I feel like everyone has those genres that they might be interested in – in theory – but are at least a little intimidated by when it comes to practice. For me, historical fiction is one of these and nonfiction has also been a contender, until I decided to slay my completely unreasonable fears and read a nonfiction book every month this year. I know sci-fi is also on the list for many, so I decided to put together a list of recommendations that I think are completely beginner friendly and just generally accessible.
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Pierce Brown: Red Rising
This is the book that the bookish community calls Hunger Games in space. While I don’t really agree with that statement (don’t come @ me but I do not care for HG), there’s still something to be said about the dystopian elements Red Rising is scattered with. It’s a real hybrid of genres: a bit of space opera, a bit of dystopia, hints of fantasy. So if you feel at home in either of those genres, this probably won’t register as that big of a leap.
The story centres around Darrow who is a Red, the lowest caste in the society. He has his entire world upended at the beginning and then proceeds to inflitrate the high society and destroy them from the inside. We love a good revenge arc here! It features ridiculously dramatic sentences which totally send chills down my spine, a lot of political intrigue and a plot that will leave you reeling.
Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: The Illuminae Files
Moving into YA territory here, this trilogy is quite particular in its format. If you are the visual type and enjoy fast paced stories, this might just be the one for you! As Kerenza, Kady’s home planet is being invaded by a huge evil corporation, the rescue ships board with the survivors and start their cat and mouse game through the galaxy with the enemy warships hot on their tail. The first book also features a slightly insane AI, a deadly virus (trigger warning for ‘rona), and a smidge of romance. A really quick and fun read in a visually fascinating format!
Andy Weir: The Martian
The Martian is definitely more on the science heavy side of things but I would still call it accessible. The basic premise is that astronaut Mark Watney gets stuck on Mars all alone, after an unexpected storm forces his crew to evacuate and leave him behind, thinking him dead. Well, he’s not dead yet but he might well be by the time the Nasa realises his predicament.
It’s easy to understand, the text flows nicely, and our protagonist Mark is a real goofball so I spent half the book laughing and the other half rooting for him to stay alive. Oh, and there’s also a film which is totally worth watching!
Blake Crouch: Recursion
You might have noticed a theme here by now… I have a thing for the mixing of genres. The only “pure scifi” book on this list was The Martian so far, and Recursion also belongs to the hybrid camp The first half of the book straight up reads like a mystery/thriller.
We have this burnt out cop who is trying to figure out a mysterious sickness called False Memory Syndrome. It creates – as the name suggests – false memories within the victim’s mind of a life they never lived and is responsible for the sky high sucidide rates all over the world. And then the second half is just a complete mindf*ck. The best you can do is go into it blind and then just watch as it unfolds. It’s wild ride and totally worth your time, especially if you like your books twisty and fast-paced. The scifi elements stay very realistic throughout, so it’s not full on Star Trek vibes for those of you who might not feel up for space battles.
There you have it, these are some – in my humble opinion, anyway – some accessible scifi reads and also just great reads in general! Are you a fan of the genre or a complete newbie? What else would you add to this wee list? Let me know all about it!
Take care lovelies and read good books,