The Best Science Fiction Books, According To Real-Life Scientists

We've all seen lists of the worst science fiction books and movies, according to scientists — but what are the best? HuffPost Science reached out to 15 great scientists and asked them to name their favorite science fiction stories — and the results were pretty interesting.

Among others, MIT cosmologist/physicist Max Tegmark named Greg Egan's Permutation City: the "explorations of the ultimate nature of reality blew my mind and inspired my own research."

CalTech's Sean Carroll praised the imagination in Robert Forward's Dragon Egg: "It's a story about life on the surface of a neutron star, which would ordinarily be considered completely outlandish. A good reminder that 'life' might take on very different forms than we ordinarily imagine."

SETI's Seth Shostak names Stanislaw Lem's story "Golem XIV," which is "my go-to reference when anyone asks me, 'What will the aliens be like?' No, they're not short, hairless, gray guys — they're intelligent machines."

Materials scientist Ainissa Ramirez praised Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower, which "described what the future could be in a very believable way."

Check out more of their selections over at HuffPost Science.