Modern Science Fiction has so many sub-genres to grab a hold of, that as a reader, you barely know where to start. But as all travellers do, we must start somewhere, and start we will at Hard Sci-fi, encapsulated by Greg Egan’s Orthogonal: The Clockwork Rocket (2011). Hard Sci-fi is characterised by its acute attention to accurate detail when it comes to quantitative sciences. In Egan’s universe, light has no universal speed and its creation generates energy. This is not Sci-fi for the faint hearted.
We can maybe find something a bit more user-friendly in the Space Opera subgenre, which is typically large-scale space exploration. Take The Evolutionary Void (2011) by Peter F. Hamilton, the final instalment in his Void trilogy. Millions of pilgrims board their ultra-drive ships and head to the heart of the galaxy, but there are those that will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening. The modern day Space Opera can tend to the nostalgic, harkening back to the golden age of science fiction.
In search of something with more substance, we can move on to the Apocalyptic branch of Sci-fi. Apocolyptic science fiction is concerned with the end of civilisation through any number of means, it tells of the disaster itself and of the direct aftermath. Alone, at the Very End of the World (2012) by Damien Joseph, tells the story of a boy who lived at the time of the apocalypse. The Earth is dead and the population is dying after biological toxins contaminate the air. Although this subgenre gives more scope for a study of character, it is as the name suggests; bleak.
So let’s move on to the comic Sci-fi subgenre. The frivolity of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series has captured millions. So why is this subgenre of Sci-fi somewhat unexplored?
This small subgenre is possibly the most accessible, we all love to laugh, indeed the moment Arthur Dent was told to put a Babel fish in his ear, Sci-fi just got that little bit more exciting. The future held infinite possibilities for adventures and weirdness. Science Fiction writers create fully realised worlds for the reader to explore, so why not make it fun? Robert Rankin’s Dance of the Voodoo Handbag, is now available to buy on Amazon Kindle. So your Sci-fi is not only accessible, but also easy to get your hands on. The novel is part of Rankin’s Completely Barking Mad trilogy, yet it can be read as a stand alone book that takes you on a wild and weird journey where you can sell your soul for immortality and Barry is the world’s most famous Brussels sprout.
More and more Sci-fi leaks into our own private world, starting in books, then movie screens, and now the internet. There is only one thing to do now, and that is to get lost in a new world by visiting www.facebook.com/NanaBarbBook and search the universe with Nana for that perfect cuppa.