Chatterbox: Why I Read Science Fiction

December 7, 2015 by Aila J. | Chatterbox, Features


In conjunction to the lovely Jenna’s recent post about Why [She] Reads Contemporaries, I’ve decided to regale you guys about the benefits of YA science fiction. It’s kind of like the middle genre – not exactly fantasy because these things could happen, but also not realistic fiction because let’s be real, how many of these things do happen? It’s a lot of speculation in regards to setting and plot, but that makes it all the more compelling. Keep reading for reasons on why you should start adding sci-fi’s to your TBR!

The Impossible Becomes Possible

How many of you dream?
We see great inventions and discoveries all around us, but the majority of them may in fact be fiction. They may stem from a daydreamer’s musings, like a jetpack that can allow you to travel to the moon in as short as four hours, or a floating piano that you can play on for days in the sea. These ideas certainly sound like they could happen, yet we haven’t been able to find a way to develop such things.

With science fiction, such limitations are not a problem. (Depending on the world the author creates, of course.) We may see huge spaceships travel through galaxies in no time at all, or a scientist discovering a new color. The possibilities are as endless as our imaginations, and what makes it most exciting is reading those ideas applied to real life. Thinking about having an android become your bodyguard is one thing, but seeing it on the pages really makes it come to life.

Cautions Humanity

For me, dystopian and utopian books fall under the large umbrella of science fiction. I mean, they happen in the future and are usually a product of the ways of society – whether they have squandered all their food supplies, or have divided into groups according to personality. It’s actually quite surprising on what you learn from these stories. Reading about those rising evil corporations or capricious governments kind of make me reflect on our own society today. How long until something that happened in a particular book becomes plausible in real life? It’s sometimes scary to think about, but in the long run provides great discussions on the way the authors see the near-future.

Teaches New Concepts

Okay, so it’s not like you’re going to get a PhD after reading about the logistics of interspacial teleportation, but lots of sci fi books will introduce cool things that readers may not have known before! For example, reading about time travel taught me about the butterfly effect, where a small change in something can have huge results elsewhere. There’s just something about new settings that have a basis in reality that really gets me excited. Fantasies may test the author’s creativity, but sci fis also allow them to explore already existing ideas and expand on them to become something totally different. (And help us readers learn, in the process!)

Explores The Future (And Us)

Technology is constantly progressing, and soon enough something that you’ve only read about might become possible. The integration of science fiction in literature not only provides a delightful escape from the current world, but also gives insight on the possibilities. And this isn’t even for tangible things like nanorobotics, though. It also applies to the way we see ourselves.

Science fiction may offer some answers to questions we have today, while causing new ones to pop up. The underlying theme of them, however, is discovery about the existence of humanity and the details that come with it. While this may be applied externally (like finding other life in nearby galaxies), it can also be cause for introspection. Just as the characters may discover a new hidden world deep inside the earth or out there in space, us readers may discover hidden depths in our own character that causes for reflection as human beings.

YA Science Fiction Recommendations

These books are out of this world (literally) and will blow your mind.
(And some cross to other genre too.)

  • Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (explosions, romance, space opera)
  • Their Fractured Light by Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman (romance, just read the whole trilogy, action)
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer (crazy princess, retelling, romance, read the series please)
  • End of Days by Susan Ee (apocalypse, angels??, dystopia, paranormal, romance)
  • In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken (dystopia, romance, kids with powers!)
  • Undivided by Neal Shusterman (insane, dystopia, romance)
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronice Rossi (post-apocalypse, swoon romance)

So why do you like science fiction? And if you don’t, why not? Oh, and if you are still wary about reading science fiction, I dare you to pick up one of the books I’ve listed above and see how you think of it after reading.



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Aila is a young adult reader who loves to transport herself to new dimensions through reading. She's currently an undergraduate student at university in the US. Let's talk about our obsessions on Twitter @aila_1woaa!

