My Favorite Science Fiction Novels and Novellas of 2021

Created by Bob Helmbrecht, collection development librarian

Whatever type of science fiction you enjoy, whether it’s time travel, space opera, military adventure, social science fiction, or hard to describe cross-genre works, there were some great choices in 2021. Here are some of my favorite science fiction novels and novellas of the year. 

Khaw’s full-length debut novel is a horrific heist story of a group of mercenary clone cyborgs racing to find a rumored weapon which may finally give humanity an edge over their powerful AI overlords. 

A destruction caused by meteor strike forces Earth to abandon its colonies on other worlds. Centuries later, Earth is able to reach out and contact them again, but are humanity’s descendants still human?

In this debut science fiction thriller, a private investigator and a spy team up in what they think will just be an investigation into a political shooting. The stakes are quickly raised, however, when they find signs that an ancient threat that resulted in humanity losing the Earth may be returning.

This debut novel has shown up on a lot of “best books” lists this year. A group of outcast soldiers on an outdated spacecraft on the edge of the known universe may be humanity’s only chance for survival. Also check out the sequel “The Exiled Fleet.”

Have you been looking for a story where the plans of a violinist who is harvesting the souls of others in a deal with the devil for her own success are sidetracked by her meeting with an alien starship captain whose family runs a California donut shop? Yes, you have, so read this book.

  • Noor” by Nnedi Okorafor

An African-futurist novel set in Nigeria in the near future. A woman with prosthethic augmentations is considered a monster by others, and kills in self-defense, when set upon by a lynch mob. On the run, she searches for a community of others like her, but can she find safety even there?

Long after mankind nearly destroys itself, an archivist works to ensure that the dangerous knowledge of the Burning Age remains hidden. There are those who want to rediscover the secrets of the ancients, though, and will do anything to get them.

The land has been swallowed by the oceans, and all that remains are those living in the floating expanse of Garbagetown. One young girl manages to find hope and beauty in the world, though, even when all that is left is a patch of floating refuse.

  • Room 138” by Armand Rosamilia and Jay Wilburn

A science fiction mystery novel, in which a man keeps involuntarily jumping through time. Why is this happening to him, and why is Room 138 the key?

The first book in a new series, “The Final Architecture.” Earth was destroyed, and humanity was on the ropes. Then, their alien antagonists disappeared. Fifty years later, though, they may be returning …