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Dying Earth Science Fiction

What is Dying Earth Science Fiction?

The Earth is doomed, but it's going to take awhile to die so let's sit back and watch what happens. These stories tend to take place at the end of the Earth's life or at the end of time and are thus occur far into the future. It is a sub-genre filled with themes of world-weariness, fatality, reflection, lost innocence, idealism, entropy, exhaustion of resources, and hope. It's a very melancholy sub-genre— understandably so because the landscapes are often barren, sterile and the sun is often fading. This sub-genre may sound a bit like apocalyptic science fiction, but its difference lies in the cause of the Earth's death. The focus is not a cataclysmic event, but rather the end of time. As such this sub-genre has lots of overlap with fantasy in that it postulates fantastical versions of Earth's future.

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Other Features of Dying Earth Science Fiction

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  • Level of Real Science

    Not so much. Science does play a part in Dying Earth stories, but think of it more as forgotten science and technology. Often science is more magical or fantastical than hard science.

  • Level of Grand Ideas/Social Implications

    Massive. Dying Earth stories reflect on Earth and human history and extrapolate how things develop in the future. It is a sub-genre that makes one think because it takes place so far into the future there is lots of freedom for writers to explore lots of grand ideas.

  • Level of Characterization

    General. Dying Earth stories are about a draw-out death of the planet and so while readers will encounter fascinating characters, the stories tend to be too drawn out over time to have deep complex characters.

  • Level of Plot Complexity

    Big plots. Because of the whole end of Earth/end of time thing Dying, Earth stories cover lots of ground and the plots are necessarily large and often span huge spans of time.

  • Level of Violence

    Variable. Violence is something that can happen when people are faced with the end of all things so it is bound to come up in these stories. However, Dying Earth stories tend to be more melancholy than violent.

Related Science Fiction subgenres

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    Apocalyptic is the obvious relation to Dying Earth and there are several overlaps, but the big difference is the cause of the end of all things because Apocalyptic Science Fiction focuses on a cataclysmic event.

  • Post Apocalyptic. Dying Earth may triggered be an Apocalyptic event and thus exist in a Post Apocalytpic world. However, Dying Earth is not so much focused on the actual "event" but more of the result of the "event"

  • Social Science Fiction makes its way into Dying Earth Science Fiction in its reflectivity. When a world comes to its end there is necessarily commentary on the societies that grew there.

Dying Earth isn't for you if...

If you want a feel good story. These stories are not meant to comfort readers—in fact the reader's apt attention is required to get the special treats within—surreal and beautiful complex stories—so do not read Dying Earth stories if you want an easy read.

Popular Dying Earth Science Fiction books