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54 responses to “Chatterbox: Why I Read Science Fiction

  1. downrightdystopian

    BASED OFF THIS POST, YOU TOTALLY UNDERSTAND ME. I love YA Science Fiction! Of your list, I have only read Illuminae and Under the Never Sky, so I'll have to check out the others.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    • Thank you Peach! <3 AND THOSE 800 PAGES WILL PASS BY IN A FLASH! Seriously! It was just nonstop action and adventure and romance and ALL THE LOVE. *sobs for you to read the Lunar Chronicles* And yess, I'm so glad you're interested in those two! They're finished, so you can binge-read to your heart's content. 🙂

  2. Awesome post, Aila! I don't read a lot of sci-fi but I'm slowly getting into it. I mean, I'm pretty much being bullied by you guys into reading The Starbound Chronicles. But I do agree that my favourite thing about the genre is thinking about the possibilities of the future. And to bring to life my android best friend/bodyguard/encyclopedia!

    • Yup yup! I'm so glad you're getting into it. 😀 There's too many awesome ideas waiting to be discovered by you Jenna!
      AND YOU BETTER READ THE STARBOUND CHRONICLES. *pushes you into library*

  3. THIS. I am a huge science fiction fan for exactly the reasons that you've mentioned. I love sci-fi because of the way it takes us into such whimsical worlds, and because of the lessons it teaches. It really does take your imagination to new heights. And the recommendations you've listed are spot on – I LOVE Illuminae and the Starbound trilogy. And Winter is incredible too. <3 Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post! xx

    • EEEeee thank you Zoe, you are always too kind!! <3 <3
      WE MUST DOMINATE THE READING WORLD WITH SCIENCE FICTION TOGETHER. *pumps fist* And shove all the magnificent possibilities into readers' faces. 😀

  4. Josephine

    I've never been a particularly huge fan of sci-fi, at least, not compared to fantasy. Fantasy is the genre closest to my heart, but I digress, Sci-fi is probably my second favourite genre. I love that idea of the things in science fiction being almost possible in our world but not quite. It makes for quite compelling stories that grip you and sometimes make you think!
    This was a great post. You even got me more excited about the science fiction genre!
    My recent post Ways To Get Hyped Up For Christmas If You’re a Partial Grinch | Monday Musings

    • Aw Josie, I loveeee fantasy too.
      IT'S A TIE BETWEEN SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, AHHH. I'm so glad I got you pumped for this genre! We will spread all the possibilities of science fiction into the reading world!

  5. Rachel Lightwood

    I love this post, Aila! I'm certainly not a sci-fi fan myself. It's probably my least fave genre if I am being honest, but that's mainly because I'm not a fan of books set in space. I don't even have a good reason why not! But at the same time, time travel is one of my fave sub-genres so it has it moments IMO. Have you read the TimeRiders series? It is SO GOOD! I definitely think I need to read more sci-fi next year, expand my horizons and all that.

    • Yaas, thanks Rachel! Omg, I need to read the TimeRiders (I typed that 'ride the TimeRiders' at first LOL), I've heard so many great things! And I totally understand. 😛 Some things just aren't for some people. Like me? Woo, you don't catch me reading contemporaries too often.
      Ayee, I hope you check out some of the recs on this post when exploring scifis then! 😀

  6. I am a big fan of sci-fi. I think just the scope of the worlds that are created and the technology is so fascinating. I definitely would class dystoipan books as sci-fi and I do find it scary how some of the worlds created, like The Hunger Games, are basically like and exaggerated version of our society. The sci-fi recommendations are on point because each book are so unique and captivating in their own way. I mean Illuminae is without a doubt one of the most creative books I've ever read. Pierce Brown's Red Rising is another great sci-fi book. 😀
    My recent post Top Ten Tuesday: New to Me Authors 2015

    • Agreed Lois! And I can't believe I forgot Red Rising, ahhh. I haven't read it myself (it's in my immediate TBR!) but Jeann LOVED it. 😀 And Illuminae, oh my gosh I second you on that. Definitely one of my fave books of 2015.

  7. Nick

    I don't know why but I never considered UtNS or End of Days as science fiction. For some reason I equate space & time travel mostly to the genre. Anyways, science fiction is a genre I really struggle with more often than not. But now that I've seen your list, I can see a ton of favorites! Maybe it is a genre I like after all! Haha! 😀
    My recent post Review: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill

    • Ohh I can see that Nick! I understand because End of Days has angels (like what even??) and it's definitely not space-y. But I also include those because they're definitely books that happen within the future yes are within the bounds of possibilities. Hehe, seems like you DO enjoy more scifis than you thought!

