This week Science Fiction readers seem to be really in love with four particular niches and genres of Science Fiction. These four categories are doing exceptionally well on the best seller’s chart and are mostly pushing everything else off.
The first category is that of dystopian and apocalyptic fiction. These books are usually set in a version of the future where there has been a terrible, world altering event, and the world has become significantly worse and harder to survive in because of it. Many of these stories can be split into two brackets, one where the disaster is due to the actions of humanity, such as EMP or Nuclear disasters, or ones which are outside the ability of humanity to control, such as a meteor or a massive loss of fertility. These books are generally following a single person or a small group of people who are attempting to survive in the new world. Characters are usually expected to fight and sneak around, and some are more focused on social versions of these than actual fighting and sneaking. There is usually also food shortages and medical emergencies that would not be so dramatic in the same setting before it became a dystopia or apocalyptic waste land.
The second category is that of books set in space, usually either Military Sci Fi, or Space Opera, or Space Exploration Sci Fi. These books will often have a space ship as the main setting, as the home base, so to speak. And then the characters will go from setting to setting, visiting a variety of space ports and other planets. These books often feature alien species, sometimes as allies and sometimes as enemies. These books are often set in a galaxy that is immediately post war, during a war, or lading up to a war. Of course this could be said of most places, but war is typically a major part of the plot, even if it is not currently on the go at the moment. These books are also among the most far flung in terms of space and time, sometimes Earth is nothing but a rumour or is long forgotten. Interestingly, these books tend to have lot in common with the more adventure focused Fantasy novels, since evil empires and the fight against them is a common trope.
The third category doing well this week is LitRPG and GameLit novels. These books are based in a world where the rules of games and RPGs in particular are transposed onto a narrative. Essentially, it is like reading the novel version of a video game, complete with stat trees and health points. Often the characters are brought from a real world setting, one similar to our own, and then go into the game world where they are thrust into a battle against evil forces. The plots will then follow a lot of the same tropes as video games, but with the notable adaption being that the characters are aware of the usual tropes and are generally quite willing to use them to their advantage. On the other side of the coin, there are also books in this genre where the main characters are characters from the game universe, who must now learn to cope with super powered beings from another reality invading their home.
Finally, the last category is Science Fiction Romance. There will be a post dedicated to this genre later this week, so I can be quite brief in my descriptions today. Most of the books in this genre are focused on the idea of an alien man, from a warrior culture that is far in advance of humanity’s, abducting a young human woman. Often these books have a fated mate story line, where the pair are destined to be together.
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