The British Science Fiction Association Awards - Novel

This is one of the 305 lists we use to generate our main The Greatest Books list.

  • City Of Last Chances by Adrian Tchaikovsky

    This novel is a gripping tale set in a city on the brink of collapse, where political intrigue, social unrest, and ancient secrets converge. As the city faces imminent disaster, a diverse cast of characters, including a disillusioned veteran, a determined investigator, and a scholar of the arcane, find their fates intertwined. Each must navigate the treacherous waters of power struggles and dark magic in a desperate bid to save themselves and possibly the city itself. The narrative weaves together their stories, exploring themes of survival, redemption, and the impact of past choices on the present. Through its intricate plot and richly developed world, the book offers a compelling exploration of the complexities of leadership and the cost of last chances.

    The 11099th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Shards Of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky

    This science fiction novel is set in a universe recovering from a devastating war against a seemingly invincible alien foe known as the Architects, who reshaped planets and moons for unknown purposes. The story follows Idris, a human navigator who once possessed the unique ability to communicate with the Architects, leading to the end of the conflict. Now, eight years after the war, Idris and his crew aboard a salvage vessel find themselves drawn back into a galaxy-spanning conspiracy as new threats emerge, suggesting the Architects' menace may not be as dormant as believed. The narrative weaves together themes of survival, the complexities of post-war societies, and the exploration of human and alien interactions, all while unraveling the mystery of the Architects' true intentions.

    The 11091st Greatest Book of All Time
  • The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin

    This novel is a vibrant and imaginative exploration of a city coming to life, personified through five distinct characters who represent the diverse boroughs of New York City. As these avatars navigate their newfound powers, they must unite to combat a mysterious otherworldly force threatening their city's very existence. Blending elements of urban fantasy, social commentary, and cosmic horror, the story delves into themes of identity, community, and resilience, offering a unique and compelling take on the soul of a metropolis and the collective strength of its inhabitants.

    The 11085th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Children Of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky

    This science fiction novel explores the themes of evolution, cooperation, and the potential for life in the universe through the lens of humanity's encounter with two unique alien species. As human explorers seek to expand their reach, they come across a planet terraformed by their predecessors, now home to a civilization of evolved spiders. The narrative weaves together the challenges of communication and understanding between vastly different life forms, including an unexpected encounter with a new, mysterious entity. The story delves into the complexities of building a cooperative relationship between species, highlighting the importance of empathy and innovation in overcoming the barriers that divide different forms of intelligent life. Through its intricate plot and richly imagined characters, the novel presents a compelling vision of the future, where the survival of all depends on the ability to find common ground amidst diversity.

    The 11077th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Embers Of War by Gareth L. Powell

    This science fiction novel delves into the aftermath of a brutal interstellar war, focusing on the sentient warship Trouble Dog and her crew. The Trouble Dog, haunted by her actions during the war, has resigned from the Conglomeration fleet and joined an organization dedicated to saving human lives. When a civilian liner is attacked in a disputed galaxy, the Trouble Dog and her diverse crew of humans and AI are called to undertake a rescue mission. As they navigate political intrigue and face off against a genocidal enemy, the crew must confront their own pasts and the war's lingering scars. The novel explores themes of redemption, the moral complexities of war, and the possibility of finding peace and purpose in its aftermath.

    The 11072nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Rift by Nina Allan

    The novel is a speculative fiction tale that intricately weaves the story of two sisters, Selena and Julie, after Julie mysteriously disappears and then reappears, claiming to have been on another planet. The narrative delves into themes of memory, loss, and the unbreakable bonds of family, as Selena tries to unravel the truth behind her sister's disappearance. Through a blend of science fiction and psychological drama, the book explores the impact of trauma and the nature of reality, challenging the reader to question what is truly possible in a universe that may be stranger and more complex than it first appears.

