Science Fiction Sub-Genres, part six

Welcome to the sixth and final installment of the Science Fiction Sub-Genre overview. This has been such a fun project, let me tell you. I don’t remember the last time I wrote a series that spanned over two months like this.

Why are there so many science fiction sub-genres? Because they’re pretty different from each other, and everyone’s taste is different. It’s hard to say that a story about virtual reality belongs in the same category as a story about First Contact. While many of these sub-genres can be found blended together, it’s safe to say that any one of them is strong enough alone to tell a good story.

This information came largely from a site called Worlds Without End. Please check them out, they are awesome.

If you’re just joining us, here are the links to the other posts in this series.

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five

Terra Forming

This is a pretty popular subgenre, and it’s one I certainly enjoy. These stories are about creating a habitable landscape on another planet. I love these stories because they lend themselves so well to a cross-genre horror story. Imagine the terrors that might come along with creating a new world on a cold planet. (Insert maniacal laughter.)

Some examples of terraforming are Farmer in The Sky by Robert Heinlein, and Building Harlequin’s Moon, by Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper. (I would love to say that Godfrey from Station 86 was inspired by Farmer in The Sky. He’s not, I literally just heard of this book right before writing this very paragraph. But you can bet that book is on my to-read list now.)


With how heavily faith-based my Woven series is, you’d think my science fiction would be right in this Science Fiction Sub-Genre’s wheelhouse.

It’s not, and I guess I don’t really know why it hasn’t come up.

Anyway, you might have guessed that this sub-genre is about religion in science fiction. This is kind of a touchy subject (religion always is). But science and religion have a complicated relationship.

I haven’t really read anything personally that I would classify as theological. One that was given as an example by Goodreads (Insert link) was Flowers for Algernon. I personally haven’t read this, but I did see the play. Don’t know how much this had to do with Theology, but Goodreads probably knows better than me.

Time Travel

I guess I probably don’t need to explain this one too much. It’s time travel, we’re all pretty familiar. It’s traveling through time.

Of course, Dr. Who falls into this category. And so does my favorite fantasy series, Dragonriders of Pern. (Crazy, right?)


This sounds like such a cute, Sub-Genre, right? Uplift. It sounds, well, uplifting.

Be prepared to be surprised.

An uplift story is one about taking a semi-intelligent species that is transformed into an intelligent or super intelligent species.

You know, like Animal Farm. Or Planet of the Apes. Or the Island of Doctor Moreau.

I kind of love how deceptively nice this sub-genre is, for one that’s given us so many scary tales.


An Utopia story is the opposite of a dystopian story. It’s a perfect future, an ideal world. There aren’t a lot of these stories. I guess we writers don’t have that much imagination right now.

When I searched for examples of Utopian books, I got a bunch that I’d consider Dystopian, like The Giver and Brave New World. A few that I haven’t heard of are Men Like Gods by HG Wells, and Childhoods End, by Arthur C. Clark. I don’t think they seem particularly optimistic, but I haven’t read them yet.

Virtual reality

Finally, we come to the last of the Science Fiction Sub-Genres, Virtual Reality. This has been getting a lot of attention recently.

Pretty straightforward, these are stories about the wonderful world of VR, which I think we all wish really existed. I would love a holodeck to go play on.

Some examples of Virtual Reality books are Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, which has been pretty popular recently. Another example is Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson.

I really hope you’ve learned something from this tour through the different Science Fiction Sub-genres. I know I have. I’ve certainly gotten a few good short story ideas out of it and added some books to my reading list.

Did I miss your favorite sub-genre? Tell us about it in the comments below!

ff9a8a_d364e70623f041a199d588b5124fcc3c-mv2Station 86 is shocked when a Khloe assassin begins killing members of the all powerful council. Officer Sennett Montgomery and Councilman Godfrey Anders swear to find the assassin after Godfrey’s wife is falsely accused. But the killer, and the council itself, are not what they seem. Neither, as it turns out, is Sennett’s daughter.

