Sci-Fi for People Who Hate Sci-Fi

You love your friends. You do. Really. It’s just…*sigh*. Sometimes they don’t GET it, you know? You’re squeeing over Dr. Who and sighing over Fringe and stroking the cover of your Philip K. Dick anthology and your friend, who in all other aspects is a fantastic human being, turns to you, shrugs, and says,

“I don’t like sci-fi.”


But, hark! There is hope. In the same way a mother may hide zucchini in a brownie for a reluctant child, you can trick your friend into reading (and LOVING) sci-fi. Just steer the misguided poor soul toward these reads.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguru
“What’s this about?” “Oh, you know. A mysterious boarding school harboring a secret and the three young adults who flee the futures the school would impose.” “Oh, that sounds cool. What is the secret?” “Hmm, I don’t . . . what? KEIRA KNIGHTLEY WAS IN THE MOVIE.”


Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Pitch this to your read-ee like it’s a new MTV reality show. This show *wink* is set in a city that forces people to get plastic surgery when they turn sixteen. The show *wink* follows a girl who runs away on the eve of her surgery and joins a group of Ugly dissenters. It’s a great boo–I mean, show. *Wink*


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
All the sci-fi purists are up in arms right now like, “Figment! You have gone TOO FAR!” But Priz of Az offers a shining example of Einstein’s stable time loop theory. What has happened has always happened and always will happen and such.



Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Okay, so Ender’s Game is pretty straightforwardly science fiction. But imagine if Harry Potter, at age eleven, had been a prodigy at Wizard’s Chess, and Wizard’s Chess had been a battle to save the entire planet. Reading Ender’s Game is like watching an eleven-year-old violin virtuoso diffuse a massive atomic bomb. Or something equally horrifying and exciting.


The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson
This book shows that 250+ years in the future, no matter how much has changed, not much will change. Friendships will still exist. They will still be difficult. When they are betrayed, it will still hurt. And we will still seek revenge on the betrayer. Essentially, The Fox Inheritance is much less a story about the future then it is a story about revenge that just *happens* to be set in a world where people’s bodies can be replaced like coffee filters.

25 thoughts on “Sci-Fi for People Who Hate Sci-Fi

  1. Can I also recommend A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engle (in case there’s anyone out in figment land who hasn’t read it), A Tale of Time City, Diana Wynne Jones and Rebecca Stead, When you Reach Me? All amazing!

    • OH MY GOD. I read A Tale of Time City ages ago and loved it…and then just recently I started thinking about it again, but I couldn’t remember what it was called! All I could remember were those butter pies and the Time Ghosts….thank you for jogging my memory!

  2. See I don’t qualify for the “I hate Sci Fi” category because I’ve A.) read half of the books on this list, B.) I’m taking Sci. Fi., and C.) I’ve seen half of the Sci. Fi. tv shows and movies on this list that my Sci. Fi. teacher just gave us.

    Anyway I should stay on topic and say that I love Sci. Fi. but I didn’t always, and it took Uglies and Ender’s Game to get me to love it. Also there are a few others, but the point is… it’s good if you give it a chance.

    Another also, I never really thought of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as Sci Fi before… But that kind of fits… hm…

  3. i super duper approve of the stable time loop thing in harry potter. (because it confused me SO MUCH until i started watching doctor who) (i also don’t really like sci-fi, but for some reason i absolutely LOVE DW.) (so you should too.)

  4. YAY SCI-FI! I am a proud sci-fi fanatic, and am so keeping this post prepared for whenever I meet someone who doesn’t. Slowly introduce friends to these books, and work my way up to Doctor Who.

  5. If you hate Ender’s Game, I swear, I will punch a wall. One of the best sci-fi books I’ve ever read. However, if you dislike Harry Potter, well, you better sleep with one eye open. ;P Anyway, I love Sci-Fi, a very good genre indeed.

  6. Read all of these, loved them all. I definitely agree with the above comment that watching Doctor Who is another surefire way to get into science fiction — humor, good acting, a familiar media, and technobabble as a form of recreation — although the reference here to Doctor Who being “Dr. Who” rather nullifies the effect in the article… inaccuracy!
    But no, definitely Ender’s Game especially is a perfect fit for anyone who isn’t really into reading, isn’t really into sci-fi, but is willing to try it… it’s an epic, deep, easy-to-read and quick-moving book that got my jock friend hooked from the first sentence.

  7. Lol…this is pretty funny since I read most of the books on the list and am in love with star trek/dr. who/star wars. I would also suggest A winkle in time, hunger games, divergent,

  8. I am one of those who would normally say I hate (or at least dislike) Sci-Fi *gasp* but Ender’s Game really changed that. My brother tried to get me to read it for probably five years but I didn’t until I bought it for him for Christmas. IT CHANGED MY LIFE!!!! Oh my gosh, it was so good! I don’t even know what I loved about it! But now I have Uglies and Never Let Me Go waiting at the library, so we’ll see how much I like the genre after all…

  9. I’ve never read Enders Game, but it doesn’t sound very good…. I just don’t see whats intriguing about a bunch of little kids saving the world (unless its HP). I mean, I can’t see how it could be very deep or complex.
    I’ve never really read any real Sci-Fi, though I am willing to try it as long as its GOOD. I love to read and so expect a lot from the books I read, which makes me slightly un-inclined to read about a bunch of little, unbelievable kids. I also am unsure of the direction in which Uglies will go in, seeing how it was compared to a TV show, which does NOT intrigue me. I’d really like to hear other peoples opinions on whether or not I should read these books.

  10. did anybody go see scott westerfeild (author of uglies) on his tour? i did. he was AMAZING. if steampunk counts as scifi, i would also say his leviathan books are great.

  11. To be honest i really didn’t like Uglies, I found it too steady and boring, there was no real climax that left me on the edge of my seat. I found it more of a chore to pick it up and read it than a pleasure.

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