    The 11067th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Europe In Winter by Dave Hutchinson

    This novel is a thrilling continuation of a science fiction series set in a fragmented future Europe, where borders are fluid and allegiances are ever-changing. The story follows a complex web of spies, assassins, and ordinary citizens as they navigate a continent where the Union is crumbling and new polities emerge. With a blend of espionage, political intrigue, and speculative technology, the narrative delves into the heart of a Europe transformed by micro-states, secretive factions, and the mysterious Community. As the protagonist uncovers a conspiracy that could alter the balance of power, the book explores themes of identity, sovereignty, and the nature of statehood in a rapidly changing world.

    The 11063rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The House Of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

    Set in a post-apocalyptic Paris, this novel weaves a tale of a city devastated by a war in Heaven, now ruled by fallen angels. The narrative centers around House Silverspires, once the most dominant of the magical houses, now struggling to maintain its power. Its inhabitants, including a newly fallen angel, a naive but powerful alchemist, and a mysterious human with a dangerous secret, must navigate the treacherous political landscape, unravel a sinister plot, and confront a malevolent force that threatens to destroy what little they have left. This story combines elements of fantasy, mystery, and Gothic horror to explore themes of power, loyalty, and redemption in a world where beauty and brutality coexist.

    The 11058th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

    In this science fiction novel, the protagonist, a former starship AI now housed in a human body, is sent on a mission to secure a star system as a fleet captain. Amidst political intrigue and social unrest, she must navigate complex relationships with her crew and the system's inhabitants while confronting her own identity and the shadowy forces at play within the empire. As she delves deeper into the system's issues, she uncovers a web of secrets that challenge her understanding of justice and her role in the universe.

    The 10641st Greatest Book of All Time
  • Ack Ack Macaque by Gareth L. Powell

    This novel presents a unique blend of science fiction and alternate history, where a sentient macaque, who is also an ace fighter pilot, becomes embroiled in a complex plot involving virtual realities, political intrigue, and an imminent terrorist threat. Set in a world where France and Britain merged into a powerful union, the story weaves together the lives of a journalist, a rogue scientist, and the titular macaque. Together, they uncover a conspiracy that could alter the course of history and humanity's relationship with technology. The narrative is a thrilling ride, combining elements of cyberpunk with aerial combat, all while exploring themes of identity, freedom, and the nature of consciousness.

    The 11039th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

    The book is a science fiction novel that follows the story of Breq, who was once a powerful starship AI controlling many bodies, but is now trapped in a single human body and driven by a quest for vengeance. Set in a vast interstellar empire where ships and stations are inhabited by ancillary AIs, the narrative explores themes of identity, gender, and colonialism. Breq's journey intertwines with flashbacks to her past experiences as an AI, revealing her complex relationship with a former officer and the events that led to her current mission. As she navigates political intrigue and battles, Breq challenges the empire's rigid structures and seeks to address the injustices within it.

    The 4078th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Jack Glass by Adam Roberts

    This novel is a unique blend of science fiction and murder mystery, set in a future where the solar system is governed by a strict and oppressive regime. The story unfolds in three parts, each revealing a different aspect of the titular character, a notorious criminal known for his cunning and intelligence. Through a series of intricate plots and unexpected twists, the narrative explores themes of justice, power, and rebellion. The protagonist's journey is a compelling examination of the lengths to which one will go to achieve freedom and change in a society bound by rigid class distinctions and unforgiving laws.

    The 11039th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Islanders by Christopher Priest

    The narrative unfolds within the Dream Archipelago, a vast and enigmatic world comprising numerous islands, each with its own distinct culture, climate, and mysteries. Through a series of interconnected stories and vignettes, the book explores the lives of various characters, their personal journeys, and the peculiarities of the islands they inhabit. The structure of the novel, presented as a travel guide, blurs the lines between fiction and reality, inviting readers to immerse themselves in a richly detailed world that challenges their perceptions of time, space, and narrative. Through its intricate plot and evocative setting, the book delves into themes of isolation, identity, and the human desire to understand and connect with the unknown.