Get it free now, and enter the world of Station 86!


Banned Books Week, 2018

It’s Banned Books Week, 2018! I love this holiday probably more than any other literary holiday of the year.

More and more, censorship is an enemy that we must fight on and offline. I’m pleased to bring you a list of the top ten banned books of 2017, as collected by the ALA. Here is a link to their site, please give it a look

10. I am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel, for Gender Identity

You know, gender identity is kind of a confusing topic. I kind of want there to be a book that might help some confused teenager figure themselves out. Just saying.

9. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, for LGBT content

There’s a lot of books on this list that were banned for LGBT content. So, I’m just going to address it once, on book number three.

8. The Hate You Give, by Angie Thomas, for drug use and profanity

I swear, we need to stop banning books because of bad language. And drug use, really? Look, I’m not for glorifying drug use, but we have got to stop shielding people from everything bad. Let me assure you that if you go ask a druggie on the street what got them started, they’re not going to answer, “Well, I picked up The Hate You Give, and it just made drugs seem so appealing. It all kind of spiraled from there.”

Drug use is a symptom. We need to stop treating the symptom and fix the actual issues.

7. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, for violence and racial slurs

How, in the hell, are we still banning this book in 2017? It is a classic, I was required to read it in high school. The violence and racial slurs are kind of part of the point. If you don’t understand that, maybe you shouldn’t be making decisions about what other people are reading.

6. Sex is a Funny Word, by Cory Silverberg for sex education

Sex education and safety need to be taught. We need to know how to protect ourselves and watch over our reproductive health. There’s just no reason why we shouldn’t know these things, why we shouldn’t teach our children to be safe.

5. George, by Alex Gino, for LGBT content

See number three.

4. The Kite Runner, by Khlad Hosseini, for sexual violence, and religious themes. May lead to terrorism

I haven’t read this book, but I know that if a book incites you to be sexually violent or commit acts of terrorism, you were just looking for an excuse to start with. I play a bunch of violent video games, read horror books and watch American Horror Story. I have never even hit someone. You cannot blame the media for the actions of the sick.

3. Drama, by Raina Telgemeir, for LGBT content

Let me tell you a little story. It’s one that I’ve told before, and one that I will almost surely tell again. It’s one about the importance of representation, and it’s really short.

It damn well matters!

It matters that we see people who we can relate to portrayed well in media. It mattered to me that I saw strong women like Dana Scully and Lieutenant Uhura on tv when I was a young nerd. It matters to little kids who aren’t white to see people who look like them in the media as good guys. And it matters to LGBT kids to see their demographic portrayed as well.

Representation matters. And if your argument is that being LGBT is in some way wrong, then you’re just on the wrong side of history. The same should be said for anyone who tries to remove LGBT books from a school library.

2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie, for profanity and being sexually explicit

While I don’t know that I would give this book to a small child, we need to stop demonizing sex and making it taboo. At best it makes it more appealing, at worse it demonizes what should be a loving and intimate act between two people who care for each other.

1. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher for suicide

Okay, for the first time ever, I have kind of a problem with this book. I might be reacting to this wrong, and anyone who has actually read this book please set me straight if I’m wrong. But I do have sort of a problem with anything that glorifies suicide. I don’t like anything that might make suicide seem like an appealing option to a confused and scared kid.

But, if I’m honest, I can say the same thing about this that I can about books dealing with drugs and violence. If reading this book made them do it, they were already going to. What we need is a secure safety net for kids in danger in our school systems, so that no kid feels hopeless or helpless. I feel like I should insert some links to some Dear Evan Hansen songs here.

So that’s it. What do you think about these books? Let us know in the comments below!

Hey, guys,  I have some great news. Seeming, as the first book of it’s ever growing series, is ff9a8a_d364e70623f041a199d588b5124fcc3c-mv2now free! Here is a link to get your copy right now and enter the world of Station 86.

