In a post on February 19th, I wrote about the changing fare of science fiction books available in the bookstores. Since then, I did a bit of research and found the following science fiction genres currently being published:

Urban fantasy (The Dresden Files), dark fantasy (The Shining), SF thriller, vampire, young adult, alternate history, hard SF (Arthur C. Clarke, James Blish, Larry Niven), historical fantasy, children’s fantasy, computer SF, historical SF, military SF, SF romance, cyberpunk (hi-tech & low life), steampunk (fantasy & speculative fiction in an era or world where steam power is used), science fantasy, fantasy alternate history, Arthurian, space opera, SF mystery, social SF (less tech & more sociology), game related fantasy, new age SF and epic fantasy.

I prefer the hard science fiction where plausible science is employed in technology that is not available today, but perhaps could be in the future. For example, magic is not plausible science and thus is in the fantasy category. I wasn’t even aware of the steampunk category. And I think of “The Shining” more as horror story but apparently it is in fact dark fantasy.

Veronica Hollinger has written a very interesting paper on trends in science fiction between 1980 – 1999 and she talks about books that analyze these trends. It is 16,000 words long, so beware. Her introductory sentence is very apt: “The past two decades have seen an explosion of critical writing about science fiction beyond what anyone might have expected.”

You can say that again Veronica!

The link to her paper is here: http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/78/hollinger78art.htm

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