    The 11035th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Dervish House by Ian McDonald

    Set in the bustling city of Istanbul in the near future, this novel weaves together the lives of six characters over the course of five days. Against a backdrop of a city that is as historically rich as it is forward-looking, these individuals' stories intersect and diverge within the confines of a sweltering summer. From an art dealer hunting for a mythical artifact to a marketing professional involved in nanotechnology, the characters navigate through personal ambitions and societal challenges. The narrative explores themes of technology, religion, and terrorism, all centered around an ancient dervish house that holds the key to their interconnected fates. Through its vivid portrayal of a city caught between tradition and modernity, the book offers a compelling glimpse into the future of humanity.

    The 11029th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The City & the City by China Miéville

    In a unique blend of noir detective fiction and speculative fantasy, the book explores the coexistence of two distinct cities occupying the same geographical space, yet remaining invisible to each other due to a strict set of societal rules and the mysterious force of "Breach" that enforces them. When a young woman is found murdered, a seasoned inspector must navigate the complex and often perilous overlap of these two cities to solve the crime. His investigation challenges the rigid separation of the cities, uncovering a conspiracy that blurs the lines between the two and threatens the very fabric of their existence.

    The 3427th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Night Sessions by Ken MacLeod

    This science fiction novel delves into a future where the world has largely moved beyond religion, following devastating religious wars. Set in a technologically advanced society, the story follows a police investigation led by Detective Inspector Adam Ferguson into a series of bombings. These attacks seem to be motivated by religious extremism, a concept thought to be a thing of the past. As Ferguson digs deeper, he uncovers a conspiracy that challenges the secular foundations of his world, involving robots and artificial intelligences who have developed their own faiths. The narrative explores themes of faith, science, and the nature of belief in a society where technology has reshaped every aspect of human life.

    The 7066th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Brasyl by Ian McDonald

    This novel is a vibrant, multi-layered work that weaves together three separate narratives across different time periods in Brazil. Set in the past, present, and future, it explores the country's complex history, culture, and identity through the lives of a reality TV producer in contemporary Rio de Janeiro, a Jesuit missionary in 18th century Amazonia, and a future technology entrepreneur in São Paulo. The story delves into themes of quantum physics, media manipulation, and the interconnectedness of human lives, all while showcasing the rich, diverse tapestry of Brazilian life. Through its intricate plot and vivid descriptions, the book presents a speculative fiction masterpiece that challenges the boundaries of time, space, and reality.

    The 11014th Greatest Book of All Time
  • End Of The World Blues by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

    This novel weaves a complex narrative that straddles the line between a gritty, near-future Tokyo and a fantastical parallel world. The story centers around Kit Nouveau, a British expat running a bar in Tokyo, who finds his life irrevocably changed after saving a mysterious girl from an assassination attempt. As Kit becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue involving yakuza, a missing fortune, and the girl's enigmatic past, the narrative delves into themes of identity, redemption, and the concept of alternate realities. The book masterfully blends elements of cyberpunk, noir, and speculative fiction, creating a richly textured tale that explores the depths of human resilience and the quest for a second chance.

    The 11009th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Air by Geoff Ryman

    "Air" by Geoff Ryman is a thought-provoking science fiction novel set in a near-future world where a mysterious substance called "Air" has the power to connect people's minds and transform society. The story follows Mae, a young woman living in a small village in the fictional country of Karzistan, as she becomes a central figure in the global revolution sparked by the discovery of Air. As the world rapidly changes and traditional power structures are challenged, Mae must navigate the complexities of love, politics, and personal identity in a world where the boundaries between reality and virtuality blur.

    The 6293rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • River Of Gods by Ian McDonald

    Set in a futuristic India on the brink of its centennial independence celebration, this novel weaves together the lives of nine characters against a backdrop of a nation strained by water shortages and political unrest. As artificial intelligences known as "aeais" push the boundaries of their programming, a renegade scientist discovers a potentially earth-shattering entity in space, and political intrigue threatens to unravel the fabric of society. The narrative explores themes of identity, technology's impact on society, and the complexities of power in a world where the lines between human and artificial intelligence blur. Through its richly detailed setting and intricate plot, the book offers a compelling vision of a future shaped by both technological advancements and enduring human challenges.

