Science Fiction Books: How Do You Know They’re Good

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Science Fiction Books - How Do You Know They’re GoodLet’s face it: the success of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter has become the barometer or standards by which other sci-fi novels today are measured. Gone were the days when books were written to make readers laugh, cry, feel depressed, or be happy about themselves. Today, as long as your book sells good, that’s enough.

This doesn’t mean Rowling’s work is not good; it is by all means. And with seven installments made, her novel has not just hit big time in the literary world, but more importantly in the film industry. However, budding and emerging authors who want to skyrocket their careers in this genre have begun to use the same theme. Percy Jackson is one book I didn’t like mainly because the characters resemble the Harry Potter trio of Rowling.

If you are a fan of literature, regardless the genre, and you just want to try some fantasy and science fiction books, here are some guidelines to know if it is worth the money:

  • It lives in natural premises – You will be able to identify a good story from a rip-off, if the entire theme is more likely to happen in a real world, than in a book. The scenes and situations in science fiction books usually are the ones which tell readers if they can be believable or not.
  • It has a believable main character – Another believable factor should be the main character. You cannot have a protagonist who does not have any weaknesses, or always becomes the source of strength for his comrades. Such a person is very unlikely to exist in the real world, especially if magic is involved.
  • The conflict is deep enough to end friendship – The problem should be serious enough that it may cause the life or death of a person or several people within the story. Simple conflicts such as a lost pen or failure to do well in class are clichés which readers should not support anymore.
  • It can be set in a real place – Believe me or not, having a real place as the story’s main theme adds to its ‘believability’. However, the writer should make sure to create places, areas and scenes which can really take place in such a neighborhood.
  • The touch of science fiction increases over time – The story usually starts ordinarily and sometimes boringly. But then, the conflict strikes, and then readers are taken into a roller coaster ride they did not expect in the first place.

These are just a few pointers which would help you find and decide which book will be your next target. In addition, you may also visit some reading websites, forums and discussions and have an idea of what other people want. You will be surprised that different types of people have different preferences in reading.

Science fiction books are still becoming popular regardless if they are good enough to read or not. As new literature lovers of this generation, you should not let these books dictate the course of the market. Once they do, everything in bookstores would be books that are cheap, and rip-offs of one another.

Melissa Reinsly writes children’s books for a small publishing house. She has covered a variety of genres as well such as horror, romance, sci-fi, and adventure. She continues to inspire young people to read for pleasure. One of the time travel novels she truly enjoyed reading was “Riddle of the Red Bible” by K.T. Jae.

Editorial Team
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2 Comments

  1. Tori says:

    Given Harry Potter is about magic rather than science (futuristic or
    otherwise) I would say those novels were fantasy rather than sci-fi.

    Sorry but not entirely sure about the whole ‘real place’ point either.
    In terms of fantasy, though there are books set in the real world (Jim
    Butcher’s Dresden Files series for example) many of the books are set in
    completely fictional worlds (think Lord Of The Rings or the David
    Eddings novels) rather then real places.

    In terms of science fiction there is a lot of variety in settings. Some do take place in the real world of this time but more commonly it is a futuristic earth, such as with Peter F Hamilton’s ‘Great North Road’ and some of these are so futuristic that the places are unrecognisable, such as the New York in Issac Asimov’s ‘The Caves Of Steel’. Many science fiction books are not set on earth at all but in space, such as some of the works of Robert Heinlein and Elizabeth Moon.

  2. alexandra says:

    Yes, perhaps these are the basic qualities of what a good sci-fi book is. But it also depends on tastes of the readers and how much they know about science. Naturally, like the love for food, advance sci-fi book readers aspire and crave for novels with high-level science while the neophyte readers satisfy themselves with the regular run-of-the mill sci-fi books.