Best Sci Fi Audiobooks
A round-up of the best audiobooks in the science fiction genre
Escape into the best sci fi audiobooks. Explore the universe, travel to the future, be the hero, survive the apocalypse. The sky is nowhere near the limit in the science fiction sphere.
Whether it is a dystopian future, a reimagined past or a complete departure from known reality, science fiction encompasses not just technological advances, but major upheavals in society and the environment. It can blend with fantasy and dystopia, humour and horror. And adding to the draw of science fiction audiobooks is the fact that they attract some of the very best narrators and performers.
So let’s not be constrained by petty concepts like time or space. The multiverse is our oyster. It's easy to lose yourself in the best science fiction audiobooks. All you have to do is plug in and listen. And the good news? This list is the merest tip of the asteroid in terms of the fantastic audiobooks in this genre.
Quaid, start the reactor.
Top Sci-Fi Audiobooks
Cathleen McCarron, Aysha Kala, Denica Fairman, Penelope Rawlins, Debra Michaels, Julia Locascio, Sasha Alexis, Robert Bradley, Sara Lynam, Rebecca Perfect, William Hope
Competition was fierce for best sci-fi audiobook in 2021. Excellent works such as The World Gives Way and The Extinction Trials were just two vying for the title. But this… The End of Men is a masterful and incredibly thoughtful portrayal of a world where men are all but wiped out by a pandemic. Told through multiple first-person accounts, the audiobook leans into the format with no fewer than eleven narrators.
The Martian puts the science smack bang in the centre of the fiction. Wil Wheaton delivers a 5 star performance as Mark Watney, an astronaut left stranded on Mars. Meanwhile author Andy Weir not only provides incredible detail of the mechanics of it all, but manages to make it riveting. Because every detail is vital in the attempts to Bring. Him. Home.
Feel all the feelings in this epic dystopian sci-fi audiobook where children are forced to fight to the death. Can Katniss Everdene survive the Hunger Games? And can she bring down the brutal dictatorship that imposes them on the people of Panem? Brimming with vivid, vibrant imagery, this audiobook feels more like a movie in your mind.
Enter the hallowed halls of Hailsham. At a glance, this bucolic English school seems an idyllic place to learn. But note the small differences. Don’t overlook that nagging feeling that something is amiss. Tissues at the ready. This gets emotional.
Elisabeth Moss, Bradley Whitford, Amy Landecker, Ann Dowd
Obviously, there are a multitude of bests one could attribute to Margaret Atwood’s chilling vision of a misogynist dystopia. Best cautionary tale for one. So why best casting? Because the audiobook is read by none other than the TV version of Offred herself, Elisabeth Moss and boasts further star power in the form of Bradley Whitford and Amy Landecker. I can’t help but feel that the ability to draw these big names is emblematic of the ever-growing status of audiobooks. As an aside, it’s worth noting that Atwood herself wouldn’t approve of this being on the list at all as she maintains it’s not futuristic in any way. I’d disagree.
Sci-fi plays well with other genres, not least of which is comedy. In this Yhatzee Crowshaw absurdist delight, the Ministry of Occultism - yes that’s a thing in this universe - finds itself in several gelatinous spots of bother including visitors from other worlds, a magical murderer and a public relations nightmare.
In 1984, Orwell achieved a Shakespearian infiltration of the English language. Terms like “Thought Police” and “Big Brother” have become ubiquitously synonymous with authoritarian leadership, even by those unfamiliar with this powerful portrayal of hell on Earth. The thing is, most people who have read the book did so at school. I highly recommend listening to one of the many audiobook versions. May I suggest the version by Stephen Fry.
Best of the Rest: Sci-Fi Audiobooks
Imagine Mark and Jez of Peep Show living their best/worst lives in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic hellscape with monsters and mutants. That just about covers it...
Jason Culp, Stephanie Komure, Micky Shiloah, Joe Knezevich, Brianna Ishibashi, Kotaro Watanabe, Matthew Bridges, Kurt Kanazawa, Greg Watanabe, Jeanne Sakata, MacLeod Andrews, Keisuke Hoashi, Brian Nishii, Julia Whelan
High Praise for this Darkest of Tales