For the listener who craves exploring new worlds, extraterrestrial life, galaxies, technologies, weapons and even threats and political machinations, there’s nothing quite like an imaginative sci-fi listen. If you’re looking for your next escapist journey full of wonder, discovery and excitement, look no further. These listens are some of the best sci-fi book series available. Each of the titles on this list will whisk you away to another time, place or dimension, and wrap you up in an unpausable story that engages and entertains from the first second to the last.
Humans are on the edge of extinction as a deadly, mutated virus is decimating cities and pulling humanity to its knees and one team of special operatives is tasked with keeping an invaluable virologist alive long enough to find a cure. But can the team keep the virologist safe as she scrambles to uncover the answers before her time runs out?
The Extinction Cycle is a recent entrant into the sci-fi realm, but it has already garnered both a number of fans and listener acclaim. Known for its non-stop action, suspense, twists and turns and even the occasional spot of romance, this series has become a must-listen for sci-fi aficionados.
Actor and multi-award-winning voice artist Bronson Pinchot lends his talents to the series, turning a gripping listen into a thrilling journey through a post-apocalyptic world. His expressive voice adds drama and suspense with perfect pacing and skilful characterization of each and every protagonist.
One of the most well-loved, innovative sci-fi series of all time, Dune is a formative work that has set the standard for sci-fi ever since it was first released in the 1960s. In the Dune Saga series, creator Frank Herbert’s son, Brian Herbert, and renowned sci-fi writer Kevin J. Anderson create a compelling prequel to the original series.
The Dune Saga prequel series explores a massive war between man and machine that is mentioned sporadically in the original series. From the Battle of Corrin to the origins of the feud between House Atreides and House Harkonnen, this phenomenal addition to the world of Dune answers the burning questions that listeners have been dying to hear for decades.
Utilizing Frank Herbert’s original notes to guide and colour this saga, and featuring the talents of Scott Brick, the narrator from the original series, these superb audiobooks return to the galaxy once more for a seamless, unforgettable listening experience. This is the perfect series for fans of the original to learn even more about Herbert’s ground-breaking works or to start from the very beginning as a listener new to the world.
Moving backwards and forwards in time, and following the arcs of multiple intriguing and realistic characters, the Hyperion series is intricate and gripping. It follows the stories of a group of pilgrims travelling to the planet Hyperion, where the legendary creature Shrike looms, the Time Tombs confuse and disturb time itself, and where the entire planet awaits invasion.
Hugo Award-winning Hyperion is the series that defined a generation of sci-fi fans. Writer Dan Simmons’ cult classic is known for its phenomenal world-building and believable characters, as it weaves together different plot lines, timelines and protagonists in an orchestra of storytelling to form a cohesive, immersive listening experience.
Victor Bevine, known best for his role in the television series Star Trek, offers his voice to the Hyperion series. His immense skill is on display as he brings to life each of the six main characters, helping to enhance and enliven each of their stories in a way that makes the audiobook experience all the more special and authentic.
Binti represents a new age of sci-fi. This trilogy is centred around a young Himba woman, Binti, who is the first of her people to ever be offered a spot at a prestigious university in space. She is desperate to learn, but her education comes at a price, and she is soon deeply embroiled in an interstellar war that will test everything she knows.
This series from Nigerian-American writer Nnedi Okorafor is one of the best sci-fi book series due to its fusion of worldbuilding, heartfelt imagination, dynamic characters and inspiration drawn from the Himba people of modern-day Namibia. Okorafor describes her work as ‘Africanjujuism’, and has been awarded numerous prestigious awards for her work, including the Nebula and Hugo awards.
Taking this trilogy to the next level is narrator Robin Miles. Known for her work on other major releases such as The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and The Fifth Season, Miles are a seasoned narrator whose strong voice and emotive performance help to bring Binti to life.
What happens when Earth finally makes contact with alien life if the extraterrestrials we reached took that line of communication as an opportunity to invade? In a series of flashbacks, flash-forwards and present-day storylines, we follow Ye Wenjie as she is pulled from her studies in astrophysics and thrown into prison after being branded as a traitor, then gets caught up in Earth’s first-ever contact with alien life.
The Three-Body Problem is a phenomenal sci-fi series by Chinese writer Cixin Liu. Also known as the Remembrance of Earth’s Past series, it is the first Asian release to ever win the Hugo Award for best novel, and the series that helped to bring the vast worlds of Chinese science fiction into the international spotlight.
With expert narration by Luke Daniels for the first title and P.J. Ochlan for the remaining works, this is a series that will sweep you away with its complexity, world-building and endless conspiracies and plots.
Apocalyptic scenarios are the bread and butter of sci-fi, but few are explored with quite so much cracking humour or dry wit as that of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This is the series that introduced levity and absurd towel jokes alike to Earth-ending events, and no list of the best sci-fi book series could be complete without it.
