Celebrate Sci-Fi and Fantasy Subgenres with These 64 Books
Science fiction and fantasy have spawned some of the most imaginative plots and settings in existence. Makes sense, given that these genres are all about thinking outside the box.
Whether you’re a sci-fi and fantasy newbie or a longtime reader, figuring out what to read next can be quite the challenge when there are so many possibilities to explore. To help you out, we’ve made a list organized around popular subgenres and tropes, featuring a mix of classic and more recent examples of each category.
Don’t forget to add any titles that catch your eye to your Want to Read shelf, and be sure to tell us your favorite example of these tropes in the comments below!
Characteristics of this trope: An ordinary person discovers an extraordinary world right next to our own; aka portal fantasies; aka don’t betray your family for Turkish delight; aka giving kids this much power seems to really mess them up.
So, You Walk through a Wardrobe...
So, You Have a Special Destiny...Characteristics of this trope: Long-lost heirs; hidden prophecies; reluctant “chosen ones”; eager “chosen ones”; unlikely “chosen ones”; gotta protect the “chosen one”; gotta save the kingdom/world/galaxy.
Characteristics of this trope: Artificial intelligence; that human is really a cyborg; aka say hello to our new robot overlords; aka “We never thought the robots would murder us,” sobbed the inventors of murder robots.
Wait, Are Robots...Bad?
Characteristics of this trope: The past is so much better than the present! The past is so much worse than the present! The past is...pretty much the same as the present? (The future is always pretty bad.)
Whoops, You’re a Time Traveler
Characteristics of this trope: Books with big page counts; multibook series; hero’s journey themes; usually (but not always) set in ye olden days of vaguely pseudo-Western European nations; aka high fantasy.
That’s So Epic
Characteristics of this trope: Black traditions and cultures through a speculative lens; sociopolitical commentary; attention to race and race relations; aka Afrofuturism; aka Wakanda is extremely cool.
Black to the Future
Characteristics of this trope: Finding extraterrestrial life on a faraway planet; extraterrestrial life finding us on our planet; first contact is messy; hang on...is all of this a metaphor for colonialism?
So, You Live in Space...
Characteristics of this trope: Space exploration; generation ships; galaxies far, far away; terraforming other planets; space opera (not to be confused with music opera); wow, space is terrifying.
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