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Showing posts from February, 2011

Politically Relevant Sub-Genres of Science Fiction - Part 2

After the unscheduled break to write about Dystopia, it is now time to get back on track and retake the issue of politically relevant sub-genres of Science Fiction. In the previous post I wrote about the sub-genres in which socio-political concerns have the biggest importance, and now it's time to go into the remaining 4.

5. Near-future science fiction
6. Cyberpunk
7. Cross-genre
8. Military science fiction

Near-future SF tends to be centered around the technological advances that are just around the corner from us, and sometimes they involve socio-political changes, but that is not always the case. Precisely because of the near-future time setting, the society in which the story takes place has not really changed that much, and if it has then it's not near future SF but another of the sub-genres.

Cyberpunk deals primarily with the effects of merging technology with humans (cyborgs, direct neural inputs, immersible computer networks), and the results are more often than not bl…

Dystopia - What did you say that was?

Over the past couple of days I have come across several blogs dealing with the issue of Dystopia. In fact it was one such post that led me to start this blog, and every time I read an article on the topic I start to comment, only to realize that that comment is in fact a part of a post on Dystopia that I plan to write, so to address this issue I have decided to jump ahead a bit and write the damn post, way before its time in the scheme of the blog, but here it seems the issue can't wait any more.

The original blog post I came across was "A Short Discussion About Dystopian Lit" and this week I ran across this question: "How do you define Dystopian?". Both of them deal with the question of What is Dystopia, so here goes my attempt at, not defining, but rather characterizing it.

In a purely grammatical sense Dystopia is the opposite of Utopia, so first we need a definition of Utopia, to find what it's opposite is. After reading several dictionary definitions …

Politically Relevant Sub-Genres of Science Fiction - Part 1

In order to move forward, and closer to the subject matter of my research, it's necessary to take the sub-genres from the last post and analyze them in order to determine in which of them political thought has the most relevance. I have to admit that my reading list has been focused mostly on a couple of genres, and if you disagree with my conclusions and think that I should expand into other sub-genres please let me know.

It can be argued that most of Science Fiction has at least some sort of political background and relevance, but what I'm really looking for is stories where the political aspect is central to the story, not just decoration. So based on the list of sub-genres from the precious post, I have selected the following as those most relevant, ordered according to the importance political thought plays in the overall sub-genre:

1. Dystopia / Utopia
2. Soft / sociological science fiction
3. Alternate history
4. Apocalyptic, holocaust, and post-apocalyptic
5. Near-futu…

Science Fiction and its Subgenres

Now that we have a working set of boundaries for determining which stories to include in the body of works that we call Science Fiction, it's time to look into the main sub-genres within SF. This is probably one of the most unknown issues for readers of other genres, and oddly enough some SF writers as well: not all Science Fiction stories take place in outer space or involve laser weapons and the props of Star Trek.

For a very good list of the sub-genres of SF, take a look at Writing World. Each item on their list has a brief description of it, but I intend to build upon those definitions, and others, to expand their scope and help clarify the sometimes confusing landscape of the Science Fiction genre.

The Sub-genres suggested by Writing World are:
Alternate history
Apocalyptic, holocaust, and post-apocalyptic
First contact
Hard science fiction
Light/humorous science fiction
Military science fiction
Near-future science fiction
Science fantasy/future fantasy