The Greatest Mayan, Chinese "Speculative Fiction" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Speculative Fiction

Speculative fiction is an umbrella genre encompassing narrative fiction with supernatural or futuristic elements. This includes genres such as science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history. The unifying factor of speculative fiction is its departure from the narrative constraints of reality, exploring imaginative and often profound questions that challenge our understanding of the world and our place within it. These stories often delve into themes like the human condition, social commentary, and the exploration of philosophical and ethical dilemmas through the lens of the fantastical or the yet-to-be-possible. By pushing the boundaries of the known, speculative fiction invites readers to consider the myriad possibilities of existence and the potential consequences of our actions in worlds that are, at once, vastly different from and eerily similar to our own.

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  1. 1. Journey to the West by Wu Cheng'en

    "Journey to the West" is a classic Chinese novel that follows the adventures of a Buddhist monk and his three disciples, a monkey, a pig, and a river monster, as they travel from China to India in search of sacred Buddhist scriptures. Along the way, they face a series of challenges and obstacles, including battling demons and overcoming their own personal weaknesses. This epic tale is a blend of mythology, folklore, and fantasy, and is also a commentary on the practice and principles of Buddhism.

    The 492nd Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

    The book is a science fiction novel that intertwines the cultural revolution of China with a complex narrative involving astrophysics, virtual reality, and alien contact. It follows a disillusioned scientist who, after suffering personal tragedy during the Cultural Revolution, sends a message into space, only to receive a response from an alien civilization on the brink of destruction. As the aliens plan their migration to Earth, a secret organization works to facilitate the invasion, while a disparate group of scientists and military personnel attempt to understand and prevent the impending extraterrestrial crisis. The novel grapples with themes of human nature, technological advancement, and the vast, often incomprehensible universe.

    The 1997th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. A Hero Born by Jin Yong

    "A Hero Born" is the first installment in an epic martial arts saga set in the Song Dynasty of China, where the story follows the life of Guo Jing, a young boy from a humble background. After his father, a loyal Song patriot, is murdered, Guo Jing is raised by Genghis Khan in the Mongolian steppes. Throughout his adventures, he encounters a diverse cast of characters, learns from legendary martial arts masters, and is imbued with the values of honor, loyalty, and the complex moralities of warfare and brotherhood. His destiny is intertwined with the fate of his nation as he embarks on a quest to become a true hero and to confront formidable enemies that threaten the very fabric of the martial arts world.

    The 2802nd Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Cat Country by Lao She

    This novel is a satirical science fiction tale that transports the reader to Mars, where the protagonist, a Chinese man, finds himself stranded in a society inhabited by cat-like humanoids. The narrative delves into the peculiarities and dysfunctions of this Martian civilization, known as Cat Country, highlighting its inhabitants' indolence, corruption, and societal decay. Through the lens of this alien society, the author critiques various aspects of early 20th-century Chinese society, politics, and culture, using the allegorical Cat Country to reflect on human follies, the dangers of political apathy, and the consequences of societal neglect. The story is both a unique exploration of extraterrestrial life and a poignant commentary on the human condition.

    The 3282nd Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

    The book is a fantasy novel set in a world inspired by China's 20th century history. The protagonist, a war orphan, defies societal expectations by acing the empire-wide examination and earning a place at the prestigious military academy. However, her triumph is short-lived as she becomes embroiled in a violent conflict, which forces her to delve into the depths of her own magical abilities, inspired by shamanism. The story intertwines the brutal realities of war, mythology, and the exploration of power in a deeply divided society.

    The 6517th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Jade City by Fonda Lee

    In a bustling city ruled by powerful crime families, the Kauls, who possess the rare ability to harness the magical powers of jade, struggle to maintain their control amidst rising tensions and rivalries. As the city teeters on the brink of chaos, the Kaul siblings find themselves caught in a dangerous web of betrayal, loyalty, and ambition, where the fate of their family and their city hangs in the balance. With vivid world-building and intricate character dynamics, "Jade City" is a gripping tale of power, honor, and the price of maintaining control.

    The 6609th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, Janet Song

    "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" is a children's fantasy novel about a young girl named Minli who lives in a poor village at the base of a mountain. She sets out on a journey to find the Old Man of the Moon, hoping he can answer her family's prayers for a better life. Along the way, she meets a talking goldfish, a dragon who cannot fly, and other magical creatures. Through her adventures, Minli learns valuable lessons about gratitude, kindness, and the power of storytelling.

    The 6691st Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Death's End by Cixin Liu

    In this science fiction epic, humanity confronts an uncertain future as the universe teeters on the brink of destruction. The narrative weaves through time and space, following a complex tapestry of characters and civilizations as they grapple with advanced alien technologies, cosmic dilemmas, and philosophical quandaries. The story explores the depths of human ingenuity and the vastness of the cosmos, culminating in a profound examination of survival, sacrifice, and the indomitable spirit of life in the face of an unfathomable cosmos. With a blend of hard science fiction and imaginative speculation, the novel pushes the boundaries of human understanding and presents a grand vision of the ultimate fate of the universe.

    The 7038th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu

    In the second installment of a renowned science fiction trilogy, humanity is faced with an impending alien invasion, set to occur in four centuries. The world turns to the Wallfacer Project, a strategic initiative that appoints four individuals with the power to execute plans to combat the extraterrestrial threat, their strategies hidden even from humanity to prevent the aliens from gaining foreknowledge. One of these Wallfacers, a disillusioned astronomer, devises a complex plan involving astrophysics, sociology, and game theory, all while grappling with the philosophical implications of a universe where survival is predicated on a dark forest theory, where civilizations are hunters lying in wait, ready to strike out of fear and self-preservation.

    The 7936th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.