Can You Guess These Sci-Fi Book Titles From a Single Sentence Summary?



By: Brittany Rowland

6 Min Quiz

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About This Quiz

What do you think of when you hear the term science fiction? If you're like most people, you think of space travel, extraterrestrial life, scientific experiments, zombies, time travel and futuristic worlds. Science fiction can contain all of these things, but it fundamentally deals with humanity's reaction to advances in science and technology and the ethical implications involved. For instance, even if scientists could genetically recreate dinosaurs, does that mean they should? 

While some ancient myths incorporated elements of sci-fi, science fiction developed as a distinct genre in the 1800s. Many critics believe Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," published in 1818, to be the first sci-fi novel. It explores the ethics of scientific experimentation and questions what responsibilities a creator has toward its creation. Other notable science-fiction writers emerged during this century, including H.G. Wells,  Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs. 

Science fiction remains a popular genre today, as evidenced by the host of sci-fi books, movies and TV shows available. Just look at how many stories have come out in the last few decades that focus on the survivors of some apocalyptic event. People have always had anxieties about the future, and science fiction provides an outlet for that uneasiness. 

So now it's time to put on your robotic thinking cap and identify these popular science-fiction novels from past and present! Ace it and earn bragging rights with all your sci-fi buddies!

A scientist injudiciously creates a horrifying creature in a laboratory. What's this classic book?

Mary Shelley wrote what many critics consider the first science fiction novel, "Frankenstein," when she was only 18 years old! The novel remains popular and spawned a horror film series.


An astronaut stranded on the red planet must fight for survival. What's this book called?

Andy Weir originally self-published this science fiction novel before a publisher purchased it. "The Martian" portrays an American astronaut surviving on Mars alone against all odds.


Androids must follow the Three Laws that govern their interaction with humans. Can you name this novel?

"I, Robot" by Isaac Asimov established the Three Laws of Robotics, which say that robots must obey humans and protect them from harm. The novel contains a series of loosely related stories.


Aboard the "Nautilus," Captain Nemo explores creatures of the deep. What book is this?

French author Jules Verne published this novel in 1870 to great success and acclaim. The novel was remarkable for its detailed description of the submarine the "Nautilus" and marine life.


A scientist discovers the Eloi and the Morlocks in this classic science fiction yarn. What is it?

H.G. Wells published "The Time Machine" in 1895 and popularized the concept of time travel. The narrator, known only as the Time Traveller, goes thousands of years into the future and back again.


Humanity faces possible extinction when everyone suddenly becomes infertile. What's this science fiction thriller?

P.D. James shows how society would react to sudden, widespread infertility in "The Children of Men." In 2006, the novel was adapted into a thriller starring Clive Owen and Julianne Moore.


Can you identify this novel based on the summary? The children at Battle School are Earth's only hope against the Formics.

In Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game," Ender Wiggin is a brilliant child at Battle School believed to be humanity's best shot at defeating an alien insect race called the Formics, or "buggers."


Offred joins a resistance against the Republic of Gilead. What's this novel?

A totalitarian and patriarchal society comes to life in Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel "The Handmaid's Tale." In it, Offred and other handmaids are forced to breed because of their unique fertility.


Martians invade Earth to steal its resources. Can you identify this novel?

H.G. Wells wrote this novel in response to British imperialism, imagining how Earth would react if an alien force invaded and tried to wipe out humanity. Orson Welles radio performance in 1938 caused a panic!


A girl and her genius brother travel to other worlds to rescue her father. What's this novel?

Madeleine L'Engle published this children's novel in 1962 and introduced the idea of a tesseract, a portal that allows travel through time and space. The book was the first in a series.


Firefighters burn forbidden books in this dystopian novel. What is it?

As the novel explains, books burn at Fahrenheit 451. Ray Bradbury wrote this science fiction novel in which society has banned books. The fireman Guy Montag rebels against his destructive role.


Valentine Michael Smith adjusts to life on Earth after his upbringing on Mars. Can you identify this novel?

This landmark 1961 novel by Robert A. Heinlein focuses on a human raised by Martians who later returns to Earth and struggles to adjust to human society. The book has been banned from some schools.


Johnny Rico enlists in the Federal Service and fights in the Bug War. What book is this?

"Starship Troopers," written by Robert A. Heinlein, is a military science fiction novel published in 1959. The book explores the philosophical issues related to war and militarism.


In a supposedly utopian future, people are born from artificial wombs and indoctrinated from birth. Can you name this novel?

Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel "Brave New World" imagines a future where people are sorted into different classes based on their abilities and intelligence. Only John the "Savage" is troubled by this society.


In a dystopian version of the world, Big Brother spies on all the citizens. Can you name the book?

George Orwell predicted the future in 1949 when he published "1984," a dystopian vision of a totalitarian state with heightened government surveillance. You'd better not commit any thought crimes!


Paul Atreides fights to control the planet Arrakis. Can you name this novel?

Frank Herbert's "Dune" introduces a futuristic interplanetary world and the character Paul Atreides. When his family acquires Arrakis, a planet with a valuable spice, his life gets more complicated.