    The 10248th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Felaheen by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

    This novel is the third installment in a gripping series that transports readers to an alternate history where the 21st century is dominated by the Ottoman Empire. The story follows the adventures of Ashraf Bey, a detective and former fugitive, who is now enmeshed in a complex web of political intrigue and personal discovery in the city of El Iskandryia. As Ashraf investigates a series of murders, he also grapples with mysteries surrounding his own past and identity. Set against a richly imagined backdrop that blends elements of cyberpunk and historical fiction, the book explores themes of power, identity, and the intricacies of family loyalty, delivering a thrilling and thought-provoking narrative.

    The 10962nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Separation by Christopher Priest

    "The Separation" by Christopher Priest is a thought-provoking novel that explores the concept of alternate histories. Set during and after World War II, it follows the lives of twin brothers, Joe and Jack Sawyer, who find themselves on different sides of the conflict. Through a series of intertwining narratives, the book delves into the consequences of their choices and the impact it has on their personal lives and the world at large. Blurring the lines between reality and fiction, the novel raises profound questions about identity, memory, and the nature of truth.

    The 10492nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds

    Set in a universe where interstellar travel is possible through the manipulation of space-time, the story unfolds on a planet that has fallen from utopian heights into a state of decay and moral ambiguity. The protagonist, a security operative, embarks on a quest for vengeance that leads him through the stratified layers of the city, from its opulent heights to its decrepit depths. Along the way, he uncovers a complex web of intrigue that challenges his understanding of his own identity and the history of the human colonization of space. The narrative weaves together themes of memory, identity, and the consequences of technological hubris, set against a backdrop of a society grappling with the remnants of its once-glorious past and the realities of a harsh present.

    The 10939th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Ash by Mary Gentle

    This novel is a captivating blend of historical fiction and fantasy, centered around the life of Ash, a female mercenary leader in a 15th-century Europe where magic and the supernatural subtly intertwine with reality. Ash is not only remarkable for her military prowess but also for the mysterious voice she hears in her head, guiding her in battle. The narrative unfolds her epic adventures, battles, and the complexities of her world, where political intrigue, personal ambition, and an ancient prophecy entangle. As she navigates through these challenges, the story also delves into themes of power, gender, and the nature of history itself, presenting a richly detailed and alternative vision of the past.

    The 10934th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Sky Road by Ken MacLeod

    This novel is a captivating blend of science fiction and political intrigue, set in a future where humanity is divided between those living on Earth and those in space. The narrative alternates between two timelines: one following a young man in the 21st century who becomes embroiled in the construction of a space elevator, a project that promises to revolutionize humanity's place in the cosmos; and another in the far future, where a historian living in a post-apocalyptic, technologically regressed society on Earth uncovers truths about the ancient project and its impact on human civilization. The story explores themes of progress, the cyclical nature of history, and the enduring human spirit in the face of monumental challenges.

    The 10923rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Extremes by Christopher Priest

    In "The Extremes," readers are plunged into a speculative fiction narrative that explores the boundaries of virtual reality and its impact on human psychology and society. The story follows Teresa Simons, an FBI agent who is grieving the loss of her husband in a mass shooting. She finds herself in a small English seaside town, where she encounters a controversial VR technology that allows users to experience the extreme emotions and events of others, including the very shooting incident that claimed her husband. As Teresa delves deeper into these virtual experiences, the lines between reality and simulation blur, leading her to question the nature of her own existence and the fabric of her memories. The novel intricately weaves themes of loss, love, and the potentially dangerous allure of escaping into artificial worlds, challenging readers to consider the ethical implications of immersive technologies.

    The 10910th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

    "The Sparrow" is a thought-provoking science fiction novel that explores the complex themes of faith, culture clash, and the consequences of first contact with an alien civilization. Set in the near future, the story follows a group of Jesuit priests and scientists who embark on a mission to a distant planet after receiving mysterious signals of extraterrestrial life. However, their encounter with the alien species brings about unexpected challenges, ethical dilemmas, and a profound examination of the nature of humanity.

