Bestselling Teen & Young Adult Science Fiction in 2020
The Paladin Prophecy: Book 1
Marked by Fate: With Augmented Reality: Read, Watch, Listen. The new ultimate reading experience
The Mermaid's Sister
The Girl Who Dared to Think
The Treemakers (The Treemakers Trilogy) (Volume 1)
The Undergrounders Series Books 1-3: Boxed Set Immurement, Embattlement, Judgement
Greyson Gray: Camp Legend (The Greyson Gray Series) (Volume 1)
- Used Book in Good Condition
All Rights Reserved: A New YA Science Fiction Book (Word$ 1)
Landfall: The Ship Series // Book One
Rise of the Dragons (Kings and Sorcerers--Book 1)
The Sky: A Complete Post-Apocalyptic Series with Twists and Turns (The Sky Series, Books 1-4)
Tainted: A Young Adult Dystopian Series (The ARC Book 1)
Science Fiction Isn't Just Fiction
Science fiction's a fluid genre that changes with the course of time. It's a literary voice that evolves with a generation, the genre borne out of wonderment, out of curiosity, to satisfy the age-old question of "What if?"
What if, indeed.
It was the question of "What if?" that created the rich multitude of stories, visions, and predictions we have here today through the written and the video medium. It is an outlet in which we can play and toy with the possibilities and see what turns out without the dire consequences of pushing that notorious 'red button'.
Many may have associated science fiction with what one saw on the television screen- a myriad of images with a backdrop of mournful music that would set the tone of the future or some other fantastic adventure. Science fiction has been pegged instead into a mold of a man in latex ears, quoting academic facts without the use of contractions in his vocabulary, music warbled out in xylophones and electronics to create an otherworldly effect. The future as shared from the electronic translation of the genre was fast paced, gadget saturated, and simply a wonder to imagine.
There was another layer to peel off this genre. Going beyond the surface of aliens, gadgetry, and bizarre episodic plot lines, there is a very captivating voice - one that requires one to discard previous perceptions and discover the other facets of science fiction. And the best part about science fiction is that it's never outdated. Even Jules Verne's predictions of the future still sound refreshingly fantastic now as they must have been for his readers over a hundred years ago.
Tom Godwin's "Cold Equations" is one of the best prime examples of its literary content outlasting its own literary debut. The time when it was written in 1954, technology was on the verge of exploding into the reliance we've come to achieve today. To read it now, in a day and age when we were brought up with the aid of technology, it was still shocking and a bit alarming to read a story that gives a morbid warning about us as a human race surviving on the sterile numbers of science. No matter what, even with the best technology in our possession, it would still come down to numbers and the best we can offer may not always save a life. Despite how bad any of us feel, the story's victim Marilyn still had to die. Reading it today was still as new and fresh, as it must have been decades ago when it first debuted. Its messages can still translate no matter which generation turns the pages.
Science fiction gives a person astounding access to imaginations beyond one's own scope. However, a testosterone
infested cover of men with huge guns might not easily cajole someone into buying the book. Today's science fiction community is equally populated both male and female.
"Never judge a book by its cover" is a bit clichÃ©, but it fits for this genre. Marketing for any type of literature in the publishing world was always about numbers and numbers meant targeting whom they thought would read the books. Unfortunately though, the perception still stands that science fiction is part of a man's world. Earlier works had the male character as the protagonist, the female always the proverbial damsel in distress, and that was the story. The end.
It was refreshing to discover some of the writers out there today are females, even though some had to write under male pseudo. The wave of cyberpunk truly brought out the best, echoing a culture stoned in a swarm of drugs, violence and new philosophies. The female writers like Guin and McCaffrey rose from a genre always been associated with male thought with interesting viewpoints and ideas. But science fiction doesn't just entertain. It shocks us, jump-starts our
thinking, and expresses the current wave of thought in a creative way that has the readers walking away with it still vivid in their minds. I like how the genre offers another outlook to the future that we couldn't possibly get from simply watching the news or reading fiction. There's something different about reading speculative fiction compared to a romance novel or mystery. The themes that cycle around the genre are imaginative and thought provoking.
