Thursday, September 30, 2021

Intro to Science Fiction

The idea of science fiction can be intimidating. You might think of dense text filled with space exploration and scientific jargon, but there’s much more to it than that. What readers may not realize is that science fiction has a wide spectrum of sub-genres and topics, meaning there is something for everyone to enjoy — you just have to find your niche.

Here are three recommendations for science fiction entry points to help you try out the genre. Have another idea of a topic that might pique your interest? Stop by the library and ask!

"Dreamers" by Karen Thompson Walker

One day, a college student falls asleep and doesn’t wake up, unable to be roused by anyone. As more girls fall asleep, the town is thrown into chaos. A young couple tries to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. Two sisters turn to each other for comfort as their survivalist father prepares for disaster. Those affected by the illness are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, higher than has ever been recorded before. They are dreaming heightened dreams--but of what? “The Dreamers” is about the possibilities contained within a human life--if only we are awakened to them.

Putting something by Blake Crouch on this list is a bit of a cheat. His books are more “fiction about science,” but it skirts the line into science fiction in a way that makes it more appealing for beginners to the genre. In “Dark Matter” you follow a man named Jason, who is knocked unconscious and wakes in a life he doesn’t recognize. His wife is not his wife, his son was never born, and he’s a celebrated scientific genius instead of a college professor. And all he wants to do is fight his way back home. This book is a great science fiction entry point for readers who like thrillers, and reads like an action film.

"Binti" by Nnedi Okorafor

At just under 100 pages, readers will be able to breeze through this book. That said, “Binti” is the most science fiction-y book on this list. Binti is the first person in her family to be accepted at the prestigious Oomza University, but that will mean leaving all she knows for a new life travelling through space. And there are dangers in this new life, for the university has long warred with a nightmare alien race called the Meduse. The author draws on her Nigerian heritage to build Binti’s culture, which adds some insight to African culture while also expanding your reading horizons into science fiction. This is the first book in a novella trilogy.


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