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College is a time to explore literary genres, and science fiction is no exception. Both today and historically, the unique imaginative scope of science fiction has given authors license to explore boundaries, predict the future, and even challenge social norms.

In the last few decades, science fiction has also come to dominate popular culture. In literature, science fiction is flourishing with some of the most innovative and interesting writing year after year.

In honor of National Science Fiction Day, we've compiled a list highlighting 15 of the best science fiction books out there.

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The Best Classic Science Fiction Books

Science fiction as we understand it has a lineage stretching back to the 1600s, growing more popular as books like "Frankenstein" and "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" garnered both acclaim and controversy while becoming bestsellers. We've selected five of the classic sci-fi books below.

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The Best New Science Fiction Books

In the last couple decades, science fiction authors have explored both diverse perspectives and innovative approaches to create some of the most compelling, thought-provoking books being written today. Below, we've curated a list of five of the greatest contemporary science fiction books published since 2000.

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Science Fiction Lite

Especially for novices to the genre, science fiction can feel inaccessible and overwhelming with its use of complex scientific concepts and unfamiliar worlds. We've selected five books that, while perhaps not science fiction outright, make use of elements of the genre. These books can serve as an entry point for readers who are curious but don't want to commit to the books we've already described.