This week in Science Fiction there seems to be a distinct taste for books about the Apocalypse and life afterwards, as well as horrifying diseases, aliens, space battles, and the LitRPG sub-genre. So, in other words it’s Science Fiction and the usual niches and trends are hitting their targets. Read on for the analyses.
First off, I was not kidding about the number of books in this week’s Science Fiction charts which deal with end of the world scenarios. And this week’s favoured scenario seems to be diseases and plagues. A. G. Riddle’s, Pandemic, is one such book, but so is The Jakarta Pandemic, by Stephen Konkoly, Bobby Adair’s, Dusty’s Diary Series, which are is for sale in a box set this week, and Dirk Patton’s series closes with Legion: V Plague Book 19. And if nothing else shows the staying power and fan adoration for this niche, it is the fact that multiple series have had the chance to start and close within this niche, one of which stretched to 19 books. The books in this niche typically follow the life of one character, usually a man, who is attempting to either keep his family safe in the ongoing chaos, or is in a position to lead humanity out of said chaos and is trying to save what is left of the world. Also important to remember, is that many of the books in this niche of Science Fiction tend to rely on a lot of Thriller Genre tropes and often bring in an audience from both sides.
In a small step away from disease based apocalypses, J. N. Chaney’s, The Amber Project: A Dystopian Sci-fi Novel (The Variant Saga Book 1), is the first book in a four part series exploring the life of humanity 200 years after a gas was released onto Earth, changing and killing all it came across. This book is also a little different to the other books in this niche, as the main character is a teenager, sent out to explore and reconquer the world that was left behind by a fleeing humanity.
Also popular this week are books exploring women’s roles in Science Fiction settings, principally dystopias, but also in other settings. The books in this niche cross between Science Fiction Romance and straight Science Fiction, Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale, Lauren Beukes, Un-Girls in the Disorder collection, are on the more traditional Science Fiction side, dealing with the horror of the genre and filled with suspense and threats against the protagonist. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Romance or Not divide, are books like, Daniella Wright’s, Auctioned to the Armitage Brothers, and Seed, by Penelope Woods. These books are a lot more focused on the sexual nature of the main characters’ relationships and generally are quicker to a Happily Ever After for their characters. However, a lot of similar books were covered in last week’s Science Fiction analysis, so I would recommend reading that as well for a more developed week on week look at the niche. You can find a link to it here.
In addition to these niches, tales of Alien Invasion are also doing well, with books like, M. R. Forbes, Invasion, and Honey Phillips’, Alien Conquest, not leaving much to the imagination with their titles. Again this is an ongoing trend, so you can find out more in last week’s post.
Unlike last week, Space Operas are filling a lot more of the available spots in the chart. Lindsay Buroker, for example, as well as Jay Allen and Joshua Dalzelle, are all on the charts and proving very popular. One name you will definitely have heard of, but might not know as a Science Fiction author, is George R. R. Martin, with his book, The Dying of the Light, which brings a Fantasy edge to a Science Fiction tale, or possibly the other way around.
LitRPG and gaming novels are still proving their worth in the charts this week, as well as many of the same books from last week, Michael Anderle’s, Collecting The Goddess: A LitRPG Adventure (Chronicles Of KieraFreya Book 1), is killing it on the chart.
Finally, awards and television deals are always going to be a big influence on the numbers of readers some authors and books get. Here are some of the books on the list this week that show why they get all those shiny trophies and shinier screen deals. Cixin Liu’s, The Three Body Problem, Margaret Atwood’s, The Handmaid’s Tale, Poul Anderson’s, The Boat of a Million Years, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s, Good Omens, and George Orwell’s, 1984. Some of these books are so well known that they are basically required reading for anyone moving into their genres, others are new but doing well enough that if you give them a few years they will reach a similar status.
So, to finish off. Lots of the same books in the same trends and niches as last week, but things are changing, and new books are clawing their way up the charts. It is hard to imagine a world with a Science Fiction chart without The Handmaid’s Tale, for example, on it, or a complete lack of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, but that day is clearly coming, if those competing for those coveted spots at the top of the charts have the chance.