Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2015: It’s The End of the World As We Know It

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This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2015, a month long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by myself and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

A common trope of science fiction is to show the Earth greatly transformed, or even completely destroyed, in some way. Our poor planet has been used and abused throughout the history of the genre. Here’s a brief guide to the (post-)apocalypse, or dystopian future, covering books, TV, films and video games.

Aliens

Mass Effect The 5th Wave Defiance The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells War of the Worlds Independence Day The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham 826847

In these titles, Earth is either destroyed or invaded by aliens. In the latter, it is altered to a state where it is unrecognisable: either through the collapse of society and government, or destruction of large portions of the planet. Sometimes the extra-terrestrials are aggressive, sometimes they are just inquisitive, and other times we’re not even aware of them until it is too late.

Mass Effect, The 5th Wave, Defiance, The War of the Worlds (plus the 2005 film version), Independence Day, The Day of the Triffids, The Midwich Cuckoos.

Illness/Disease

The Passage by Justin Cronin Blindness Oryx and Crake Partials by Dan Wells Parasite I Am Legend by Richard Matheson The Stand Children of Men The Strain

These titles show an Earth ravaged by illness, disease or plague, including technological viruses and biological warfare. In many of them, the illness transforms humankind into something else, often zombie or vampire-like creatures.

Humankind

The Hunger Games Divergent The 100 The Years of Rice and Salt Unwind The Man in the High Castle How I Live Now A Canticle for Leibowitz

Science fiction frequently shows how humankind causes its own downfall, often through war or revolt. This is a particularly popular theme in current Young Adult dystopian fiction, although it’s not exactly a new trend in the genre. This is one of the more frightening sides of sci-fi: how we become our very own worst enemies. Occasionally, it shows a glimpse into an alternate future or past.

Natural Disaster

2012 The Day After Tomorrow The Maze Runner by James Dashner Deep Impact Armageddon The Drowned World

This could also technically come under ‘Humankind’, because most of the time the natural disasters are caused by people, namely through global warming and climate change. This category includes these as well as other things such as asteroids/meteors, tsunamis, earthquakes etc.

2012, The Day After Tomorrow, The Maze Runner, Deep Impact, Armageddon, The Drowned World.

Brainwashing/Government

1984 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley Fahrenheit 451 Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand V for Vendetta

Another terrifying thing about science fiction is how government is often portrayed. Often it is shown as being a totalitarian or ‘Big Brother’ society, a term coined from George Orwell’s 1984. Citizens often have very little freedom, or even free will, having been brainwashed into behaving in certain ways.

Machines/Artificial Intelligence

I Robot Robopocalypse Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick Love In the Age of Mechanical Reproduction Prey Neuromancer

Okay, maybe there’s a lot of scary things about science fiction – another one being the very thought of the Earth being overrun or overtaken by machines or artificial intelligence. Many a sci-fi tale tells of the invention of some fantastic new technology, only for it to become sentient and rise up against mankind.

Can you think of any other titles that would fit in these categories, or any categories that I have missed?

Past Features

Weekly Roundup #35

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My ‘Weekly Roundup’ is where I share the books I have received in the past week, whether bought, gifted, borrowed etc.

Bought (ebook)

Partials by Dan Wells

Netgalley

I seriously, seriously suck at this not requesting everything from Netgalley thing…

Sheltered Volume 1 by Ed Brisson & John Christmas Red Sonja Volume 1: Queen of Plagues by Gail Simone & Walter Geovanni Mass Effect: Foundation by Mac Walters The Troop by Nick Cutter After the Silence by Jake Woodhouse The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant

  • Sheltered Volume One by Ed Brisson & John Christmas – I like dystopia. I like graphic novels. Ergo, I will probably like this.
  • Red Sonja Volume One: Queen of Plagues by Gail Simone & Walter Geovanni – apparently a reimagining/reboot of the original character, which I know nothing about. But graphic novels! Swords and sorcery! Yay!
  • Mass Effect: Foundation by Mac Walters – if you know me, you know I’m a little bit obsessed with Mass Effect, and read all the books based on the series that I can get my hands on, despite them not often being very good. Well I’ve actually already read this one and it’s possibly the best so far – review to come shortly.
  • The Troop by Nick Cutter – this sounds like a super creepy version of Lord of the Flies, which I had to read in school and really enjoyed. When I got approved for this book I went to download it and found out it had been archived, which puzzled me – but then it appeared back on the site so luckily my ratio shouldn’t get messed up (or… any more messed up…)
  • After the Silence by Jake Woodhouse – I wanted to read more books set in the Netherlands, so here we are! This might not be the best book to read though, as it’s about murders…
  • The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe – this has a very strange mix of DNFs and five star reviews on Goodreads… I’ll just have to read it myself and find out!

What new reads do you have this week?