Exploring New Directions in Sci-fi

As a new author in sci-fi, keeping up to date with what’s changing in the genre is really important. So I’ve been reading more sci-fi lately. And I’m seeing some trends you might find interesting. 

If you haven’t picked up many sci-fi books recently, here’s what’s you might have missed. 

Image of a galaxy.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


There are so many different types of sci-fi stories available now. If you previously thought sci-fi wasn’t for you, check out the variety of sub-genres you can choose from today. 

Not interested in military stories but intrigued by the idea of colonising new planets? Want to try dystopias with high tech themes? Prefer your space operas sprinkled with humour? Sci-fi is a much broader category than it used to be.

The category options on online retailers are scrambling to catch up. You may have to search a while to find the right story for you. But trust me, it’s there.


I’m in awe of the fantastic range of gorgeous covers showing up in this genre. We are no longer stuck with planets, spacecrafts, robots, and other obviously futuristic motifs. High contrast covers are still popular. But these days, sci-fi covers aren’t designed to tell you what the book’s about. They’re designed to make you wonder. 

Be warned, if you’re the type of reader who gets sucked in by a beautiful looking book, you could end up with a large to-be-read pile!


Sci-fi titles are getting shorter and more impactful. They are alluring fragments to capture your interest. Often they contain words that are very specific to the story. And may not make much sense without that context.

Today’s titles will encourage you to check out the book description to find out more. Which is always a great idea, because we don’t buy books just for the cover, do we?

Big themes

There’s a good reason why covers and titles are becoming less obviously science-related. Sci-fi books aren’t just about science. They also examine important themes. If you want to ponder on the big philosophical questions without working your way through the literary classics, you might need a bigger sci-fi shelf.

From what constitutes human connection, to how our impact on the climate might impact us, there are plenty of burning questions. And enough sci-fi stories written around them to keep your brain active for a long time.

Slow starts and fast finishes

With stories getting more complex, there can be a lot of set-up involved at the beginning. This makes the story slow to get going, with most of the action being left to the end.

For readers, this means investing a lot of time learning about the world of the story. Before any exciting events come your way. If you are a fan of delayed gratification, this trend will work for you. If not, you might find the reviews helpful in identifying the type of pacing used.

Criminal crews

This is a new spin on the old ‘ragtag bunch of misfits’ trope. And I’m not loving this trend.

If you had spent billions on a space programme, would you put the fate of humanity in the hands of dangerous convicts? To save a fraction of a percentage of your budget? I’m willing to suspend disbelief to a point, but to me, this is a ludicrous idea. Which again highlights the importance of reading the book description and perhaps the first few pages. And not just falling for a beautiful cover!

Have you noticed any other trends in sci-fi books? What are you loving or not loving?

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You might also like: The Rut of Lost Readers.

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