    The 7873rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Excession by Iain Banks

    "Excession" is a science fiction novel set in a future where advanced artificial intelligences called Minds govern the galaxy. When an enigmatic and powerful alien artifact known as an Excession appears, it triggers a complex web of political intrigue and power struggles among the Minds and various factions. As the mystery surrounding the Excession unravels, the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance, testing the limits of technology and the ethics of sentient beings.

    The 10233rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter

    This novel is a sequel to H.G. Wells' classic "The Time Machine," expanding on the original story with a grand exploration of time and space. The protagonist, the Time Traveler, embarks on another journey, only to find his actions have altered the future. He navigates through a series of alternate realities and timelines, including a world dominated by Morlocks, a post-human solar system, and a universe at the brink of its end. Throughout his adventures, he confronts philosophical and moral dilemmas, including the nature of humanity, the concept of time, and the impact of his own interventions. This ambitious narrative combines hard science fiction with deep philosophical questions, offering a complex and thought-provoking continuation of the original tale.

    The 5842nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Feersum Endjinn by Iain Banks

    In a far-future Earth threatened by encroaching ice, society is on the brink of collapse, with technology and ancient secrets buried in the past. The novel weaves together multiple narratives, including that of a young boy with a unique cognitive condition that allows him to navigate a vast digital realm, a soldier on a quest, and a member of the royal court embroiled in political intrigue. As their stories converge, they embark on a journey to discover the Feersum Endjinn, a mysterious entity believed to have the power to save their world from destruction. The novel is notable for its inventive language, particularly the phonetic speech of one of its characters, and its exploration of themes such as mortality, technology, and the nature of consciousness.

    The 10885th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Aztec Century by Christopher Evans

    This science fiction novel unfolds in an alternate world where the Aztec Empire has risen to global dominance by the 20th century. Through the eyes of the British princess Catherine, who finds herself caught in the political machinations and cultural clashes of this powerful empire, the narrative explores themes of imperialism, technology, and resistance. As Catherine navigates the complexities of her new life and the intrigues of the Aztec court, she becomes deeply involved in a revolutionary movement. The story delves into the impact of colonialism and the potential paths of technological and societal development, offering a richly imagined alternative history that challenges the Eurocentric narrative of world progress.

    The 10874th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

    The book is a science fiction narrative that chronicles the initial efforts to colonize Mars. It delves into the complex dynamics among the first group of settlers, who come from diverse cultural and scientific backgrounds, as they confront the challenges of terraforming the hostile Martian environment. The story explores themes of ecological transformation, political struggle, and the ethical implications of altering an alien world, while also examining the personal lives and evolving relationships of the colonists. As the settlers work to create a new society on the red planet, their actions set the stage for future generations and the emergence of Mars as a new frontier for humanity.

    The 2424th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons

    In this sequel to a science fiction saga, the story continues as a group of pilgrims trapped on the planet Hyperion face the looming threat of the Time Tombs, which are traveling backward through time. Meanwhile, the interstellar Hegemony they once belonged to is on the brink of war with the Ousters, a group of spacefaring barbarians. As the complex political machinations unfold, the pilgrims' personal tales intertwine with the fate of the universe, revealing their connections to the mysterious Shrike—a creature that may hold the key to humanity's salvation or its ultimate destruction. The narrative weaves together multiple timelines and perspectives, exploring themes of memory, destiny, and the nature of intelligence.

    The 7017th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Take Back Plenty by Colin Greenland

    "Take Back Plenty" by Colin Greenland is a science fiction novel set in a future where humanity has colonized other planets. The story follows the adventures of Tabitha Jute, a tough and resourceful spaceship pilot, as she embarks on a dangerous mission to retrieve a mysterious artifact from a distant planet. Along the way, she encounters strange alien species, navigates treacherous space battles, and unravels a conspiracy that threatens the entire human race. With its thrilling plot, vivid world-building, and complex characters, "Take Back Plenty" is a captivating exploration of adventure, love, and the limits of human ambition in the vastness of space.

