The Growing Sci-Fi Trend in YA

In case you haven’t noticed, and for the majority of you who read this blog and keep with YA books you probably have, the growing trend in YA now seems to be science fiction. And just coming off Sci-Fi Month in November, some books I heard about during the month are fresh on my mind!

A very small sampling of YA sci-fi released in the last two years

Time Between Us/ All Our Yesterdays/ Relativity

While there have been YA titles dealing with space or aliens (Across the Universe trilogy, The 5th Wave), most of these sci-fi books seem to be dealing with time travel (like Time Between Us and All Our Yesterdays) and alternate realities (Reativity and Dissonance) or technology (Elusion and Free to Fall).

A very small sampling of 2014 YA sci-fi releases.

Dissonance/ Elusion/ Free to Fall

I’m not sure what started this trend, other than perhaps it seems like a natural progression to come from the dystopia genre (which is also still going fairly strong, and of course sci-fi and dystopia often go hand in hand), which might explain why more of these stories seemed focused on what I consider “earth-bound” science fiction, rather than focusing on what’s in space. And personally, there are several reasons I am excited to see this trend grow…

Sci-fi arouses our curiosity. I think one of the best things about science fiction is all the “what if” questions it poses. I recently started watching the new Fox show Almost Human, which raises the question: What if android (“synthetic”) cops were paired with human cops?

If you like thinking about the possibilities of the future, you should watch this show. And Karl Urban and Michael Ealy are fantastic in it.

Or with a YA book I read this year, Pivot Point, what if one could see the different futures that await her when she has a decision to make? Really, the what-if questions we could ask in science fiction are endless!

It awakens creativity and scientific interest at the same time. I have to admit, I have never been interested in science. Ever. It’s always been my weakest subject and I have never cared to understand it. But in college I suddenly developed an interest in learning about genetic engineering. So while I will probably never have an interest in all sciences, there are now at least a couple of areas that I do find interesting, I think largely thanks to science fiction. It also really awakens my creative juices as I think through all those “what-if” scenarios. And I think both creativity and science are important!

It can be a gateway into more science fiction! Let’s face it, I’m sure the actual sci-fi content in most of these YA books is pretty light. I personally don’t have a problem with that, in fact it can be helpful when you’re as science-deficit as I am, but others might see this new trend as just watered-down science fiction. And there’s probably some truth to that, as the dystopia genre has been watered down, but lighter science fiction can be a gateway that leads to Ender’s Game, Star Trek, or more hardcore stuff that I myself have not checked out yet! Presenting a story with some science fiction, even if it also has a contemporary feel or a romantic subplot, can be just what some people need to get their feet wet and realize just how much they might enjoy other science fiction!

What do you think about the rising trend of science fiction in YA literature? Do you have a favorite sci-fi YA book?

15 Responses to The Growing Sci-Fi Trend in YA

  1. Awesome post, Amy! I have to agree that one of the reasons I love sci-fi so much is all the what-if questions the genre allows for. I keep hearing about that show Almost Human, but your description REALLY makes me want to watch it!

    It’s so cool the way science fiction (or reality, sometimes) can awaken a sense of wonder and creativity in people who generally aren’t interested in science otherwise. Science was never my favorite subject either, but I did enjoy anthropology… and when I took a geology class in college, I fell in love! I daydream about being a Starfleet officer, but then I get reminded that all those people are ridiculously effing smart and VERY good at science stuff, and I realize that I would probably never make the cut because I just don’t find those studies interesting enough most of the time. Boo!

    • I’d recommend it! It’s part police procedural show, part sci-fi. It’s set in the future and they have will have random technology that is part of their daily lives show up from week to week. My husband and I started with the third episode, then watched the fourth, then were able to catch up with the first two On Demand.

      They are so freakin’ smart in Star Fleet! Unfairly smart! I would have to go the psychology route if I did Star Fleet and be a counselor, assuming I could get into Star Fleet Academy!

      • Hmm, I wonder if it would hold my attention. I was in love with Continuum because of all the cyborg and time travel stuff, but when it delved deeper into police drama, I lost interest. =/

        Yeah, I’d have had to be like a chef or something on a Starship to get in. And that makes me feel kinda bad because even though being a chef is awesome, it’s also one of the lowest level jobs in the military, given to those who didn’t score high enough on any of the entrance exams to get a “better” job. 🙁

  2. I love time travel stories, so I’m glad there are more of them coming out! In fact, your post gave me some tips on what to check out next! 🙂 I love science so when I read books that really delve into scientific explanations for the technology for instance I really enjoy how that makes it seem possible. It’s great when wonderful things in books can possibly come true.

    • I definitely appreciate it when stories delves into scientific possibilities, even if all the stuff about how it works doesn’t always interest me. I’m glad I could potentially help you new books! I haven’t read any of them yet, but I’ve heard good things about the ones already released.

  3. I’m really enjoying the sci-fi books coming out lately in YA!! I never really considered myself much of a sci-fi reader at first, but the more and more sci-fi YA books I found, the more I found that I REALLY enjoyed them. I think it was another case of not reading the right books and YA really pointing me in the right direction! 😀

    • I’ve never considered myself a sci-fi reader either, and still honestly haven’t read very much within the genre, but I kept getting into all these sci-fi shows and movies and, and so now I’m finally noticing I can get into sci-fi books too!

  4. I’ve always been a bit of a science geek, I love biology so genetics is a favourite for me. I really enjoy books that dabble in a bit of genetic tampering. From this, and my husband making me discover that I do in fact like Star Trek, I’m slowly opening up and enjoying more science fiction books This year I’ve read a few YA that have light sci-fi elements and I generally really enjoy them. So this is a trend that I’m really enjoying to say the least. I also listened to Ender’s Game, it was really good! So I think I will be checking out more in the future!

    • Even though I hated biology in school, genetic engineering does really intrigue me now in story lines! It seems several of us are really opening up to the science fiction genre right now, which I think is awesome!

  5. I always though sci-fi meant nerds and science concepts that would go STRAIGHT over my head. Like, no hope for me so why bother trying? But I am so excited for this growing trend because I realized that I LOVE sci-fi. The Lunar Chronicles, These Broken Stars, and many more are just examples of how great it can be. Love your post!

  6. I don’t think I would ever have wandered over to the science-fiction shelves in a bookshop but since I start blogging and discovering more YA books with science fiction elements, I’m definitely more open to it! One of the things that I hope to read more of next year is time travel, so if you know of any great books that use it, I’d love a recommendation! 🙂

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