I gotta admit getting into any sort of genre fiction can be intimidating. I don’t handle “not understanding things” well. So when I started getting into science fiction, I was more than a little lost and more than a lot frustrated.
So, being the dork I am, rather than just picking up a book I like the look of and diving in, I turned to research. The first and last refuge of people who are afraid of making mistakes, but that’s probably a whole other blog post.
Anyway, I started looking into the various sub-genres of sci-fi to try to figure out exactly what I wanted to start reading. Since it’s just sitting there, I figured I may as well share it with the world. Here we are…bookspry’s mini sci-fi subgenres explainer (with example books you pick up and start reading right now!)!
This typically involves a character or group of characters, you guessed it, traveling through time. Usually this is to change events in the past or prevent a catastrophe in the future. You know, the usual.
Like basically all time travel stories, there is often a focus on the consequences of messing with time and the challenges of navigating different time periods.
For this one, I’m picking a book that I actually have wanted to read for a long time but just haven’t gotten around to, Replay by Ken Grimwood. It comes highly recommended though, so you can trust me.
Military Science Fiction
Probably one of the more popular genres and probably also the easiest to digest (until you get that one author who can’t seem to describe space or angles or forgets where everyone is supposed to be at any given time and leaves you feeling like an idiot…but maybe that’s another blog post).
This subgenre typically involves a futuristic military conflict in which advanced technology plays a significant role. Strategy, tactics, and military technology, are all featured prominently, as you’d expect, but the human element of war .
Because of that last point, for this category I’m going to use “Starship Troopers” by Robert A. Heinlein.
You love the movie, now read the book! Then, everytime the movie comes up in conversation you can say “yeah, but have you read the book?” and be that guy.
I’m including this one because, if there’s one genre of science fiction that you’ll struggle to explain to your dad, it’s this one.
Characterized by a dystopian, high-tech future in which humanity (and often humans) has been transformed by advanced technology. You’ll get a focus on “hacking”, mega corporate control, and the merging of human and machine. Usually incredibly depressing (at least to me).
“Neuromancer” by William Gibson is pretty much a must read if you want to get into this.
Stay tuned for part two!