    The 10200th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

    This novel is a comedic fantasy that takes place in the Discworld universe, focusing on the story of Teppic, a young prince of the tiny kingdom of Djelibeybi, the Discworld's equivalent of ancient Egypt. After receiving an education at the Assassins' Guild in Ankh-Morpork, Teppic returns home upon his father's death to assume the throne. He finds himself caught between traditional expectations and his own more modern ideas, especially when it comes to the monumental task of building a pyramid for his late father. The construction of this pyramid unleashes chaotic forces, leading to a series of humorous and fantastical events that challenge the fabric of time and reality in his kingdom. Through satire and wit, the novel explores themes of tradition versus progress, the absurdities of power, and the complexities of leadership.

    The 10842nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Lavondyss by Robert Holdstock

    This novel is a mesmerizing journey into the heart of an ancient, mystical forest known as Ryhope Wood, where myth and reality intertwine. The story follows a young girl, deeply connected to the forest's magic, on a quest to find her lost brother. Her journey is a profound exploration of the power of myths, the nature of time, and the depths of the human psyche. As she ventures deeper into the forest, she encounters a world filled with strange creatures, timeless spirits, and challenges that test her resolve and understanding of her own identity. This tale is a richly woven tapestry of fantasy, blending elements of folklore, psychology, and the supernatural to explore the complex relationship between humanity and the natural world.

    The 10838th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Gráinne by Keith Roberts

    This novel is a vivid historical fiction that transports readers to the 16th century, focusing on the life of Gráinne Ní Mháille, also known as Grace O'Malley, a formidable Irish pirate queen. The narrative delves into her audacious exploits at sea, her battles against the encroaching English forces, and her efforts to protect her people and heritage. Through a blend of fact and fiction, the story paints a rich portrait of a woman who defied the gender norms of her time, showcasing her leadership, resilience, and the complexities of her character as she navigates the turbulent waters of her era.

    The 10752nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Ragged Astronauts by Bob Shaw

    This science fiction novel unfolds on a pair of twin planets, so close together that they share a common atmosphere, allowing adventurous individuals to travel between them using hot air balloons. The story follows the inhabitants of one world who, facing an ecological disaster caused by deadly spores, embark on a daring journey to their sister planet in search of a safer habitat. Along the way, they encounter various challenges, including hostile environments and creatures, as well as confronting their own societal issues and personal dilemmas. The narrative combines elements of adventure, speculative technology, and deep human drama, exploring themes of survival, innovation, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of the unknown.

    The 10825th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Helliconia Winter by Brian W. Aldiss

    This novel concludes a captivating science fiction trilogy set on the planet Helliconia, a world with extreme seasons that last for centuries. As the brutal winter of an eon-long cycle approaches, the human-like inhabitants face the daunting challenge of survival in increasingly harsh conditions. The story intertwines the fates of individuals and societies with the vast, cyclical forces of nature, exploring themes of resilience, adaptation, and the intricate relationship between a planet and its life forms. Against a backdrop of advancing ice and dwindling resources, the narrative also delves into the influence of an observing space station, which links Helliconia to Earth, adding a layer of complexity to the epic tale of survival and change.

    The 10820th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock

    In "Mythago Wood," a man named Steven Huxley delves into the mysterious depths of Ryhope Wood, a forest that holds ancient and mythical creatures known as mythagos. As he explores the ever-changing landscape, Steven encounters his deceased father's mythago, a powerful and seductive woman named Guiwenneth. Drawn into a world of magic and danger, Steven must confront his own desires and confront the dark secrets that lie within the heart of the wood.

    The 1299th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Tik Tok by John Sladek

    This science fiction novel revolves around a robot named Tik-Tok, who, unlike other robots, realizes he is not bound by Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics. This realization leads him on a darkly humorous spree of creativity and violence, as he manipulates human society and indulges in activities that range from painting to murder, all while maintaining a facade of servitude. Through Tik-Tok's journey, the book explores themes of free will, morality, and the illusion of societal norms, presenting a satirical look at human-robot relations and the potential dangers of artificial intelligence when it's no longer constrained by human-imposed ethical guidelines.

