Top 8+ Military Sci-Fi Books to Satisfy Your Hunger for Action (2023)
Military sci-fi books are the ultimate blend of action, adventure, and imagination, taking us on a journey through worlds beyond our own and giving us a glimpse into the future of warfare and technology.
A bit of action, some sci-fi marines and lots of unexpected enemies – what could go wrong? Military science fiction books represent a trend these days. You have all the actions associated with the army, but it is not the terrorists you read about. It could be an alien invasion or perhaps some species of monsters that humankind is not aware of.
How Did I Select the Best War & Military Science Fiction Books?
When selecting the best war and military science fiction books, some of my most important aspects to consider include:
- World-building: The author should have a well-constructed, believable world that provides a rich and engaging backdrop for the story.
- Character development: The characters should be well-rounded, complex, and engaging, with motivations and goals that drive the story forward.
- Plot: The plot should be well-constructed, with a clear beginning, middle, and end, and a balance of action, conflict, and resolution.
- Themes: The book should have thought-provoking themes that explore the human condition, the nature of war, and the impact of technology on society.
- Authenticity: The book should have a sense of realism and authenticity in its portrayal of military operations and technology.
- Originality: The book should bring something new to the genre, whether it's an innovative concept, a fresh perspective, or a unique voice.
- Writing style: The book should be well-written, with a clear, engaging style that keeps the reader engaged and invested in the story.
All in all, here are some of the most exciting titles out there – chances are you will be hooked in even if you are not necessarily into military stuff.
What Are The Best War & Military Sci-Fi Books?
Ultimatum (Ultimatum series Book 1), by Vladimir Fleurisma (2023)
After reading Ultimatum, the first book in the Ultimatum series, I must say it was a thrilling military science fiction novel. The story takes place 18 months after the end of a 50-year resource war that ended with nuclear fire. The world is now a wasteland of cold and darkness, with a new mutated apex creature vying for control.
The protagonist, D, is a marine raider tasked with reaching Three Mile Island, a mission that requires him to traverse the nuclear wasteland while avoiding the terrifying new apex predator and other dangerous humans who also want to reach the island. D is determined to accomplish his mission or die trying, taking out every threat in his path.
The story begins with Thomas, a character who will meet his end in just under an hour. Thomas is working in a high-stress environment during a time when the world is teetering on the brink of chaos. His personal life is falling apart as well, with his wife asking for a divorce just before a nuclear attack devastates the area.
Following the attack, we meet D, who has survived the nuclear blast and is now trying to navigate the treacherous, post-apocalyptic world. He is resourceful and hardened by his experiences, relying on his instincts, training, and limited supplies to stay alive. Along the way, he grapples with his past, including memories of his sister and his time in the military.
Ultimatum is an intense and gripping tale of survival and determination, set in a hauntingly bleak future. The author has created a vivid and terrifying world that will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they follow D's harrowing journey to complete his mission. This book is a must-read for fans of military science fiction and action-adventure stories.
Terminal Peace, by Jim C. Hines (2023)
This is the third book in the series and by far the most impressive one. Sure, I think it might be a good idea to read the others too first, just so you can get a few details about the situation.
Anyway, the action follows Marion, known as Mops. She has a small team, and their job is to clean starships. They’re experts in cleaning, definitely not in fighting aliens or meeting new races.
However, they’re in the type of situation that requires them to adapt overnight.
And to me, that’s just like real life. When you face a challenge, you’ll realize that being qualified or trained can be overrated. Sometimes, it’s much easier to learn on the spot.
Anyway, the war is more and more aggressive, and the survival of humankind depends on what Mops and her crew will find on a different planet.
The numerous small details did it for me. There’s just so much about each species, so many secrets that the book can become overwhelming at some point, but trust me, you’ll love the experience.
Nightwatch over Windscar, by K. Eason (2022)
The action takes place in a different universe and brings together some unlikely allies who need to discover secrets together in order to survive.
