3 Sci-Fi Books That Will Change Your Outlook On Life

3 Science Fiction Books That Will Change Your Outlook On Life | Which Book Should I Read?

Image by Leon Tukker.
Article published on January 26, 2017

If you're looking for an existential workout, these books should be on your list. Warning: all three books will leave you pondering the question, “what’s the meaning of life?”

The Forever War

Author: Joe Haldeman

The Forever War | Which Book Should I Read?

Haldeman's grasp of the English language and his knowledge of science (he was a professor at MIT) mix beautifully to paint a vivid picture of war in a distant time, and through space. Humanity is at war with a far-off civilization. So far, in fact, that the soldiers who deploy only for a few months witness the passing of centuries upon their return (due to the effects of relativity). The Forever War explores the emotional and physical burdens of a soldier who must adapt to life on the battlefield, and then again at home, where centuries of cultural change have taken hold. We can't help but think the whole book is a metaphor for the enduring transformations soldiers endure. War is alien, and when you return home, nothing is quite like you remembered. But that’s just us. We’ll leave you to form your own opinion...

Fun Fact:There is a movie in the works, but it's been stuck in development, well, forever (sorry, I had to). Hopefully they're taking their time to ensure this novel is done justice.

Category Score (out of 5)
Character Development 4.1
Imagery 4.8
Plot 4.6
Technical Accuracy 4.8
Pacing 4.5

The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect

Author: Roger Williams

The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect | Which Book Should I Read?

The world's first truly intelligent AI teaches itself to learn, and subsequently enters an infinite loop of self improvement with one objective in mind: human satiety. Without giving too much away, Prime Intellect (the omnipotent AI) attempts to fulfill this objective by granting humanity immortality.

This book could easily be considered hard sci-fi, and is a mind bender, but well worth the read. The first few chapters open up in a post-mortal society, and introduce us to a culture that is so foreign to what we know, yet somehow still human. The story proceeds to take us on a journey exploring what it truly means to be human.

The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect was initially released as a free online story (and can still be read for free), but we opted to purchase the hard copy to support such an original author. Roger Williams was so invested in this story that he even takes the time to write about the tech behind it (spoilers).

Category Score (out of 5)
Character Development 3.8
Imagery 4.1
Plot 4.3
Technical Accuracy 4.0
Pacing 4.2

A Canticle for Leibowitz

Author: Walter M. Miller, Jr.

A Canticle for Leibowitz | Which Book Should I Read? This novel may not be science fiction per se (some call it speculative fiction), but it's certainly one that had us thinking after we turned the last page. A post-apocalyptic story that spans generations, this book begins when we, humanity, begins to emerge from the ashes. We survive a near-extinction event and re-evolve from a cultural, moral and scientific perspective. The book has a dark sense of humor, as there are times when we stumble and repeat past mistakes. But overall it is a very thought-provoking piece that really explores what it means to be inherently human, and the baggage that comes with it.

Category Score (out of 5)
Character Development 3.5
Imagery 4.8
Plot 4.8
Technical Accuracy 4.7
Pacing 4.1

If you've already read these, or if you’re all about exploration, check out our recommendation tool. Bon voyage!