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15 Best Sci-Fi Books By Female Authors You Need To Read

Art by Patryk Olkiewicz

While the Sci-FI genre has often been associated with male authors, there is a wealth of incredible science fiction literature penned by talented female authors.

In this list, we'll explore 15 of the best sci-fi books by female authors that deserve a spot on your reading list.

Have you read any of these? What would you add to this list?

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post features Amazon affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links.

Kicking off our list is "All Systems Red," a gripping novel by Martha Wells. Set in a future where AI and humans coexist, this story follows the introspective and endearing character known as Murderbot, a rogue security android. As Murderbot navigates its own sense of identity, it raises questions about autonomy, emotions, and the essence of being human.

“I liked the imaginary people on the entertainment feed way more than I liked real ones, but you can’t have one without the other.”

― Martha Wells, All Systems Red

Arkady Martine's "A Memory Called Empire" invites readers into a space opera filled with political intrigue, cultural clashes, and a richly woven narrative. In a universe where worlds are connected by powerful technology and diplomacy, the book explores themes of imperialism and identity.

“Poetry is for the desperate, and for people who have grown old enough to have something to say.”

― Arkady Martine, A Memory Called Empire

Ursula Le Guin's classic "The Left Hand of Darkness" challenges the boundaries of gender and society. Set on the planet Gethen, where inhabitants can change their gender at will, the novel delves into the intricacies of relationships, politics, and the human experience.

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”

― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Le Guin makes a second appearance on our list with "The Lathe of Heaven," a mind-bending exploration of dreams and reality. The protagonist's dreams shape and alter reality, raising questions about the consequences of unchecked power and the ethical implications of playing with the fabric of existence.

“Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.”

― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven

Margaret Atwood's "Oryx and Crake" paints a dystopian future driven by genetic engineering and corporate greed. This thought-provoking novel delves into themes of environmental collapse, bioethics, and the potential consequences of humanity's unchecked technological advancements.

“He doesn't know which is worse, a past he can't regain or a present that will destroy him if he looks at it too clearly. Then there's the future. Sheer vertigo.”

― Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake

Connie Willis takes readers on a time-traveling adventure in "Doomsday Book." Set in a future where historians can visit different eras, the novel explores the challenges and dangers of traveling back to the time of the Black Plague, blending science fiction with historical fiction.

“It is the end of the world. Surely you could be allowed a few carnal thoughts.”

― Connie Willis, Doomsday Book

" Ancillary Justice" introduces readers to a unique concept of identity through its protagonist, an AI seeking revenge after being reduced to a single ancillary body. Ann Leckie's exploration of AI, morality, and the implications of power is a standout in modern science fiction.

“Luxury always comes at someone else’s expense. One of the many advantages of civilization is that one doesn’t generally have to see that, if one doesn’t wish. You’re free to enjoy its benefits without troubling your conscience.”

― Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice

Becky Chambers' "The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet" is a heartwarming space adventure that focuses on the diverse crew of a spaceship. As they journey through the cosmos, the characters form deep connections and challenge societal norms, highlighting the importance of acceptance and understanding.

“People can do terrible things when they feel safe and powerful.”

― Becky Chambers, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

Becky Chambers makes a second appearance on our list with "A Psalm for the Wild-Built." This novella introduces readers to a world where AI robots called "tea monks" offer philosophical insights and companionship. The story reflects on the search for purpose and the balance between technology and nature.

“....We're machines, and machines are objects. Objects are its."

"I'd say you're more than just an object," Dex said.

The robot looked a touch offended. "I would never call you just an animal, Sibling Dex." It turned its gaze to the road, head held high. "We don't have to fall into the same category to be of equal value.”

― Becky Chambers, A Psalm for the Wild-Built

Lois McMaster Bujold's "Shards of Honor" is a space opera that blends adventure, romance, and political intrigue. The novel follows the unlikely alliance between two military officers from opposing factions, exploring themes of loyalty, honor, and personal growth.

“I've always thought tests are a gift. And great tests are a great gift. To fail the test is a misfortune. But to refuse the test is to refuse the gift, and something worse, more irrevocable, than misfortune.”

― Lois McMaster Bujold, Shards of Honour

N. K. Jemisin's "The Fifth Season" introduces readers to a world plagued by catastrophic geological events. This award-winning novel weaves together multiple perspectives and timelines, exploring themes of oppression, survival, and the extraordinary abilities of its characters.

“Let's start with the end of the world, why don't we? Get it over with and move on to more interesting things.”

― N.K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season

"Sea of Tranquility" by Emily St. John Mandel is a mesmerizing story that blends science fiction with literary fiction. Set on a remote space station, the novel explores isolation, memory, and the impact of solitude on the human psyche.

“A life lived in a simulation is still a life.”

― Emily St. John Mandel, Sea of Tranquility

"Salt Slow" by Julia Armfield is a collection of short stories that blend elements of science fiction and horror. The stories offer unique perspectives on gender, transformation, and the uncanny, inviting readers to ponder the complexities of identity and existence.

“In the morning, I told the woman messaging me on the dating site that I couldn't talk to her just yet; I was sweeping the bones of a girl I had loved off the kitchen floor.”

― Julia Armfield, Salt Slow

"Cyteen" by C.J. Cherryh immerses readers in a world of genetic manipulation, politics, and intrigue. This intricate space opera delves into questions of identity, nature vs. nurture, and the consequences of scientific experimentation.

“And she learned to do that, be very nice to people she knew quite well were the Enemy, and even like them sometimes: it didn't mean you weren't going to Get them, because they were bound to do something that would remind you what they were sooner or later.”

― C.J. Cherryh, Cyteen

Ursula Le Guin's "The Dispossessed" is a thought-provoking exploration of contrasting societies on two neighboring planets. The novel delves into themes of anarchism, capitalism, and the pursuit of a utopian society, offering a nuanced reflection on human nature and societal structures.

“If you evade suffering you also evade the chance of joy. Pleasure you may get, or pleasures, but you will not be fulfilled. You will not know what it is to come home.”

― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia


If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out the rest of my Fiction/Literature book lists on my blog —

Whether you're interested in futuristic technologies, philosophical questions, or intricate character dynamics, this list has something for every sci-fi enthusiast.

So, grab a book, find a cozy corner, and prepare to be transported to worlds beyond your wildest dreams. Happy reading!


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