Colonists from Earth land on Mars and interact with the native Martians. Do you know this novel?

Ray Bradbury tied together a series of previously published short stories with some new material in this 1950 novel. The book details Earthlings' attempts to colonize Mars after Earth has become unlivable.


Katniss Everdeen competes in a fight-to-the-death battle with other children. What's this novel called?

Adapted into a popular movie franchise, "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins depicts a dystopian future in Panem, where children from each district are forced into a deadly battle.


Wade Watts hunts for an Easter egg in the OASIS. What's this book?

In Ernest Cline's novel, people escape their gloomy world by entering a virtual reality game, the OASIS. Wade Watts joins a contest to win riches by finding an Easter egg in the game.


A prehistoric shark rises from the depths of the Mariana Trench. Do you know this novel?

Steve Alten's science fiction novel "Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror" shows what happens when a mammoth shark, the supposedly extinct Megalodon, reappears in the ocean. It wreaks havoc, of course!


Todd runs away from his hometown, where everyone can hear each other's thoughts. What's the name of this book?

The first book in Patrick Ness' "Chaos Walking" series, "The Knife of Never Letting Go" follows Todd Hewitt as he escapes from Prentisstown with just his dog, Manchee. But the townspeople come after him....


Scientists open an amusement park featuring genetically engineered dinosaurs. What's the name of this novel?

Fans of the "Jurassic Park" film series have Michael Crichton to thank for writing the 1990 novel. The book explores the ethical ramifications of genetically recreating dinosaurs for people's amusement.


Thomas wakes up in a mysterious labyrinth with frightening monsters. What's the name of this book?

James Dashner's young adult novel keeps readers guessing about the labyrinth and the children deposited into it with no memory of who they are. Thomas tries to crack the "code" and find an exit to the maze.


Bounty hunter Rick Deckard hunts for fugitive robots. Can you name this book?

Philip K. Dick's 1968 novel inspired the critically acclaimed film "Blade Runner," directed by Ridley Scott. The novel takes place in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco following a nuclear war.


Cassie Sullivan fights to survive a devastating alien invasion. Do you know this novel?

In Rick Yancey's popular young adult novel, Earth faces five waves of an alien invasion that wipes out most of humanity. Teenage Cassie Sullivan struggles to survive in a hostile new world.


In an alternate history, the Axis Powers win WWII. Can you identify this book?

Inspiring a TV series, "The Man in the High Castle" by Philip K. Dick imagines how the world would be different if Germany and Japan had won World War II. The U.S. lives under their totalitarian rule.


Peaceful aliens called Overlords take over Earth. Does this book sound familiar?

Considered Arthur C. Clarke's best work, the 1953 novel "Childhood's End" shows what happens when an alien race indirectly rules Earth. For one, the children start developing psychic powers!


A UN agent interviews survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Can you identify this book?

Max Brooks' 2006 novel "World War Z" contains the accounts of various survivors of a zombie plague. The book inspired a film adaptation starring Brad Pitt and explores the effects of a worldwide epidemic.


A boy named Jonas becomes the Receiver of Memory in this dystopian novel. What is it?

Lois Lowry's young adult novel "The Giver" portrays a seemingly utopian (but actually dystopian) world in which there is no pain or suffering. Only Jonas and the Giver see the flaws in this world.


To solve a murder, an inspector investigates in two separate worlds. Can you name this novel?

Combining science fiction with a police procedural, "The City & the City" by China Miéville introduces the twin cities of Besźel and Ul Qoma, which occupy the same space at the same time.


After a devastating nuclear war, a group of monks protects humanity's knowledge of science. What's the name of this book?

Published in 1959, Walter Miller's "A Canticle for Leibowitz" imagines a post-nuclear war world in which people spurn scientific knowledge. Over the next millennia, an order of monks guards this knowledge.


Billy Pilgrim survives WWII and alien abduction. Do you remember this book?

Kurt Vonnegut's anti-war novel "Slaughterhouse-Five" uses a nonlinear storyline and an unreliable narrator to portray the life of Billy Pilgrim, a fatalistic time traveler. It's certainly a challenging book!


A mentally challenged man undergoes surgery to boost his IQ. What's this book?

In Daniel Keye's novel, scientists select Charlie, a man with a low IQ, to take part in their study. The surgery boosts his IQ by over 100 points, but it has other, unintended consequences.


Genly Ai tries to persuade the Gethenians to join the Ekumen. What's this book?

Ursula K. Le Guin's 1969 novel "The Left Hand of Darkness" made her popular as a science fiction writer. In the novel, Genly Ai tries to better understand the ambisexual Gethenians.


Teenager Ann Burden believes she's the sole survivor of a nuclear war ... but she's not. Can you name this book?

In Robert C. O'Brien's posthumously published novel "Z for Zachariah," Ann Burden is excited to discover there's another survivor of a nuclear war: a man in a radiation-proof suit named John Loomis.


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