Self-published science fiction has opened up the world of storytelling to the masses.
Nowadays, anyone with an idea can put it down on paper and get it out into the world, easier than ever. This has led to a wide range of new voices and genres, drastically opening up the scope of science fiction like never before.
The best self-published sci fi has also shattered the myth that it takes the traditional route to succeed. As you will see, some of the stories on this list have achieved the highest levels of success possible.
If you want to check out any of these titles for free, you can do so with Audible's one month free trial.
- The Martian
- Andy Weir (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 387 Pages - 10/28/2014 (Publication Date) - Broadway Books (Publisher)
The Martian by Andy Weir is probably the ultimate example of self-published science fiction. Originally released for free, section by section, the story was then released as a novel, to major success, before becoming the rip roaring Hollywood adaptation loved by millions. For anyone who ever doubted self-published science fiction, The Martian is the best possible refutation, proving it can succeed. The story itself is a gripping, humorous and thought-provoking tale of an astronaut forced to survive alone on Mars.
The Ember War by Richard Fox begins his series of the same name, and is one heck of an introduction to this military sci fi powerhouse. The credibility of Fox’s stories is massively enhanced by his own background as a decorated member of the United States army, as well as his love of classic sci fi. The Ember War deals with a world greeted by aliens bringing bad news - an alien armada is on the way, intent on destroying Earth. Can humanity find a way to survive, with the help of their benevolent messenger friends? Find out in The Ember War.
This Changes Everything is a novel which will have you questioning, well, everything! It deals with a group of holographic alien messengers and is set across a mind-bending series of multiple timelines. The way that This Changes Everything is written isn’t without controversy - it’s mixing of realities, timelines, and even universes confuses some readers. However, if you can cope with the narrative complexity, you’ll find a lot to enjoy in this fascinating example of self-published science fiction.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bertauski, Tony (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 318 Pages - 12/28/2013 (Publication Date) - DeadPixel Publications (Publisher)
Tony Bertauski’s The Annihilation of Foreverland mixes together elements of science fiction, fantasy, and young adult literature for a fascinating journey. Imagine an alternative reality known as Foreverland which has been created to ease traumatic minds. However, all is not as it seems. Foreverland is not the place it is promised to be. Get ready for a mind-bending journey into reality and the nature of the brain. This is the opening salvo in Bertauski’s gripping series.
Imagine being able to envision the imminent death of another human being. That is the gift and the curse of Mercury’s Son lead character Valko, thanks to the presence of a brain implant and accompanying narcotic. However, an evil killer finds a way to evade the oversight of Valko’s ability. How will Valko cope? Can he trust those around him, and is he even able to have faith in himself? A fascinating science fiction yarn with a truly memorable main character.
Chrystalla Thoma begins the ‘Elei’s Chronicles’ series with Rex Rising, a rip roaring tale of science fiction survival. The series is set in a world where parasites are able to create new races at will. Main character Elei is forced to escape from assassins, after him for information he does not have. In addition to the thrilling survival plotline, Rex Rising considers the implications of powerful parasites occupying humans, and what happens when they come into conflict. The perfect introduction to an enthralling series.
The Inevitable is set in a world where only one robot survives, and there are plenty of people out to get him. The main character, aforementioned robot Tuck, is in a bad way. He is in ill-repair and is also haunted by memories of the evil he has done during his time existing. Tuck is a conflicted robot, due to the fact that although he is programmed to respect and think positively towards human beings, he is also forced to go against this to survive. Is he willing to do wrong once more in order to survive? Find out in The Inevitable.
Fourwar is an absolutely fascinating tale by Nathan E Simpson. The book is set in a world where the haves and have nots are brutally divided. Inhabitants of the city are protected by incredible medical technology which enables them to exist free of aging and free of disease. Those outside of the city are forced to live a rough and squalid existence. One day, the balance is shattered, granting the outsiders access to the technology they previously never had. All out chaos ensues. A fascinating tale of science fiction and society.
The Clairvoyance Clock is set in Wunderstrande, a world ravaged by war. The main character is a young man who is dealing with the emotional and psychological fallout of fighting. However, he is broken out of his stasis thanks to his desire to track down a legendary scientific artifact. During his quest, our hero makes a shocking discovery which makes him reevaluate everything, including his feelings towards the war in which he lost so much. A fascinating introduction to this self-published science fiction series.