Station 86 is shocked when a Khloe assassin begins killing members of the all powerful council. Officer Sennett Montgomery and Councilman Godfrey Anders swear to find the assassin after Godfrey’s wife is falsely accused. But the killer, and the council itself, are not what they seem. Neither, as it turns out, is Sennett’s daughter.

I kind of screwed up

I try to be on top of things. Most of the time, I am. I work hard, and I hope that I put out content and stories that you all enjoy.

Sometimes, though, I can’t be on top of everything. Sometimes I just screw up.

Most of the time I catch issues before you, my wonderful readers, find out. This time, though, a book got into the world with a pretty big issue.

Virus, the third novella in the Station 86 series, was accidentally published without episode eighteen.

This is the bad side of being an indie author, there’s no one there to catch this shit if I miss it.

Here’s the good side, however. I have updated Virus on Amazon, to now have the proper episode eighteen. And, as an apology to all of my awesome readers, I’m making Virus free from now until September 26th.

Here is your link

Again, I’m sorry. I hope that you all love the Station 86 series as much as I love writing it. Station Central, book four will be out soon.

Oh, and I might as well take this time to tell you that I’ve made Seeming, book one in Station 86, free forevor. Here’s your link for that. Please feel free to share it far and wide.

Thank you as always for reading. Hope you’re having a great weekend.

Science fiction sub-genre, part five

Welcome to part five of our six-part series on the many different Science Fiction Sub-Genres. If you’ve missed the other parts, here are links to Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four.

Why are there so many science fiction sub-genres? Because they’re pretty different from each other, and everyone’s taste is different. It’s hard to say that a story about virtual reality belongs in the same category as a story about First Contact. While many of these sub-genres can be found blended together, it’s safe to say that any one of them is strong enough alone to tell a good story.


I’m a pretty smart person, and I had to read the explanation of this genre four times before it started really sinking in. Honestly, I thought this was going to be a hive mind sort of thing like The Borg. But no, it’s actually totally different. Rather than try to explain it myself, and probably being totally confusing, let me borrow from The Encycopedia of Science Fiction. They explained it really well.

The Singularity, or technological Singularity, is a hypothetical point in time at which human Technology – in particular ComputersAI super-Intelligence and human intelligence amplification via computer interfacing (see Upload) or perhaps Drugs – similarly accelerates “off the map” into unpredictable regions.

After I gave my brain some time to wrap around that concept, it fascinated me. What sort of things might happen at the end of the universe? I just finished watching this video about the heat death of the end of the universe -Insert that video we just watched-. It’s dark and scary, but also amazing. What sort of creatures might exist in that far, far distant future? How do we even have theories about time so far in advance? I have no idea, but I think it has limitless creative possibilities.

Some examples of the Singularity Science Fiction Sub-Genre are Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross and Marooned in Realtime by Vernor Vinge. By the way, if you watch that video about the heat death of the universe, just the title Iron Sunrise should make you shudder.

Slip Stream

This Science Fiction Sub-Genre is pretty awesome. It’s a blend of Fantasy, Science Fiction and Literary Fiction. Honestly, I need to get my hands on an example of this to really grasp how they blend Literary Fiction with Genre Fiction at all. It’s often defined as the fiction of strangeness, which seems to make perfect sense.

Some examples of Slipstream, which I need to find, are The Aleph and Other Stories, by Jorge Luis Borges and Crash, by JG Ballard. I’ll let you know how they are.

Soft SF

I’m not going to spend too much time on Soft Science Fiction, because it’s honestly such a blank description. Any of the genres we’ve described so far could be written as Soft SF or Hard SF, depending on how much science you want to include in your Science Fiction. I would say that much of what I’ve written thus far is probably Soft SF. Though that might be changing, I’ve been learning a lot about science.

Space Exploration

Unlike some of the other Sub-Genres we’ve talked about today, Space Exploration is pretty straightforward. It’s what people think of when they think Science Fiction. It’s going where no one has gone before!

