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PASTORAL SCI-FI

Pastoral or Small Town SF takes place in that sort of setting. (Most SF is urban, at least when taking place on Earth.) Clifford Simak's classic novel Way Station is set entirely in rural Wisconson, while the heroine of Kay Kenyon's novel Leap Point is a small-town lass.

The television series Jericho would fit this subgenre with the premise set in a small town. Jericho is an American series that centers on the residents of the fictional town of Jericho, Kansas in the aftermath of nuclear attacks on 23 major cities in the contiguous United States.



PULP SCI-FI
Also known as Retro Sci-Fi or Retro-Futurism


Pulp SF is another descriptive category. The old SF magazines were one of many varieties of 'pulp fiction' literature, with a distinct style and format. Usually their cover art was garish, featuring brutish monsters, heroic spacemen, and scantily-clad women in distress. "Amazing Stories" was perhaps its best-known publication. (This subgenre has been revived again and again over the decades.)

An idea example in film would be Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, though it is a modern film, it pays homage to the eras-gone-by subgenre. The film is set in an alternative 1939 and follows the adventures of Polly Perkins (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Joe Sullivan (Jude Law), known as "Sky Captain", as they track down the mysterious "Dr. Totenkopf" who is seeking to build the 'World of Tomorrow'.

Retro-futurism also celebrates the 'pulp' SF stories of the past. Most of these depictions are in comic books, and revive the garish cover art and 'fifties' style of the past.




References and Excerpts:
cuebon.com
editorialdepartment.com
fictionfactor.com
techrepublic.com
wikipedia.org
worldswithoutend.com
writing-world.com






SCI-FI SUBGENRES P - Q



PARALLEL UNIVERSES/WORLDS SCI-FI
Events occuring in our world being run on a parallel with an alternate, parallel dimension/world/universe


Parallel Universe stories deal with the quantum concept that every choice or decision happens somewhere. This separate reality can range in size from a small geographic region to an entire new universe, or several universes forming a multiverse. The other universe(s) can be very strange, with differing physical laws, or (number of) spatial dimensions.

The television series Fringe and Sliders are model examples of this subgenre. With the latter, the real nature of the show changed throughout the seasons. The first two seasons explored what would have happened, for example, if America had been conquered by the Soviet Union or if penicillin had not been invented. The third season became far more action-oriented, even going so far as to devolve into riffs on major genre feature films (including Tremors, Species, and The Island of Dr. Moreau).

Literature examples include Steven Gould’s Wildside and John Cramer’s Einstein’s Bridge and Isaac Asimov's novel The Gods Themselves, with its utterly different intelligent aliens. Greg Egan's novel Diaspora features mind-bending descriptions of a four-dimensional universe.


SUBSETS

MULTIVERSE SCI-FI: Multiverse stories feature multiple universes, often with differing versions of our familiar Earth. This sub-set assumes that some variant of the Multiverse/Landscape cosmological theory is true.

There is always some way (whether secret or common) to travel between the universes, or at least to communicate. Michael Kube-McDowell's novel Alternaties is a fine example. Jet Li's The One would be a good film example.

PLANES OF EXISTENCE SCI-FI: This subgenre resembles the Multiverse category. In this case, the other planes are often 'psychic' or 'spiritual' in nature, and are reachable by altering one's state of awareness.

The novel India's Story, by Kathlyn S. Starbuck, depicts its young heroine India experiencing multiple states of consciousness via meditation, drugs, etc.

Another example is Howard Hendrix's novel Standing Wave. (In most such tales, this goes beyond passive experience, into 'granting' the characters special powers.)

A film example of the Planes of Existence sub-set could be Altered States starring William Hurt, which explores the concept that other states of consciousness are as real as our waking states.

Hurt's character begins experimenting with sensory-deprivation using a flotation tank, and his mind experiments cause him to experience actual, physical biological devolution.





PROGENTITIVE SCI-FI

Progenitive SF is a small subgenre, which features humans and/or aliens who create science fiction of their own. One example is Vernor Vinge's novel Grimm's World, in which seagoing humans on another planet operate a respected science fiction magazine.

"The Garden: A Hwarhath Science Fiction Romance," by Eleanor Arnason, is a short SF story told by aliens. In the Star Trek: DS9 TV episode "Far Beyond the Stars," Sisko is shown as a SF author who struggles with civil rights and inequality when he writes the story of Captain Benjamin Sisko, a black commander of a futuristic space station.

SUBSET

RECURSIVE SCI-FI: Recursive SF is comprised of stories that include direct references to the SF genre, and/or SF authors. A mind-bending example is the novel Venus on the Half Shell, "written" by Kilgore Trout, a pseudonym of Philip Jose Farmer. Trout is actually a fictional SF writer created by author Kurt Vonnegut. The protagonist makes frequent mention of his own favorite writer, a galactically-famous SF author. (Venus's first edition does not mention Farmer at all!) Another example is HG Stratmann's short story "Wilderness Were Paradise Enow," which mentions plenty of SF-genre trivia.



SCI-FI SUB-GENRES - R > > >




SCI-FI SUBGENRES A - B

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