When people read or talk about science fiction, they have a habit of getting bogged down in the details of the world, the science over the fiction. But some of our recent favorites have had worlds so developed that they’ve allowed the authors to really have fun with it. And it shows! The personality comes out in the story, in the characters. People don’t give sci-fi enough credit—these books have a habit of being lowkey hilarious.
Whether it’s the pure insanity of the world(s), or just the banter between characters (they’re just like us!), these books prove that science fiction is not only a genre that boldly goes, it’s also a genre that supplies us with laughs. On purpose! And really, sometimes isn’t that the most important thing?
Science Fiction Books That Are Funny AF
1. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Sure, this series might be about life or death as questionably functioning technology and the struggle to survive amidst destruction in space, but that’s never caused these characters to keep their attitudes in check.
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
2. Warcross by Marie Lu
Emika is a rainbow-haired heroine with a serious sense of humor. She’s shocked when she’s thrown into the pretty glamorous world of professional Warcross fighters, and her fish-out-of-water disbelief and commentary kept us thoroughly entertained throughout. You keep doing you, Emika. Also—the supporting cast? A+
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.
Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.
3. Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston
Two words: space pirates. As in, the 17-year-old protagonist, Ana, was raised by them. She also has a best friend who’s an android called D09. And don’t forget about Jax, a pilot with the driest wit in the galaxy. This book has it all. Really.
Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.
Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.
When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.
What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?
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4. The Luner Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
This series has made us laugh too many times to count, but the one joke that deserves a special shoutout? Every time Iko forgets she’s not actually human. That android has our heart.
A forbidden romance. A deadly plague. And Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…
Cinder, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.
Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.
This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget.
5. Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
Looking for some darker humor? Hoemi is kind of a badass, and Abel is a robot slowly developing emotion. The stakes in this book just keep mounting, but the laughs spread throughout it all will have you thinking—is this really the time for humor?! And we’ll answer that right now: yes, it always is.
She’s a soldier — Noemi Vidal is willing to risk anything to protect her planet, Genesis, including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.
He’s a machine — Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel’s advanced programming has begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.
Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.
6. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
This book may have been started as an homage to Harry Potter, but the details of CARRY ON are totes their own—and completely ridiculous. There’s a good dose of humor alongside all the fuzzy emotions that Rainbow Rowell is known for.
Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.
7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Spoiler alert: The last line of this book is “So long, and thanks for all the fish.” It kind of sums up how completely bonkers this book is. Sometimes we read something that’s so unexpectedly funny we find ourselves quoting it at random moments. That’s this book.
Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox—the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.
8. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Readers either love or hate Grasshopper Jungle. It’s quirky, it’s weird, and when you finish it you may think “WTF did I just read?” But we are firmly in the “love it” camp. Mostly because 16-year-old Austin Szerba is hilarious… but it might also have something to do with the army of unstoppable, 6-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.
Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.
To make matters worse, Austin’s hormones are totally oblivious; they don’t care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He’s stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it’s up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.
9. Invictus by Ryan Graudin
Farway Gaius McCarthy is a gift to the YA world, and the rest of his crew kept us laughing, even when time itself began getting wonky around them. We don’t want to spoil too much, but know that this crew is one that you would absolutely want to be a part of.
Time flies when you’re plundering history.
Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far’s birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he’s ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.
But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far’s very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.
10. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
You know the Chosen Ones. Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, the list goes on. But Mikey? He’s definitely not the Chosen One. But some of the people around him definitely are. And reading about a kid who is just your average run-of-the mill teen in a paranormal setting is a welcome change. It’s also pretty hilarious.
What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?
What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.
Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.
Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.
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11. Generation One by Pittacus Lore
The original I AM NUMBER FOUR series had moments of humor—most of which involved our fave Nine—but GENERATION ONE turns it up a notch. The stakes are still high, but without an intergalactic war looming—and without total tragic backstories—this book is a lot funnier than the original. Plus, Nine is back!!
Taylor Cook thought of the invasion as just a bad dream. It had ended over a year ago, and none of the fighting happened anywhere near her small town. She’d heard about teens who were suddenly developing incredible abilities, but she had never really believed it. Not until the day she discovered she was one of them—a human with Legacies.
Now Taylor is being sent off to the Human Garde Academy. A place where teens from across the globe can learn to control their new powers and discover what they are truly capable of. There they will be trained by the Loric—the very same people who helped win the war and who are also responsible for unleashing the Legacies on the planet.
As part of this new generation of Garde, Taylor and the others will one day be able to use their gifts to protect mankind. But not everyone thinks that’s the best use for their talents. There are people who have different plans for the students and who will stop at nothing to get what they want.
12. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
This book is pretty dark, but the characters are amazing at keeping things light. They really are just normal teenagers thrust into this harsh, gritty world, and even in the midst of all their powers they kept things super relatable. Ruby’s friends really reminded us of our own in all the best ways, and we could reread their banter a million times.
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.
13. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Two words: Kenji Kishimoto. We have unofficially dubbed him the angel of The Reestablishment, and every line out of his mouth is pure gold. But he’s not the only one!! Do you know how many times we have told someone to kick themselves in the face? Too many times.
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
14. Otherworld by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller
Simon is a clever and scheming protagonist, but he also has a sense of humor that comes across in his every thought. We loved all the super nerdy fandom references and tongue-in-cheek self-awareness, and we cannot wait to see what happens next!
The company says Otherworld is amazing—like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive—that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.
Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.
And it’s about to change humanity forever. Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.
What are some other books that you’d add to this list? Let us know below!