Yes, Star Trek is the most popular example. Some other examples are The Colonists, by Jason Gurley and Corsair, by James Camrias

Space Opera

Okay, this might be the best known, most popular and softest Science Fiction Subgenre there is. Space Operas are big on battles, romance, adventure and all of the things that make stories great, but in space!

I’m not sure you need examples of a Space Opera, but I’ll give you some anyway. Enders Game, by Orson Scott Card, is probably the most well-known one. Then, of course, there’s Station 86, by me.

Steam Punk

I’m questioning whether I even consider Steam Punk a Science Fiction Sub-Genre. I think it’s more of a Fantasy Sub-Genre, but apparently, I don’t get consulted on these things.

Steampunk is defined by its use of technology and aesthetics used during the 19th century with steam-powered machinery. Picture those thick welding goggles and steam-powered space stations. There also tends to be a lot of brown shades on the covers of these books. I love the look, myself.

Some great examples of Steam Punk are Pretty Waiter Girls by Greg Alldredge, and Warehouse 13. Man, I miss that show.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series so far. Stay tuned for the final part next Friday.

Featured Image -- 5413When a station goes dark, Sennett is asked to join the last remaining IHP members to investigate. When they arrive, they find so much more than they expected. A terrifying virus is loose on the station, that they might never escape from.
Meanwhile, Station 86 is having its first free election. Godfrey hadn’t had any intention of being involved, until he isn’t given a choice.
In the meantime, April’s true identity as the first hybrid humanoid is no longer a secret. And there are those who can’t stand that there’s a half Earthian, half Khloe. There are those that will never rest until the little girl is dead. With Sennett trapped, stations away, Godfrey and Mason have to work together to keep April safe.


Author interview, Jim Cronin

Today we have an interview with the author of Aeon Rises,

  1. Tell us about your book.

Aeon Rises is my first attempt at a Young Adult science fiction novel. I have written scifi before, but not for this age group. This is the story of a teenager, Justin Madrid. He has always believed himself to be an average, nerdy outcast kid, living in Aurora, Colorado. The only problem is his extreme migraines ever time he tries to look at any sort of electronic video screen. That is until the day the aliens tried to kill him. That was the day everything changed everything. Now, the fate of all humanity rests in his hands.

  1. When did you realize that you were a writer?

Being a writer came as a complete shock to me. After I retired from 35 years as a science teacher, I started helping my brother with a book he was writing. To pass the time, we started brainstorming ideas for a book I could write. After many false starts and re-writes, The Brin Archives trilogy became a thing.

  1. Do you have any books coming out this year?

Just this week, September 10, my newest book, Aeon Rises is being released on Amazon. If I can get my act together I may have another short story ready for publication in a couple of months. Time will tell.

  1. If readers are looking to connect with you, what’s the best way to do it?

Any of the following social media links will work just fine to connect with me. I would love to hear from some of my readers.

My Webpage:




  1. What are you working on right now?

My current project is a series of short stories. In this collection, I hope to use science fiction and fantasy stories to teach actual science concepts. I believe this would be a much more interesting approach to introducing science to kids than to have them read a textbook, at least at first.

  1. Tell us about submitting your book. What was that like for you?

Submitting my books is always a bit of mixed emotions. I am happy and proud of completing another novel and looking forward to seeing how it is received out in the world, but it is also a bit sad. I do miss talking with all the characters in my head when I have to move on to a new story. It actually was difficult to start something completely new after ending The Brin Archives trilogy. Those characters did not want to leave my head to make room for the new folks coming in.

  1. What author would you say inspires you the most? 

Any of the old science fiction classic authors were my inspiration. I love Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, etc… Maybe someday I will develop some small fraction of their ability to weave a great tale. Don’t get me wrong, I think my work is good… those geniuses are simply several magnitudes above most everyone else.

  1. Who is your current favorite author?

I currently don’t have anyone I would consider a real favorite. I read so many different genres and authors it is hard to say. I enjoy Jeff Shaara’s work tremendously, but I am mostly trying out a number of new authors, and finding some gems out there.

