Best Space Books and Sci-Fi: A Space.com Reading List
Space.com's editors present a reading list for space and sci-fi lovers, as well as children who are interested in astronomy and spaceflight.
Credit: Space.com/Jeremy Lips

There are plenty of great books out there about space — so many, in fact, that it can feel a little overwhelming to figure out where to start, whether searching for a perfect holiday gift or your next engrossing read. So the editors and writers at Space.com have put together a list of their favorite books about the universe. These are the books that we love — the ones that informed us, entertained us and inspired us. We hope they'll do the same for you for this Black Friday and beyond!

We've divided the books into five categories, which each have their own dedicated pages. On this page, we feature books we're reading now and books we've recently read, which we will update regularly. Click to see the best of:

We hope there's something on our lists for every reader of every age. We're also eager to hear about your favorite space books, so please leave your suggestions in the comments, and let us know why you love them. You can see our ongoing Space Books coverage here.

By Will Kalif

"See It with a Small Telescope" (Ulysses Press, 2017), by Will Kalif
"See It with a Small Telescope" (Ulysses Press, 2017), by Will Kalif
Credit: Ulysses Press

"See It with a Small Telescope" is a fun read for those just getting familiar with their new telescope. Will Kalif, who runs the website Telescope Nerd, guides readers to dozens of interesting objects in the sky. Whether you enjoy looking at planets, star clusters, the moon, nebulas or something else, there are a range of fun things to seek out using this book.

The night sky is a very big place to explore, but Kalif narrows it down to what a beginning telescopic observer will enjoy. His star charts are handy guides to help you find your way. He even includes a section on astrophotography if you're interested in taking pictures, including options with unspecialized equipment. Since the text of the book is written at a junior high level, your teenage kids likely will enjoy the book as well. ~Elizabeth Howell

You can read an interview with Kalif here, and read an excerpt about spotting the Orion nebula here.

By Dean Regas

"100 Things to See in the Night Sky" (Adams Media, 2017) by Dean Regas
"100 Things to See in the Night Sky" (Adams Media, 2017) by Dean Regas
Credit: Adams Media

Whether you're an amateur astronomer, casual stargazer or anything in between, "100 Things to See in the Night Sky" is your one-stop shop for information on where, when and how to spot some of the brightest and most easily recognizable sights in the sky. Written by Dean Regas, an astronomer and public outreach educator at the Cincinnati Observatory in Ohio, the book breaks down everything you need to know to stargaze like a pro.

Beginners can use this book as an introduction to stargazing, while more experienced readers will find the book to be a useful field guide that can serve as a reference for locating and identifying stars, constellations, meteor showers, eclipses and even satellites. The book focuses on "naked-eye" objects, so you don't need telescopes, binoculars or any other equipment to utilize this handy skywatching guide. ~Hanneke Weitering

Read an interview with the author here.

By Caleb Scharf, illustrated by Ron Miller and 5W Infographics

"The Zoomable Universe" (2017) by Caleb Scharf, illustrations by Ron Miller and 5W Infographics
"The Zoomable Universe" (2017) by Caleb Scharf, illustrations by Ron Miller and 5W Infographics
Credit: Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux

In "The Zoomable Universe," astrophysicst Caleb Scharf takes readers from the size of the observable universe step-by-step down to the shortest theoretical measurable length. Along the way, Scharf and the book's illustrator, Ron Miller, explore the formation of the universe, our galaxy and Earth, the makeup of life and quantum physics, and the complexity that develops when you look beyond the surface at any scale.

The large, colorful book has a lot of ground to cover, but it delves into enough detail to spark readers' curiosity, and additional graphics by 5W Infographics pack more information into less space. As it speeds through orders of magnitude, from the largest to the smallest, it stops in lots of fascinating corners of the universe along the way. ~Sarah Lewin

Read an interview with Scharf on the book and the biggest changes coming to our understanding of physics here.

By Andy Weir

"Artemis" (Crown, 2017) by Andy Weir.
"Artemis" (Crown, 2017) by Andy Weir.
Credit: Crown Publishers

In "The Martian" (Crown, 2014) first-time author Andy Weir gave voice to the sardonic, resourceful botanist Mark Watney as he struggled for survival stranded on Mars. In his second novel, "Artemis," he follows Jazz Bashara, a porter (and smuggler) on the moon who's drawn into a crime caper. Weir brings a similar meticulous detail to his descriptions of the moon as the ultimate tourist destination as he did to Watney's misadventures on Mars, but his characterization of Jazz doesn't play to his writing strengths like Watney's log entries did. Still, "Artemis" is an entertaining romp through a really intriguing future moon base, with plenty of one-sixth-gravity action and memorable twists. It's well worth the read. Plus, there's an audiobook version read by Rosario Dawson. ~Sarah Lewin

Space.com talked with Weir about constructing a realistic moon base here.

By Seth Fishman, Illustrated by Isabel Greenberg

"A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars" (Greenwillow Books, 2017) by Seth Fishman and illustrated by Isabel Greenberg.
"A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars" (Greenwillow Books, 2017) by Seth Fishman and illustrated by Isabel Greenberg.
Credit: Greenwillow Books

In "A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars," Seth Fishman Tackles the numbers that permeate everything around us. Not just any numbers, mind you, but enormous numbers. Gigantic, mind-bogglingly tremendous whoppers of numbers. Numbers that the human mind can scarcely comprehend.

Accompanied by delightful illustrations by Isabel Greenberg, Fishman makes infinitesimal figures like the number of seconds in a year (31,536,000), the distance between the Earth and the moon (240,000 miles), and how many people go shoulder-to-shoulder every day on our big blue marble (7,500,000,000) relatable to the four-to-eight age group.

"A child isn't necessarily going to get the number of raindrops in a thunderstorm (1,620, 000,000,000,000)," Fishman said, "but maybe it'll help them connect with what the word 'trillion' means because they know what a thunderstorm looks like." He also throws in fun facts that pint-size readers will take delight in. Who knew that a great white shark has about 300 teeth? Or that we might eat up to 70 pounds of bugs in our lifetime? Fishman's numbers will thrill, amaze, and elucidate. ~Jasmin Malik Chua

Read an interview with the author here.

Again, check out our full lists here:

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