It had been debated however on whether or not science fiction was even appropriate for children. Understandably, some of the stories we read might upset established beliefs and thought. Overall, opinions were pretty split between proper choice of material and whether or not that fell within the parameters of censorship. But to be honest, any genres of literature have their pitfalls. Science fiction, however, offers something no other genre can.
Science fiction is our "watchdog" and our very own time machine. Where else but within the realm of science fiction could we truly explore all the possibilities we've toyed with? We're not like Heinlein's MacRaes in "It's Great To Be Back". We can't change our minds and head back to some lunar colony once we regret our actions. Everything we consider requires an action and ultimately, a reaction. And often, there's no turning back. But at least in science fiction, the variations, and the possibilities we've constantly thought about are fully materialized within the pages. We gain an insight we can't get anywhere else. And like Olga said, it's like a watchdog- a warning to tell us as a society if we are going to far, taking too many steps closer to a crumbling edge. Science fiction was our Jimmy Cricket, our conscience. It's a creative form of social commentary on civilization. It can be propaganda without the annoying bullhorn and podium.
That's the best reason why we should read science fiction- whether social or technological. The lessons we learn today could someday be essential. We, as a society, can't see the road up ahead without someone first shouting and pointing at the drop off. The writers of science fiction are our backseat drivers- the ones with the better vision, the ones who can point out the possible cracks on the roads, and attempt to warn us before we crash. As much as we like to view ourselves as an intellectual race with more foresight than regret, the one thing science fiction delights in telling us is we are fallible.
Not exactly the biggest of epiphanies, true. But the common thread of all the stories we've read, the movies we'd watched, humans had always been our Iago to our Othellos. Of course, occasionally, you have the rogue robot and machine wrecking havoc to our world, but these machinery like HAL or even the occasional controlling MultiVacs, were originally created by man. A piecemeal monster didn't just lurch out of some primordial soup to incite murder. No, it was his creator Frankenstein with his stubborn certainty of his creation that borne the monstrosity until it finally came to realize it's misplacement in this world and destroyed itself after killing the man who thought he could play God and creator.
However, this isn't just about hubris or blind certainty of our own human superiority. It's both. Science fiction shows us mankind's flaws. Whether the eagerness to track down a giant squid, or trying to decipher a dolphin's language, man is shown to us with the eagerness to seek knowledge, but flawed in trying to obtain it. We see things in a limited scope, unable to ascertain what could be the ultimate right or wrong. We see only what we think is right, what we think is wrong. And in truth, it's all a matter of perspective and in realizing that our perspective is truly only our perspective and can be limiting. Dickson's Mal from "Dolphin's Way" didn't truly understand his subjects until he got to their level- the water. Almquist in "Down and Out in Ellfive Prime" couldn't understand why Zen would go to the underground, yet what he thought was the right way became the wrong way when their colony began to fail. We as a society see things within a narrow boundary, unable to make the leaps or perhaps dare to, to explore the alternate possibilities. Mankind, or humanity, isn't as open-minded as we like to think we are.
As humans, we make mistakes. Within the stories, it was obvious enough. On Ellfive Prime, it was a minute neglect, human error that slowly caused the machines to fail. It was human error that made Marilyn sneak into the ship in "Cold Equations" that would eventually sentence her to death in empty space. They only saw what they thought was right, was within their power. Had they made the quantum leap to the next possibility- no matter how fantastic- perhaps their fates would have changed. Or perhaps not.
Science fiction has many faces. It shows us what can happen. It reveals to us the good and the bad. The stories can do this without needing to experiment out at Nevada with hydrogen, without experimenting on rats and canines, and without needing to invent a time machine. We make mistakes and sometimes we'll admit it, sometimes we'll point the finger to someone else. Science fiction and its boldness points the finger right back to where it should- to us. Their stories tells us we're the guilty party, shows us what will be our fates if we don't change. Science fiction rips apart our misconceptions, our comfortable notions of the future, and shows us every single gory detail. The genre makes no apologies, makes no allowances. Many had protested Godwin's "Cold Equations" when it first came out. Many readers were upset, but the story reveals a truth to us about technology, something none of us are truly ready to see yet. With perfectly arranged words, the right descriptions, science fiction shows us what can be, what could be, and what will be.
And that's a lesson we can take beyond any science fiction story and into life itself.