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?

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month: Previous Sci-Fi Reviews

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In today’s Sci-Fi Month post, I’m showcasing my previous reviews of science fiction books. Click the cover to read the review! Don’t forget to check out the schedule for the rest of today’s posts. You can also Tweet about the event using the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.
 

 

 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Don’t forget to check out the schedule for the rest of today’s posts!

 

Review

Review: The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner

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4 out of 5 stars | Goodreads
I reviewed the first book in this series, The Maze Runner, back in January. I spotted this one in my local library – I wasn’t planning to borrow anything, but I knew I had to pick this one up after enjoying the first so much. So I’m a sucker for YA dystopia.
Picking up right where The Maze Runner left off, The Scorch Trials is a whirlwind experience, once again letting the reader know only what the protagonist does, and moving on so quickly that sometimes it is a little hard to really take things in. The Gladers are safe – or so they think – and there is a real sense of relief. But this doesn’t last long, and soon things are just as crazy as they were in the Maze – however, this time they seem a whole lot worse, without the shelter of the Farm, and the familiar schedule of their daily life there. No walls surrounding them, no gates closing precisely at sundown and keeping the bad things out – just miles and miles of empty, ruined space.

With much more of a post-apocalyptic setting than the previous book, and really a lot darker, this has a sort of Fallout/Borderlands-esque feel to it. There were actually a couple of moments that made me feel a little sick – Dashner cuts off his descriptions of certain events before they get really bad, but when your imagination runs away with you it is hard not to imagine! Also, to me, there is nothing more terrifying than groups of people becoming feral and turning on one another. Sure, the Grievers from the first book were horrible. But people are intelligent (well… mostly), they have emotions, souls. To go from being human, to something truly animalistic, is a scary thought.

I would have preferred a little more of some of the other characters – Minho, Newt etc – but the focus was very much on Thomas and Teresa. There was also a rather shocking moment that, once everything is explained to him, Thomas seems to just accept far too easily. At times the pace of the story was too quick – as with the ending of The Maze Runner – and although quite a lot happened, it didn’t always feel like it.

However, the ending was exciting and I had such a vivid image of the carnage in my head – and it definitely set up for the next book. But it was the same sort of cliffhanger as the first book – the frustrating kind that reveals almost nothing, compared to the kind that gives you just enough information.