Even if you’re not a fan of Star Wars or Guardians of the Galaxy, we’re here to tell you that space-fi (which is basically sci-fi but set in or about space) is a trend we can all get on board with.
If you aren’t familiar with space-fi, now’s a great time to check out what all the buzz is about. Let’s break down what makes it so galactically spectacular. . . .
1. The story takes place in space.
Now I know this may be a given because, duh, this is space-fi, but it’s also what makes this genre stand out and why it’s so fun to escape into. The worlds or space where the story occurs isn’t usually ours. Sometimes the entire story takes place on spaceships, in a world, or on a combination of both.
Such as the Illuminae series, which begins on another planet . . .
By Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival mega corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started.
Good versus evil is pretty distinct in these stories, with the lines drawn and set. You know who the good guys and the bad guys are and where they stand. Sometimes there’s a character who straddles the line and you’re not sure whether they’ll turn on you or not, but generally you know which side everyone is on. Think the Jedi versus the Sith.
Then some stories pit more than just good and evil against each other. This one is all about the color of your blood.
When Planets Fall
By Abby J. Reed
Breaker’s home is cleaved by blood. The three tribes on the planet Scarlatti, whose only difference is their blood color, each want to exploit Breaker’s valley for themselves. Now all this eighteen-year-old wants is to maintain the tenuous peace in order to keep his little ’stroid of a brother alive. Malani, a red-blood raised blue, is a kidnapped POW and only wishes to return to her adoptive home with her dangerous blue secrets. Luka, a red-blood stewing for trouble, wants to right wrongs done to his family and bathe his home in justice.
All three intersect when Breaker discovers a wrecked starship and is given seven days by the green-bloods to fix and hand it over as a weapon. Breaker must decide if aiding his enemies is worth the home he knows and his family’s life. War is coming. And war respects no boundaries—and leaves no survivors.
3. The good guys are usually the underdog, and we all love to cheer for the underdog.
You’re probably familiar with the usual scenario where the world or galaxy is about to be destroyed or conquered and the smaller group of good guys is the only thing standing in the way. We should be sick of this trope, but we’re not. We get sucked in. Every. Single. Time. We can’t help ourselves because the stakes are so high.
Want to get sucked in with us? Then grab a copy of . . .
Empress of a Thousand Skies
By Rhoda Belleza
Empress Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne.
Fugitive Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he’s forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life.
Madman With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly must confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.
If you’re a fan of this type of crew, check out . . .
By Michael Miller and AdriAnne Strickland
Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can’t resist her, even if her ship is an antique.
As for Nev, he’s a prince, in hiding on the ship. He believes Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, and when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, Nev resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary.
But before they know it, a rival royal family is after Qole too, and they’re more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive.
Nev’s mission to manipulate Qole becomes one to save her, and to survive, she’ll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. He may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power—and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew.
We have to admit that one of the best things about space-fi is the action. There are battles between ships, armies, and individuals. They may use guns, swords, or special powers. We like it all, as long as we’re pulled into intense, nail biting, don’t they’ll make-it-so-hold-on climactic scenes.
Want to dive into some action? This story has two characters with distinct powers.
Carve the Mark
By Veronica Roth
On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?
They’re so good at being evil that we can’t help admitting how truly perfect they are as villains . . . and we can’t help having a love/hate relationship with them. Usually they have a sinister plot or two as well, like genocide or world domination. The better the villain, the better the hero. So we’re cheering for the villains, just that our heroes can conquer them in the end.
This one is full of sinister plots. . . .
By Dee Garretson
Scientists and their families stationed on the remote planet of Fosaan were promised a tropical vacation-like experience. But Fosaan, devastated from an apocalyptic event nearly 300 years ago, is full of lethal predators and dangerous terrain. Earthers are forbidden to go beyond the safety zone of their settlement and must not engage the remaining reclusive Fosaanians, native to the planet. 16-year-old Quinn Neen is about to do both of those things. During an unsanctioned exploration of the planet, Quinn discovers a beautiful Fosaanian girl named Mira stealing food from his family’s living unit. But before he can convince her to show him around, scientists are taken captive, leaving Quinn and the other young Earthers at the mercy of space raiders. Quinn must go from renegade to leader and convince Mira to become an ally in a fight against an enemy whose very existence threatens their lives and the future of Earthers stuck on Fosaan and at home.
7. Gadgets, technology, and ships that are out of this world . . . quite literally.
There are really cool tools, robots, different types of transportation, and a whole bunch of things woven through these stories that aid the heroes as well as the villains. We have no clue how they work and if what they do will ever be possible, but we still geek out over them. In t his story, there’s a machine that’s almost alive . . .
Defy the Stars
By Claudia Gray
She’s a soldier — Noemi Vidal is seventeen years old and sworn to protect her planet, Genesis. She’s willing to risk anything–including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she’s a rebel.
He’s a machine — Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel has advanced programming that’s begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he’s an abomination.
Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they’re not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they’re forced to question everything they’d been taught was true.