Happy Space Day! This is a day dedicated to honouring and celebrating the achievements and opportunities that space exploration has given us, and as a huge nerd, I love it. To mark the occasion, I’ve compiled a list of my 10 favourite sci-fi reads that take place in outer space, because what better way to celebrate Space Day than by reading books set in the final frontier? These are titles near and dear to my nerdy heart, so I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do! And if you have any space-y reads you’d like to recommend, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Fortune’s Pawn – Rachel Bach
Devi is a badass mercenary with a lot of ambition and a penchant for danger that will probably get her killed one day. When the opportunity to take a job on a trade ship with a less-than-stellar reputation comes up, she willingly agrees and of course, trouble ensues. But not just trouble. There is action, there is drama, there is romance, and there are two more books in this series once you get hooked.
Lightless – C.A. Higgins
The Ananke is a one of a kind space ship, and Althea is the only one who fully understands how she works. When the Ananke is boarded and sabotaged by terrorists, Althea must work quickly to save her beloved ship. The entire book takes place on the Ananke, moving back and forth between the questioning of one of the saboteurs and Althea’s desperate attempts to save the ship; your heart will be pounding as the suspense builds and the confines of the ship close in around you.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet – Becky Chambers
Rosemary joins the crew of the Wayfarer to find a quiet place away from home and far away from her troubled past. What she gets is… not quite that. The crew, a mish mash of species and personalities, is hired to build a hyperspace tunnel to a far, distant planet. It’s a job that will pay out handsomely, but will require the crew to get comfortable living in close quarters for the long, and potentially dangerous journey. This is the first book in the Wayfarer series and I guarantee you’ll be picking up book two as soon as you finish this one.
All Systems Red – Martha Wells
The first novella in the Murderbot Diaries, All Systems Red is the first person (or, first robot) account of a SecUnit that refers to itself as Murderbot, and who really just wants to be left alone. When Murderbot is contracted out as security for a standard research project, it doesn’t think much of it. In fact, it’s a little bored. But when a neighbouring research camp goes dark, the SecUnit and its humans must rely on one another to find out what’s happened.
Dark Orbit – Carolyn Ives Gilman
A new, habitable planet has been discovered, and exoethnologist Sara Callicot is hired to join the research team. Well, join the team and keep an eye on Thora, an unstable crew mate. But then a crew member is murdered and Thora disappears. Sara is left searching for Thora and trying to solve the murder, while Thora must learn to survive on the surface of the mysterious planet. Part murder mystery, past sci-fi, a lot of fun to read.
The Martian – Andy Weir
Mark Watney and his crew were the first people to set foot on Mars. But after a dust storm hits and his crew leaves him behind thinking he’s dead, Mark finds himself alone on the red planet. He must rely on his engineering skills, scientific know-how, and refusal to give up to survive on this uninhabitable planet.
Planetfall – Emma Newman
Twenty years ago, Renata followed visionary Lee Suh-Mi to a distant planet to set up a colony free of pollution, war, and other human mistakes. For twenty years, Renata has been 3D-printing the tools necessary for the colony’s survival while also harboring the dark secret at the centre of the colony’s foundation. But the lie is becoming harder to conceal and the truth might tear the colony apart. This is a sci-fi thriller with absolutely unreal world building.
Defy the Stars – Claudia Gray
Naomi is soldier, willing to risk everything to protect her planet, Genesis. Abel is a machine who only wants to protect his creator. The pair are enemies in the midst of an intergalactic war. But when they are forced to work together on a mission through the stars, they start to question everything they know. Part sci-fi adventure, part romance, entirely enjoyable.
Bonds of Brass – Emily Skrutskie
Don’t you hate it when you risk everything to save your best friend (who you might be in love with) only to learn they might secretly be an heir to an evil empire? Well that’s exactly what happens to Ettian. After he saves Gal from an assassination attempt, the true identity of his best friend is revealed and Ettian must decide if he will help Gal regain his throne or if he will fight with the rebels against him.
Ninefox Gambit – Yoon Ha Lee
Disgraced captain Kel Cheris has an opportunity to redeem her reputation: retake the Fortress of Scattered Needles from the heretics. And she has a great plan to do so, including aligning herself with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao who has never lost a battle. Sure, he might be a little mad in his first life and brutally massacred multiple armies including his own, but Kel doesn’t have much of a choice but to trust him.