  1. What was your first favorite book as a child?

As a very young child, anything Dr. Seuss were great, and there ws Mr. Pine’s Purple House. Then I found The Hardy Boys. During college, though, I fell in love with The Hobbit, and LOTR books. I have read each of tehm at least five times over the years.

  1. What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to when you first started Hegira 3D Coverwriting?

Get a good editor ASAP. Don’t wait until you get several dozen rejections before deciding to have a professional look over your work. My editors have been invaluable for making my good stories great.

  1. What would you consider the best thing you’ve ever done for your writing career.

I am not sure there is any one thing. I am still writing only part-time since I work three days a week at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and spend a lot of time with my grandkids. If anything, I would say I have always kept it fun. I don’t try to force the writing, I simply let it come when the muses strike.

  1. What would you consider the most fulfilling moment you’ve experienced as a writer?

Empyrean 3D CoverI guess that would be the first time I saw a review from someone I did not know. It suddenly hit me that there were others out there, complete strangers, who liked my work enough to let the world know how much they enjoyed it. That was special.

  1. What book would you suggest to anyone who wants to write?

I don’t have books that work for me. Instead, I would recommend joining local author groups, or attend conferences and find authors willing to talk with you. There are many. Picking the brains of established writers helped me understand my own process better and gave me tons of new ideas.

I am a retired middle school science teacher, working part-time as an educator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I have been married for forty years to the love ofAeon Rises 3D Cover_4 my life. We raised two incredible sons, and now have four amazing grandchildren to spoil rotten.

I was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in Arlington, Virginia before moving to Denver where I attended High School and eventually college at Colorado State University, graduating with a degree in Zoology and a teacher certification. My wife and I currently live near Denver in the small town of Parker.

After writing The Brin Archives trilogy, I wanted to try my hand at reaching a new audience. The idea of a nerdy teenager with few friends suddenly learning the fate of all earth depends on him struck me as a fun scifi adventure.

Social Media Links:

My Webpage:




If you’re still not where you want to be

I’m coming to you with this a little early because I want you to have time to think about it.

In June, I wrote a blog post titled, If you’re not where you want to be this year. I wasn’t where I wanted to be, halfway through 2018. I figured I wasn’t the only one. So I wrote a long post explaining why it’s okay to not be where we thought we’d be in January. January is a liar with a pretty face. He promises you whatever you want to hear, just so he can be as cold as he wants.

I’ve been trying to write poetry. It’s going well.

While I was happy with how the post ended up, and I think it was what I at least needed to hear back then.

But now it’s the end of September, and I hope we’re all in a different place.

The problem is, most people are in a place of giving up this time of year. It’s almost the holidays, they figure. There’s no sense in really buckling down on anything now, I’ll just give it up. It’s better to wait for January to come around again and set some new goals for 2019.

Well, forget that! I’m not waiting until January, and you shouldn’t either. Do you want to be another sucker, letting January tell you that you’re gonna write that novel this year? Isn’t that the same lie he told you last year? Or are you going to march into that month with three months of progress in your hands and tell him where he can go?

Today I’m going to give you some actual, actionable things you can do right now to make progress towards your goals in 2018. It doesn’t matter if your goal is to finish your Goodreads goal, write a short story, make progress on your novel, or repaint your house. These things will help you get closer.

Be realistic

Notice that I didn’t say anything about completing a project in the next three months. You might be able to if your goal is to complete Nanowrimo or write a short story. But if you have a larger goal in mind, three months might be just too little time.

And that’s totally okay! Look, maybe you’re not going to reach the goals you made at the start of the year. That’s not really what we’re worried about right now. Our plan now is to make progress.

Map out what you can do in the next three months

This is my favorite part.

I want you to grab a piece of paper, and write down everything you already have going on in the next three months. Things you can’t really change or move. Your work schedule, family obligations. Things you’ve already planned and can’t or don’t want to get out of. Anything that’s going to take time and energy.

It’s important to know what sort of time you’ve got to work with before you can make any plans.

