Hard Science Fiction Books

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Hard science fiction focuses on scientific theories or grand theoretical ideas. There is a significant amount of real science (or theoretical) present in the book and an extreme attention to explaining it.Vote on the entries and/or submit your own suggestions to this list!
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1

Foundation

by Isaac Asimov

4.2 avg rating
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future—to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire—both scientists and scholars—and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a fututre generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.

But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind's last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun—or fight them and be destroyed.
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Red Mars

by Kim Stanley Robinson

3.38 avg rating
In his most ambitious project to date, award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson utilizes years of research and cutting-edge science in the first of three novels that will chronicle the colonization of Mars.

For eons, sandstorms have swept the barren desolate landscape of the red planet. For centuries, Mars has beckoned to mankind to come and conquer its hostile climate. Now, in the year 2026, a group of one hundred colonists is about to fulfill that destiny.

John Boone, Maya Toitavna, Frank Chalmers, and Arkady Bogdanov lead a mission whose ultimate goal is the terraforming of Mars. For some, Mars will become a passion driving them to daring acts of courage and madness; for others it offers and opportunity to strip the planet of its riches. And for the genetic "alchemists, " Mars presents a chance to create a biomedical miracle, a breakthrough that could change all we know about life...and death.

The colonists place giant satellite mirrors in Martian orbit to reflect light to the planets surface. Black dust sprinkled on the polar caps will capture warmth and melt the ice. And massive tunnels, kilometers in depth, will be drilled into the Martian mantle to create stupendous vents of hot gases. Against this backdrop of epic upheaval, rivalries, loves, and friendships will form and fall to pieces--for there are those who will fight to the death to prevent Mars from ever being changed.

Brilliantly imagined, breathtaking in scope and ingenuity, Red Mars is an epic scientific saga, chronicling the next step in human evolution and creating a world in its entirety. Red Mars shows us a future, with both glory and tarnish, that awes with complexity and inspires with vision.
Nebula
BSFA
Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
Arthur C. Clarke
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5

Ringworld

by Larry Niven

3.92 avg rating
A new place is being built, a world of huge dimensions, encompassing millions of miles, stronger than any planet before it. There is gravity, and with high walls and its proximity to the sun, a livable new planet that is three million times the area of the Earth can be formed. We can start again!
Nebula
Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
4
24
6

I, Robot

by Isaac Asimov

4.4 avg rating
The three laws of Robotics:
1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
2) A robot must obey orders givein to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

With these three, simple directives, Isaac Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot, Asimov chronicles the development of the robot through a series of interlinked stories: from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future--a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete.

Here are stories of robots gone mad, of mind-read robots, and robots with a sense of humor. Of robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world--all told with the dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction that has become Asmiov's trademark.


From the Hardcover edition.

1 Similar Reader Recommendations

0 Recs
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Contact

by Carl Sagan

3.56 avg rating
In December, 1999, a multinational team journeys out to the stars, to the most awesome encounter in human history. Who -- or what -- is out there?

In Cosmos, Carl Sagan explained the universe. In Contact, he predicts its future -- and our own.

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5

A Fire Upon The Deep

by Vernor Vinge

4.05 avg rating
In 1992 Vernor Vinge amazed the science fiction world with this epic novel of star-spanning adventure. It won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, and has since become a landmark in the field. Now, with the long awaited sequel The Children of the Sky about to be published, we are proud to offer the first-ever trade paperback edition of this big-screen SF classic.
 
A Fire Upon The Deep is the winner of the 1993 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
Hugo
Nebula
Locus Science Fiction
7
16
3

Fountains Of Paradise

by Arthur C. Clarke

2 avg rating
This Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novel is reissued in this trade paperback edition. Vannemar Morgan's dream of linking Earth with the stars requires a 24,000-mile-high space elevator. But first he must solve a million technical, political, and economic problems while allaying the wrath of God. Includes a new introduction by the author.
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Timescape

by Gregory Benford

5 avg rating
Detecting strange patterns of interference in a lab experiment, Gordon Bernstein, an assistant researcher at a California university, investigates and begins to uncover something that will change his life forever. Reprint. Nebula Award winner.
Nebula
BSFA
John W. Campbell
Locus Science Fiction
9
10
1

Downbelow Station

by C. J. Cherryh

3.8 avg rating
The Hugo Award-winning classic, now available in a trade edition for the first time.

Pell?s Station, orbiting the alien world simply called Downbelow, had always managed to remain neutral in the ever escalating conflict between ?The Company,? whose fleets from Earth had colonized space, and its increasingly independent and rebellious colony worlds. But Pell?s location?on the outer edge of Earth?s defensive perimeter? makes her the focal point in the titanic battle of colony worlds fighting for independence?

Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
10
7
0

Tao Zero

by Poul Anderson

The epic voyage of the spacecraft Leonora Christine will take her and her fifty-strong crew to a planet some thrity light-years distant. But, because the ship will accelerate to close to the spped of light, for those on board subjective time will slow and the journey will be of only a few years' duration. Then a buffeting by an interstellar dustcloud changes everything. The ship's deceleration system is damaged irreperably and soon she is gaining velocity. When she attains light-speed, tau zero itself, the disparity between ship-time and external time becomes almost impossibly great. Eons and galaxies hurtle by, and the crew of the Leonora Christine speeds into the unknown.
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2

The Diamond Age

by Neal Stephenson

3.89 avg rating
In Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson took science fiction to dazzling new levels. Now, in The Diamond Age, he delivers another stunning tale. Set in twenty-first century Shanghai, it is the story of what happens when a state-of-the-art interactive device falls in the hands of a street urchin named Nell. Her life—and the entire future of humanity—is about to be decoded and reprogrammed…
Hugo
Locus Science Fiction
Nebula
John W. Campbell
Arthur C. Clarke
12
6
1

Mission Of Gravity

by Henry Clement Stubbs

When invaluable research equipment is lost on the planet Mesklin, astronaut Charles Lackland is dispatched to the planet’s surface to retrieve it. He is aided by the creature Barlennan, a native Mesklinte, and the crew of Barlennan's ocean-going vessel. But Lackland and his alien companions face formidable challenges on the planet, most importantly extreme gravitational conditions. These conditions make Mesklin a ripe region for scientific research as well as a fascinating setting for a page-turning adventu
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5
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Anvil Of The Stars

by Greg Bear

The Forge of God described the destruction of Earth itself by self-replicating robots, Von Neumann machines designed to use the planet's mass to create more robotic creatures and spread throughout the Galaxy. Only a few humans have survived, aided by a mysterious alien race known only as “The Benefactors”, who arrived at Earth too late.
 
Now the small group of human survivors is determined to track down the criminal race who launched the planet killers. Humanity is given a starship by The Benefactors, and driven only by revenge they set out to find the unknown beings who are responsible for the destruction of Earth, and many other worlds.
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Anonymous | 2018-08-25 02:41:16
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Anonymous | 2017-07-20 08:09:24
The Reality Thief by Paul Anlee (Book 1 in Deplosion series) would be a good addition to this list. High concept, provocative, hard sci-fi in the style of Asimov and Heinlein.
Anonymous | 2016-02-28 02:17:42
The Martian by Andy Weir would be awesome as well. It's what brought me to the more Science than Fiction part of the world.
Anonymous | 2016-01-22 04:47:27
"Jurassic park" by Michael Crichton would be another interesting book to add. Another one from the same author is "NEXT".
Anonymous | 2015-06-27 07:15:59
"Blindsight" by Peter Watts would be a worthy addition to this list.

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