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Hitchhiker’s Guide to Sci-Fi Subgenres Part 2
Posted on May 10, 2021
by Morgan B
Welcome to part two of my series, “Morgan Writes Excitedly About Her Favorite Genre”— I mean, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Sci-fi Subgenres.” In the last post, we covered the basic divide between hard and soft science fiction. This time, we’ll dive a little deeper into specific subgenres with alien invasions and post-apocalyptic settings. Fun! No, really, these genres can be fun! I’ll try to give a ‘classic’ and ‘popular’ example of each.
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You know this genre—invaders from outer space come to our world seeking to destroy all humans! Science fiction doesn’t get any simpler or more classic than that.
From the classic book to the landmark radio play and film adaptation, H.G. Wells’ classic War of the Worlds has endured for over a century. One of the first of its kind, the novel tells the story of Martian invaders and includes heat rays, three-legged fighting machines, chemical weapons, and hope in the face of immeasurable odds.
Written by a husband and wife duo under a pseudonym, Animorphs is a children’s chapter book series about a group of kids who gain the ability to morph into animals. Together, they fight against alien parasites bent on taking over the world. The series also has very memorable original cover art.
Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
Whether it’s from nuclear fallout, viruses, aliens, or something else, the world as we know it has ended and humanity must struggle to survive.
While not a happy read by any means, Nevil Shute’s On the Beach takes a very human look at people’s responses to nuclear fallout and the impending end of the world. The novel also inspired a movie of the same name starring Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, and Anthony Perkins.
C’mon, grab your friends! We’ll go to post-apocalyptic lands. Don’t let the bright colors and talking dogs fool you. While still maintaining a kid-friendly tone, the Cartoon Network animated show Adventure Time takes place after a mysterious nuclear-like fallout producing candy mutants, ruined cities, and a wide variety of monsters. The show deals with other science fiction tropes such as robots, AI, alternate timelines, time travel, paradoxes—it’s a lot for a show that also indulges in lots of rear end humor!