Baxter, Stephen. Flood (2010) and Ark (2011). The Earth’s oceans experience unprecedented rising, causing massive disasters. A few visionaries devise methods to save humanity.
Baxter, Stephen. Proxima (2013). This tale of the settlement of Proxima Centauri is a marvel of SF world building.
Beckett, Chris. Dark Eden (2012) and Mother of Eden (2015). The descendants of two astronauts, trapped in an oasis on a freezing rogue planet, try to survive while awaiting rescue from a dimly remembered Earth.
Benford, James and Gregory (editors). Starship Century: Toward the Grandest Horizon (2013). Collection of articles and science fiction stories about achieving interstellar travel, which inspired the 100-Year Starship Symposium.
Bova, Ben. Leviathans of Jupiter (2011). Descriptions of life in the atmosphere of Jupiter are superbly creative and showcase the imaginative talents of the author.
Bova, Ben. New Earth (2013). A fascinating journey to find a new world that addresses major questions about the existence of alien life.
Bova, Ben. Powersat (2006 mass market paperback). Follow astronaut turned businessman Dan Randolph as he tries to put Earth’s first production solar power satellite (SPS) into operation.
Bova, Ben, and Les Johnson. Rescue Mode (2014). Detailed and realistic story of the first human mission to Mars getting hit by a meteroid.
Card, Orson Scott, and Aaron Johnston. Earth Unaware (The First Formic War) (2012). An Ender’s Game prequel about the first alien invasion, with plausible views of how people will live and work in space.
Corey, James S. A. Leviathan Wakes (2011). This novel of human expansion into the solar system provided the basis for the TV series The Expanse.
Creek, Dave (editor). Trajectories (2016). An anthology of science fiction ranging from near-Earth, near-future adventures to far flung aliens battling in other galaxies.
Czerneda, Julie E. Species Imperative (series) (2004-2007). How far will humans go in order to survive? Author Julie Czerneda addresses such ethical issues in the series: Survival, Migration, and Regeneration.
DeFelice, Jim. The Helios Conspiracy (2012). A political thriller using space solar power as a backdrop for international industrial espionage.
Engdahl, Sylvia. Journey Between Worlds (2006 updated reprint). A down-to-Earth young woman is forced to choose between the life she had planned for herself and a very different one presented to her on Mars.
Flynn, Michael. The January Dancer (2008). An exquisitely written story of human competition in a galaxy-spanning civilization.
Forstchen, William R. Pillar to the Sky (2014). When Congress refuses to fund NASA for the creation of a space elevator, an entrepreneur steps in.
Gannon, Charles E. Fire with Fire (2013). An intelligent science fiction adventure, mystery, and spy novel all rolled into one.
Harrigan, Stephen. Challenger Park (2006). A timeless story of a man and woman struggling to find love, take care of their families and friends, and fulfill their lifelong dreams as astronauts.
Heinlein, Robert A., and Spider Robinson. Variable Star (2006). Robinson, a modern science fiction author and fan of Robert A. Heinlein, writes a “lost” novel based on 7 pages of notes by the Old Man himself.
Hoyt, Sarah. Darkship Revenge (2017). Set in an Earth and solar system six centuries in the future, a shoot-’em-up space opera with with underlying currents as to why societies explore space.
Johnson, Les. Mission to Methone (2018). A prospecting mission finds an asteroid that turns out to be an ancient alien spacecraft.
Latner, Alexis Glynn. Hurricane Moon (2007). The hopes and dreams of humanity ride with ten thousand colonists frozen in a ship sent to settle an extra-solar planet.
McDevitt, Jack. The Engines of God (1995). First in a series of novels about solving the puzzles of interstellar archeology.
Myrabo, Leik, and John S. Lewis. Lightcraft Flight Handbook LTI-20 (2009). A 2025 flight handbook for the LTI-20, a spacecraft powered by beams from space solar power stations.
Niven, Larry, and Jerry Pournelle. Lucifer’s Hammer (1985). Probably the first novel to describe realistically the effects of a comet striking the planet Earth.
O’Brien, Sean. Beltrunner (2017). A hard science fiction adventure yarn that will appeal to those who enjoy a blend of technology and action.
Polish, Michael (director). The Astronaut Farmer (DVD, 2007). A solid story-telling movie about a man building a rocket, not just for himself or his dream, but to show his children the heights they can achieve.
Preston, Douglas. Impact (2010). Not a disaster novel but a clever story focused on a mysterious meteorite impact.
Rajaniemi, Hannu. The Quantum Thief (2011). Thoughtful fare set in a floating city hovering over Mars.
