Science Fiction in YA

Science fiction is important simply because it makes us question society much more than any other genre. It not only explores science in all its glory and ugliness, but also compels the reader to think about something in a new way. It appeals to the sense of wonder. It asks insightful questions and poses implications of societal practices in a complex setting that is akin to our present world and so allows us to see ourselves objectively.

Science fiction matters because even in the most screwed up of all screwed up science fiction worlds, it all boils down to human emotion.

It is a vast genre with dozens of sub-genres and themes which when combined with other genres is pretty much a self-supporting entity. There are no limits as to what a single science fiction story can constitute to as long as there's a willingness to suspend belief on the reader's behalf.

YA science fiction isn't as all-encompassing as adult science fiction but hey, it's getting there which is amazing because what we'll always need more of is science fiction (and just for the hell of it, fantasy). No other genre is going to help us in case of a zombie apocalypse, anyway.

Space is the Final "Fun-tier"

Space is infinite which means stories set in space are large-scale and adventurous as hell (which sometimes means chunky books which means I'm all set for life). There's almost always a serious conflict, sometimes an all-out war, between (or among) opponents in possession of badass but dangerous tech and superhuman abilities. It's not fun if it's not a fair fight, anyway.

While outer space stories are my favorite, I'm not as invested in spaces operas because those tend to be melodramatic about romance and have characters that are over-the-top.

Most Notable

// Across the Universe by Beth Revis
// The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
// Starbound by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
// The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Personal Favorites

\\ Armada by Ernest Clin
\\ Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Under the Radar

// Avalon by Mindee Arnett
// Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe
// Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
// Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis
// Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood

Cyberpunk and Post-Cyberpunk

In cyberpunk, rapid technological change plays a pivotal role in giving rise to an oppressive society with corrupt values. The more immersive the technology becomes, the more the social implications arise. More and more people living in such a futuristic world opt to escape it via virtual reality. Meanwhile, certain cyberpunk characters take it upon themselves to overthrow mega-corporations and powerful AIs.

Futuristic settings in cyberpunk aren't necessarily dystopian anymore (more accurately known as post-cyberpunk) since they're saturated with optimism and may even end on a hopeful note. However, they're still post-industrial tales peppered with conspiracy theories, fairy tale retellings, virtual reality, gaming, hackers, vigilantes, superpowers, consumerism, what-the-fuckery, war, art and so much more.

Most Notable

// Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
// The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
// The Mortality Doctrine by James Dashner
// Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

Personal Favorites

\\ Reckoners by Brandon Sanderson
\\ More Than This by Patrick Ness
\\ The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Under the Radar

// Feed by M.T. Anderson
// The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
// Zer0es by Chuck Wendig
// Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong

Cancelling the Apocalypse

Apocalyptic science fiction is as bleak as it gets as the society as we know it starts to disintegrate which is why the level of science fiction depends on the type of apocalypse. However, these stories are usually about hardships a small group of characters face as everything turns to dust around them. Understandably, the genre isn't as popular as post-apocalyptic stories which occur after some time has passed and takes place in a completely different setting than before the apocalypse. They are also known to address the implications of the apocalypse itself because even if the world has ended, not everyone died and humans are, after all, masters of fucking up.

In relation to both the genres is climate fiction (cli-fi) which, being an environmental science major, I've a special attachment to. In retrospect, all three of these genres as well as dystopia can and do crossover into each other which makes things more fun, in my opinion. However, it does make it difficult to decipher what genre such a book really belongs to.

Most Notable

// Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness
// The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey 
// Newsflesh by Mira Grant
// Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman
// Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
// The Maze Runner by James Dashner
// Legend by Marie Lu
// Dust Lands Moira Young
// Penryn and the End of Days by Susan Ee
// Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Personal Favorites

\\ Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
\\ Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

Under the Radar

// Razorland by Ann Aguirre 
// For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
// Partial Sequence by Dan Wells
// The Rule of Three by Eric Walters
// Breathe by Sarah Crossan
// Earth Girl by Janet Edwards
// Fallen World by Megan Crewe
// Zero World by Jason M. Hough
// In the After by Demitria Lunetta
// Elusion by Claudia Gabel, Cheryl Klam

Dystopian Sci-Fi

The line between dystopia and science fiction is a blurred one at best since that's where it gets difficult to define what's sci-fi and what's not because not all dystopia is sci-fi. Longtime sci-fi readers tend to consider them separate but that's not usually the case with YA readers of the genre since dystopian sci-fi is much more popular and known than just dystopian fiction to them.

