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.
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
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.
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.
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.