MCA Hogarth begins the Kherishdar series with this first installment, a collection of many short stories all based around the same theme. Hogarth’s entire premise is the exploration of what it means to have a soul in a science-fiction world. This is definitely a book for readers who prefer thought-provoking, fascinating science fiction to action packed stories. However, if you’re a thoughtful reader, you’ll find a lot to love here. The experience of reading The Aphorisms of Kherishdar is enhanced by the beautiful accompanying illustrations.
Rebels Divided is the third part of Lance Erlick’s ‘Rebels’ series and is many readers’ favorite of all. Erlick has created a dystopian science fiction world which many people have likened to The Hunger Games or Maze Runner. The book mixes together aspects of dystopian science fiction with traditional love tales. If you’re a fan of dystopian, military science fiction then you will find a lot to enjoy here.
As 21st century humanity, we live in a world where the colonization of space is more plausible and closer to occurring than ever seemed possible. Heirs of Mars by Jordan Lockhart is set in a future where not only has Mars been colonized, but its colonization has gone very wrong. As well as being a dark science fiction story, Heirs of Mars has a ton of fascinating food for thought, including ideas such as the nature of existence and whether digital reincarnation is a possibility.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Daniels, Valmore (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 328 Pages - 08/01/2010 (Publication Date) - ValmoreDaniels.com (Publisher)
Valmore Daniels begins ‘The Interstellar Age’ series with Forbidden The Stars, a fascinating story of the exploration of Pluto. Imagine the excitement of not only exploring this new planet, but discovering proof of alien life on it. However, all is not well in Forbidden The Stars. Its main characters are forced to deal with devastating heartbreak in the aftermath of a serious cosmic collision. A brilliant mix of interesting science fiction and emotionally potent character narrative.
In a world where we’ve just photographed a black hole. And The Stars Will Sing takes on extra potency. It deals with the ability of people to travel using wormholes. The first-person narrative style means that readers become intimately familiar with the book’s protagonist, Crystal. As well as introducing a range of interesting scientific concepts, Michelle Brown makes the book relatable thanks to plenty of everyday normality, such as romantic crushes and workplace politics.
What Is Self-Published Science Fiction?
In essence, self-published sci-fi, also known as indie sci-fi, is simply science fiction which has been written and released without the approval of a major publishing house.
This is a result of the online revolution. The traditional model of publishing science fiction involved authors submitting manuscripts to publishing houses, who would then select a very small number of them, based on the prediction of commercial success, and put them through a lengthy publishing process.
Nowadays, sci fi writers can work on their stories and release them as they see fit. This can take the form of releasing parts at a time, kind of a modern day form of serialization, and even getting feedback and changing the direction of the story as they write.
Often, stories which start out as independent often end up getting discovered and signed by one of the major publishing houses. In the most extreme cases, independent science fiction gets picked up for a movie deal, and goes on to become a true cultural phenomenon.
How Has Self-Published Sci-Fi Changed The Game?
Self-published science fiction has led to a wide range of changes in the genre. These included changes to the way that science fiction is written, changes to the author/fan relationship, and changes to the overall scope of the genre.
Let’s consider each of these a little more.
Form of writing. Often, science fiction writing is more collaborative than it has been in the past. This is due to several factors. First, as authors are often working in isolation, as opposed to the traditional support of a publishing house, they tend to seek out others in order to share ideas. This can take the form of either sharing works in progress with writer groups, or doing some form of online serialization of a story, and getting feedback from readers along the way.
Author accessibility. As a large part of being a self-published sci fi star is maintaining one’s own marketing and promotion, a lot of this takes place directly from author to reader, with no middleman. This can take the form of social media promotion, a more intimate author mailing list, or even offline activities such as indie author/fan meetups.
Scope of sci fi. Since the flood of newcomers to the science fiction genre, the borders and boundaries of what is considered sci-fi has massively expanded. Freed from the shackles of a traditional publisher’s idea of sci-fi, indie authors are free to really experiment, and push the boundaries when it comes their subject matter. This has led to exciting new subgenres emerging in recent years.
Ultimately, the shift towards self-publishing in science fiction has given us a lot more choice, and that’s something all sci fi fans should be grateful for.
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