12 Sci-Fi And Fantasy Books You Should Get For A Kindle

best sci-fi fantasy books kindle 2019Image: Gizmodo

Sure, you can read a world of books on Android or iPhone. But not everyone wants to risk accidentally dropping all their 2-factor authentication prompts into a tub of water, and sometimes it's just nice to pick up something that won't get bombarded with notifications for email and social media.

Kindles are great for that. So if you're picking one up - or gifting one to a friend or family member - you'll need something to read. Here's 12 sci-fi and fantasy books to start with.

This article has been updated since its original publication. If you're currently stuck in isolation, consider checking out some of these fantastic titles to pass the time.


Nation (Terry Pratchett)

best sci-fi fantasy books kindle 2019

One of the finest novels from the legendary Discworld author, Nation focuses on Mau as they struggle to survive following the destruction of their entire nation. Nation isn't set in the Discworld universe, but still has Pratchett's characteristic blend of tackling complicated issues with biting satire.


Last Tango in Cyberspace (Steven Kotler)

best sci-fi fantasy books kindle 2019

A mix of thriller and sci-fi, Last Tango centres on empath tracker Lion working for a pharmaceutical company. The job quickly uncovers a gruesome murder, however, leaving Lion to thread the needle between soul hackers, terrorists that attack the consciousness and eco-assassins.

Last Tango focuses heavily on existing tech or creations that are currently in development, while touching elements of neuroscience, animal rights, ecological preservation, and psychology.


Children of Time (Adrian Tchaikovsky)

best sci-fi fantasy books kindle 2019

Winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best sci-fi novel in 2016, and already optioned for a film by Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment, Children of Time focuses on two civilisations set to clash as they chart their course for a habitable planet.


The Wolf in the Whale (Jordanna Max Brodsky)

best sci-fi fantasy books kindle 2019

A mix of magic and folklore from Inuit and Norse tribes, The Wolf in the Whale features Omat as they trek across the icy wasteland to search for food and hope to protect their people.

Written by the author behind The Immortals series, TWITW is set in 1000 AD in Newfoundland and the collision of cultures after the Vikings sail over and clash with the native Inuit tribes.


Machines Like Me (Ian McEwan)

best sci-fi fantasy books kindle 2019

Machines Like Me takes place in an alternate 1982: Britain has lost the Falklands War, JFK survived the grassy knoll, and Alan Turing lived a substantially longer life, hyperaccelerating the development of neural networks and AI.

McEwan's novel, which references Blade Runner at points, focuses on the moral consequences and dilemmas once algorithms become flesh.


Planetfall (Emma Newman)

A study of the human condition, Emma Newman's Planetfall series focuses on Renata Ghali, the chief 3D printer engineer for an advanced colony far away from an overpopulated Earth.

Planetfall is recommended for fans of unreliable narrators, chronicling the unravelling of Ren's mental state as her long-held secret threatens to tear the foundation of the colony apart.


Trail of Lightning (Rebecca Roanhorse)

best sci-fi fantasy books kindle 2019

Maggie Hoskie is a Navajo monster hunter imbued with supernatural powers as she journeys through a post-apocalyptic world destroyed five times over. When a small girl goes missing, Maggie is the family's final hope - so she journeys beyond the old Navajo reservation and through a land beset with monsters, gods, and heroes of Navajo legend.

If you wanted to categorise Trail of Lightning, an indigenous Mad Max: Fury Road crossed with Supernatural wouldn't be a bad fit. It's a gritty magical fantasy where the repeated destruction of the world has opened portals allowing access to other planes and magical monsters. There's also lots of grimy, gruesome scenes, so if you like a bit of brutality in your post-apocalyptic fantasy, The Sixth World series will be up your alley.


Brainweb (Douglas E. Richards)

A standalone book featuring the cybernetically-enhanced Nick Hall from Mind's Eye, Brainweb begins with terrorists taking control of the Academy Awards, pledging to butcher every high-profile attendee one at a time in front of an international audience.

Hall, who went into hiding to mask his psychic and cybernetic abilities, is forced into the open to resolve the situation. That kicks off a race for survival, featuring a lot of contemplation on current technology and technoterrorism in a light, easy-to-read, novel.


Saga Vol. 1 (Brian K Vaughan)

best sci-fi fantasy books kindle 2019

A sci-fi fantasy akin to Star Wars with magic and monsters of its own, Saga is one of the most accomplished and critically acclaimed series of the last decade.

It's more mature and adult than the modern Star Wars universe though, as heroes deal with the wreckage of a war that has ravaged planets, factions, families.

There's also a spaceship that flies wherever it wants; a race of seahorses; swords that cut through time and space; parents struggling to bring up a child in a horrific world; and phenomenal art, even on a Kindle's black-and-white display.

And there's a cat that just screams "LYING" whenever it hears someone spouting bullshit. Truly, Saga is great.

Saga's Lying Cat Is The Official Mascot Of 2017

Last year, as everything seemed to catch on fire all around us, it was clear that K.C. Green's iconic "This is fine" dog was the animal totem of 2016.

Read more


Neuromancer (William Gibson)

best sci-fi fantasy books kindle 2019

An inspiration for The Matrix and Shadowrun, Neuromancer is still one of the seminal novels in the cyberpunk genre. Not the easiest read, but still an important grounding for anyone interested in cyberpunk literature.


Middlegame (Seanan McGuire)

best sci-fi fantasy books kindle 2019

Fair warning: Middlegame is not for the faint-hearted. A novel focusing the relationship between two supernatural twins and their alchemist creator Reed, the novel also touches on murder, emotional abuse, parental gaslighting, and suicide features as a heavy narrative arc.


