The Science Fiction Checklist Challenge: Beginning with Endings

~posted by Lindsay S.

While the words ‘science fiction’ still bring to mind spaceships and alien invaders, the genre has grown over the years. We at SPL have designed a science fiction checklist to help you navigate this expansive genre and all its facets. We hope you’ll explore the many worlds of science-fiction and find a favorite sub-genre of your very own.

Personally, I’m drawn to sci-fi that has a little bit of magic in it. There is a great blurring effect in both fantasy and science-fiction, and in recent years, this blur has created crossover authors, stories, and settings that have a little something for everyone. Take for instance, the end of the world.

There are three ways to react to the end of the world: stop it from happening, oh crap it’s happening, and now what do we do? These all have special names – apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, dystopian – but the point is that you’re either trying to stop it, survive it, or recover from it.


If your interest lies in stopping it, I suggest the The Word and the Void series by Terry Brooks. The first book, Running with the Demontakes you to a familiar, relatable world, with everyday problems – from the closing of the town’s steel mill to dramatic young love. Underneath and around it all looms the end of days, and the few people who know about it are both trying to stop it and pretending it’s not happening at the same time. If you continue on with the series, you’ll meet most of the characters again, and encounter a familiar setting – the bulk of the series takes place in Seattle.

aftertimeIf you can’t stop it, you’re going to have to survive it. A good example of this, and a thrill for all our zombie fans, would be Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield. This story takes place in the crazy aftermath of the end of the world, and details the struggle of one woman who’s just trying to stay alive.

Once it’s all over, the survivors will have to restore some sense of order to the world. This is where the dystopias rise. The most famous example of this recently is probably The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. If you want something with a little more punch, try Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling. This book is the first in a series by the same name, and not only does it show how the world ends and how those left behind rebuild, but it’s set in the pacific northwest. There’s also Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, where the world didn’t end exactly, just devolved into something hard and ugly.


Of course, these are just a few examples from within this subgenre. The apocalypse in all its forms is a rich field from which many stories grow. For more titles, you can always check in with the librarians at Your Next 5 Books. And if you have a favorite story about the end of the world, let us know by commenting below.

2 thoughts on “The Science Fiction Checklist Challenge: Beginning with Endings”

  1. Great list! I’d also recommend Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The Stand by Stephen King, and The Passage by John Cronin. A YA book I read recently called “Love in the Time of Global Warming” combined magic and Greek mythology with a dystopic environment too.

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