Compelling Soft Science Fiction Novels for Black Mirror Fans

As a huge fan of Black Mirror and soft science fiction books, I’m excited that the genre seems to be having a moment right now! It feels like more and more soft sci fi novels are being published these days, and I’m thrilled about it. Whether you’re like me, or you want to dip your toes into science fiction but don’t know where to start, here’s a list of some of the best soft science fiction novels to read!

soft science fiction book covers

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What is soft sci fi (versus hard science fiction)?

Soft science fiction tends to focus more on the sociological and psychological aspects of a futuristic world or environment with advanced technology.

Often, it puts a greater emphasis on philosophical storytelling, emotion, and character development, rather than the details of scientific/technical processes or complex world-building. (Though that’s not to say the world-building can’t be strong in soft sci fi novels!).

A great example of soft sci fi is the TV show Black Mirror! Each episode takes a particular aspect of a futuristic society (that doesn’t feel that far off from current society) and examines how it affects individuals and humanity as a whole. (Some examples include social media, self-driving cars, and artificial intelligence.)

soft sci fi book covers

Must-Read Soft Science Fiction Books like Black Mirror

While hard science fiction isn’t usually my thing (with some exceptions, of course), I am fascinated by soft sci fi!

I love the character focus and the deep-dive look at the societal implications of technology. (Although it can be slightly terrifying, because it sometimes feels too real!).

Plus, I’m a huge fan of Black Mirror, so anything along those lines will have me hooked. If you love Black Mirror, too, or you’re curious about science fiction but want to try something different than traditional hard sci fi, you’ll love this list!

From soft sci fi thrillers to literary speculative fiction, these soft science fiction novels are sure to entertain you (while also making you think). 🙂

(I didn’t include Andy Weir’s books on this list because they lean slightly more toward hard sci fi, but I highly recommend Project Hail Mary and The Martian! If you’re looking for more of that vibe, check out this post for some awesome books like Project Hail Mary.)

Annie Bot by Sierra Greer

Annie Bot book cover

Genre: Science Fiction/Literary Fiction

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If you love Black Mirror like I do, check out this soft science fiction novel about a female robot, who feels torn between perfection and exploring the more “human” traits that her artificial intelligence gives her.

Soon, she starts to question her relationship with her creator and her own autonomy. (This was a March Book of the Month pick, in case you’re a member!).

The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard

The Other Valley book cover

Genre: Science Fiction/Literary Fiction

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This literary speculative novel centers around a valley with a repeating sequence of towns – each one twenty years apart in time.

A teenage girl lives in one of the towns, working toward a position as a border guard. But one day, she sees something she isn’t supposed to. She’s sworn to uphold the law, but she can’t help but grow closer to the very person that might endanger her future.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter book cover

Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

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Jason Dessen is walking home one day when he’s suddenly knocked out, and wakes up on a gurney surrounded by strangers.

Impossibly, everything he knows about his life has changed – his wife and son no longer exist as he knew them.

This is a mind-bending thriller that will definitely keep you on your toes!

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

The Echo Wife book cover

Genre: Science Fiction/Mystery/Thriller

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When brilliant scientist Evelyn gets a call from her ex-husband’s mistress – who happens to be a cloned replica of her – she wonders why this woman chose to reach out to her.

Apparently, her ex-husband is dead – and she has no choice but to get involved.

I loved the concept here – it totally reminded me of a Black Mirror episode or a Blake Crouch book. It delves into the grey area of progress and innovation, where we can’t always anticipate the implications of what we create.

This was surprisingly emotional, and there were lots of twists and turns along the way. It’s a fascinating techno-thriller with interesting characters and science fiction undertones.

I think this will appeal to those who might not normally read sci-fi – as long as you enjoy a tense story that also makes you think!

The Measure by Nikki Erlick

The Measure book cover

Genre: Science Fiction/Contemporary Fiction

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One fateful day, every person on the planet receives a mysterious wooden box. Soon, it’s discovered that the contents of the box will reveal the exact length of their life.

This story follows eight ordinary people as they grapple with the implications of this knowledge. Do they want to open the box? And where did the boxes even come from in the first place?

The Passengers by John Marrs

The Passengers book cover

Genre: Science Fiction/Thriller

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In a world similar to ours – but where self-driving cars have become the norm – eight cars are hacked (all with passengers inside) and set on a collision course.

Live video footage from inside each car is streamed to the masses – and they’re forced to decide which of the passengers will be spared.

This is an intense, action-packed read that examines some very relevant topics to modern society (and recent technological advancements, like self-driving cars!).

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Klara and the Sun book cover

Genre: Science Fiction/Literary Fiction

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This fascinating story (from the bestselling author of Never Let Me Go) is narrated by an “Artificial Friend” named Klara, who sits in a store all day and observes the people around her.

Will she ever be chosen by someone? And if she is, what would that mean for her future?

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Recursion book cover

Genre: Science Fiction/Mystery/Thriller

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This novel weaves between two perspectives: a scientist who’s spent her life attempting to cure memory loss, and a New York City cop who’s investigating a phenomenon called False Memory Syndrome (which causes people to remember different lives they’ve never lived, as if they were real).

But when you can’t trust your memories, how do you know what’s real?

And that’s the list! Have you read any of these, or have any other soft science fiction recommendations? Feel free to share them below!

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