12 Sci-fi Novels to Escape To While in Lockdown

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Science fiction novels have long bewitched the minds of readers around the world. They have transcended generations. They have inspired myriad adaptations. They have conjured the worlds you could only dream of. They have predicted the future… 

From stories of space travel and extraterrestrial invasions to post-apocalyptic tales, we have selected twelve dazzling novels for those of you looking for a fully immersive experience into alternative realities.

The War of The Worlds by H G Wells

Image Credit: BBC

When a giant ‘meteor’ crash-lands in Surrey, the earthlings rejoice at the thought of meeting visitors from outer space. Yet a menacing greeting with a heat-ray blast leads humanity to a chilling conclusion- the Earth is under siege. Unbeknown to anybody, the ripple effect of alien invasion will soon be felt throughout the country as Martians start using extraterrestrial technology against mankind. Transported by three-legged war machines, aliens incinerate and poison their way through to London, killing and feeding on humans in the process. And even when it seems like all hope is lost, Mother nature comes to the rescue with an ultimate weapon against the invaders. 

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The Stand by Stephen King

image Credit: Hodder &Stoughton

In the depths of a biological laboratory lies a secret so deadly that it may rewrite Earth’s history. Despite state-of-the-art security, the weapon of mass destruction finds its way out to the general public. The new strain of virus wipes out most of the world’s population except for the lucky few resistant to the infection. Disoriented and frightened, post-apocalyptic society becomes polarised as two political movements emerge, representing good and evil. And so the battle commences. 

This riveting tale of a devastating viral pandemic has entered the ranks of quintessential science fiction novels, spawning television and film adaptations since 1978.

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The Last Man by Mary Shelley

image Credit: Dover Thrift

Imagine the world on the brink of human extinction leaving only one man to witness the remains of civilisation on Earth. This post-apocalyptic account paints a stark contrast between a personal journey of a shepherd and the gradual decay of society in the twenty-first century. During this global pandemic, Lionel’s rise from rags to riches is constantly tested by love, loss, loyalty and his political aspirations. Thanks to his powerful friends and his endurance, he is transformed from a primitive man into a warrior, a diplomat and a patriot determined to save his people while the rest of the world drowns in their own selfishness.

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The Coming Race by Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Image Credit: Boggo Press

The most intriguing tale of the nineteenth century was originally published anonymously adding more mystery to the novel. The readers were fascinated by the subterranean adventures of a wealthy gentleman who encounters a race far more superior to humans in their parapsychological and telepathic abilities. The descendants of an ancient civilisation, Vril-ya draw their powers from a liquid source to heal, self-elevate, communicate with others and destroy anyone who dares to question their utopian principles. Despite their peaceful and harmonious nature, the underground dwellers represent a potential threat to mankind who will stop at nothing to reclaim their domination over the surface of the Earth, if necessary. 

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Image Credit: Subterranean

This chillingly prophetic account of life after the global swine flu outbreak follows a group of performers on their tour around The Great Lakes. Twenty years after a stealthy killer almost obliterated the human race, the world faces new challenges. As the troupe travels around performing for new settlements, they discover a seedy underbelly of scattered outposts with their own heinous laws. Violence, pseudo-religion and mysterious disappearances cast a menacing shadow over their journey as they begin to wonder whether civilisation will ever be restored to its former glory.

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The Martian by Andy Weir

IMage Credit: Eric White

The hostile environment of a red planet is not exactly the place you want to spend the rest of your life. But for Mark Watney, it might not be a matter of choice. An exploratory expedition comes to an abrupt end when a dust storm hits the landing site leaving one astronaut stranded on Mars. It’s not long before traumatic experiences and isolation begin to jeopardise Mark’s chance for survival in harsh conditions. It will take a lot of meticulous planning, risk-taking and ingenuity to complete this space mission and come back home alive. 

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Severance by Ling Ma

Image Credit: Text Publishing

Fleshed out with witty punchlines and deadpan humour, this satirical vision of the world in the midst of a global disaster will pull you in faster than you can say “Shen Fever”. Told through a series of flashbacks, the story is centred around Candice Chen who flees pandemic-stricken New York after immortalising its last days on in photosgraphs In search of a safe haven, she joins a group of survivors led by a tyrannical IT specialist Bob. Looting, killing and total subservience bring Candice to the realisation she might have just sleepwalked into a cult. 

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2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Image Credit: Orbit

“Do not ask me why I did not guess the truth sooner- the truth that seems so obvious now. In the first excitement of discovery, I had assumed without question that this crystalline apparition had been built by some race belonging to the Moon’s remote past, but suddenly, and with overwhelming force, the belief came to me that it was as alien to the Moon as I myself. In twenty years we had found no trace of life but a few degenerate plants. No lunar civilisation, whatever its doom, could have left but a single token of its existence.”

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

IMage Credit: Speak Publisher

Cassie Sullivan is a real fighter. A quality you wouldn’t expect from a teenage girl caught in the midst of an alien invasion, which robs her of her only living relative. But in the face of adversity, she is left with no option but to go on the run in order to save her family. The success of Cassie’s quest hangs on her survival skills in the wilderness and her ability to exercise extreme caution. 

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Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Image Credit: FSG Originals

Exquisitely crafted by the master of creepiness, this eerily dreamlike Sci-Fi tale offers a chance to lose yourself in a disturbing world of obliteration. Abandoned ‘for reasons that are not easy to relate’, unspoilt coastal Area X has been puzzling scientists for decades. After all, anyone who has ever ventured into this lush eden came to regret it. Determined to uncover its lethal secret, four hopefuls embark on a perilous expedition, where inexplicable moans, unmapped tunnels and mass hallucinations are just a few of many surprises that are yet to unhinge their minds. Fans of H.P. Lovecraft will particularly appreciate this highly unsettling tale which has the power to sneak under your skin and haunt you for days after you have read it.

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A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Image Credit: Time Square Fish

An interstellar travel through the fifth dimension may be hard to imagine, but not for Meg Murry, who has not seen her father for over a year. Accompanied by her younger brother and her schoolfriend, the fiery teenager sets off on a mind-bending trek to find the missing physicist. And even when their mission gets off to a rocky start, three guardian angels save the day by putting their wisdom and metamorphic abilities to a good use to guide the starry-eyed travellers on their voyage. Thrilling and daring, this time-travelling odyssey interweaves science, love and magic into one multi-faceted plot, where good always triumphs over evil.

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Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne

Image Credit: Penguin Classics

When Professor Aronnax and his crew set sail on a quest to find a deep sea monster, little do they know that their discovery will stretch far beyond their imagination. A gripping adventure awaits for them on board of the submarine Nautilus, commanded by enigmatic Captain Nemo, the greatest inventor of his time. Being held captive, Aronnax and his campanions will spend the next ten months at sea, exploring volcanoes and desert islands, hunting sharks and fighting a giant squid.

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Stella is a Marketing Consultant and has been writing content for Full Text Archive since 2015. When she is not writing, she is meticulously planning our social and e-mail campaigns. Stella holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Russian Literature, which has provided a broad foundation from which she continues to explore the written world.

She spends her free time reading, visiting old castles and discovering new coffee shops. She can be reached at stella

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