Science fiction isn’t a genre often synonymous with humour, but these sci-fi novels will make you laugh. A lot.
If you think we’ve missed any particularly humorous science fiction novels, let us know.
Martians, Go Home, by Fredric Brown
Earth has been swarmed by Martians. Martians who can be seen but not touched, and who take great joy in winding up everyone on Earth.
This alien invasion brings the Earth to a halt. Martians are everywhere and they are hell bent on being annoying. They reveal peoples secrets, turn up during live TV shows to spoil the plot and insist on calling everyone either ‘Mack’ or ‘Toots’ in a Brooklyn accent.
Written in 1955 Martians, Go Home is irreverent, original and bizarre. It remains one of the earliest and best examples of science fiction humour.
The Improbable Rise of Singularity Girl by Bryce Anderson
Helen Roderick is a somewhat troubled young scientist who downloads her consciousness into a bank of computers. At the expense of her physical body.
Thus begins a funny tale that examines what it would mean to be ‘living’ in a virtual world in a very humorous way. The Improbable Rise of of Singularity Girl is one for the geeks of the world. It’s full of Adams and Pratchett references amongst many others.
If you’re looking for a hilarious novel that deals with a serious science fiction topic, then this may be for you. You can read our full review of the novel here.
There Goes the Galaxy by Jenn Thorson
An hilarious sci-fi adventure with an intergalactic dimension. There Goes the Galaxy takes place in vast, confusing universe that makes little sense to our small earth-man minds.
We follow a guy called Bertram. Bertram is an every-man way over his head in a world of seers, outlaws, intergalactic police and two-headed women.
There Goes the Galaxy is a short book and a fun one. If you’re a fan of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, and everyone should be, then you will also enjoy this novel.
How to live safely in a science fictional universe by Charles Yu
A novel that defies comparison. It’s humorous tones and playful writing style hide a novel about regret and remorse.
Charles Yu is a time travel machine repair main, meandering through space time and his own regrets. He’s accompanied by an AI with self esteem issues and a dog that doesn’t exist.
How to life safely is novel that manages to be mournful and funny at the same time. You can read our full review and analysis here.
Redshirts By John Scalzi
Have you ever wondered how rubbish it would be a redshirt on the USS Enterprise? Just a background figure on a spaceship that’s constantly under attack from bizarre aliens with agenda’s that make very little sense? You’re friends dying in cruel in unusual ways as the laws of science appear to take sporadic days off?
Scalzi’s Redshirts gives a humorous answer to these questions in a way that will appeal to all Trek fans willing to laugh a little bit at the original series.
The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez
The Automatic Detective was published in 2008, set in the future and written in a style evocative of 40’s noir.
Mack Megaton has it tough. He’s a robot, designed for violence, just trying to earn his citizenship in a world that mixes weird science fiction with hard-boiled detective fiction. When Mack’s neighbours get themselves kidnapped, Mack embarks on an adventure across Empire City that he wishes he’d never been dragged into. On his journey he encounters talking gorillas, a little green mob boss and countless other curiosities.
The automatic detective is a bizarre book fans of the weird and wonderful will love.
The Road to Mars by Eric Idle
Written by the great Eric Idle of Monty Python, The Road To Mars is an underappreciated novel. It’s a novel that takes comedy seriously. The plot follows the robot Carlton as he acts as secretary to two jobbing comedians on an interplanetary tour.
As they travel and face various scrapes and adventures, Carlton starts to study both comedians and comedy itself. What follows is a treatise on comedy and what drives people like Idle to be ‘funny-men’. All wrapped up in a very funny novel from the one of comedy’s greatest talents.
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The darkest comedy in this list, but possibly the most influential.
This is the story of Billy Pilgrim, who becomes unstuck in time as he flits between stages of his life. From his time spent as an attraction in an alien zoo, to his conversations with the alien Tralfamadorians who see all of time at once, to his witnessing of the Dresden bombing in World War 2.
Billy is an unstable man and a terribly unreliable narrator, so other than witnessing the Dresden bombing we can’t be sure how much of what he experiences is actually real. The novel is written in Vonnegut’s inimical style and is as heartrending as it is funny.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The novel, or collection of novels, that had to be on this list. This includes every Hitchhiker’s book, as otherwise half the list would be made up of Douglas Adams’ work.
From the moment Arthur Dent escapes the destruction of the Earth with his alien friend Ford Prefect this novel becomes delightfully absurd. Adams’ python-esque style has become the gold standard in science fiction humour.
Adams’ wordplay and wacky creations lead to laughs on every page. So, if you’re looking for humorous science fiction novels but somehow haven’t come across Hitchhikers Guide, you really should read it.
If you’re still looking for a science fiction novel, why not take a look at our ultimate science fiction list or any of our other best of lists: