Writing Science Fiction Book Reviews: Avoiding Difficulties from the Start

Science fiction literature occupies a dominant position in the sphere of book marketing nowadays. One of five books sold is a fantastic or fantasy novel. Practically all segments of the population are interested in this genre of literature. Simultaneously, there exists a vast amount of critics and literary reviewers who think that fantastic tales cannot lay a claim to be placed on literary Olympus. Unfortunately, some of their statements have a solid evidence base. Sturgeon’s law works in every sphere of literature with no exceptions for fantasy tales. Naturally, 90% percent of all published literature cannot be called “a decent product”. However, there is a strong prejudice against the fantastic genre. The mainstream direction of literature is judged because of its best examples, the fantastic and detective stories are still judged by basing on their worst representatives. This situation is quite unfair and brings confusion in a reader’s mind. Meanwhile behind the improvised snobbish iron curtain, there exist thousands of masterpieces that may interest all layers of readers, even the most demanding ones. One can get an assignment of writing a review about a fantastic composition during the work with an APA essay or it may be one’s independent desire, based on a long and deep love to this segment of literature. In both cases, the paper ought to be written perfectly and the achievement of this goal requires great efforts. The foundation stone of this task is ensuring objectivity and this is an extremely rare quality. A disciplined reviewer understands that writing about fiction novels demands the same unbiasedness as writing physics papers. Let’s focus on the key points that already proved their usefulness in reviewer’s mundane practice.

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Every kind of fictional or nonfictional papers has its own peculiarities and main targets. Horror books format is designed to scare people, pre med coursework brochures supplies students with necessary medical information, child stories entertain and teach kids, satiric pamphlets denounce social and political inequality. The main goal of the fantastic genre is a prognostication of future technologies and their influence on a lifestyle of all humankind and single personality, as well. Naturally, along with the forecasting fantastic novels also provide entertainment, education and simple pleasure of reading a well-written story. A reviewer has to designate the main characteristics and purposes of the book under study in order to achieve synchronization with the author’s thoughts. It is practically impossible to judge the book without a clear understanding of its main objectives. Otherwise, a reviewer would upbraid a comedy novelette because of its unrealistic plot, and blame a hard SF novel because of its scientific complexity. Everyone will agree that this approach is not acceptable in writing science fiction book reviews. Therefore, it is extremely recommendable to consider the main characteristics of review papers before the final judgment. Modern literary criticism allocates these primal directions of fantastic genre, according to its leading features, namely:

    • Philosophical and psychological novels. This direction concentrates on solutions of global world philosophical questions, using the achievements of technological progress. It is also deeply engaged in forecasting of all advantages and disadvantages of scientific and philosophical percolations and connections. The main characteristic of the human psyche exists in a strong correlation with conditions of life and traditions of society. Scientific inventions are usually aimed at a transformation of the human environment, so it would be a fatal error to neglect the role of technological progress in the development and/or regression of human mind.
  • Adventure novels. Cloak-and-sword tales are practically the ancestors of all present entertaining sectors of literature. Of course, some of them provide only circumscription of giddy actions and extremely dangerous battles, especially some of generic fantasy and dark fantasy books. However, an experienced reviewer will undoubtedly notice that first examples of this genre were focused not on a simple amusement of readers, but also on their education as well. The adventurous stories written by Verne and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle still could be used as educational materials for a Geography homework help, because they contain a lot of veridical information about the geographical features of the Earth.
  • Satirical and ironic fantastic novels. With some simplification, we can say that all types of satire are based on fantastic prerequisites, from Aesop to Orwell. Can anything speak better for all the vices of society, than a fantastic metaphor or a hyperbole does? The answer is ‘no’, definitely. Thousands of writers use techniques and methods developed by fantasy literature in their satiric lampoons and tales.
  • Hard science fiction papers. The definition of the main purposes of this genre is quite simple: hard SF aims at teaching on a par with entertaining. Unfortunately for the reader, there exists a tribe of authors who even ignore the whole action part in favor of technical specifications and scientific or pseudoscientific jargon. Honestly speaking, some exemplars of this sub-genre would look more naturally among the list of scientific books provided by dissertation help services, than on the library shelves with common literature. This condition does not make an assignment easier because it imposes additional requirements to the reviewer’s qualification.

An experienced reviewer understands, without a doubt, that this is only a brief guideline about a multiplicity of fantastic sub-genres. We did not mention religious novels, military and nonmilitary fiction, exotic psychedelic and hyperrealistic prose. Nevertheless, the key-points of science fiction literature fit into the previous scheme perfectly, like in the best examples of an MLA style paper. Therefore, this list could be used as a draft for further reviewing.

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