SF CORE Best Lists
- Top 25 Best Science Fiction
- The 'Alternative' Top 25 SF
- Top 100 Best Science Fiction
- Best Science Fiction Series
- Best Stand Alone SF
- Best Modern Classic SF
- Underrated Science Fiction
- Best SF by Women
- Best YA Science Fiction
- Best Kids' Science Fiction
SF ERA Best Lists
- Best Science Fiction of 2014
- Best Contemporary SF (2000's)
- Best Modern SF (80's-90's)
- Best New Wave SF (60's-70's)
- Best Classic SF (40's-60's)
- Best Early SF (1890-1930's)
- Best Proto SF (pre-1890)
SF GENRE Best Lists
- Best Hard SF Books
- Best Cyberpunk Books
- Best Space Opera Books
- Best SF Mystery Books
- Best SF Books about Mars
- Best Moon SF Books about Moon
- Best Dystopian Books
- Best Post Apocalyptic SF Books
- Best Alternate History Books
- Best Time Travel Books
- Best Robot Books
- Best A.I. Books
- Best Post-Human Books
- Best Literary SF Books
- Best Books ABOUT SF
- Space Opera
- Hard Science Fiction
- Soft Science Fiction
- Firm Science SF
- Mundane Science Fiction
- Social Science Fiction
- Near-Future Science Fiction
- Age Regression Science Fiction
- Immortality Science Fiction
- Mind Transfer Science Fiction
- Transhumanism Science Fiction
- Robot Science Fiction
- Cybernetic Revolt Science Fiction
- Synthetic Biology Science Fiction
- Retro Futurism
- Dying Astronaut Science Fiction
- First Landings Science Fiction
- First Contact Science Fiction
- Alien Invasion Science Fiction
- Alien Conspiracy Science Fiction
- Shapeshifting Science Fiction
- Dystopian Science Fiction
- Utopian Science Fiction
- World Government Science Fiction
- Alternate History Science Fiction
- Parallel Worlds Science Fiction
- Multiverse Science Fiction
- Time Travel
- Gothic Science Fiction
- Literary Science Fiction
- Recursive Science Fiction
- Comic Science Fiction
- Political Science Fiction
- Religious Science Fiction
- Christian Science Fiction
- Clerical Science Fiction
- Mythological Science Fiction
- Cozy Catastrophe Science Fiction
- Restored Eden Science Fiction
- Dying Earth
- Apocalyptic Science Fiction
- Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction
- ESP Science Fiction
- Sports Science Fiction
- Zombie Fiction
- Sci-Fi Horror
- Sci Fi
- Science Fantasy
- Speculative Fiction
- Media Tie-In Science Fiction
- Detective Science Fiction
- Hard Boiled Science Fiction
- Pulp Science Fiction
- Space Western Science Fiction
- Scientific Romance
- Sword and Planet Science Fiction
- Planetary Romance
- Lost Worlds
- Bigger Than Worlds
- Voyages Extraordinaires
- Hollow Earth Science Fiction
- Exotic Ecosystems Science Fiction
- Undersea Science Fiction
- Microbiology Science Fiction
- Astrobiology SF
- Astrosociobiology SF
- Ecological Science Fiction
- Frontier Science Fiction
- Generation Ship Science Fiction
- Colonization Science Fiction
- Terraforming Science Fiction
- World Building Science Fiction
- Hyperspace Science Fiction
- Spunky Heroine
- Erotica Science Fiction
- Gay Science Fiction
OTHER Best Lists
SF Subgenre Guides
Astrobiology Science Fiction
What is Astrobiology Science Fiction?
Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe, here on Earth and out among the stars. Astrobiologists study the conditions that led to the evolution of life here on Earth and then look elsewhere in the solar system for similar conditions—these preconditions for life are often ignored by Science Fiction writers. And while intelligent life is perhaps the most exciting, and is the most dynamic for the purposes of Sci Fi storytelling, astrobiology is about all life and the potential for life.
Other Features of Astrobiology Science Fiction
- Level of Real Science
Moderate. Astrobiology does have scientific legitimacy and as a field of study utilizes many other sciences (geology, ecology, physics, astronomy, and so on). However, there is no real scientific evidence either for or against life elsewhere in the universe—at least not yet. This provides great opportunity for Sci Fi to speculate on what life we may one day find out there amongst the stars. Astrobiology Sci Fi will draw from real scientific disciplines, but must necessarily go beyond what we currently know.
- Level of Grand Ideas/Social Implications
High. At the heart of the inquiry of astrobiology is a huge question: are we alone in the universe? This is an incredibly grand question with far reaching implications. What would happen if we are the only intelligent life in the universe? What if we're the dumbest of the intelligent life in the universe? What if we find life, but not intelligent life? How will humanity react to this news politically, culturally, theologically?
- Level of Characterization
Variable. Developing human characters is sometimes minimized in the presence of alien life. However, characters can also be incredibly well developed—what better way to understand a human life than with contrast of the discovery of something alien?
- Level of Plot Complexity
Variable. Astrobiology sometimes is full of exploration and adventure, the science of astrobiology is a king of treasure hunt—it offers a thrilling plot to be sure. However, sometimes the plot can be underdeveloped when authors become enthralled with worldbuilding, and scientific and technological details.
- Level of Violence
Variable. We can't expect all life in the universe to be friendly, and we can't expect all life to be hostile—so depending on where the author wants to take the story, the level of violence will vary.
Related Science Fiction subgenres
Speculative Fiction. Astrobiology speculates on the existence and nature of life in the universe.
Astrosociobiology Science Fiction. Astrobiology is a part of Astrosociobiology and sometimes astrosociobiology is a part of astrobiology.
Firm and Hard Science Fiction. Astrobioloy can certainly belong to either camp—really just depends how close to current scientific theories the author wants to stay.
Exotic Ecosystems. Finding life in a truly alien ecosystem—there is biology there!
Extraterrestrial Science Fiction. This one is about intelligent life—astrobiology isn't always about intelligent life.
Microbiological Science Fiction. Life in the universe may be very small.
Astrobiology Science Fiction isn't for you if...
If you think we're alone in the universe.
- 1 Wheelers
- 2 Between the Strokes of Night
By Charles Sheffield. This book proposes a form of life that thrives in intergalactic space.
- 3 Calculating God
By Robert Sawyer. Aliens arrive on Earth looking for proof of god. The novel postulates that most alien species will prefer uploading themselves into virtual reality.
- 4 Revelation Space
By Alastair Reynolds. A complex novel that postulates many different lifeforms who struggle against ancient, machine-like intelligences seeking to destroy all new organic life..
- 5 The Black Cloud
By Sir Fred Hoyle. Written by an astrophysicist, this book is about an enormous cloud of gas that comes between Earth and the sun—to disastrous climatic effects. The cloud's behavior is unpredictable and is revealed to be a superorganism.
- 6 The Andromeda Strain
By Michael Crichton. Not all life is met out among the stars, sometimes it comes home and sometimes it is very very small.
- 7 Reality Dust
By Stephen Baxter On the moons of Jupiter an escaped scientist discovers a lifeform in the ice.
- 8 Dragon's Egg
By Robert Forward. The first in this series proposes life on the surface of a neutron star.
- 9 If the Stars are Gods
- 10 The Sparrow and Children of God
By Mary Doria Russell. Written by an anthropologist this novel explores more social and cultural ideas about meeting alien life—in this case intelligent, but technologically inferior aliens. The book is a bit recursive and shows readers how imagining other worlds allows us to reimagine ourselves.