Sci-fi for New Adults: where the boundaries of youth meet the limitless horizons of the universe, sparking imagination and discovery.

I am not a particular book genre reader, but I must give sci-fi works their flowers. Whenever I desire to reflect on unimaginable concepts, I pick a sci-fi book. They are the ultimate senses of wonder. I love the excitement they give while allowing me to merge new and fascinating worlds that are believable, logical, and miraculous.

Whether you want to go to a far-off planet, travel to an alternate universe, see societal paradigms, get a touch of romance, or explore different futures, my list of sci-fi books for adults below will pique your imagination and allow you to examine unimaginable ideas of daily life.

What Are The Top Emotional Journeys in Sci-fi?

Queen of the Realm (The Realm Book 3), by Lauren Stabler (2024)

Adelaide Taylor, a fugitive with nothing to lose, is navigating her way through terrifying scare mazes designed to destroy her as part of horrific new trials. Racing against time, she must find her cousin, challenge James' oppressive class system, and expose the truth through a crucial broadcast.

Discovering her true identity, Adelaide is determined to overthrow the tyrant James and reclaim her country's freedom. As she endures a harrowing journey through these nightmare labyrinths.

Adelaide faces a critical question: will her actions end oppression or merely initiate a new dystopian regime? Her struggle culminates in the thrilling conclusion of The Realm series.

U: Journey To Yourself, by T.D. Roberson (2023)

U is a book that employs a time travel concept while giving an interesting perception of a “what if” world. I loved its solid plot and conceptual exploration, but more notably, the alternate reality twist in the ending.

You meet Drew, who is broke with a not-so-promising job. After his grandmother’s death, he passes out, ending up in a mysterious existence. Here, he begins to relive his ugly past while grinding as an upcoming podcaster. The mysterious forces behind Drew’s journey have other plans for him. But can he move forward in life?

Roberson has written this book with different chapter themes and has excellently matched the writing styles. I highly resonated with Drew in the survival chapter. As you read, you feel an emotional resonance from his struggles- an unstable grandfather, alcoholism, and his battle for fame and riches.

If you favor sci-fi books with ambitious self-discovery stories, you will love this book. The narrative will grip you from the first page and leave you pondering your life choices. It is a must-read if you are seeking introspection of the power we possess for changing the future.

The Surviving Sky, by Kritika H. Rao (2023)

 The Surviving Sky is a profoundly imaginative story that explores a world that is falling apart through the lens of a shattering human heart. Enter into Hindu mythology with this unique blend of intriguing spirituality, sci-fi futurism, and eco-fantasy mystery.

What elevated this story more for me was how Rao engages our spirituality with the bonds we forge personally and with others to make this read more than a science fantasy.

Meet Iravan and his wife Ahilya, the last humanity refugees in conflict with their reputations. Iravan is an architect, while Ahilya is an archeologist. Iravan believes in his abilities being the makers of his identity, while Ahilya views them as methods meant to overpower non-architects. These differences are getting in the way of their marriage, and their careers are in jeopardy when a jungle expedition fails. Can they join forces to save their reputations and the entire civilization?

This story is about a flawed society trying its best to survive. You will love how intricate and inventive its world-building and character development are. It is evocative and uncannily enthralling and will leave you daring to question: what if you were more?

The Crypt, by Scott Sigler (2023)

Do you love good sci-fi books for adults featuring a military story combined with some horror? If yes, then this book is for you. The Crypt is a story about naval space warfare, and I loved that Scott put together an ‘unusual’ sci-fi theme.

The story is excellent, but the tension is heavy. The terror, insanity, gore, and violence may be disturbing, but the excitement you get is outstanding, making this read stellar.

Not many people know the name of the warship in this book. Fewer people still know what it is, but almost nobody knows its peculiar ability to tilt the power balance and win war. Everyone knows its crew's high mortality rate.

People call it “the Crypt,” and anyone aboard rides on their deathbed, hallucinating from its interdimensional travel, having psychotic breakdowns, and engaging in violent behaviors.

This book is like a fast-paced space opera and will have you questioning and answering many things. Scott must have been at his best when he wrote it, and I can’t wait for the series.

Dust of the Ocean, by Dorothy Grant (2023)

In the Dust of the Ocean, archeology meets tense adventures with competing humanity factions. However, don’t think this is too complex yet. Dorothy has excellently merged everything, even with some romance, to keep everything light and make the plot more interesting.

Aliens are in this universe and are of different species- hostile ones and overly powerful ones gone after leaving relics. On a distant planet, the powerful aliens have been attacked, defeated, and left in the deserted desert city.

In the midst of all this, there’s an empath who can read people’s memories upon touch. She hints that the ruins on the distant planet are not gone as everybody thinks. What could go wrong, and what does survival cost?