While, dystopia and sci-fi both try to answer the what ifs, dystopia is highly focused on political and cultural aspects of society than technological advancement. More importantly, dystopia is big on rebellion but since it's a futuristic concept where society has experienced/is experiencing cataclysmic levels of decline, the presence of sci-fi is usually limited to a heavy reliance on advanced technology.

Most Notable

// The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
// Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
// Red Rising by Pierce Brown
// Divergent by Veronica Roth
// Matched by Allie Condie
// Delirium by Lauren Oliver
// The Chemical Garden by Lauren DeStefano
// Gone by Michael Grant

Personal Favorites

\\ The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
\\ Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Under the Radar

// Reboot by Amy Tintera
// Arclight by Josin L. McQuein
// Coda by Emma Trevayne
// Alienated by Melissa Landers
// The Blackcoat Rebellion by Aimee Carter
// Prisoners of Peace by Erin Bow 

Wibbily Wobbly Timey Wimey

Time travel and parallel universes and alternate histories are very complex genres despite having an extremely low level of real science. In fact, such stories are less fantasy as they're based in reality and more speculative than science fiction. However, for such stories to work, some science has to be involved to some extent without the limitations that comes attached with science fiction itself.

Most Notable

// Hourglass by Myra McEntire
// Pivot Point by Kasie West
// Firebird by Claudia Gray
// Unremembered by Jessica Brody
// Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Personal Favorites

\\ All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
\\ Pivot Point by Kasie West 
\\ Parallel by Lauren Miller
\\ The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Under the Radar

// Time Between Us by Tamra Ireland Stone
// Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke
// Dark Passages by Ilsa J. Bick
// The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
// Loop by Karen Akins
// Timeless by Alexandra Monir
// Tempest by Julie Cross 
// River of Time by Lisa Tawn Bergren
// Backward Glass by David Lomax
// So Close to You by Rachel Carter
// My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris


Aliens, zombies, rogue AIs, or microbiological science fiction, futuristic stories are mostly about the effects of technology on the world. It can take place in near or far future, but the key identifying elements are the realistic characters and believable plots.

Most Notable

// Insiders by Maria V. Snyder
// Altered by Jennifer Rush
// Free to Fall by Lauren Miller
// Uninvited by Sophie Jordan 

Personal Favorites

\\ Birthright by Gabrielle Zevin

Under the Radar

// The Memory Chronicles by Lenore Appelhans
// Scan by Sarah Fine 
// Illusive by Emily Lloyd-Jones
// Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin
// Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither
// Proxy by Alex London
// Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Spot any pop culture references? There are three. What is your favorite sci-fi YA book?


Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth


Divergent by Veronica Roth
young adult sci-fi dystopian thriller published by Katherine Tegen Books on May 3rd, 2011
first book in Divergent trilogy

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.



Books with a lot of action and adventure are rather easy to consume in large amounts because of the high they come attached with. This is particularly why I immediately think a book is fantastic and then after a few days, objectivity kicks in and I start thinking about the things that were wrong with it. (However, I had to reread before I could come to that conclusion). Yet while there is no doubt that Divergent is entertaining, much like the genre it's from, it isn't as perfect as it seems to be on the surface.

To be considered dystopian, books need to follow a certain pattern of extreme social control and political repression. Divergent follows this pattern to an unrealistically absurd level where people are divided into factions in order to put and end to their inclinations toward evil. For instance, Dauntless are the only ones who know how to fight since they're fearless (a synonym for brave, obviously), have all the ammo and like all the other factions, believe themselves to be the best faction of all. Not only that, non-Dauntless Initiates are known to kill others to advance in their ranks to become Dauntless. As much as that results in loads of action, I can't help but wonder if everyone in this book is dense as fuck about evil inclinations.

