Softer Science Fiction

I've been reading a lot of what I've started calling softer science fiction. It's science fiction for people who don't like science fiction. Our very own Beth Revis is advertising her book, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, this way, and I think it's a fabulous way to draw in a new generation of science fiction readers.

Since this is a young adult science fiction author blog, that's mostly what I've been reading. I think this "softer" side of science fiction is very appealing to teens, because they don't have to be scientists to follow the plot. I'm hopeful that titles like those of ours coming out next year, combined with other YA soft sci fi titles, will make lovers of a genre that often doesn't get much love.

I think the key to drawing readers into this softer side is to make the book more YA than science fiction. When I was looking for an agent, I had some suggestions from someone at a fabulous agency. I did the revisions she suggested, but she wasn't satisfied with the science fiction elements. Only later did I realize that she wanted a science fiction novel, not a young adult novel. And there's a delicate balance between the two.

So today, I'm going to give a nod to some of my favorite MG/YA science fiction/dystopian titles. Please chime in with others you love!

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
The Unnameables by Ellen Booraem
The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Candor by Pam Bachorz
Feed by M.T. Anderson
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
The Line by Teri Hall
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines

These titles are as much about teen life as they are science fiction, and I think that's where the real draw is for young adults. What do you think? What draws you to science fiction?


LM Preston said...

I believe softer scifi is also appealing to adults, especially females. I love to write simple scifi as well as read it. Leaving out the design details of a gadget allows the reader to fill in the blanks or just accept the basics on how things are done within that world. With soft scifi you don't have to feel like you are reading a technical novel, you can focus on the characters and the world in which they live in.

Bittersweet Fountain said...

I've been a lover of science fiction since I was born. My mom is a Trekky and my dad a huge Star Wars fan, so I really had no choice in the matter. My mom read A Wrinkle in Time out loud to me when I was five. I read my first Star Wars book in the third grade.

I found adventure in SF. I could read about Luke saving the galaxy from the dark side, I could be with Elijah Bailey as he solved yet another murder, and I could "save" the human race with Ender.

SF made me a reader. It made me a writer. And it made me an engineer.

Science fiction inspires me to be more than I am, and I think that is why science fiction is so important.

Marcia said...

I've enjoyed some harder SF like Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress, but I'm not a hardcore fan in general and prefer softer SF. I also appreciate the distinction between SF and dystopia; I don't think dystopian has to be SF.

Jeff Hirsch said...

It's not quite YA (though it is about young people so maybe...) but the first book i thought of was Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. Definitely worth a look if you haven't read it yet!

(Bookish)InABox said...

Thanks so much for the list! I like sci-fi but not the really hardcore kind, and I've been wanting a jumping off point to explore some more science fiction.

Jemi Fraser said...

The Giver is another one I like. There are so many good books in this genre :)

Charity Bradford said...

One of my favorite YA sci-fi authors from my teen years was Louise Lawrence. Her titles included Children of the Dust, Moonwind, Andra, and Calling B for Butterfly to name just a few.

Quick, easy reads with compelling stories that I still think about twenty years later.

Myrna Foster said...

The top of your list is probably my favorite science fiction title. I loved The Adoration of Jenna Fox.

Elana Johnson said...

Oooh, I've got some new titles to add to my list. Thank you, everyone! :)