Now, let me get into small details…
Iari loves killing monsters. She’s been raised and trained in a religious organization. Familiar with every challenge out there, she’s surprised to discover a brand new type of monster, a species she’s never seen before.
Iari is sent far with a few templars to investigate some ruins related to a different civilization. She’s not worried about monsters and ghosts, but she’s more concerned about someone she’s defeated before.
Surviving separatists from a previous war are ready for a new fight. And while she’s used to them, Iari knows they’ll be back stronger than ever.
But then, she discovers this new species that will change everyone's plans. I know, there are lots of plot twists here and there, and just when you think you know what will happen next, a new twist kicks in.
The Achilles Battle Fleet, by Brendan Wilson (2021)
This book redefines the military sci-fi genre and it is likely to become a classic. This is only the first book in the series, so get ready for more action. The author brings in an apocalyptic future dominated by modern technologies, international struggles and a lot of imagination – the type of book that will seriously trigger your worries. It is all about dominating the world, but things are not as easy as they may seem.
The alliance needs to fight the invaders. You have Mei Ling Lee, as well as Jay Chambers. Their role is to bring the star ship back to the planet from the Achilles Nine borders. However, things do not always go according to the plan, so they are likely to face an unexpected fate. Their dark destiny is waiting just round the corner and a few triumphant characters are about to take over.
There are different technologies used in the process and clones seem to help the enemy get stronger and stronger. An internal spy network adds to the plot twist and all the galactic laws are about to change now. The alliance is likely to crumble in front of the new threat. Get ready for an exciting war with numerous plot twists to blow your mind.
The Forever War, by Joe Haldeman (2009)
Humankind has managed to get into space. Interstellar travels are quite normal now and the Earth leaders have come up with some borders. The idea is to set some safety standards for everyone involved in the process. Sure, at the moment, there are no risks whatsoever – the alien enemy is too far to actually pose any threats, but you never know.
Private William Mandella has become an elite military soldier. His mission sent him in the middle of nowhere in space, only to end up fighting in a conflict that threatens humankind. His role is to perform his duties by the book, but his thoughts go in a different direction – he knows that performing like a pro will help him rank up.
But then, everything changes. William’s plans take a turn. He is no longer after ranking up – instead, he wants to survive and be able to get back home as quickly as possible. However, home is in a different time. Time dilation makes this venture even harder. The soldier ages months, while time on the planet is significantly faster – people he loves may already be dead.
Old Man’s War (6 book series), by John Scalzi (2007)
This is the first book in the series with the same name and one of the most exciting military sci-fi books out there. John Perry turned 75 and did two things on his birthday. First, he took a few moments at his wife’s grave. Second, he decided to join the army. At this point, interstellar travels are no longer an issue. But the bad news is that alien forces are hitting the planet from all directions.
Most resources for humankind are held together by the Colonial Defense Force. To join this force, you must be retired. The group does not accept young people. Instead, it is all about old individuals with decades of experience. Those who join will leave the Earth and will never be able to come back – it is part of the rules. The service takes two years – survive and you will get your own colony planets.
John decides to take this deal. There is not much he has to lose. He has a vague idea about what the Colonial Defense Force means, but he does not know much about the alien forces attacking the planet. However, the battle is way harder than he thought. With time, he turns into something that he may not even be able to recognize.
Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000, by L. Ron Hubbard (2016)
The initial scenario is classic. The humankind is about to go extinct, and a new species may soon take over. However, the storyline is unique and will impress with its detailed characterization.
This book is a mix between Starship Troopers, Atlantic Gene and Dune. It grabs the best parts of these books and reinterprets everything in a unique manner.
Anyway, the action takes place in the year 3000. The world has been invaded by the Psychlos, so most of it has been destroyed. Human weapons meant nothing in front of advanced alien technologies.
There are a few people left, and they're used like animals by the invading species. The future is dark, but one man thinks differently. Jonnie wants to learn a bit more about the Psychlos and their strengths, but he also needs to gather a little army behind him.