Considerably, I would have accepted that society in the future is so far gone to deem segregation to be feasible, if it wasn't for the presumption that humans in the world of Divergent are so wired to their factions that they're only able to display traits of their respective factions. Obviously, they actually aren't. Yet is there some sort of a genetic mutation that makes some exclusive to a faction and others not? Sketchy faction-exclusive serum in the water supply? It just feels to much of a cop out for me to not be bothered by it. Even more so when the reader is expected to read the sequel to get a better understanding of the world since there's a severe lack of world-building in Divergent (which doesn't really work in the favor of it having a standing of its own).

As for Tris, she goes from pretending to be selfless all her life to training to be a Dauntless. It is not a smooth ride and there are many inconsistencies in her character. As she is the main character who'd be leading the inevitable rebellion, she needs to be able to think about the good of mankind, be able to count the number of fears she has, and be intelligent because no dumb person can overthrow an over-controlling government.

In retrospect, so many instances point towards her being Divergent for the sake of driving the plot forward because guess what, she belongs equally to Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave) and Erudite (the intelligent). Yet Tris is pretty selfish, judgmental and even painfully clueless sometimes. Likewise, it almost seems like the Dauntless faction purely exists to give Divergent the oomph factor and Tris, an excuse to become a badass because hey, the plot has made it mandatory. It's unfortunate that Tris is too much like the usual female stock characters in young adult. What's more, her love interest is a typical tough-but-tormented Four who, I'm sure, only likes loves her because she's Divergent (code for above the others aka special snowflake).

In all, Divergent pretty much expects the reader to go along with the most unrealistic dystopian plot ever. It's such a contradiction because dystopia is a work of fiction grounded in reality about where we're going as a society in the worst of cases and Divergent is just...not that. It's much more concerned with Tris and to whatever concerns her than the world at large, at least for a majority of the story. If you can overlook the unreality of it all, you might like it more than I did, considering the archetypal characters don't ruin it for you instead.


'Who cares about pretty? I'm going for noticeable.'


Review: Lock In by John Scalzi


Lock In by John Scalzi
adult cyberpunk mystery crime science fiction published by Tor on August 26th, 2014
first book in Lock In series

Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent - and nearly five million souls in the United States alone - the disease causes "Lock In": Victims fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.

A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what's now known as "Haden's syndrome," rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. The two of them are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an "integrator" - someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder becomes that much more complicated.

But "complicated" doesn't begin to describe it. As Shane and Vann began to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery - and the real crime - is bigger than anyone could have imagined. The world of the locked in is changing, and with the change comes opportunities that the ambitious will seize at any cost. The investigation that began as a murder case takes Shane and Vann from the halls of corporate power to the virtual spaces of the locked in, and to the very heart of an emerging, surprising new human culture. It's nothing you could have expected.




Lock In takes the classic FBI-esque crime fiction and adds sci-fi themes and elements to give a futuristic retro feel to the world it takes place in. It starts out pretty ordinarily as a rookie FBI agent arrives on his first ever crime scene and then it dives off headfirst into organized crime investigation where nothing makes sense at first but by the end, it all fits together perfectly. It's light because of the witty dialog, but it's also deep as subtle societal implications are present throughout the book and those, I always appreciate.

A few decades ago, the world had to readjust itself by dividing into two communities due to a pandemic of Haden's. The syndrome affects every victim with different intensities of paralysis and changes in neural function, one percent of whom are affected in a way that locks in their fully-functioning brains into completely paralyzed bodies. There have never been a shortage of funding because the First Lady became the first victim of Haden's. However, now that a bill has been passed to stop Haden's government funding, things are about to get difficult for its sufferers.

Former Haden's poster-child, Chris Shane joins FBI a day before a Haden's-related crime is committed. What follows is a week-long investigation into the crimes because they don't just stop at one. Not knowing that his partner is a former Integrator, Chris is puzzled at her nonplussed reaction to his appearance. Integrators are former sufferers of Haden's whose neural networks allow locked in Hadens to connect to their bodies for a limited time. However, Chris is wearing a threep, meaning his consciousness is connected to a humanoid aka a Personal Transport while his body lies in a cradle at home.

