Most people read science fiction books to enjoy the world-building, the adventures, the uniqueness, and the science itself, but sometimes, I like to enjoy sci-fi books that focus a bit more on the dark and sad moments.
Here are the saddest sci-fi books that can make you cry or at least make you feel sad for the characters and what they’re going through.
1. The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Henry suffers from a bizarre condition that resets his genetic clock every once in a while and he finds himself either in his future or past.
He falls in love with a girl named Clare and marries her when she’s twenty-two and he’s thirty. But, they first met when she was six and he was thirty-six years old.
This is the story of a time traveler and his wife in a different time as they struggle to live a normal life.
2. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Road is an emotional journey of the pain of father and son in a dystopian world. It shows both the worst and the best side of humanity when people need each other more than anything.
The story is set in a dystopian world with most of the human population dead. A father and his son walk through the dark world towards the coast, in hopes of finding people who can help them. With only a pistol to defend themselves, can they reach their destination before it’s too late?
3. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Charlie was born with an extremely low IQ and is destined to do some menial labor job.
A group of scientists chose him as the perfect subject for an experiment that could increase his IQ and make him a genius. The experiment was already successful on a mouse named Algernon.
But, soon after Charlie’s experiment, Algernon starts deteriorating.
4. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The only home Kathy has ever known is her boarding school Hailsham. She grew up from a small girl into a young woman in the school itself.
Hailsham has strict rules about contact with the outside world and no one is allowed to leave the school grounds without permission.
But now, it’s time to leave the nest and venture into the outside world. Hailsham is not what Kathy and her friends had believed it to be…
Check out some more Existential Sci-Fi Books To Read.
Valentine Michael is a human raised on Mars, away from civilization. Now, he’s back on Earth to live among his people.
But, his fellow humans are not what he expected. Some human concepts and social norms are extremely alien to him. Follow him as he challenges human nature and spreads his beliefs of sharing and loving.
6. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
A human messenger has been sent to the alien world of Winter. His mission is to convince the planet’s leaders to join the continuously growing galactic alliance.
But, it’s not as easy as he might have thought as the inhabitants of the planet spend most of their time being genderless and once every year, they grow genitals to procreate and continue their species.
He must overcome his prejudices and understand their views and culture to make sure his mission is a success.
7. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Private William has been sent far away in space to fight a war against alien enemies who would do anything to stop humans from claiming a piece of the space real estate.
He performs his duties with the utmost discipline to win the war and return home, but home won’t be the same when he returns.
Because of the time dilation created by space travel, he only ages months while years pass on Earth.
8. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein
Set in a bizarre future with all kinds of technologies like rail guns, sentient computers, space lasers, etc., humans have colonized the moons and human society has hanged completely.
A difference in sex ratio gives more power to the women and social norms are no longer the same.
We follow a revolution on the moon as the rich masters on Earth treat the moon colony harshly.
There is a new drug in the streets of LA and this one is more deadly than anything before. It is called Substance D, also known as Death.
The drug destroys the link between the two parts of the brain and causes irreversible brain damage.
Narcotics agent Bob Arctor must go undercover as one of the drug’s users to find the ultimate source, but not long after, he finds himself addicted to the drug.
10. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Kivrin’s mission is to travel to the past and conduct an on-site study of one of the most deadly eras of human history, but an error results in her crashing into a different time with no way to contact the others.
She finds herself in a time of superstition as the people start believing that she’s an angel of hope who came from heaven to help them.
11. Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
Humans have colonized the world of Amarantins, an alien race that was wiped out thousands of years ago. The ancient civilization is extremely interesting to human scientists, especially after they discover a completely intact city.
Dan Sylveste is a brilliant Scientist who would stop at nothing to discover the truth about what happened. But, whatever destroyed the civilization did it for a reason and humans could be next.
12. The Bridge by Iain M. Banks
Suffering from head injuries, John has lost all memories and remembers nothing about himself. But, his doctor thinks his memory loss is not due to the injury, instead, it’s psychological.
All the answers he desires lie in his dreams, especially his persistent dreams of war.
13. Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald
“Push Buttons” is a facility built four thousand feet underground with a machine that could deploy atomic bombs on the entire planet and end all of humanity.
Certain individuals are selected to guard the machine and use it if need be.
Officer X-127 is a guard in the facility and Level 7 is his diary.