It all begins when Arthur Dent accidentally becomes the sole survivor of the end of the world. After Earth is wiped out to make room for a new intergalactic bypass, Dent teams up with his rescuer, best friend and closet extraterrestrial Ford Perfect, to help him write the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and in doing so, meets a cast of some of the most memorable—and hilarious—characters to ever grace the genre of science fiction.
The first title in the series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, is narrated by none other than Stephen Fry, whose natural wit shines through the moments that will have you in stitches. English actor Martin Freeman (who starred in the film adaptation) picks up the reins for the remaining titles, injecting his own dry humour and comedic timing into this series, a classic must-listen for any audiobook fan, sci-fi or otherwise.
Spanning an incredible 20 titles, the Vorkosigan Saga is one of politics, representation, technology and human flaws, all set against a backdrop of vast intergalactic exploration. It has become a renowned and beloved work not just for its sheer scale, but for its worldbuilding, imagination and simple human authenticity.
The majority of the saga revolves around a physically disabled aristocrat, Miles Vorkosigan. On his home planet, he is considered a ‘mutant’, but with his intense intelligence and high birth, he fights the discrimination and works towards an impressive military career.
The series overall has been awarded five Hugo Awards, and has become known as one of the best ongoing sci-fi series of all time. Grover Gardner, a prolific narrator with more than 1,200 releases to his name, adds his subtly gravelly voice and perfect timing to the entire series, bringing an entire galaxy and all of its complexity to life from the moment you press play.
Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series is a modern entry but has quickly made its way onto numerous lists of the best sci-fi book series in recent times. It features many of the tropes sci-fi fans search for, from intergalactic travel to alien life forms, and warring, political factions. Yet Wayfarers still stands apart, as it is sci-fi with the harsh edges scraped off—it’s like a soft, warm, fuzzy hug in science fiction form.
The first release follows human Rosemary Harper, who lands a job onboard a tunnelling ship that creates wormholes across the galaxy. Her crewmates are a ragtag mix of human and alien, and together they deal with the tough realities of living in close quarters despite their cultural—and even physical—differences. As the series continues, listeners follow different members of the crew as they journey through an immense, lushly built universe.
Chambers’ variety of alien life forms and all their complexities are brought to life with her stunning characterizations and through the work of narrator Patricia Rodriguez. Rodriguez gives each character their voice, bringing out the humanity and heart in each of them in this beautifully character-driven story.
Malazan Book of the Fallen is an epic series that straddles the line between sci-fi and fantasy, taking the best of the two genres and fusing them into an addictive set of stories in a richly imagined world. Toronto-born writer Steven Erikson completed the first in the series, Gardens of the Moon in 1999, and finished the epic saga with The Crippled God in 2011.
Unlike most sci-fi and fantasy series,* Malazan Book of the Fallen* does not follow a singular character or plotline. Rather, it spans thousands of years, a huge cast of characters and diverse geography across continents. It all occurs during a turbulent period of the Malazan Empire, where humans, immortals and non-humans clash in epic battles, political uprisings and rebellions.
Actor Ralph Lister narrates the first few titles before audiobook veteran Michael Page continues the series. They each add their magic to this fantasy world, bringing individual characters to life amidst the vast backdrop of the Malazan Empire.
As a member of the lowest class, a Red, Darrow works an extremely dangerous job below the surface of Mars. He and his people are led to believe they are working for humanity to reach the surface, but he soon learns that his people are little more than slaves to the ruling classes. So, when given the opportunity, Darrow infiltrates the ruling Gold class, inspiring an uprising, and a series that has reinvigorated the modern sci-fi genre with fresh blood—and lots of it.
Gruesome, political, powerful and authentically human, the Red Rising series ups the stakes and the gripping suspense and drama with every new release. Taking inspiration from Roman lore, writer Pierce Brown paints a complex tale of power and human greed against the canvas of the galaxy.
The first three releases are narrated by Tim Gerard Reynolds, who gives colour to Darrow’s arc from an innocent helldiver of Mars to something far darker and grittier. In the later releases, Reynolds is joined by an ensemble cast who mirror the vast growth in the plot and setting of these audiobooks.
In a not-too-distant future where technology is king and the world is recovering from a third global war, the Sprawl Trilogy explores the terrifying, endless effects of artificial intelligence. Winning all of the major sci-fi awards including the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick Award, the initial instalment of Neuromancer is a cult classic that made cyberpunk mainstream and predicted some of the unbelievable realities of a world dominated by technology.
Each release in this ground-breaking trilogy is its own story, able to be enjoyed separately from the others. Yet they are also intrinsically linked, through themes, minor characters, and the pervasive ubiquity of artificial intelligence.
Writer William Gibson moved to Canada from the US in his late teens and eventually discovered his talent for writing whilst studying English literature at the University of British Columbia. His formative work, Neuromancer, is narrated by actor Roberston Dean, whose deep and coarse voice hits the perfect tone for this gritty sci-fi series.