Lock In is a classic crime fiction with instances of police procedures, interrogations and what not. When combined with the presence of locked in Hadens however, it takes the mystery to another level because of the amount of politics and science involved. It's a thought-provoking read because so many questions arise as to the use and maintenance of threeps, their living conditions, whether they really are victims since they're living as normal lives as they can. In a way, they've conquered Haden's even if they were born with it and had to be brought up in the Haden's-only virtual reality, Agora.

I'd highly recommend Lock In because it makes for a clever storytelling with a straightforward writing style. There's nothing that's lacking in Lock In. I loved Chris's personality, his self-deprecating humor, his relationship with his parents, but his partnership with Vann is the highlight of the book because of how well their personalities gelled together. Moreover, Scalzi doesn't succumb to stereotypical descriptions of diversity so it's refreshing to see diversity being treated without having made a big deal out of it. Lock In is a fantastic start to a series and left me with wanting just the right amount of more.


'Making people change because you can't deal with who they are isn't how it's supposed to be done. What needs to be done is for people to pull their heads out of their asses.'

'I don't think you fully appreciate what I meant when I said you are magnificently fucked.'


Sci-Fi Month is Now in Orbit

This is my third year of taking part in Sci-Fi Month that Rinn has been hosting since 2013 and it's always fun to be a part of it regardless of how much I suck at sticking to my to-read and to-watch lists.

As in the past, I don't have super ambitious goals in regards to blogging because of how I am as a person.

Sci-Fi on the Screen

I'm planning to watch more TV shows than movies this month and since I regularly watch Arrow, The Flash and Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D., what's a couple more.

Jessica Jones - I'm super excited for the upcoming Marvel's Jessica Jones! It's a sci-fi crime drama releasing on November 20th on Netflix. Netflix have some really amazing shows so I'm sure this will be great, too.

Daredevil  - I watched the pilot of Marvel's Daredevil a couple of months ago and I really want to continue watching it this month. There's also a Daredevil-Jessica Jones crossover in the works so that's also a motivating factor. However, I don't know when exactly that's slated to occur.

Doctor Who - I will be continuing watching it as it's about time!

The X-Files - I've been a spectacular watcher of this show as I've only managed to watch two episodes out of 200+ so I'll give this a try. Again.

I have no idea what sci-fi movies I'll be watching but I do want to rewatch Inception because I only ever watched it once in a cinema.

Sci-Fi on the Page

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - I was browsing through my old sci-fi month posts and it's a little sad that I was planning to read The Lunar Chronicles last year and failed to. It's alright though, because Winter is finally releasing and I just really want to read that book the most. So yes, I'm definitely going to read the series this month!

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid - Crini recommended it to me a while ago and I only just bought it yesterday since it's a Kindle deal.

Lock In by John Scalzi - I started this only yesterday and it's such a classy combination of murder mystery and androids. Really enjoying it!

Planetfall by Emma Newman - I have no idea what's this book is about except that colonization is involved. When it comes to books, I sometimes love going in blind.

I do have some other sci-fi books in mind but it all depends on my mood reading tendencies.

Sci-Fi on the Blog

I've been an unmotivated blogger for most of 2015 but, I do have some ideas that I want to write posts about. To list a few:

- Science fiction in YA which will be an introduction post of sorts.
- A post about books set in space because they're my favorite.
- Sci-fi titles are some authors working on.
Are you taking part in Sci-Fi Month? Do you like sci-fi? Recommend me something!


Monthly Recap: October

October brought cold weather which was the best part of the month, really.


It rained for the tenth time this year so I had to document it. // So many stunning illustrations!
Fall Weather
I love that my city cycles through all four seasons and that it's finally fall even if daily raking leaves stops being fun after a few days.

Learning to Point-Cut
I decided to let my hair grow out which I've only done once before but it's been two years and I hadn't gotten a haircut. However, as I couldn't decide on what kind of haircut I wanted, I just went ahead one day and cut them myself (after watching a ton of YouTube videos). It was liberating to say the least.