  8. keionda

    I SO agree! I'm not a big Sci-Fi person BUT I've been meaning to try out Illuminae and some other books in the genre. Your review only cements the fact that I need to start showing this genre some more love! I've also been meaning to read Under the Never Sky (THAT COVER, THOUGH) I also love how it takes us to another world, and as you said: the impossible becomes possible. <3

    • I'm sooo glad I have cemented your foray into science fiction! Like Illuminae? One of THE best books I've read of 2015. 😀 And yesss, Under the Never Sky is pretty great too – even better, the trilogy is complete sooo you can binge read it! Enjoyyy <3

  9. Aila this is a really well written and thoughtful post! I completely agree that sci-fi just bends my mind sometimes into possibilities that are frightfully real. From learning about new things, to opening your mind up to new possibilities and worlds, to looking at the future and everything, that's why I love the genre!

    You know how much I love the first 3 books, so I'm looking forward to reading more books on that list! Under the Never Sky has been on there for a while, so I might move it up the TBR. Lovely post Aila!

    • Thank you Jeann!! And the things science fiction can wrought to our minds – just amazing.
      Ooh I do hope you get to the other books! They're definitely worth the time. 😀

    • SO AGREE BEC! Like, how hard would it be for our own reality to make that "fiction" become non-fiction? Agh, the possibilities are so exciting to think about.

  10. Jade @ Bedtime Bookworm

    I love sci fi for all the reasons you mention! I especially love dystopian because of all the social commentary it can provide. they often make me think about how things are and make me appreciate the things I have. I haven't read Illuminae yet but it's definitely close to the top of my TBR. I LOVE the lunar chronicles although I haven't read Winter yet. I'm adding a few more of these to my TBR, YAY!!
    My recent post Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3) by Patrick Ness

    • OMG Jade I hope you enjoy Illuminae!! It's up there in my top faves for 2015. And also Winter ahhh that ending was just <3 <3 *heart eyes* <3.
      Dystopian is so eye-opening! Like imagine, if our world did this-and-that- then this book's outcome could have been us! I totally agree, it really does brings things into perspective and allows us to appreciate our own reality. Phew. Thank God I don't live in an era where we have to sacrifice teenagers to fight one another for food. *wipes sweat off forehead*

  11. I love science fiction, and as an extension, I adore dystopian. I don't think there's a major dystopian series that I haven't actually read. I love the unpredictability and the use of technology within science fiction. In young adult, the concepts are usually not TOO involved, that makes no tech savvy people like me still able to relate and enjoy them without massive amounts of useless information. I think it's the love of wondering what a future or alternative future might look like. Take a movie like Back to The Future even, science fiction without being stereotypical and introduced my generation to the wonders of what ifs. I'd have to say it's my favorite genre too within YA, I just can't get enough. We're spirit animals Aila, I shall adopt you now too <3 <3
    My recent post Fire Falling by Elise Kova

    • YESS KELLY, *jumps into your arms* WE WILL DOMINATE THE BOOK WORLD WITH SCIENCE FICTION. *pumps fist*

      Anywayyy -ahem- I totally agree with you! There's too many possibilities to explore with the future, and the science fiction genre keeps drumming up more and more new ideas! I also love how easy it is to take all the new concepts in stride, all the while enjoying the story.
      SCIFI FOR LIFE! *more pumping of fist*

  12. Sunny @ A Sunny Spot

    Hi Aila! To be honest I've never been into Sci-Fi, it's just not my thing. I guess I always assume that Science fiction is going to involve a whole heap of UFO's. But you've definitely made me reconsider and I'm checking out your recs on goodreads as we speak. Great post 😀
    My recent post Bookish Spinsters: What is Feminism?

    • Hey Sunny! I'm really glad I've been able to change your view. 😀 Hopefully at least one of those recommendations can appeal to you! And I totally get you, UFO's are the go-to's for science fiction haha. Fortunately enough, a lot of them do NOT have UFO's and DO have fun, adventurous plots that are just thrilling to read!

  13. I'll be honest. I did not always like science fiction. I don't know why, maybe it was because I never picked up the right science fiction book. The Lunar Chronicles series was what started me on the path to loving science fiction. I have read so many other ones since that series. But Lunar Chronicles will always be my favorite,
    My recent post I Survived My First NaNoWriMo . . . Barely.