This book will give you everything you wish for in a ripping sci-fi book. Be it psychic powers, alien species, evil bugs, super soldiers, incompetent academics, and a hostile planet. The action does not end, and the romance will have you all mushy.

Not Alone, by Sarah K Jackson (2023)

We often read end-of-the-world books and brush off the consequence possibilities. But this one gave me a more realistic perspective and stayed with me long after. The balance between the heroine’s journey and character study was perfect.

Most of the population is wiped out after a microplastic storm, but Katie and Harry, her son, have made it. They live in a small flat in the UK, which is a safe place for them.

But when a threatening newcomer shows up, she and Harry are forced to leave their protective bubble to look for Jack, Katie’s fiancée. This will be a dangerous journey, as everything is changing. Can Katie figure everything out and offer Harry the safety he needs?

Reading from a woman’s POV is the highlight of this book. There are several instances of sexual assault, actual and attempted, but the decent men in the book are commendable and a breath of fresh air.

This read will be a delight if you have a soft spot for a post-apocalyptic book featuring a mother and child traversing a devastating, lawless, and orderless landscape. You will love how Sarah makes the events in this book hit home, feeling like you are in it with the characters.

Camp Zero, by Michelle Min Sterling (2023)

Camp Zero is the feminist climate fiction everyone needs. This remarkable debut by Michelle delivers an intricate design, bold imagination, and convincing details.

It has big ideas on technology, patriarchy, capitalism, environmental destruction, migration, self-recreation, and gender inequality. These will resonate with a concrete sense of reality and give you deep insights into the dangers of the world and the fates we settle for.

Rose is a bright and determined young woman joining a group meant to entertain the men working on the ” Camp Zero project” to initiate a new way of life. But she is on a secret mission to investigate the mercurial architect to get a home for her and her immigrant mother. Everyone here has a hidden agenda, and Rose’s fate is colliding with the researchers.

The twists and turns in this book will evoke feelings of hopelessness and optimism, leaving you doubtful but comforted. It is a must-read if you vehemently advocate for female strength and family bonds.

The Thick and the Lean, by Chana Porter (2023)

This book satisfies your hunger for speculative fiction with a whole new light. It is a story about an ambitious chef, a kitchen maid, and a cyber thief trying to find freedom in a constraining society.

Each character in this book is on a journey to find the answer to what it means to seek physical, spiritual, and philosophical sustenance.

The Thick and the Lean is an excellent inversion into a world where food and sex switch places while religion mediates both for societal manipulation. What makes this book even more fun is that it highlights all the themes using meal descriptions and recipes threaded into different histories and cultures.

I found this concept unique and well thought out, and I appreciate Chana for offering a fresh touch to conventional dystopian books.

This book will give you a different perspective on diet culture and wellness. It will have you asking crucial questions about choice, privilege, spirituality, wealth, sexuality, lust, and finding freedom and joy within unjust systems.

Witch King, by Martha Wells (2023)

I know this isn't strictly a sci-fi, but I still felt this story has a rightful place on this list. This book will be right up your alley if magic fantasy is your cup of tea. It is a masterpiece in world-building, action, and character development. Notably, Kai, the snarky demon, epitomizes Martha’s creativity.

He wakes up powerless after being murdered and interred in a water trap. Meanwhile, someone is trying to harness his magic for their benefit. Nonetheless, Kai’s priorities are to find out why he was imprisoned, what changed after he was assassinated, and why the Rising World Coalition is becoming more influential by the day.

He must bring his allies nearer and draw on his painful magic to achieve this and find his answers. They won’t be pleasing.

This remarkable story is about what friendship, trust, and power mean when entangled with betrayal. It has enough wit and charm, its world is original, and the quest about cursed rings and named swords is exhilarating.

You will be enthralled if you seek a new fantasy world with emotion-generating characters. Kai may be a crafty and old demon, but don’t trust the outward appearance of directionless spontaneity.

Final Thoughts on Sci-fi Books for New Adults

Drawing from my own personal journeys through the pages of sci-fi novels, I've felt my heartstrings pulled and my emotions tugged in unexpected ways. More than just the drama, action, and suspense, it's the emotional odysseys of the characters that have left the most profound imprints on me. If you're unfamiliar with the depths of emotional exploration this genre can offer, I urge you to delve into this expansive list. As you immerse yourself in these tales, you'll discover that the true power of sci-fi lies not just in envisioning the future, but in revealing the intricate tapestry of emotions, connections, and soul-searching that makes us human.

The emotional journeys within these stories underscore why sci-fi books are essential – they don't just take our minds on an adventure, they touch our very souls.

Check also my favorite philosophical, or multi-layered sci-fi books.

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