I started so many new shows in October, it isn't even funny. Just- just brace yourselves for the list below, okay.

Korra knows her stuff // The Legend of Korra
Awkward - I can't stop watching this show so I really hope this is the last season because I've had it with all the recycled drama.
Faking It - A for introducing a bi character!
Fresh Off the Boat - Funny as hell.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine - This show is the best ever because it's hilarious and gives me tons of feelings. Actually considering re-watching from the start because I just can't get enough of it.
The Flash -  It's definitely getting better with the inclusion of a multiverse storyline.
Arrow - It's slowly, very slowly getting better but Oliver Queen is not.
The Vampire Diaries - It takes me ten minutes to watch an episode because it's that bad. I wait for the day they cancel this show so that I can have a party.
The Big Bang Theory - Actually sad how much the show now relies on sexual jokes and manages to barely stay afloat.
Scream Queens - Still very ridiculous and Chad Radwell is seriously getting on my nerves. I know it's supposed to make fun of ridiculousness because of all the good ol' parodies but it just tries too hard.
Heroes Reborn - Out of all the shows I'm watching, Heroes Reborn is at the bottom. Can they speed up the mystery because we're halfway through the season and it's dulling.
How to Get Away with Murder - It keeps getting crazier and better with the present day storyline as well as the flashforwards.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - The show has been crazy good and super dark since season three premiered and I approve.
The X-Files - I watched another episode so now I'm two episodes in, ha ha.
Hannibal - I watched the pilot because I've been wanting to start for a long time and then I decided to pause because it's rather slow-paced.
Quantico - Only watched the pilot yet and while it had some good parts, there were a lot of stupidly unrealistic elements that I just can't get over.
Blindspot - I was intrigued but wasn't sure if I actually liked the show even after binge-watching the first five episodes. However, episode six revealed something about the tattoos and now I'm excited to continue.
The Royals - It's so cheesy and mediocre. I'm honestly only watching it for Eleanor because her storyline is the only one worth following. The rest of the cast and their storylines are ridiculous af.
The Legend of Korra - SO FUCKING GOOD. I LOVE KORRA.
Black Sails - The premise is fucking brilliant because pirates. I'm only two episodes in and already think that it's a very underrated show.


Sadness wins // Inside Out
Thor: The Dark World (8/10) - Rewatch.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (8/10) - Despite the villain being so witty, I still thought it was darker than usual for a Marvel movie.
Ghostbusters (7/10) - I loved how hilarious and fun it was!
Bajrangi Bhaijaan (5/10) - Let's just not get into this.
Step Up 2: The Streets (8/10) - Rewatch and it was fun!


I wasn't in the mood for reading much (why I watched so much TV) so I'm surprised at the number of books and comics I read.

Slowly getting back into reading adult fiction.
Golden Son by Pierce Brown
The Rose Society by Marie Lu
Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig
The Visibles by Sara Shepard
A-Force #5 by G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, Jorge Molina
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, Jim Kay
Angela: Asgard's Assassin Vol. 1: Priceless by Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez, Stephanie Hans
Angela: Queen of Hel #1 by Marguerite Bennett, Stephanie Hans, Aaron Kim Jacinto
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis


What's blogging?


I wasn't planning to buy as many eBooks or comics so damn those Kindle deals and comic sales.

F U C K  Y E S.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling, Jim Kay
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona
A-Force #5 by G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, Jorge Guardians of the Galaxy #1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Valerio Schiti, Arthur Adams
The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey
Lock In by John Scalzi
Angela: Asgard's Assassin Vol. 1: Priceless by Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez, Stephanie Hans
Angela: Queen of Hel #1 by Marguerite Bennett, Stephanie Hans, Aaron Kim Jacinto
The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs


I remember listening to Demi Lovato's Kingdom Come and Adele's Hello on repeat and... yeah.

Kingdom Come is my fave. // Hello on repeat, obvs. // New song by Panic! At the Disc, whee!
How was your October?