Space Books List

Here is our selection of space-related books. All listings include space as an essential element. If you'd like to vote, or add your own suggestions, please register on the site and become a member! As member, you'll also be able to comment and vote on which space activities and technologies are most important. You will also have the opportunity to become a contributor or editor, and help to build the comprehensive database of important space activities and resources. Join us!
Ranksort descending Author Title Year Category Your Vote Body
1 Isaac Asimov I, Robot 1950 Fiction
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Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Most famous for the introduction of the three laws of Robotics: 1. A robot may not injure a human being 2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except if orders conflict with the 1st Law. 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the 1st or 2nd Law.

1 Isaac Asimov Second Foundation 1953 Fiction
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Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

The Foundation has been torn apart. However, it is said that there is a 2nd Foundation hidden away at the end of the Galaxy. This 2nd Foundation will be the custodian of humanity's knowledge. A young woman named Arcadia Darell may hold the answers to stopping The Mule. Who will win 1st Foundation, 2nd Foundation, or The Mule?

1 Isaac Asimov Foundation 1951 Fiction
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Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

In the distant future, humanity has spread to countless planets throughout the Milky Way. Now the Galactic Empire is falling apart. Hari Seldon, creator of psychohistory, creates a sanctuary at the galaxy's edge called the Foundation. He brings humanitgy's top scientists to the Foundation in the hopes of salvaging human society.

1 Isaac Asimov Foundation and Empire 1952 Fiction
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Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Hari Seldon heads up the Foundation which has fought off the local planets and their warrior culture. However, now the Foundation is confronted by the Empire…still the dominant force in the galaxy despite it's ongoing decline. A new character called The Mule is instriduced, complete with incredible mental powers.

5 Isaac Asimov Caves of Steel, The 1953 Fiction
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Average: 4 (2 votes)

Set in the distant future, space travel and advanced robots are commonplace. With humanity living on many planets the human race has become factionalized with wildly differing lifestyles on various planets. The core characters are Elijah Baley a detective from Earth and R. Daneel Olivaw a robot that looked completely human.

5 Poul Anderson Trader To The Stars 1964 Fiction
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Average: 4 (2 votes)

This novel features lots of economic activity facilitated by space travel. There are some similarities here to Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy. A central character is Nicholas van Rijn of the Solar Spice & Liquors Company. Introduces the Polesotechnic League, with merchants from every inhabited planet.

7 David Brin Sundiver 1980 Fiction
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Average: 5 (1 vote)

The key character is Jacob Demwa who is emplyed at the uplift center. Demwa's main claim to fame at the beginning of the book is that he had saved the space elevator from destruction. There are life froms that live inside the Sun (and other stars). Special craft make trips to the Sun and inside it.

7 Arthur C. Clarke Rendezvous With Rama 1973 Fiction
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Average: 5 (1 vote)

Astronomers on Earth detect a large incoming object. As it approaches it begins to change its trajectory and we realize it's not a natural object. A crewed mission is sent to rendezvous with the object to learn more. The crew is able to gain entry into the huge cylinder and gain insights about its creators. The craft is filled with small entities that appear to be a cross between life forms and robots. Why has it come to our star system...to refuel of course.

7 Jane Werner Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse and His Space Ship 1952 Fiction
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Average: 5 (1 vote)
Photo of actual book cover "Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse and his Space Ship"

Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck build a space ship and pilot it to the moon. Pegleg Pete attempts to sabotage the mission.

Mickey and Donald's rocket under construction

This book was a favorite of mine when I was little, handed down from my big siblings.  It may be my earliest inspiration to travel to space.  It also fits with today, as the plot revolves around Mickey and Donald building a space ship in their garage, in secret (they think), to win a prize for being the first to the Moon, foreshadowing today's Google Lunar X-Prize some 60+years early. Of course Pegleg Pete tries to steal the ship, stowing away on the ship.  But the two fearless adventurers subdue Pete and succeed in landing on the Moon, taking a rock sample, and returning to Earth.  I wish I had a copy - there are a number of them on sale on EBay, Etsy, and Amazon - maybe some day I'll pop for one.

There were several editions from 1952 to 1963.  I think the first one had no image on the cover.

I found some information about this on Ken's Lunar Library, and also Dreams of Space - Books and Ephemera, which has a complete narrative.