Revis, Beth. Across the Universe Trilogy (2011-2013). New York Times bestselling series that young adult and young-at-heart space enthusiasts will enjoy for the psychological and sociological themes involved in sending humans to colonize another world.
Reynolds, Alastair. On the Steel Breeze (2013). A thousand years in the future, mankind is making its way out into the universe on massive generation ships.
Reynolds, Alastair. Poseidon’s Wake (2016). A cryptic interstellar message leads to a journey into the farthest reaches of space.
Reynolds, Eric L (editor). Return to Luna (2008). An anthology of the winning entries in the 2008 short story contest (sponsored by NSS and Hadley Rille Books) describing settlements on the Moon.
Rinehart, Gray. Walking on the Sea of Clouds (2017). A hard science fiction novel, gritty and realistic, about the first commercial colony on the Moon.
Roberts, Adam. Gradisil (2007). Covers three generations involved in the migration to space, nation building, and the intrigue of politics.
Robinson, Kim Stanley. 2312 (2012). A master at world-building leads us to experience everyday life in a fully functioning spacefaring civilization.
Robinson, Kim Stanley. Red Mars (1993). A great science fiction epic that succeeds on a variety of levels, including technology, environment, and characterization. It is no wonder that the Mars Society has made its flag red, green, and blue in honor of Robinson’s books.
Rowe, Rebecca K. Forbidden Cargo (2006). An exciting page-turner that smashes the cyberpunk mold with realistic portrayals of colonies on Mars and the Moon.
Russell, Mary Doria. Children of God (1999). This sequel to The Sparrow clarifies background events that resulted in the loss of original crew and delves into the longer-term consequences of human actions on an alien world.
Russell, Mary Doria. The Sparrow (1997). The first of two novels that combine remarkable characterization and depictions of an alien society with a serious and respectful treatment of religion.
Sargent, Pamela. Earthseed (1983/2006). The engaging story of a group of teenagers being prepared to become the first human colonists of an exosolar planet.
Sawyer, Robert J. Red Planet Blues (2013). Intrigue, murder and action abounds as a private detective works a case in the only colony on Mars.
Scalzi, John. Old Man’s War (2006 reprint). Well crafted story with a believable and likeable character, creative scientific ideas, and enough action to keep the plot moving.
Schmidt, Bryan Thomas (editor). Beyond the Sun (2013). Anthology of 18 stories on the theme of space settlement and travel beyond the Solar System.
Steele, Allen. Arkwright (2016). The Arkwright foundation sends a robotic ship with frozen human gametes to an exoplanet twenty-two light years from Earth.
Steele, Allen. Lunar Descent (1991). A fun story with sex, drugs, and rock & roll on the Moon.
Stephenson, Neal. Seveneves (2015). Humans avoid extinction in this long, detailed, epic, grand, near-Earth space adventure.
Story, Kate. This Insubstantial Pageant (2017). Reviewed by Peter Spasov. Based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, an interstellar crew encounter strange botanical beings, love, revenge and a betrayed exile from Earth. A brilliant mix of scientific speculation written in a narrative and sometimes poetic style.
Taloni, John. Crisis on Stardust Station (2012). A combination of science fiction involving space solar power and fantasy involving intelligent cats.
Taylor, Travis S., and Jody Lynn Nuy. Moon Beam (2017). Reminiscent of Heinlein’s young adult novels, where teen Barbara Winton achieves her dream of working on the Moon.
Varley, John. Red Lightning (2007). A typical Martian teen, traveling to Earth to rescue his grandmother after a devastating tsunami, gets caught in interplanetary intrigue.
Varley, John. Red Thunder (2004). A race to Mars in the vein of Heinlein’s classic juvenile novels that fired up interest in space travel a half century ago.
Varley, John. Rolling Thunder (2007). Envisions a Solar System that is thoroughly inhabited by humanity, with outposts as far out as Sedna.
von Braun, Wernher. Project Mars: A Technical Tale (1949/2017). An enthralling tale of the first human journey to Mars, written in the late 1940s, which attempts to communicate its feasibility with existing technology.
Weir, Andy. The Martian (2014). Hard science fiction thriller about an astronaut stranded on Mars and struggling to survive. Additional review.
Wilson, Robert Charles. Spin (2005). Hugo-award winning story of three young friends who search for a viable future for themselves and a human race that must settle space or face extinction.
Wolfe, Stephen. The Obligation (2012). A Congressional staffer embarks on a philosophical dialogue on why we should settle space.
Zubrin, Robert. How to Live on Mars (2008). Everything you need to know to achieve Great Wealth and Fame on Mars.
NATIONAL SPACE SOCIETY
NSS is an independent nonprofit nonpartisan educational membership organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. Our vision: People living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth, and using the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity.