Hey readers! I cannot believe we’re starting February and ready for month two of Judging Genres! I’m really excited about this month because I’m stepping out the box. Technically, we’re still in the realm of fantasy (that which cannot happen in the world as we know it) but I’m digging a bit deeper. This month (and next) I’m going to explore some subgenres of fantasy that often could be a whole genre of their own.
Up this month is:
My husband is a FANATIC when it comes to science-fiction (sci-fi) and he has been trying to get me to read it for years. I mean–I’ll watch Star Wars with him over and over again any day, but Ender’s Game? That was a rough read.
I guess there are elements of sci-fi that just never seemed to interest me, and I think that’s because I haven’t been reading the right kind of sci-fi. But I’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s break down the definition first.
When it comes to sci-fi, here’s a definition I’ve heard over and over again in literature classes:
Essentially, my understanding is that sci-fi (as a sub genre of fantasy) is often set in the future and “magic” is disguised by technology. My biggest qualm I have always had with sci-fi is that it often has undertones or themes dealing with society or politics.
However, in my research I’ve found LOTS of definitions for sci-fi. According to my A Handbook to Literature 10th Ed, sci-fi is “a form of fantasy in which scientific facts, assumptions, or hypothesis form the basis of adventures in the future, on other planets, in other dimensions in time or space, or under new variants of scientific law.”
So–anything having to do with space, alien life forms, time, or space!
The reason I feel sci-fi falls under fantasy, though, is because the things that happen in sci-fi stories often really cannot happen in real life. But, the gals over at stacked also have a really interesting take on it. They quote Issac Asimov (a sci-fi author) in that “science fiction literature [is] concerned with the impact of scientific advancement upon humans.” Their post also suggests that sci-fi is “plausible” in that sure it could definitely happen or no we could never see that happening. Essentially, sci-fi (just like fantasy) has to have that willing suspension of belief in order to truly enjoy the story.
I do, however, agree with the gals at Stacked that sci-fi also has it’s range of subgenres. So, if we go back to my little chart in which I break down genres–you’ll see that I place sci-fi as a subgenre of fantasy which means that sci-fi actually has sub-subgenres. Here’s a visual:
As you can see, I place dystopian lit as a sub-subgenre of sci-fi but because it is so popular among YA/MG lit, I’ll focus on it separately next month. There are about a billion other sub-subgenres and even though I don’t credit this source as significant, the Wikipedia Sci-Fi page has a good definition and talks about the worlds within sci-fi.
Ultimately, I count a book as sci-fi if it has any of these sort of elements:
- time travel
- alternate histories/timelines
- space life
- space operas
- things with space ships
- space westerns
- quantum physics
- cyborgs / androids
- military sci-fi
- superhuman creatures/people
And these elements could all be together or separate–I think that’s what makes sci-fi fun is that there are all sorts of sci-fi sub-subgenres and finding the right one is what could hook you on the read. For instance, military sci-fi is not really my cup of tea (think Ender’s Game) but I am willing to pick up any story with the element of time travel (A Wrinkle in Time). I’m also often willing to try cyborgs or androids (Cinder) and recently I’ve got a thing for aliens and alternate world/timelines (Doctor Who).
I’m looking forward to February and exploring some fun new reads. Hopefully, I’ll find an element of sci-fi that really hooks me. I’d totally be willing to label myself a sci-fi nerd then.
Until then, here’s what I’m reading (so far) this month if you’d like to join in the fun:
Also, I might just start Doctor Who over again. I mean, why not?
Until next week it’s time to stop judging sci-fi–what are your thoughts on the sci-fi subgenre? Are you a huge fan or do you tend to steer clear of it? Do you consider sci-fi to have sub-subgenres or is sci-fi just one large genre to you? What’s you favorite element to read about in sci-fi?