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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Alien Invasion

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.

Cover of The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds
By H.G. Wells

eBook   |   eAudiobook

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.

Cover of Animorphs

By K.A. Applegate

Graphic Novel   |   hoopla

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.

Cover of On the Beach

On the Beach
By Nevil Shute


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.

Cover of Adventure Time

Adventure Time


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!

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