I’m a fantasy writer, mostly, but when I jump genres, science fiction is my second home. Some of my first ‘adult’ books were science fiction, courtesy of parents who liked genre fiction (though back then, fantasy and science fiction were far less separate than they are now).
I won’t go on about ‘classic’ science fiction, for a variety of reasons, but I will mention two that had a huge impact on me: Anne McCaffrey, mostly especially her Pern series, and Dune, by Frank Herbert. I read Pern for the first time when I was eleven. It was my first fanfic, and the way I meant two of my dearest friends. McCaffrey was hugely influential in the world of science fiction. Worth a read, even if some of what she wrote is dated. Of Dune, I’ll just say, read the book. (Maybe watch the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries. The new movie looks like it’ll be good too.) If it doesn’t hit you a bit, I don’t know what to say.
I’d rather talk about some modern science fiction, the science fiction I read and will recommend to others.
I’m going to lead off with Assassin by Kacey Ezell and Marisa Wolf. This is one book in the larger Four Horsemen Universe, though you don’t need to read the other books to understand this one. (I’ve only read about four 4HU books altogether.) It’s about a race of aliens who resemble cats and who are the most deadly assassins in the universe. (Affectionately known as Catsassins.) Anyone who’s ever had a cat knows that if they aren’t plotting to kill you, they’re plotting to kill someone. And that’s what Marisa and Kacey capture.
There’s a second book about the Depik, called Hunter, as well as an anthology called Negotiation.
Second, Escaping Amnthra by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. This is part of Kris’s Diving Universe. I haven’t read all of these, but this stands on its own, and while it will have you asking more questions than it answers, it’s a good introduction to the universe. If you enjoy it, Kris has plenty more in the universe for you.
Read them and enjoy. Let me know if you do.