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imgresAnyone who’s every read science fiction knows that it can vary considerably. I don’t just mean in terms of quality… I’m talking about the plot, characters, world-building, tone, and ideas.

For example, look at Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, which had grand ideas about an empire of galactic proportions and a man’s ability to predict its fall and rebuild. Big ideas, but little to no character development and world-building.

Then, look at Frank Herbert’s Dune, which created a fascinating world of different peoples and their lust for power. In addition to its nod to ecology and conservation, it had religious themes and a bit of fantasy. By the way, I love this older cover for the book.

And what about Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, a disturbing dystopian novel about the kind of world where firefighters burn books rather than fight fires and information is considered dangerous: memorable characters, thought-provoking ideas, but simple plot.

There’s also the novels and series of S.L. Viehl, space opera that makes for a fun read but is light on ideas or heavy science.


I could go on and on. Some have attempted to classify science fiction novels into sub-genres. This Writing World article does a decent job of it and includes well-known examples of each sub-genre. Here are the types, from the article:


Types of Science Fiction 

  • Apocalyptic, holocaust, and post-apocalyptic
  • Cross-genre
  • Cyberpunk
  • First contact
  • Hard science fiction
  • Light/humorous science fiction
  • Military science fiction
  • Near-future science fiction
  • Science fantasy/future fantasy
  • Slipstream
  • Soft/sociological science fiction
  • Space opera
  • Time travel


Other Resources

Christie’s science fiction books

Christie’s science fiction article archive

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