Some of the very best science fiction books out there aren’t just available in print form. Listening to an audiobook means you can devour the best sci-fi out there while driving, commuting, hoovering or soaking up rays on the beach. Here then are our pick of eight of the best SF audiobooks available to listen to on Audible right now…
If you ever find yourself arguing with someone who thinks that science fiction is simply a genre for kids, then Solaris really is Exhibit A for the defence. Stanisław Lem’s elegiac, haunting examination of grief and loss was made into two critically adored movies, in 1972 and 2002, but until Audible’s audiobook, fans were never able to sample Lem’s original text. The only previous English edition dated from 1970, and was translated itself from a French version. Narrated by Battlestar Galactica actor Alessandro Juliani, this is the first ever unabridged release of the Polish classic, and is a powerful and provocative slice of grown-up science fiction.
Expanded from his short story The Sentinel, Arthur C. Clarke’s literary version of his and Stanley Kubrick’s ambitious space epic is one of the giants of the genre. Clarke’s book, like the movie, follows man’s voyage to Jupiter after the discovery of a mysterious black monolith on the moon and explores themes of human evolution, artificial intelligence and the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Narrated by three-time Audie Awards winner Dick Hill, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a profound and intellectually vibrant meditation on humankind’s place in the universe.
Audible has assembled an impressive cast for this spanking new dramatisation of Jeff Wayne’s 1970s adaptation of HG Wells’s classic. Michael Sheen (The Queen), Taron Egerton (Kingsman), Adrian Edmondson (The Young Ones), Theo James (Divergent) and Anna-Marie Wayne (actor and daughter of Jeff Wayne) headline this dramatic and chilling production which retains the story’s original Victorian setting.
There’s no greater expert on the zombie apocalypse than author Max Brooks (son, fact fans, of comic giant Mel Brooks). He began his obsession with the undead with 2003’s The Zombie Survival Guide and then 2009’s The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, but his greatest opus remains World War Z, a gripping thriller about the war between the human race and zombies. Made up of individual accounts of the conflict narrated by an agent of the United Nations Postwar Commission, Audible’s audio version of World War Z offers up the most realistic depiction yet of the zombie apocalypse.
With the big screen Alien franchise apparently in hibernation after Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant, maybe it’s time to get our Xenomorph fix elsewhere? Alien: Out Of The Shadows is a full-cast adaptation of Tim Lebbon’s critically acclaimed 2014 novel, and fits neatly in between the first and second Alien films. Headlining is Laurel Lefkow as Ellen Ripley, as well as the great Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner), this is a powerfully atmospheric and spine-chilling addition to the Alien series. And the extra good news is that, once you’ve finished this one, there are even more full-cast Alien audiobooks out there, including Alien: River Of Pain and Alien: Sea of Sorrows.
In this fantastically inventive genre mashup, a stranger with no memory of his past finds himself in the desert town of Absolution in the Old West, the only hint to his history being a mysterious shackle on his wrist. Little does he know though that he’s the answer to saving this town from, yes, invading aliens! Narrated by Fred Berman, this adaptation of the big screen version of Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s cult comic book is a perfect buy for fans of science fiction and Westerns.
There are five cracking novelisations of classic-era Doctor Who stories included in this must-listen collection. In Doctor Who And The Zarbi (read by William Russell), the First Doctor encounters a race of giant insect-like creatures on the planet Vortis, while in The Curse Of Peladon (read by David “son of Patrick” Troughton) the Third Doctor and Jo Grant are mistaken for delegates of the Galactic Federation on a primitive and superstitious world. The Brain Of Morbius (read by Tom Baker) has the Fourth Doctor encountering the remains of a Time Lord war criminal, and The Leisure Hive (read by Lalla Ward) finds the Doctor and Romana caught up with a criminal organisation on the pleasure planet of Argolis. Finally, in The Greatest Show In The Galaxy (read by Sophie Aldred), the Seventh Doctor and Ace are, after arriving at a sinister circus, forced to fight for their lives.
From the pen of British writer Naomi Alderman, The Power tells a provocative, powerful story of a world where women, after developing the ability to release electrical jolts from their fingers, become the dominant gender. Released in 2016 to rave reviews, the novel went on to win the win the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and was even named by Barack Obama as one of his favourite books of 2017.