Now, take a hard look at the time you have to work with. What can you accomplish in the next three months? Write out a plan, month by month.

Set actionable first steps

Now that you have a good idea what your direction should be for the next three months, it’s time to take action.

Take a look at your goal, whatever it is, and figure out what the very first thing you have to do to meet that goal is.

Let’s say you want to write a short story. Well, your first goal is to come up with a story idea, but that’s not really actionable. So, you’d want to say, “I will free write for ten minutes, every day until I come up with a story idea. I will start today.”

Put on your calendar when you will complete these steps

Alright, you have a plan, and you have a goal. Now, put it all down on your planner or calendar. Give yourself a deadline, and make every effort to stick to it. If you plan to free write for ten minutes a day, put those ten minutes on your planner or in your bullet journal. I have a rule, if it’s not in my bullet journal, it’s not going to get done.

Every week, review your progress

Now that you have a plan, you’ve got to follow through on it. Check your progress every week, and set goals to reach closer to your goal.

For example, let’s say your goal is to repaint your house. Your first action might be to select a paint color, then purchase the supplies you need. Maybe next week you move all the furniture out of that room, then tape up the windows and baseboards. Now, you’re getting ready to make your to-do list for the week ahead. So you want to put, painting the base coat on your to-do list. (Mind you, I’ve never painted a room before in my life. I’m making these steps up. If you actually want to paint a room, please consult someone who knows what the hell they’re doing.)

Remember, the purpose of starting on your goals now is to make progress and start the good habits that will lead you into a successful next year.

So how about you? What are you working on, or starting on in the last quarter of the year? Let us know in the comments below!

Deciding To Start contains some of the best blog posts from the first two years of Paper Deciding To StartBeats World, updated with new information and new insights. It covers such topics as inspiration to start writing, advice on the tools you need to get started, how to be a writer while also being a full time human being, and inspiration to keep going.

Get your copy now, or read it for free on Kindle Unlimited

Science Fiction sub-genres, part four

It’s time for part four of our continuing series of Science Fiction Sub-Genres. If you’ve missed the other posts in the series, here are links to Part One, Part Two, and Part Three

Why are there so many science fiction sub-genres? Because they’re pretty different from each other, and everyone’s taste is different. It’s hard to say that a story about virtual reality belongs in the same category as a story about First Contact. While many of these sub-genres can be found blended together, it’s safe to say that any one of them is strong enough alone to tell a good story.

A lot of this information came from World Without Ends. Thank you again for being so awesome.

Mundane SF

Mundane Science Fiction is a pretty cool concept. It’s hard science fiction that takes place on Earth and doesn’t have anything to do with space. It also has believable science fiction for the time that it’s written.

Lots of science fiction is Mundane, including several things that we’ve discussed already. Some that we haven’t discussed are Air, by Geoff Ryman and The Beast with Nine Billion Feet by Anil Menon.


Any story that involves nanotechnology would fall into this subgenre. (Note, though I did use nanotech to a small degree in You Can’t trust the AI, I wouldn’t consider that in this subgenre. It was used to a much larger degree in Virus, which is a blend of zombie and nanotech.)

Some examples of the science fiction sub-genre are How it Was when the Past Went Away, by Robert Silverberg, and Peace on Earth by Stanislaw Lem.

Near Future

I love Near Future stories, they seem so within reach. This subgenre is full of stories that are in our future, but the future that we might actually live long enough to see.

The best example of this subgenre would be the second Back To The Future movie, that took place in the far distant year of 2015.

Pulp (Science) Fiction

I’m sure you’ve heard of pulp science fiction before. It’s basically trash, and I love it! Bad monsters, crappy dialog, women running around in bathing suits screaming. Not a shred of actual science to be seen. It’s terrible, insulting to our intelligence, and fan-freaking-tastic.

The best example of Pulp Science Fiction has to be Mars Attacks. It’s funny as hell, the special effects are terrible, and I never get tired of it.

