SF/ハードSF Recommendations

Hi there,

I am looking for any recommendations for Sci-fi and/or Hard Sci-fi (heavy on the science part) novels in Japanese.

Can you recommend any author I should check or any must-read in the genere?


My favs in terms of SF are 天冥の標 (series) | L36 and Wシリーズ (series) | L33

There’s also a 日本SF大賞 that you can check. Prize winners are usually a safe bet.


Let me see…

This is for children, but also extremely hard science fiction that takes the science part very seriously. It’s also not easy in the slightest, but I don’t remember it well enough to rate it.

Space-adventure story that makes a serious effort to stick to the science.

Mostly focused on society rather than science, but super-interesting science fiction. Reminds me a lot of Children of Time, but it’s rabbit-aliens rather than spiders.

Not at all hard, but I liked the premise and overall thought it was a pretty fun read.

This feels more like a fairytale than science fiction, but also it’s about the horrific treatment of sapient robots so I think it fits. Probably my favourite Japanese book.

Not hard science, but creative playing with quantum physics than references a lot of science.

Science fiction here is window-dressing, but it’s a light and fun read.

Grungy biopunk. Not hard in the slightest, but I liked it a lot.

Big damn space opera. Ludicrously difficult and dry, full of technobabble. Not at all hard.

Also going to throw in some miscellaneous kids books I don’t remember well enough to recommend or not, but if you need some easy reads to build yourself up to more difficult stuff they might be good:

I’ve read some other science fiction, but it’s either absolute garbage or probably too far off what you’re looking for. I’m in the middle of another sci-fi drive myself, trying to read all the easier stuff I can find to build up vocab to tackle the more intimidating-looking books.


Thank you! Amazing! :heart_eyes:

1 Like

I unfortunately haven’t read much Japanese sci-fi, and everything that I have read has been in English, but I can toss out one or two suggestions; please note that none of these will be hard sci-fi.

One of the poster-children of Japanese sci-fi. I got the impression it was less hard sci-fi and more space opera/space politics, but it’s iconic if nothing else.

An LN series. Futuristic detective teams up with android.

This is on the easier end of things as a bilingual text. Note that I haven’t personally read this one, but it came to mind when I was trying to think of easier sci-fi.


Yeah, I had reasonable luck in the past looking at 星雲賞 (Seiun) and 日本SF大賞 winners. The awards cover a wide range so you need to look up the books to see whether they match the particular kind of book you’re interested in.

Some specific Seiun winners I’ve read that I would consider hard SF:

  • 太陽の簒奪者 (2003 winner) – first contact with alien nanobots
  • 第六大陸 (2004 winner) – about establishing a hotel on the moon. Apparently the author said they made one tiny tweak to make rocket motors a bit more efficient but otherwise stuck to available-today technology/science

Throwing in another 星雲賞 winning series I really enjoyed:

This one is more like… historical sci-fi though? Since it takes place in the 50s/60s space race. Lots of fun vocab and historical references, FORTRAN in there, technological descriptions of Apollo-age space stuff, etc. (Don’t let the vampire thing fool you into thinking it focuses on any sort of fantasy elements though, the vampires basically just exist as a metaphor for racism in the series)