“Science fiction is a time-sensitive subject in literature. Usually futuristic, science fiction speculates about alternative ways of life made possible by technological change, and hence has sometimes been called “speculative fiction.” Like fantasy, and often associated with it, science fiction envisions alternative worlds with believably consistent rules and structures, set apart somehow from the ordinary or familiar world of our time and place. Distinct from fantasy, however, science fiction reflects on technology to consider how it might transform the conditions of our existence and change what it means to be human. “Sci Fi” is the genre that considers what strange new beings we might become-what mechanical forms we might invent for our bodies, what networks and systems might nourish or tap our life energies, and what machine shells might contain our souls.”
Maxwell Soltzer, the lone survivor of the House of Soltzer, awoke slowly from a deep sleep. His mind and vision were
foggy, and it was difficult for his conscience to grasp exactly what was going on.
“Welcome Maxwell Soltzer, the lone
survivor of the House of Soltzer, we have
been waiting for you” the voice rumbles, seemingly from the walls. What was
going on? Where was he? Maxwell thought,
the panic rising up inside him despite
his best efforts to control himself.
If you have been
looking for your next science fiction/fantasy book, then stop looking right now
because The Second Son will keep you
reading late into the night!
As his mind cleared there was no
longer any confusion as to who he was or where he was; he was filled with a clarity of mind, body, and
soul. He knew of his purpose now; he had been
transported through what felt like a tunnel of time, he had watched
every detail of his life, every scene replayed and stored in his mind.
He knew now how he had ended up
in that cave, and he knew what he had to
do! He was the lone survivor of the House of Soltzer,
and he would make them all pay dearly for
the pain that they had inflicted on him and his family.
The kingdoms of Lotheria and Sian
stood on the threshold of the city. Battle was only moments away, but the young
king had done everything possible to prepare his kingdom and his people for the
terrifying battle which loomed ahead.
Would the sole survivor of the House of Soltzer be able to rally his people and survive the upcoming battle? Or would this be the end of his line forever? Only time will tell!
As an aspiring writer in the science fiction genre, you are presented with limitless possibilities. However, while there are so many themes that you could write on, there are some popular themes have repeatedly proven to be the most successful. Given that there are potentially hundreds of themes to choose from, I have compiled ten of the most popular science fiction themes found in modern science fiction.
End of Humanity
Sometimes referred to as post-apocalyptic or apocalyptic fiction, this genre is set in a world in which the technological civilization of the Planet Earth is collapsing either due to manmade or natural phenomenon such as depletion of resources or a nuclear holocaust, fictional happenings such as an alien invasion or zombie apocalypse, or an eschatological happening such as the Second Coming.
The desire to achieve immortality is a popular theme in science fiction. The major themes typically involve aspects of mind uploading where one uploads their consciousness into a computer or digital equivalent; Digital immortality where the person’s personality is uploaded on digital media including their thoughts and memories, which continue to live in perpetuity; and cryonics where a dead person is preserved until human technology develops to the point of bringing them back to life.
Alien invasion is one of the oldest themes that has been a favorite of science fiction fans. Alien invasion typically involves the visit of extraterrestrials to Earth usually in the form of an invasion that is intended to supplant or exterminate human life. This could take the form of stealing of resources, enslavement of the human population, or in some instances the destruction of the planet.
One of the most popular sub-genres particularly in literary science fiction. A parallel universe refers to a different world where an alternate reality that may or may not be a variant of the Earth exists. Such universes may have some differences from our current reality such as having different laws of physics or biology. The parallel universe is thus a crossroads between the planet Earth and a fantasy world.
This theme refers to several subgenres that may include genetic engineering, cloning, and biohacking. Genetic engineering themes tend to involve the creation of a super race of humans through technologies such as brain-computer interfacing, nanotechnology, and eugenics. From the opposing direction, is biohacking, in which individual person transform their bodies by introducing chemicals or cybernetic devices. Prosthetics or the use of robotics for enhanced bodily function also falls in this category
While closely related to bodily transformation this is a different subgenre of science fiction. The acquisition of superpowers typically encompasses aspects of teleportation, psychic phenomena, and enhanced mental function. Teleportation is the ability to transport persons or objects from one location to another without necessarily making use of the physical space between them. Psychic phenomena may include persons who have telekinetic, telepathic, precognitive and clairvoyant abilities. An enhanced mental function may include mind uploading, higher memory, mind-swap, and mind control abilities.
Time travel is one of the original and most popular themes popularized by novels such as “The Time Machine” by HG Wells. As a science fiction theme, it involves the movement of persons or objects between two points in space that typically has one going back to an earlier era or going forward to a future era. For instance, one could travel back in time to the Roman first century AD or go forward in time to the technologically driven world of 2100.
Military conflict is a common trope in many modern science fiction movies and literature. This will typically involve interstellar travel and combat in space between armies of antagonists from different planets or galaxies. These types of conflicts normally make use of exotic and strange weapons though some weapons used in science fiction have found use in conventional militaries.
Ever since science fiction franchise “Star Trek” became a mass phenomenon and gained acceptance even out of the science fiction community, the theme of Galactic Empires in science fiction has grown in leaps and bounds. The writing of this theme is modeled along the lines of the decline or rise of an empire that has significant technological advancement as compared to human civilizations or other civilizations in its vicinity. Given the differences in technology, social and economic advancement, there is tension between empires which usually results in conflict.
As an aspiring writer, you could write in any of the science fiction overarching themes we have discussed and be relatively successful. Nonetheless, you can always dig deeper into the subgenres of science fiction and still find success as long as you can write something that captures the imagination of the reader. This is by no means a complete listing of all the overarching themes, but rather an exposition of the most popular ones that I have found to have a higher probability of success with audiences.