Sunday, September 17, 2006

Science Fiction or Dystopia

The Lady Rona has an interesting ponder... she is on a quest:

Does anyone have a recent (past ten years, say) favorite science fiction book for the 12-and-under crowd? Not fantasy, not "speculative fiction" (like Among the Hidden, etc), but something you'd purely classify as science fiction. (And no, I have no idea what these terms mean either. That's rather the point!)


This is a little different than the familiar "Is it Fantasy or is it Sci-Fi?" which usually comes down to the cover art: if there are trees--it is fantasy, if there are machines--it is sci-fi.

My suggestion was City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau but as Lady Rona points out, that is also a dystopia.

So then I thought House of the Scorpian by Nancy Farmer (cloning) and then The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer but both of those books could also be classified as dystopian fiction.

The White Mountains trilogy by John Christopher is usually always considered sci-fi but let's face it, the world is in a real mess in that series, nasty aliens capping kids.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card would almost be a slam dunk for sci-fi but remember, Ender is a Third. In their world, couples only have two kids...

So, is it science fiction if aliens land and ruin the world and dystopian fiction if humans ruin the world?
Dystopian worlds usually exist in the future or on "other" worlds so does that make them part of the science fiction genre by default? I do not consider The Giver by Lois Lowry science fiction at all but many do.

Dystopian worlds usually exist in the future or on "other" worlds so does that make them part of the science fiction genre by default? I do not consider The Giver by Lois Lowry science fiction at all but many do.

Is my Battlestar Galactica dystopian science fiction? Hmmm...

Science News for Kids has a terrific section called SciFi Zone. This is an excellent site. Julie Czerneda has a great list of sci fi books including the terrific Pond Scum by Alan Silberberg who blogs at Adventures in Pond Scum.

The Lady Rona is right, only librarians with a mania for classification can have this kind of fun.

1 comment:

Kelly Fineman said...

Check out Jimmy Coates: Assassin? by Joe Craig (published in the UK as Jimmy Coates: Killer), in which we find that young Jimmy is more than meets the eye, and is the result of a political science experiment. I can't wait for the sequels to hit the US, and will likely order them from the UK (where book 2, Jimmy Coates: Target, is already in print).