'The Invisible Man,' written and directed by Leigh Whannell and starring Elisabeth Moss, bears little resemblance to the novel whose title it borrows.
52 years ago today, Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. But who was the first one to ever dream of this? Enter science fiction.
Tales of the future may come from the past! Do you ever wonder how writers envisioned the potential future of science decades or over a century ago?
Young adult fiction is undeniably one of the most popular genres of all time. It was first categorized around the 1930s with Lauren Ingalls Wilder’s series Little House on the Prairie. Teachers and librarians were slow to accept books intended for younger readers, but young adult books today focus on issues in society with such a passion that even older adults love to read them.
YA subgenres have ebbed and flowed over the years, and the two ever-reigning subgenres seem to be fantasy and contemporary fiction. You can always find a unique new release of a fantasy novel or a self-aware contemporary love story. But what genres are so dead that publishers in 2019 will rarely publish them and why did young adults stop reading them?
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Ah, yes. Dystopian. Nostalgia for 2012, anyone? Maybe it was because everyone was talking about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world, but people were in a craze over dystopian society books like The Hunger Games and Divergent. Books about post-apocalyptic societies like The Maze Runner weren’t too far behind in the craze, either. Most dystopian subgenres are based on sci-fi and these particular subgenres started to oversaturate the sci-fi genre. Because of the immense popularity of books like The Hunger Games, every author wanted to replicate that fame and success. Understandably, readers got bored.
We became sick of tropes like “the chosen 16-year old who has a special ability that allows him or her to rebel and change dystopian society.” Readers began to pay attention to different genres and new authors, and the dystopian genre and its tropes slowly died out as YA readers found more relevant books. With the upcoming release of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, it’ll be interesting to see how this dystopian writer tackles this so-called “dead” genre.
2. PARANORMAL / URBAN fantasy
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When you think of paranormal YA, think vampires, werewolves, and zombies. So basically Twilight minus the zombies. For a while, the Twilight series was the reigning series for the paranormal subgenre. Teens were obsessed and buying t-shirts to show off their pride in Team Edward or Team Jacob. So what happened? Well, other authors tried to replicate the success of Twilight, and teens kept reading vampire and werewolf books until they wanted a taste of something different. Once the movies were released, Twilight stirred up even more controversy as readers began to release that Bella and Edward were an unhealthy relationship portrayal for young teens.
Still, it seems a bit disappointing that the whole vampire subgenre should die out because of one bad portrayal— especially when there’s so many amazing vampire stories, like Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire. But never fear for those readers who were into paranormal or urban fantasy books other than Twilight, or even those who were into Twilight (no shame here)— these subgenres are making a slow return, starting with Renee Ahdieh’s new vampire novel The Beautiful.
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Steampunk is one of a few YA genres that has never taken hold of a readership. Any successful steampunk books are technically classified under other YA subgenres and only have small steampunk elements. Those books that did attempt to focus solely on steampunk, an attempt that surged around the early 2000s, were usually adult books and were just too similar to each other to claim a place as a real subgenre.
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Superheroes certainly have a presence in comic books and movies, but this genre just isn’t present in YA. There’s no clear reason why superheroes are more popular in movies than books— maybe viewers would rather see sexy superhero actors and actresses blow stuff up rather than reading about them. Or maybe, like steampunk, superhero YA books have just been too similar with dead YA tropes like “the chosen one.”
5. TIME TRAVEL
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Time travel in YA sci-fi hasn’t been as successful as you might think, although time travel in YA fantasy has more of a presence. Maybe it’s because sci-fi books like H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine were written way back in 1895 and readers’ fascination with time travel has died out since then. Yet time travel is still popular in movies and TV, so it’s also up to speculation as to why this genre hasn’t taken off in YA.
If you’re interested in more about the book market or dead genres in publishing, check out this video by Alexa Donne, author of Brightly Burning. She explains all of these dead genres and tropes in-depth and also has some fascinating insights about the publishing world as well as advice for new writers.
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Its Alien Abduction Day! It’s a day when the skies are watched carefully by those who wish to find UFOs or be abducted by aliens. Most people celebrate the day by either UFO watching or watching movies featuring extraterrestrials. But you can always read some books featuring our alien friends! Below are five books dealing with alien abductions, both fictional and…er…nonfictional.
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5. ‘Communion’ by Whitley Strieber
Communion by Whitley Strieber is a supposed real life account by Strieber’s potential encounters with aliens. Strieber offers no interpretation of whether these events were real or not, leaving the audience to decide that for themselves. You can decide whether Strieber’s account is real or not but the novel itself is worth the read, if only for Strieber’s terrifying account of the actual abductions. Dream-like and surreal, these accounts are seriously disturbing and will keep you up at night for sure. The novel gets bogged down near the end with Strieber’s philosophical ramblings of what the aliens wanted from him but the book itself is a must read for UFO fans.
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4. ‘Little Green Men’ by Christopher Buckley
Little Green Men is a comedy bent on the alien abduction trope. It centers on a man called John Oliver Banion who is abducted by aliens. Believing the aliens abducted him for a purpose, he concludes that purpose is to force Washington to acknowledge the existence of extraterrestrials! He soon becomes a cult figure to millions who want the truth as well and has to choose between his career, life, family or seeing his new cause through to the end. Funny, satirical, and with great characters, Little Green Men is a hilarious read.
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3. ‘Lagoon’ by Nnedi Okorafor
Lagoon details humanity’s first contact with aliens, as when an alien spaceship crashes into a lagoon off the coast of Lagos, the fifth most populated city in the world, Earth is changed forever. The novel follows a rapper, a biologist, and a rogue soldier who come together as the city begins to get out of control. As the government considers bombing the city and its own citizens begin to riot, this small group of people must work as one to ensure peaceful first contact. A unique and highly engaging novel that details aliens landing somewhere that isn’t America, Lagoon is a great, fast paced read.
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2. ‘Contact’ by Carl Sagan
The basis for the more famous nineties movie, Contact centers on a young woman receiving a message from supposed aliens and attempting to decipher their message then somehow heads into space to make contact with the extraterrestrials. Touching on themes on faith, science, and what it means to be human, Contact is intimidating to read, as its very focused on the realistic side of space travel, which means like of high minded scientific concepts/math thrown at the reader. But its a wonderful read nonetheless and the reveal at the end makes the whole journey worth it.
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1. ‘War of the Worlds’ by H.G. Wells
You know it, you’ve watched it, but have you actually read it? War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells started it all. The popularity of aliens, alien invasions, and the human conflicts against them began with this book. The aliens come without warning, attacking London at the end of the nineteenth century. The war against the aliens is still just as hard hitting as it was back then, despite countless other alien invasion stories popping up by the thousand since. Most famous are the giant tripods, the aliens war machines that stomp their way through London, annihilating everything in sight with their death rays. A great and exciting pulpy read, War of the Worlds started it all but holds up very well.
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