Are you a sci-fi fan looking for some great classics to read? You no longer have to spend your hard-earned cash buying sci-fi masterpieces or waste time driving to a bookstore. There are dozens of sci-fi classics online you can read free on your e-reader, phone, or right in your browser! Some don’t even require downloads.
Find a comfy spot, put the kettle on, and read below for the ten best classic sci-fi books online you can read for free.
The Variable Man by Philip K. Dick
In The Variable Man, a novella published in 1953, computers of the future know if a country will win a war even before the first trigger is pulled. Predictability is now a science. And the computers are sadly predicting a never-ending war between the Terran and Centurian empires. To win the war, both empires need something unpredictable. Thomas Cole, a man from the past who has unwillingly been dragged into the future, just might be the variable they need to break the perpetual stalemate between the two empires.
Every science fiction fan has read at least one short story or novel by Philip K. Dick. Even if you haven’t, odds are you’ve seen movies adapted from his impressive body of work. Movies like Blade Runner, Total Recall, and The Minority Report, to name a few, have all been adapted from PKD’s short stories and novels.
Read this and other Philip K. Dick stories and novelettes for free on Project Gutenberg.
The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
Foundation is set in a future when the Earth is no longer remembered, and humans have colonized the galaxy. Hari Seldon, a brilliant psychohistorian and visionary, uses mathematics and probability to predict the future. When he predicts the decline of humanity, he gathers a group of the galaxy’s top scientists and scholars to help preserve the collective knowledge of mankind to begin a new civilization based on art, science, and technology.
Considered one of the seminal works of sci-fi that helped redefine the genre, The Foundation Trilogy is a must to add to your TBR list. Now you can read it for free before you watch Apple TV’s upcoming adaptation.
Read the entire trilogy and other Asimov works for free on Internet Archive.
The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
Told by an unnamed, unreliable narrator, The War of the Worlds is an iconic alien invasion novel that chronicles the events of a Martian invasion on Earth. Running low on resources, Martians plan to conquer Earth using their superior technology. While the Martians feed on humans, their “red weed” takes over the landscape, trapping the narrator and the whole of London in their homes. After despairing over the fall of civilization, the narrator begins to realize humanity is more resilient than he first thought.
One of Wells’ most celebrated novels frightened thousands of listeners in an infamous radio broadcast, performed by actor Orson Wells in 1938. It can be read for free on American Literature.
The Time Traders by Andre Norton
If space can be conquered, then so can time. At least that’s the reason why nonconformist Ross Murdock was sent to a secret Arctic base, to beat the Russians at their own game of discovering time travel. Ross and his partner are sent back in time to a remote Baltic region to act as merchant traders of the Beaker people in the Bronze Age. They are soon swept into an adventure involving prehistoric men and the aliens of a lost galactic civilization, demanding all the courage Murdock and his partner have.
Read this and other works by Gandalf Grand Master Award Winner Andre Norton on Loyal Books.
A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
When American Confederate Captain John Carter slips into a cave to elude capture by an Apache tribe, he is suddenly transported to Mars, called “Barsoom” by the Martians. He soon gains a high position in the Green Martian tribe (the Tharks) due to his extraordinary powers as a human on Mars. After the Tharks capture the princess of the Red Martian tribe, Carter subsequently rescues her, embroiling him in the politics of a planet that isn’t even his own.
An iconic work of planetary romance and science fantasy pulp fiction, this novel and the entire Barsoom series can be read via the University of Virginia Library Etext Center.
The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Edward Malone, a young reporter, asks his superior for a dangerous assignment in order to impress his girlfriend. He gains the favor of the intimidating Professor Challenger, and earns a spot on Challenger’s South American expedition to an isolated plateau cut off from the rest of the continent. Here, in this lost world, Malone and the expedition find themselves fighting for their lives against prehistoric dinosaurs and a race of vicious ape-men.
Read this action-packed classic on Planet Publish.
The Door Through Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Across the galaxy, the Terran Empire maintains its sovereignty peacefully through the consent of the governed. Years after his name was synonymous with fame and glory as a Terran secret service agent in the wars between the worlds, Race Cagill is stuck behind a desk, his restless spirit fenced in by Terran Headquarters. Thinking his adventurous days are behind him, he is thrust once again into an intergalactic plot to overthrow the Terran Empire when the Door Through Space suddenly and inexplicably swings open.
Listen to this classic space opera and other sci-fi audiobooks on LibriVox.
Author’s bio: Heather R. Parker is a freelance writer, editor, and poet from Georgia. Her work has been published by Nightingale & Sparrow Magazine, Goats Milk Magazine, Analog Submissions Press, Between Shadows Press, Friday Flash Fiction, Clover & Bee Magazine, 365 Tomorrows, Entropy Squared, and others. In her spare time, you can find her doing yoga, taking long walks in the woods, birdwatching, or picking flowers in sun-dappled meadows. You can follow Heather’s writing on Instagram and Fictionate.Me.