Hitchhiker’s Guide to Sci-Fi Subgenres – Part 6

Posted on October 6, 2021

by Morgan B

We finish “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Sci-Fi Subgenres” with our last two subgenres, one old and one new. I’ll provide a ‘classic’ and ‘popular’ example of each. There are plenty of other subgenres, of course, which is partly why science fiction is so exciting to explore. If any of these subgenres spiked your interest, talk to one of our wonderful librarians who can point you to more examples or sign up for our Science Fiction & Fantasy Book List. Until next time, live long and prosper!


What if you could go back in time? Or forward? Would you change the timeline if you could? These are questions storytellers never seem to tire of asking, creating a whole subgenre dedicated to playing around with the answers. From H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine to the Terminator films, there’s a time travel story for each of us. Here are a couple of really fun examples.

Cover of Doctor Who

Doctor Who

The longest running science fiction TV series first aired in 1963 to British audiences with a low budget but lots of imagination. A human-like alien who calls themselves the Doctor travels around in their TARDIS (Time and Relative Dimension in Space) which happens to look like an old police phone box. Each “regeneration” of the Doctor allows a new actor to take the role, so the show airs even now with a female Doctor and several new companions.

Cover of Back to the Future

Back to the Future

The trilogy of movies belonging to the Back to the Future franchise follows the story of teen Marty McFly and his scientist friend Doc Brown as they travel to the past and future to save their present. In the first film, Marty from the year 1985 accidentally sends himself to the year 1955 using Doc’s DeLorean time machine. Stranded without the power needed to fuel the modified car, Marty seeks out 1955’s Doc to help him and accidentally messes with his own past along the way.


A newer subgenre of sci-fi is the video game subgenre which, of course, has only been around for as long as video games have existed. As video games increased in popularity, so too did the subgenre. Whether they are books based on popular video games, like the many Minecraft or Legend of Zelda chapter books for kids, or movies about being trapped in a computer or virtual world, the genre is continuously growing.

Cover of Tron: Legacy

Tron: Legacy

Sequel to Disney’s 1982 cult classic film Tron, the 2010 film Tron: Legacy picks up where the original left off. Kevin Flynn begins work on a new project, one he believes will change humanity itself but he soon disappears. Twenty years later, Kevin’s son Sam stumbles on his father’s project in an arcade basement where he is sucked into one of the machines and onto The Grid. With the help of various programs, Sam must find his father and a way back into the real world.

Cover of Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph

What happens when the bad guy in a video game decides he doesn’t want to be bad anymore? Disney aims to answer that question with colorful 3D animation and a heartfelt story filled with action, humor, and references that folks of all ages will love.

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