Sunday, June 2, 2013

On Science Fiction

Most of the science fiction, or sci-fi, that I see in libraries tend to be spin-offs of the Star Wars series. There's no problem with that, and I'm a fan of the series, but the thing is that it is sort of odd that those books make up half of the available books and that not much else is left.

But anyway, this post is a general one on science fiction. Sci-fi, in essence, is a genre that asks questions usually related to technological advancements. Examples: What would happen if cloning became feasible? What would aliens look like? What if time travel was possible? What if society was ruled in a different way?

Sci-fi novels try to capture what society might look like in those sort of circumstances. Sometimes, a character manages to enter that society, and notices how they're different. Some common terms include:

1. Space opera: This is sort of different in the fact that in this kind of novel, the storyline is the major feature and no major question is asked. It has more entertainment value than being a sort of inquiry, an example would be Star Wars.

2. Utopia: A utopia is a perfect world. There are a whole lot of books written about these. Generally, a character from the outside will come to them and notice how things have changed.

3. Dystopia: In contrast, a dystopia is the opposite of a Utopia. Generally, a person from the outside doesn't visit, rather a character from the inside notices what is wrong around them and brings about change, kind of like in The Hunger Games.

4. Apocalyptic: This is a novel in which most of mankind is wiped out. They are a lot of them, including I am Legend.

But the great thing is that sci-fi is never rigidly characterized into these categories. Sci-fi novels, like fantasy, tend to be a bit longer, and there's no real limit on what you can question about society or write about.

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