The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (Meg Elison)

The debut novel that went on to win a Philip K. Dick award, Unnamed Midwife focuses on a midwife that wakes up to a civilisation ravaged. It's about one of the few women left in world after a pandemic obliterates the world as we know it, with the plague particularly horrific amongst women.

To survive, the protagonist moves from one settlement to the next, trying to save the lives of others without the benefits of modern medicine, medical infrastructure or electricity. It's a deep, frank discussion of society and interpersonal relationships, and a look at the complex nature of what happens to a world when the standing social matrix is rendered asunder.

“There are battles and accidents; there are collapses and plagues. There is silence only when one side wins or everyone has died.”


As Kotaku editors we write about stuff we like and think you'll like too. Kotaku often has affiliate partnerships, so we may get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


Comments

    Kids these days with their new fangled book reading machines

      Bants aside, there's some good suggestions there. A few I'll likely pick up.

      I'm currently reading Ancillary Justice and would highly recommend it. Has a really well realised universe of technology, politics culture and religion.

      This is less about Kindle and more about affiliate links really. All the books can be had in paperback from Book Depository. Most probably from your local library.

    Don't read on your phone, the screen is too small and the experience sucks. Nothing wrong with a tablet though, great for a reading sessions and you can turn wifi and enjoy the peace.

    Nothing from Clarke, Alistair Reynolds or Anne McCaffrey for shame.

      We can stop worshipping the old gods and actually met some new stories in.

        We can "worship" whomever the hell we like, I don't care who wrote it or when if it's good it's good there is no "letting in".

        Andy Wier does that in The Martian and Artemis as well as Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck in The Expanse, they are new stories.

          My point is that being mad that the same people who have been on the same list for 50 years don't appear is silly. The genre has matured. There's new stuff to read. Nobody needs to tell anyone to go read Foundation anymore. It can stay off the lists.

    Here are my recent Favourites:

    1.) The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss - An excellent fantasy meets Forrest Gump hybrid. Well worth a read, just don't expect part 3 anytime soon.
    2.) The Fifth Season - N. K Jesmin - Avatar meets Hunger Games. Also Sci-Fi meets Fantasy. Seriously, it's got rock bending and cannibalism in the same book. What's not to love.
    3.) Farlander - Col Buchanan - Samurai air pirates face off against a tyrannical murder cult.

      Name of the Wind was great... I can't believe we're still waiting for book three. I held off reading book two when I realised the third was nowhere to be found.

        Rothfuss is from the George RR Martin school of writing.

        He's enjoying the celebrity far too much to do anything mundane like write.

    Give Perdido Street Station a crack if you can. Brilliant.

    Could be a good time to read The Road too. Actually, no. It's a very very bad time to read The Road.

    Fantastic recommendations. I feel like I would add a few of the epics though:

    - Expanse series (James Corey)
    - Foundation series (Isaac Asimov)
    - Dune (Frank Herbert)

    Can I recommend the original Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson? Starts with the first entry called "The Final Empire". Amazing series. It then expands into a major universe which Im told is even more impressive (I just havent had time to read it all myself). But even if you don't want to read the whole universe, the mistborn trilogy stands on its own very, very well. The author created a world that has its own magic system which is refreshingly different to the standard fire, ice, lightning/arcane sort of tropes.

    I've bought the series with the intent to read it to my children when they're old enough. Give it a look.

      Just finished the trilogy. Seems like an absolutely perfect universe to set games in, burning different metals for enhanced vision, enhanced strength, detecting other Mistborn, firing coins, Jedi mind tricks, jumping around like Hulk. I think a team like Arkane Studio would do a good job of it.

      I highly recommend The Stormlight Archives, also by Sanderson.

    I'd also recommend:

    "Cyberabad Days" - A companion piece to Ian McDonald's "River of Gods" featuring a series of short stories and a novella (if nothing else, read "The Djinn's Wife")

    "When Gravity Fails" - first entry in George Alec Effinger's 'Marîd Audran' series, set in a futuristic Middle Eastern city, in a world where the west is in decline. Touches on themes of drug use, transgenderism and alternate personalities.

    "The City and The City" - only China Miéville I've read, detectives investigate a murder in a fictional eastern European twin-city state, that actually occupies the same geographical space, where the citizens of either mustn't acknowledge each other under threat of a mysterious force.

    "The Forever War" - Solders travel thousands of light years in mere seconds to fight an interstellar against the Taurans. Story follows physics student William Mandella who is conscripted into an elite task force, and the enormous relativistic time effects he undergoes travelling to and from the Tauran homeworld.

    Last edited 25/03/20 3:42 pm

    it's just nice to pick up something that won't get bombarded with notifications for email and social media.

    Fortunately, we have a product for those people. It's called a book :P

      But I wouldn't drop one of those in the bath either :)

    Planetfall was pretty good. A bit weird, but good.

    Also, SAGA is a must-read. So good.

    If anyone wants some good FREE short stories to read, check out TOR.com's Scifi/Fantasy original fiction:
    https://www.tor.com/stories/prose/
    Some really good short fiction, some by well-known authors too. Charlie Jane Anders, Garth Nix, Elizabeth Bear, Greg Egan, Cory Doctorow etc

    My got series when people ask for recommendations is The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, about Harry Dresden, a wizard in modern Chicago.

    Anything by Jim Butcher is worth a look.

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