Will his plan succeed? Get ready for an epic battle with plenty of plot twists.
Dune, by Frank Herbert (1965)
This book featuring sci-fi marines is a classic. If you have not read it, you might have played the game or watched the movie. It is a cult for military sci-fi fans and it has raised the standards for this genre. There are more books in the series, but it pays off starting with this first one. All in all, the action takes place on Arrakis – a desert planet in the middle of nowhere.
The story follows Paul Atreides. He comes from a noble family and his future looks bright and exciting. But when the time comes, he realizes that ruling the world is not the best thing out there. The world is not a very hospitable place and it seems that everything relates about a drug called spice – able to extend an addict’s life and improve the consciousness.
The boy has to face an unexpected journey when House Atreides is betrayed. His family is destroyed and the boy ends up on a difficult journey. His destiny is not to rule an inhospitable world, but far greater. He evolves and changes his name to Muad'Dib, only to help humankind reach a dream that goes on for centuries.
Terms of Enlistment (8 book series), by Marko Kloos (2014)
The action takes place in 2108. The world is different from today and there are more alliances out there – such as the powerful North American Commonwealth. While strong and glorious, the alliance is not going through its best times. In fact, some parts of it are bursting with conflict. Andrew Grayson is what rich society members would refer to as a rat.
To leave this condition behind, there are two options. First, you could win the lottery and get a ticket to another world. Second, you could join the service. Otherwise, you would have to spend your life eating the same thing day by day due to food restrictions – no future ahead. Andrew chooses to join the army for a higher chance to get some real food and overcome his condition.
He knows that he could get a retirement bonus, but he also knows about the chance to leave the Earth. He aims to become one of the best sci-fi marines out there, but as the action starts to unveil, he realizes that there are worse things that slum gangs or military bureaucrats out there. Good food and retirement come with a very high price – is it worth it?
The War of the Worlds, by H. G. Wells (1898)
This military sci-fi book have become a classic. It is the ultimate alien invasion story and it beats all the potential clichés you can think of. One of the most diversified military sci-fi books out there and while it may seem a bit difficult at times, the story is worth every minute. The story begins when an alien capsule lands in Woking. Obviously, everyone gathers to see what is going on.
No one has seen anything similar, so people are surprised about the event. But then, this wonder is likely to become a disaster. Things escalate pretty fast and martians emerge out of nowhere. At this point, terror takes the whole place over. Armed with superior weapons and heat rays, aliens start eliminating people in order to take the planet over.
Facing powers that humankind is not familiar with and advanced technologies, people face extinction. But then, while everyone is trying to survive hoping someone will do anything about the invasion, one man has a different plan – he is desperately looking for his wife.
Warhawk (17 book series), by Chris Wraight (2018)
This is the sixth book in the series – reading the others could help you understand everything and become familiar with the characters, but it is not mandatory. The action begins with the so-called Inner Walls facing a breach. Traitors are now in and they head towards the palace, feeling like victory is close.
The order is about to change and laws are altered to protect the palace. There are gambits everywhere. Saints are released and people do whatever they have in mind to survive. But among all this chaos, there is one man with a different goal – Jaghatai Khan.
The warhawk is only after freeing the Lion’s Gate space port. He has no resources left, but the energy for one more attack. He has to fight an old enemy, so the battle is also personal. Plus, he knows that this battle is not just about him, but also about the planet.
Final Thoughts on War and Military Science Fictions
Bottom line, these are some of the most exciting military science fiction books out there. The list can go longer, indeed, but these titles will satisfy your hunger for action while stimulating your mind with incredible and original sci-fi technologies and plot twists.
Check also our all time favorite sci-fi books.
My profession is online marketing and development (10+ years experience), check my latest mobile app called Upcoming or my Chrome extensions for ChatGPT. But my real passion is reading books both fiction and non-fiction. I have several favorite authors like James Redfield or Daniel Keyes. If I read a book I always want to find the best part of it, every book has it's unique value.