Science fiction and fantasy — literature that takes us into unknown and imaginative realms — is one of the most popular genres on Scribd. Whether it’s utopian or dystopian, science fiction often features themes we can relate to, but that are far enough removed from ourselves at the same time.
Here, we take a good look at this popular category: the science-fiction genre, and put together a list of the most read books and audiobooks of the past year on Scribd.
Top 10 most-read sci-fi and fantasy titles on Scribd
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” There’s a reason “The Alchemist,” originally published in 1988, has consistently been one of the most popular books on Scribd year after year. Epic and uplifting, it chronicles the life of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd who yearns for adventure in pursuit of a worldly treasure. Along the way, his journey transforms into one of self-discovery. Anyone in need of inspiration to follow their dreams will find a kindred spirit in Santiago.
There’s nothing quite like “The House in the Cerulean Sea” — wonderfully weird, quietly romantic, and full of magic and queerness. Caseworker Linus Baker doesn’t push boundaries; he meticulously reports about orphanages taking care of children with supernatural powers. But his worldview is taken for a spin when he is assigned to work at Marsyas Island Orphanage, where the children are particularly monstrous and the caretaker extremely mysterious. One of the finest found family stories around.
Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until the day the wandering wizard Gandalf chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return. Shaped by ancient mythology, this exciting and earthy quest story (populated by dragons, dwarfs, monsters, and sorcerers) has engaging heroes and is perfect for your little adventurer. Older kids may want to continue the journey with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, starting with book one, “The Fellowship of the Ring.”
In an iconic adventure story that inspired the blockbuster film series, the unassuming Frodo Baggins — and his gang of hilarious, brave hobbits — journeys through Middle Earth to destroy a ring that possesses all-consuming power. Tolkien's remarkably imaginative classic is always worth a read (or a re-read) for those who love stories of good triumphing over evil.
Not for the faint of heart, this blend of science fiction and horror tells the tale of a future world where a mysterious virus has rendered all animal meat poisonous to humans. Unfortunately, humanity finds cannibalism a more appetizing option than going vegetarian. Pull up a chair and devour Bazterrica’s delectable debut.
Author R.F. Kuang won the Hugo Award for the Best New Science Fiction Writer in 2020. In “The Poppy War” (the first installment in a dark fantasy trilogy), Kuang reimagines China’s history through the experiences of a peasant girl who gains entry into an elite military training academy, and discovers she has shamanic powers.
Originally published in 1949, George Orwell’s work is, arguably, the pinnacle of all dystopian novels. It’s a work that has influenced every major dystopian after. It became popular again thanks to the proliferation of the Orwellian phrase “alternative facts” and the realization that the collection of big data means Big Brother is definitely watching you.
Maas plants her flag firmly on romance ground while also maintaining her fantasy fiefdom. “A Court of Silver Flames” features Nesta Archeron, the least likeable Archeron sister, and Cassian, one of Rhysand’s best friends. Nesta has been hiding and hurting since she was turned High Fae, and Cassian is the one who can bring her back from the edge — if she lets him. Their romance is as passionate and powerful as one might expect from two such strong characters, and the non-romance plot advances the overarching fantasy elements well.
Recently retired NFL quarterback Andrew Luck has lots of time on his hands to read for his book club, and he picked Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s “Good Omens,” an absurdly funny commentary on good vs. evil, nature vs. nurture, and the true nature of free choice. The Amazon adaptation stars David Tennant and Michael Sheen.
About the Author: Sarah Sung
Sarah is the Editorial Director at Scribd who obsesses over content strategy and brand building, and has written lifestyle content for AFAR, San Francisco Chronicle, and Under Armour. In her spare time she teaches indoor cycling and consumes podcasts, audiobooks, and ebooks at all times of the day and night. Traveling and dining out are always high on her to-do list