    • Aww Cynthia, that's awesome! I'm SO glad the Lunar Chronicles has sucked you in with science fiction! And omg, I cannot wait for the short stories in that series being released next year. I neeed more time in that world with those amazing characters. <3

  14. Braine-Talk Supe

    The short of it is it provides an escape for me. And yes it's stimulating in so many ways,not only does it fire up the imagination,it also brings out emotions from fear to fascination. At times it's also inspiring and there are rare occasions where it seeps into my reality and I'd have moments where I channel my favorite heroines (usually their snarky side) in real life situations. Fantasy hits all the spots for me

    • Ooh that's awesome, channeling your favorite heroines in real life situations! I really have to learn from them and their snarky sides in real life haha. And I totally understand! It definitely provides a HUGEEE range of emotions for me too. 🙂

  15. lekeishathebooknerd

    I love science-fiction. I've been reading since I was 6, and I didn't really get into the genre until I was in high school (don't ask me how long that's been). There's something to be said about the different worlds we get to experience and the science behind how it all came to be. Playing around with different scenarios is great. Is it sad that I wish I was living in a world with Penryn and Raffe, than the one I'm in right now? LOL
    My recent post Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

    • I totally feel you Lekeisha. 😀 And okay, I can totally understand living in their world after End of Days, but before? Omg, that would be so dangerous! (And maybe exciting. Because those angels are *fans self*) Can I get my own Raffe here?

    • Oh noes! That might be it, because I assure you, the above recs are NOT sterile and clinical. To get into sci-fi, I especially recommend Illuminae! Its creative and mesmerizing format will just suck you in and "sterile" will be the last thing you could use to describe it. 🙂 Happy reading!

    • Oh god Bieke, I totally get you on that. Illuminae was definitely one of my top reads for this week. I'm so glad to hear you're warming up to it! (And totally urge you to continue your foray into this magnificent genre!)

  16. I love sci-fi, too! And I just finished reading Their Fractured Light yesterday, it was epic! I loved how everything came together 🙂
    I also already have my beautiful copy of Illuminae, and I really look forward to it 🙂
    There are some on your list I need to check out, as I haven't heard of them before.
    Have a fantastic Monday and happy reading.
    My recent post Review: Rock Chick Revenge – Kristen Ashley

    • YESSS, wasn't Their Fractured Light amazing, Lexxie? Everything was so conclusive and beautiful.
      ENJOY ILLUMINAE! It was definitely one of my top faves for this year.
      Thank you so much Lexxie, happy reading to you too~ <3 (especially Illuminae, hehe.)

  17. I DO love scifi but I truly haven't read enough! Like I loved Illuminae and the Starbound chronicles, but they're the only hardcore sci-fi I've ever read. *sigh* OH WAIT. And Ender's Game. I did so love that. 😉 I particularly love sci-fi because you can have SO many options for technology and awesomeness. *nods* The possibilities are my favourite.

    • I agree so much Cait! AND I URGE YOU TO READ MORE SCIFI!! Explore all those possibilities out there! Oh and isn't it exciting how Illuminae is being turned into a movie? EEk!

  18. Superb post, Aila! I have to admit that I wasn’t very interested in sci-fi genre in the past. But when I read Red Rising and Golden Son by Pierce Brown last year, it all changed. Now I have Illuminae and Starbound series next on my TBR and I can’t wait to read them 🙂
    And what I like the most about YA sci-fi? How it connects humanity, science, politics and action into one great package. It is great combination!

  19. Superb post, Aila! I have to admit that I wasn’t very interested in sci-fi genre in the past. But when I read Red Rising and Golden Son by Pierce Brown last year, it all changed. Now I have Illuminae and Starbound series next on my TBR and I can’t wait to read them 🙂
    And what I like the most about YA sci-fi? How it connects humanity, science, politics and action into one great package. It is great combination!

    • PERFECT Lucia, you took the words right out of my mouth. You can weave so many things into science fiction to create a BEAUTIFUL book. Red Rising is DEFINITELY on my TBR, especially since Jeann loved it so much! I hope you enjoy Illuminae and the Starbound series, because omg they are on my top faves list.

    • OMG SO EXCITED FOR ILLUMINAE'S MOVIE. Like, gasping-can't-breathe-hyperventilation excitement. 😀 And that's so awesome!! I bet you have way more recs than me. 😀 Yaas to scifi lovers!!

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