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.



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