Basically, Pulp Science Fiction is the deep fried Twinky of sci-fi.


I almost didn’t include this one, because it’s basically the AI subgenre, but specifically in robot or android form.

My favorite Android story is a little embarrassing to admit. But what the hell, I’ll go for it. As a teenager, I loved reading the Japanese manga Chobits.

There are a ton of great android stories, though. Once again, we’ve got to tip our hat to Asimov.

Science Fantasy


Sorry, fangirl Nicole is done. I actually admin a Facebook group for Science Fantasy writer. I love this genre.

Science Fantasy is a blend of Science Fiction and Fantasy, combining magic and science in fascinating new ways. There are no limits to the cool things you can do with this genre.

The Golden Compass is probably the most popular Science Fantasy book, but I love the Dragon Riders of Pern, personally.

I hope you’ve been enjoying this tour of the many science fiction subgenres. Please join us next week for Part Five.

Deciding To Start launches today!

It’s another launch day! I honestly am thrilled by how often these are happening.

Today, Deciding To Start launches. It’s a little scary, because It’s the closest thing to an auto biography I’ve written yet. (That book is coming, but not for a while.)

Deciding To Start contains some of the best blog posts from the first two years of writing Paper Beats World, updated with new information and new insights. It covers such topics as inspiration to start writing, advice on the tools you need to get started, how to be a writer while also being a full time human being, and inspiration to keep going.

Here’s a link to grab your e-copy if you haven’t ordered it already.

I know I say this all the time, but I never feel like I can say it enough. Thank you all for your continuing support and love. Every time you share my work, buy a book, leave a review or like a post it means the world to me. I’ve had times where I never thought I’d be where I am now, but I am because of two things. The first is your support. The second is that I decided to start. (See what I did there?)

The fear of starting

I know we’re pretty far away from Halloween still, but I thought I’d talk about something scary anyway. It’s a fear of all writers at all stages of their career.

This, my friends, is the fear of starting.

Starting, no lie is scary as hell. I’m scared every time I start a new series, even a new book. I’m scared every time I send something to an editor or publisher. Even when it’s Solstice, who’s accepted three of my short stories and three of my novels. (Click here to see my full list of published works.) I’m scared of every new beginning because beginning something new is a scary thing.

Of course, it’s not the starting that’s really scary. It’s the thought that we might fail in what we’ve started. And that fear has had the power to cripple better writers than me.

You would think, the number of books I’ve published, that this fear of starting would never come calling for me again. But it does, oh boy it does. Probably because I still get rejected. (That’s right. A published book helps, but it doesn’t open all doors.)

The thing I keep telling myself, over and over, is that rejection is nothing to be afraid of. I haven’t quite convinced myself of this, but I have at least decided to act like I believe it. And really, it comes out to the same. Rejection doesn’t hurt you one little, tiny bit. You lose absolutely nothing by having a piece of work rejected.

But what about the people who will criticize you for being rejected? Fuck them. #Sorrynotsorry. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never been criticized for failing by anyone who’s ever done a damn thing in their lives. It’s always some lazy git who’s too scared of starting. They don’t like that you’re braver than them, so forget them.

But what about all the time you’ll waste writing if you don’t succeed? Well, there’s a great quote by Earl Nightingale. “Don’t give up on a dream because of the time it will take. The time will pass anyway.” And let’s be honest, I enjoy the time I spend writing. I don’t write to get paid, I write to write. So it can never be a waste of time.

And let’s be fair, the worst anyone can say is no. If they say no, then it just means you submit somewhere else.

By the way, if you need more inspiration to begin, Deciding To Start is coming out on Friday. It’s full of inspirational essays for the beginning writer. I’ve pulled the best blog posts from the first two years of Paper Beats World to build an e-book that I hope will inspire you to let go of your fear and decide to start.

You can preorder it here now.

Deciding To Start

Science Fiction sub-genres, part three

Welcome to part three of our overview of Science Fiction Subgenres. If you missed Part One, or Part Two, you can catch up now.

