YA is a dynamic genre of fiction marketed primarily towards people under 18 (although adults make up over half of YA consumers!). Read on for the history of how we got here and five predictions for where YA is going.
“Young Adult” fiction is a relatively new genre in the publishing industry, but not as new as you think. An article from CNN suggests teenagers became a distinguished social group because WWII stratified the American population by age. I like to think someone shot up from their desk and said “Wait a second, teenagers exist?! How do we make money off them??”
Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly (1942) is regarded as the first book written for teenagers, and it was about first love. Trends of romance novels for girls and sports novels for boys emerged soon after. In the 1970s another YA publishing wave hit with authors like Judy Blume, and in the 1980s horror made a modest appearance from authors like R.L. Stine.
A quick heads up: Most, if not all of the works referenced in this article contain content that may be disturbing for some readers.
Climate fiction, dubbed cli-fi, centers around the cold and destitute future humanity sets up for itself by worsening the climate crisis. The term cli-fi was coined by freelance writer Dan Bloom in 2011 and rose to fame when Margret Atwood used it in a 2012 Tweet. Since then, there has been a spike in climate fiction from writers and activists all over the world.
Climate fiction brings to reality outcomes scientists use statistics to warn people about. Literature is well-known for increasing empathy and awareness in readers, and climate fiction does just that by reflecting the world humans already live in through the mirror of a climate-crisis ravaged wasteland.
Unlike the white, male-dominated traditional science fiction, climate fiction is more diverse, with women and people of color at the forefront. It is an international movement, from Indian writer Amitav Ghosh, author of both divisive climate change nonfiction and groundbreaking climate fiction, to Waanyi author Alexis Wright, author of The Swan Girl, a dark, stream-of-consciousness tale set in the near future where climate change refugees have found their way to Australia.
Recently, the Netflix show Heartstopper has taken the world by storm. I get the bragging rights of having been in the fandom since the comics were out, so I was very excited for the release of this show. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
About a year ago, my younger sibling came out to me as queer. They are still in elementary school, and I was afraid of how they’d be treated since the reactions to me coming out in middle school were less than kind, I was very concerned about how their peers would react. And yet I was pleasantly surprised by how much the school environment has changed in the six years since I’ve been in elementary school. People were more open and accepting, and their school even has an LGBTQ acceptance club.
Steampunk is the hybrid genre, the aesthetic you did not know you needed. It is what happens when you mash historical society with technology that could have been if humanity had gone in a slightly different direction. Steampunk writing is composed of three elements: research, imagination, and more research.
To write a good historical steampunk society, you need a point of diversion, which is the event that started the cascade towards steampunk technology rather than the technology we use today. What changed? Was something developed with steam technology that eliminated the need for our current technology? Did a discovery or invention that occurs in the real world never happen? This is integral to world-building, even if it is not featured heavily in your book. Having a solid point of divergence is also an indicator that you have been doing sufficient research.
Sometimes, poetry and science seem to come from entirely different worlds. It’s easy to find poems that tap into romance, fantasy, even horror. But a science fiction poem? Those feel far and few between.
I wouldn’t say it’s outwardly nonexistent or impossible to write. The root of science fiction lies in science. So it's logical that by turning to actual science for inspiration, we can find all sorts of interesting topics to utilize in poetry. So turn on a space documentary or a series describing undersea exploration. And if you don’t want to invest the time to watch that, here’s a list of sciencey things for your consideration to get you started.
Warning: Minor spoilers for season one
It’s the year 2046, and Judy, the Robinson’s eldest daughter, is trapped inside a capsule, in the depths of a rapidly-freezing ocean… on a planet that is billions of light-years away from Earth.
Lost In Space follows the story of the Robinsons, a family of five who think they will find a better life in Alpha Centauri, and so join the journey of a group of colonists in the Resolute ship. But evidently, things go sideways (and with “things” I mean an alien robot attack), and they must evacuate. They crash land on an unidentified planet, where they will face the threats of an unknown environment and try to contact the Resolute, knowing fully well that they have their seconds counted.
Not to mention, the youngest member, Will, befriends an alien robot.
In a world where superhero movies and TV shows crop up every couple of months, there’s no denying the presence and prowess of the science fiction genre. It’s evolved over the centuries, generating dozens of subgenres and shifting to match each era’s social climate. Readers and writers alike flock to science fiction for intrigue, wonderment, and entertainment, and often leave with some nuanced social commentary for good measure.
Taking a look back at how the genre came to be can help us understand what defines the genre, and where it could end up. Here’s some literature that provided significant contributions to science fiction, in chronological order.
You have read “Fanfiction-The Writer’s Playground” by Nate Fahmi and now you want to start reading/writing/publishing fanfics, the problem is you have no idea how to start. Do not fret because Fanfiction 101 is a series in which I will walk you through the things I wish I knew when I had just started reading transformative works.
Today’s article is (like the title says) where to read and post. I will introduce you to some websites, their pros and cons and what type of works are expected from them. If you want a more in-depth explanation of how the sites work I suggest you watch “How to read fanfiction” by ColeyDoesThings.
The next three are the most popular sites and archives in which fanfiction is stored/published to be read FOR FREE (if you have to pay for reading fanfiction it is likely the work was published without the author’s consent and is illegal).
From adrenaline-packed battles to long-lost prophecies, speculative fiction has a way to take the reader and keep them invested in a story. It is also the main genre I have been reading the past couple of years, and the one my WIPs tend to gravitate towards. So, without further ado, here are ten things that make this genre so appealing to thousands of readers around the world.