When you read science fiction, no matter which authors you choose, you can be assured of a reading experience quite unlike any other genre! Science fiction is chock full of ground-breaking ideas, wonder and exploration, adventure and entertainment.
How do we know what science fiction is? Most works of science fiction take place in a universe that is governed by natural laws and reason, not magic or the supernatural. Even if the science or technology is in the background and unexplained, the basis of the world is grounded in scientific principles.
The world of published science fiction is incredibly diverse, so the listed categories are rarely cut and dried. Science fiction authors love to experiment with different types of stories.
Far Future Sagas
Far future sagas, also sometimes known as space operas, consider the question of humanity's ultimate fate or some universal apocalyptic event, all on a grand scope. The emphasis is usually on action and big ideas set in an interstellar or interplanetary setting.
Kevin J. Anderson - Saga of Seven Suns
Iain M. Banks - Culture Series
Dan Simmons - Hyperion Cantos, Endymion
Cyberpunk and Beyond
Classic cyberpunk is usually set in the near future, focuses on technology and how it is driving/ruling society and identity. It is gritty in tone and feel, often dealing with virtual realities, drugs, crimes. More recently, authors have been adding postmodern elements onto cyberpunk basics in fun and inventive ways while losing some of the darker edges.
Elizabeth Bear - Hammered and sequels
Alien Cultures and Contact
There are plenty of hostile and horrific aliens in science fiction, but there also intriguing beings that peacefully interact with or simply puzzle human beings. Authors speculate on the relationships between aliens and humans and often explore how they might differ from us in every way, physical, mental, and cultural. But don't forget those scary aliens!
A classic of alien/human interaction is The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin.
Frederik Pohl -- Heechee books
Mystery and Law Enforcement
Crime and punishment in the future. Some authors focus on police and detective work in a future setting while others write about the mysteries of ancient disappearances or alien artifacts (like Jack McDevitt).
Naval adventure, bloody wars with fierce aliens, even bloodier wars between interstellar human empires... Battles in space, what could be better!
Time travel is one of the most enduring of science fiction ideas and authors are still putting new spins on the dream (sometimes with a time machine, sometimes without). For a current example, check out Joe Haldeman's The Accidental Time Machine.
Andre Norton - Time Traders series
Diana Gabaldon-Outlander Series
Science Fiction Resources
Books and Authors explores the endless possibilities and combinations of books, authors, genres and topics. Backed by a team of hand-picked genre experts, Books and Authors connects readers with books and provides read-alikes, author and genre searches, and listings of award-winning titles.
Novelist provides enhanced subject access to over 125,000 fiction titles. With NoveList, you can find fiction titles based on a favorite author, title, or description. Access author Read-alikes with suggested titles and authors that are similar to your favorites. Browse lists based on genre or awards (over 1000 pre-made lists). Read and use feature articles, book discussion guides, and booktalks developed exclusively for NoveList.
Fantastic Fiction -- A comprehensive site of author and book information.
Locus Magazine -- Reviews and Resources in the Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror genres.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America - "SFWA has brought together the most successful and daring writers of speculative fiction throughout the world, and has grown in numbers and influence until it is now widely recognized as one of the most effective non-profit writers' organizations in existence. Over 1200 sf and fantasy writers, artists, editors, and allied professionals are members. Each year we present the prestigious Nebula Awards for the sf or fantasy best short story, novelette, novella, and novel of the year."
SFBook.com - Find personal reviews by SF readers and a plethora of author links.
SF Site - SF Site is dedicated to the best in science fiction and fantasy.