Why are there so many science fiction sub-genres? Because they’re pretty different from each other, and everyone’s taste is different. It’s hard to say that a story about virtual reality belongs in the same category as a story about First Contact. While many of these sub-genres can be found blended together, it’s safe to say that any one of them is strong enough alone to tell a good story.

Most of my research came from a site called World Without Ends. A huge thanks to them, for being so crazy thorough when listing sub-genres.

Hard SF

Okay, I don’t hate any subgenre. A genre is like a dog, most of its defaults can be blamed on its owner. Books are the same. The defaults are because of the writer, not the genre.

At the same time, sometimes people pick the wrong breed of dog for their lifestyle. I am not a good owner for a husky or collie, because these are high energy dogs that require honest to goodness jobs to be happy. Likewise, some writers are writing genres that they are not equipped to write. For me, one of those genres is Hard SF. For a lot of people, one of those genres is Hard SF.

This Science Fiction Subgenre is based on actual, hard science. Good science that can be explained and holds up under peer review. Issac Asimov is someone who writes Hard SF and writes it well.

The problem is that most people who write Hard SF and get the science right are actual scientists or engineers. There’s a woman in my Science Fantasy group online who does hold several degrees. She is totally qualified to write Hard SF, and she does so well.

But sometimes being a smart scientist doesn’t mean you’re a creative or entertaining writer. So, we end up with a lot of stories that have great science, but not great stories.

Some examples of Hard SF done well are Red Mars, by Kim Stanley Robinson and A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke

Human Development

The Human Development Science Fiction Subgenre is another that is pretty self-explanatory, and another that is fairly common to see combined with other genres. It’s all about how we, as humans, are developing and what we might develop into.

Some examples of the Human Development Subgenre are Warhorse by Blake Henriques and Heirs of Earth, by the same author.


Who hasn’t dreamed of being immortal? Never aging, never getting sick. Seeing unimagined futures. Well, I actually don’t think that sounds great. I think living forever sounds like a nightmare march of loneliness, watching person after person I love die.

That’s mostly because I’ve read too much Immortality Science Fiction Sub Genre.

My favorite example and one that a lot of people might not think of as science fiction is Tuck Everlasting. Yes, the family was given immortality by water they drank from a spring. But a lot of science is based on nature.


Another Science Fiction Sub Genre that is almost always blended with others is light, or humorous. I don’t think I need to go into that much detail. It’s funny. It’s science fiction that’s written to be comedic.

My favorite example of this is Space Balls, by Mel Brooks. I can’t think of a good example of a book for this sub-genre, but if you know one please leave it in the comments below.

Military SF

Fun fact, Military Science Fiction is the most popular and best-selling genre right now. So, if you enjoy Military Science Fiction, now is your time to shine.

This sub-genre is fairly straightforward. Stories about war and the military, in a science fiction setting. One of my favorite examples is Starship Troopers, based on the novel of the same name by Robert Heinlein.

Mind Uploading

I bet you don’t think you know a story about mind uploading unless you read a ton of Science Fiction. I bet you’re also wrong because there was a stupidly popular movie based on Mind Uploading.


The Mind Uploading subgenre is an exciting one, that’s on my list to explore. I was fascinated by the theory in Dollhouse, too.

Put simply, this sub-genre is all about uploading a mind into a different body. Maybe it’s human, maybe it’s alien, maybe it’s animal. The important thing is that the brain in question is no longer in its original packaging.

I hope you’re enjoying our review of the many, many different Science Fiction Sub-Genres. Join us next week for Part Four.

scn_0047Sennett, Godfrey and the rest of Station 86 are trying to put their society back in order after the Core attack. Then a mysterious ship from a dying station arrives, bringing artificially intelligent robotic, murderous dogs.
Godfrey, Mason and April must get to the hospital safely, while Sennett is trying to protect Marshal’s Joy and Howard. But the AI dogs are nothing compared to the terrors they left behind on their own station.

A Website.

Up ↑