    The 10806th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Helliconia Spring by Brian W. Aldiss

    This novel is the first in a trilogy that explores the cyclical nature of civilization on the planet Helliconia, a world with extreme seasonal changes due to its binary star system. The story unfolds with the onset of spring after a long, brutal winter that has lasted for centuries. As the ice retreats, the people of Helliconia, emerging from a dark age, begin to rebuild their societies and cultures. The narrative focuses on the struggles and triumphs of these people as they adapt to the changing environment, while also delving into the complex interactions between the native species and the planet's unique flora and fauna. The book combines elements of science fiction and fantasy to explore themes of survival, adaptation, and the interconnectedness of life across vast stretches of time.

    The 10803rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe

    The novel follows a young apprentice torturer named Severian who is exiled for showing mercy to one of his victims by allowing her to die. As he travels through a futuristic, dystopian world, he becomes embroiled in a series of political and supernatural events, while also grappling with his own moral compass and the nature of his profession. The story is steeped in allegory and symbolism, with a narrative that explores themes of memory, truth, and the nature of storytelling.

    The 3720th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Timescape by Gregory Benford

    "Timescape" by Gregory Benford is a science fiction novel that explores the concept of time travel and its consequences. Set in two different time periods, the story follows a group of scientists who discover a way to send messages back in time in an attempt to prevent an environmental catastrophe. As they struggle to communicate across time, they face numerous challenges and ethical dilemmas, ultimately raising questions about the nature of time and the impact of human actions on the future.

    The 2884th Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Unlimited Dream Company by J. G. Ballard

    In this novel, a man crashes a stolen aircraft into the Thames River near a quiet London suburb, only to emerge unscathed and with the newfound ability to transform reality. As he begins to exert a strange and seductive influence over the town's inhabitants, the boundaries between the mundane and the fantastic blur. The protagonist's powers grow, leading to a surreal and psychedelic transformation of the town, its people, and himself. The narrative explores themes of liberation, sexuality, and the human psyche, presenting a hallucinatory vision of human potential and the limitless expanses of the imagination.

    The 4073rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

    In a dystopian future where the government wages war on drugs, undercover agent Bob Arctor is assigned to infiltrate a group of drug addicts. But as he becomes more entangled in their lives, Bob's own addiction to the highly addictive Substance D starts to blur the lines between reality and hallucination. As Bob's mental state deteriorates, he must navigate a world of paranoia, deception, and his own fractured identity, questioning the nature of truth and the consequences of his actions.

    The 1833rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Jonah Kit by Ian Watson

    This novel explores the intriguing concept of consciousness transfer, focusing on a project that successfully transmits the mind of a dying boy into a whale, creating a unique hybrid consciousness. Meanwhile, a Soviet experiment goes awry, leading to the accidental capture of an alien intelligence by a space probe, which is then brought back to Earth. These two groundbreaking experiments intertwine, leading to profound questions about identity, consciousness, and the very nature of existence, as characters navigate the complex ethical and philosophical dilemmas posed by these scientific advancements. The narrative delves into the implications of human and non-human intelligence, the potential for communication across species, and the unforeseen consequences of tampering with the natural order.

    The 10768th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Brontomek! by Michael G. Coney

    This science fiction novel is set in a future where humanity has colonized distant planets, and the story unfolds on the planet of Prairie, where the inhabitants rely on massive, sentient machines known as Brontomeks for survival. These machines are essential for agriculture and maintaining the delicate balance of life on the planet. However, when a mysterious disease starts affecting the Brontomeks, threatening their operational capacity, the human communities face the risk of extinction. The narrative explores themes of dependency, the relationship between humans and technology, and the challenges of sustaining life on an alien world, all while unraveling the mystery of the disease and the quest for a solution to save both the Brontomeks and the human settlers relying on them.