7 Frank Herbert Dune 1965 Fiction
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Average: 5 (1 vote)
The story is focused on young Paul Atreides. He comes from one of the royal families and politics forces his family to move from their home planet to a desert world called Arrakis. Arrakis is critical as the source of the spice melange - it's required for space navigation and it extends life. Space travel has permitted humanity to spread to many distant planets and this has spawned wildly differing cultures...including the military Sardaukar. 1st of 6 novels.
11 Douglas Adams Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy 1979 Fiction
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Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

This lighthearted novel is the story of Arthur Dent. He travels through space as the last human left alive. It's filled with veering jokes and a few helpful life tips. Don't forget to pack a towel on your next trip to LEO or beyond.

12 Larry Niven Lucifer's Hammer 1977 Fiction
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Average: 4 (1 vote)
A comet is detected bound for Earth. As it approaches Earth it breaks into pieces striking Earth at various locations. While not large enough to destroy Earth, it causes unimaginable damage in many locations and dramatically changes Earth's climate. Civilization falls apart but in the area around Springville California a Senator and other locals have maintained civilization.
12 Isaac Asimov Naked Sun, The 1957 Fiction
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Average: 4 (1 vote)

Humanity has spread through the Galaxy. The positronic brain has enabled incredibly advanced robots. On Solaria, many humans live on large estates isolated from other people and rarely if ever meeting people in person. Earth detective Elijah Baley and robot R. Daneel Olivaw travel to the planet Solaria to investigate a murder.

12 Larry Niven Ringworld 1970 Fiction
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Average: 4 (1 vote)
An expedition is formed consisting of Louis Wu & Teela Brown (humans), Nessus (Pierson's Puppeteer), Speaker-to-Animals (Kzin). Their mission is to visit/explore Ringworld. Ringworld is a ring shaped object made by unknown aliens that is so large a star is in the middle. It's a bit like a scaled down Dyson sphere. Jumpdoors, faster than light travel, and shadow square wire. First of a nine book series.
12 Orson Scott Card Ender's Game 1977 Fiction
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Average: 4 (1 vote)

Humanity has been at war with an alien race called the Buggers for a century. A top priority is to identify someone with the potential to be Earth's greatest general and train them to lead humanity in battle. A process is created where children are chosen and trained in intense competition to hone those with the highest potential to a razor's edge. At an orbital facility called Battle School, they learn zero gravity fighting tactics in preparation for war.

12 Robert A. Heinlein Podkayne of Mars 1963 Fiction
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Average: 4 (1 vote)
This Heinlein juvenile novel focuses on Podkayne (15 year old human girl) and her little brother Clark (irritating genius). Both are Mars born and have the opportunity to travel on a huge space liner that's the future equivalent of a luxury cruise ship. They make stops on Venus and Earth. They're travelling with their uncle who is involved in heavy duty political business.
12 Larry Niven Mote In God's Eye, The 1974 Fiction
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Average: 4 (1 vote)
A tiny light sail propelled craft approaches human space. A ship is dispatched to intercept and later a couple of ships are sent to the star system that sent the probe. Humans have faster than light travel, and advanced military systems. The aliens are called Moties. Their culture is composed of various species that specialize in various activities: diplomacy, engineering, warfare. Key characters include Commander Rod Blaine and Admiral Kutuzov.
12 Alfred Bester Stars My Destination, The 1956 Fiction
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Average: 4 (1 vote)

The central character is Gully Foyle, a crew member on the commercial spaceship Nomad. The ship is attacked but he survives. When a merchant spaceship (the Vorga) passes nearby but ignores his SOS, Foyle becomes enraged and swears vengance against the Vorga.

12 Isaac Asimov Robots of Dawn, The 1983 Fiction
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Average: 4 (1 vote)

Robot R. Daneel Olivaw and Earth detective Elijah Bailey are again pressed into service to investigate the "murder" of a robot. They travel to Aurora, a world inhabited by Spacers. The main suspect in the robot murder is Han Fastolfe, a gifted roboticist.

20 Sean Williams Echoes of Earth 2001 Fiction
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Average: 3 (1 vote)
About 100 years from now humanity discovers a new and efficient way to explore space. They send electronic copies of themselves (engrams) instead of their physical bodies. The engram of Peter Alander finds an intelligent alien race that has built many interesting items including a starship. However, when Peter flies the ship back to Earth...he brings trouble.

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