In case you hadn’t noticed, science fiction has taken over the world. You’re probably already heading to the theater every weekend to catch whatever new space-travel flick is blowing up on your IMAX screen, and you’re probably already well-versed in the many future worlds where we’re all going to live (or be killed by aliens) someday. You’ve seen the recent biggies: The Martian, Inception, Interstellar, District 9, Snowpiercer, Ex Machina. (If not, they’re all good too.)

Odds are, though, someone on your holiday list isn’t quite as hip as you are. And no matter how long you’ve been following Kirk’s exploits or how many times you’ve blown through Neal Stephenson’s canon, there’s still so much more out there even for you.

The best science fiction is about more than just cool new worlds, wild new technologies, and aliens (though it’s very much about those things too). It’s about politics, economies, the very human condition itself. Just, you know, in a super-exciting way. Science fiction isn’t for a specific kind of person. It’s not “just for nerds.” Science fiction is awesome, and it’s for everyone.

If you’re trying to open someone’s eyes to sci-fi this holiday season, there are a few ways you can start. You can sit them down and watch any of the blockbuster movies they’ve missed over the last 40 years. You can fire up season one of a dozen shows and let Netflix do the rest. Or you can fill a loved one’s bookshelf (or Kindle homescreen) with some of the best books ever written. This isn’t a list of all the good sci-fi—that would be impossible. This is just a list of good places to start.

A note: Many of the books are cheap, or free on a service like Kindle Unlimited. Many of the movies and TV shows are available for free on Netflix or Amazon Prime. Buying the paperback or the box set is a great gift, but you could also just take over clicker control and open your loved one’s eyes to some awesome sci-fi they’ve never expected. That’s present enough, right? Maybe that and, like, chocolate.


The 23 Best Sci-Fi Books and Movies to Give to a Noob