The Greatest Mayan, South African "Speculative Fiction" Books of All Time

Click to learn how this list is calculated.

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.

Filter by: Genres Dates Countries
Follow on:

Genres

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.

Add additional genre filters

Countries

Mayan

South African

Add additional country filters

Date Range

Filter

Reading Statistics

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

Download

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.

Download
  1. 1. Life & Times of Michael K by J M Coetzee

    Set in South Africa during a civil war, the novel follows the journey of Michael K, a simple gardener with a cleft lip. When his mother falls ill, he attempts to take her back to her rural birthplace. After she dies en route, Michael continues the journey alone, struggling to survive in a war-torn landscape, while also being caught up in the bureaucratic red tape of the dystopian society. The story explores themes of freedom, survival, and the human spirit's resilience against adversity.

    The 845th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. July's People by Nadine Gordimer

    "July's People" is a novel set in a hypothetical future where South Africa's apartheid system has collapsed and the nation is embroiled in a brutal civil war. The story follows a liberal white family who, fleeing the violence, are taken in by their black servant, July, in his rural village. The book explores the power dynamics and complexities of their relationship, as they navigate this new reality where traditional roles are reversed, and grapple with issues of race, class, and privilege.

    The 1156th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, Philibert-Caillat Laurent Beukes Lauren

    "Zoo City" by Lauren Beukes is a gripping urban fantasy novel set in a gritty Johannesburg where people who have committed a crime are magically bonded with an animal familiar. The story follows Zinzi December, a former journalist with a sloth on her back, as she becomes embroiled in a dangerous mystery involving a missing pop star and a dark conspiracy that threatens her newfound stability. With its unique blend of crime, magic, and social commentary, "Zoo City" explores themes of redemption, identity, and the consequences of our actions in a captivating and thought-provoking way.

    The 9811th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

    This novel is a gripping thriller that intertwines the lives of a time-traveling serial killer and one of his survivors, who is determined to bring him to justice. Set against the backdrop of Depression-era Chicago, the narrative follows the killer as he uses a mysterious house to travel through time and target young women with bright futures—his "shining girls." After one victim survives a brutal attack, she embarks on a relentless quest to find her assailant, uncovering a trail of similar murders stretching across decades. The story masterfully blends elements of crime, horror, and science fiction, creating a chilling and suspenseful tale of resilience and retribution.

    The 11063rd Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

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

Download

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.

Download