Everyone has their favorite tropes and plot devices. In romancelandia we call this "romance cat nip," but readers of all genres have certain elements that will make them pick up a book no matter what. When it comes to sci fi, many of Will McIntosh's stories contain everything I look for in a SF novel, and I'm honestly surprised his work isn't more highly regarded. His upcoming May release, Defenders, just about blew me away. I wanted to email him and ask, "Did you write this story just for me? Be honest, Mr. McIntosh." Of course he didn't, but the book contained nearly every element on my Perfect Sci Fi Novel checklist.
1. It was accessible.
Let's be real here, I understand science on a basic 10th-grade biology level, at most. I'm not going to be upset if your fictional science isn't completely perfect. In fact, I probably won't even notice. I feel like a lot of SF/F readers get hung up on the plausibility of science and magic in their stories, and rightfully so, but I'm already going into a SF/F book suspending my disbelief, so chances are I'll accept whatever science an author throws at me, proven that they've actually worked through all of it before crafting their story.