story’s world that they come up organically and truly belong. As a high school debate student, I loved seeing the things I was studying applied in a fun yet meaningful way. Seeing how things played out in this book made what I was studying even more real. But even if you are not familiar with the cultural pieces behind the story, the plot itself and the characters are compelling. I really don’t understand why this book isn’t as popular as things like The Hunger Games, unless it is because it is best enjoyed by those who are willing to wade through the layers.

Next is a book that I have read in pieces several times, and entirely only a few: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (1950). If you don’t already enjoy science fiction, let me warn you not to start with this one. It’s weird and atmospheric and haunting. Bradbury often used science fiction to delve into the question of what makes us human, and this short story collection is no exception. This book is a wild ride through spaces that are just barely not familiar. Reading it is like standing partway up a steep hill – even if you know where you are going, there is something in your core that tells you to be careful because the ground is tilted. The Martian Chronicles is a great example of Bradbury’s immense talent in writing short stories, and I personally think that any science fiction fan should read it. I wrote a paper on this my senior year of undergrad, and even after spending months researching this book and living in its strange world, I still really like it.

My third book is one that I picked up on a random library trip during my freshman year of college: The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler (2011). This book is a much more gentle form of science fiction. Whereas Bradbury practically dumps you in head-first, The Future of Us can easily be read by someone who is more comfortable with regular contemporary (or recent history) fiction. Set in the 90s, this looks at the question “what if you could see how your choices today affect your future?” Somehow (and I honestly don’t quite remember all the details), the protagonist manages to log into her future-self’s Facebook account (remember that Facebook doesn’t exist yet when the book is set), and as she goes about her life, she sees how her future could turn out: who she might marry, what job she has, and generally whether she seems happy. It’s not crushingly deep, but it does make you think a little. I enjoyed this book and recommend it to all YA readers.

Fourth is another YA story which I don’t understand why it isn’t more popular: Slated by Teri Terry (Slated #1) (2012). This book is science fiction, political drama, and YA romp all in one. It ought to be a big hit in today’s market! But I digress. Slated tells of Kyla, a teen who has had her memory wiped and identity erased for some undisclosed egregious crime against the state. She isn’t allowed to know her past, but since this is a YA book you know from the start that she is going to figure it out and it isn’t going to be anything like what was expected. There is more violence in this book than most that I recommend, so be aware of that if it could be a problem for you. Otherwise, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an action-packed YA story. It’s not as deep as Matched, but it is another that hooked me easily and kept me always wanting to read the next page, chapter, and book.

I’m seeing a bit of a trend here…my final book is another YA series with characters who are not quite what they seem: Impostors by Scott Westerfeld (Impostors #1) (2018). If you have followed my blog for the past few years, you probably are not surprised to see this book here. I adore Westerfeld’s worldbuilding, and with Impostors starting a new spin-off series from his earlier Uglies, that worldbuilding is at its best here. This is probably the most tech-y science fiction on my list; the world is filled with gadgets that do the things we wish we didn’t have to, city-states that can defend and run themselves, and nanobots that sometimes sound like things we could actually invent sometime relatively soon. I’m always kept guessing with these books; even as the fourth one ended (which I still need to review), I wasn’t sure that I had everything figured out. Which isn’t as unsettling as it sounds – in fact, I enjoyed that aspect much more than I would have anticipated. Impostors is fun but it’s scary because you realize how easy it is to miss things or follow the wrong clues. If you enjoyed the Uglies series, this is a worthy follow-up. If you haven’t read Uglies, it’s still an adventure and a very well-written book. You don’t have to have read Uglies to get Impostors, but there are a lot of things that can only be fully understood with the background information. It is clear they are set in the same world, approximately a decade apart. And there is one particular Easter egg in the last book that I could almost scream about each time I remember it, it’s so frustrating and clever. Again, highly recommend to anyone who enjoys YA or science fiction.

More Blog Party Fun

Full details of the giveaway can be found on Kate’s blog.

Do you read much science fiction, or mysteries? I think part of the reason I don’t read many mysteries is because I don’t like the stress or gore that tend to come with thrillers. Not all mysteries are thrillers, but there is a lot of overlap.

Random fall-themed question of the day: what is your favorite fall treat? Mine is either pumpkin bread or pecan pie.

Don’t forget to check out the other participants sites for more book recommendations and fall fun!

Until the next chapter,


7 thoughts on “Top 5 Science Fiction Books // 5 Fall Favorites 2022 Day 3

Add yours

  1. Yes!!! I have been waiting for someone to recommend sci-fi (since that’s not-so-secretly one of my favorite genres). I absolute love Matched and the way you described it makes me want to re-read it immediately.


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