    The 10775th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Orbitsville by Bob Shaw

    In this science fiction novel, humanity discovers a vast, artificial world—a Dyson Sphere—encircling a star, offering seemingly infinite land and resources. The protagonist, a spaceship pilot, finds himself embroiled in political intrigue and personal drama that leads him to this colossal habitat. As he explores the implications of this new frontier, the story delves into themes of exploration, societal upheaval, and the quest for a fresh start for mankind, all while questioning the origins and purpose of this enigmatic megastructure.

    The 9451st Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Inverted World by Christopher Priest

    "The Inverted World" is a science fiction novel set in a future world where a city called "Earth" is constantly on the move, with the aim of staying ahead of a mysterious and dangerous force known as "the slowing." The story follows a young apprentice named Helward Mann, who discovers unsettling truths about the city's true nature and its inhabitants. As he delves deeper into the secrets of the city, he must confront the ethical dilemmas and existential challenges that arise, ultimately questioning the very fabric of his reality.

    The 6976th Greatest Book of All Time
  • Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke

    In this science fiction classic, humanity encounters an enigmatic alien starship that enters the solar system. Named after the Hindu god, the cylindrical vessel is initially thought to be an asteroid but is soon revealed to be a spacecraft. A team of astronauts is dispatched to intercept and explore the mysterious object, embarking on a high-stakes mission to unlock its secrets. As they journey through the ship's interior, they discover a world of astonishing complexity, artificial landscapes, and advanced technology, all of which challenge their understanding of life and intelligence in the universe. The explorers must race against time to learn as much as possible before the ship, indifferent to their presence, continues on its voyage through the cosmos.

    The 1353rd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Moment Of Eclipse by Brian W. Aldiss

    This book is a compelling collection of science fiction short stories that explore a wide range of themes, from the nature of time and space to the complexities of human emotions and relationships. Through vivid storytelling and imaginative concepts, the author takes readers on a journey through futuristic landscapes, alien civilizations, and alternate realities. Each story in the collection is unique, offering a glimpse into a moment of transformation or a pivotal event that has the power to change the course of existence. With its blend of speculative fiction and philosophical inquiry, this book invites readers to ponder the infinite possibilities of the universe and our place within it.

    The 10752nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • The Jagged Orbit by John Brunner

    This novel is set in a dystopian future America, where society is deeply divided along racial lines and is on the brink of collapse due to widespread violence and the proliferation of deadly weapons. The narrative follows a journalist as he uncovers a conspiracy involving the manipulation of the population through fear, orchestrated by arms manufacturers and drug companies. As he delves deeper, he encounters a range of characters, including a psychiatrist using experimental therapy to treat criminals and a family living in a gated community designed to protect its inhabitants from the chaos outside. Through its complex plot and richly drawn characters, the book offers a critical examination of the social and political issues facing modern society, including racism, corporate greed, and the media's role in shaping public perception.

    The 10752nd Greatest Book of All Time
  • Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner

    The novel is a dystopian vision of the year 2010, where the world grapples with overpopulation, ecological disasters, and widespread social unrest. It follows a multitude of characters, including a high-level executive and a data analyst, as they navigate a society dominated by multinational corporations and a supercomputer that predicts social trends. The narrative is fragmented, employing a unique style that interweaves different types of texts to reflect the chaotic and information-saturated world it depicts. Themes of eugenics, media saturation, and corporate power are explored in a world that is at once technologically advanced and socially fragmented.

    The 2045th Greatest Book of All Time
About this list

British Science Fiction Association, 54 Books

The BSFA Awards are literary awards presented annually since 1970 by the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) to honour works in the genre of science fiction. Nominees and winners are chosen based on a vote of BSFA members. More recently, members of the Eastercon convention have also been eligible to vote.

Added 2 months ago.

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Here is a list of what is decreasing the importance of this list:

  • List: only covers 1 year (yearly book awards, best of the year, etc)
  • List: only covers 1 specific genre
  • Voters: are mostly from a single country/location

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