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 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.
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.
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.