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SF Subgenre Guides
Near-Future Science Fiction
What is Near-Future Science Fiction?
Near-Future Science Fiction is defined more by its setting than other characteristics. The stories in this sub-genre take place in a future very near our own and has some feeling of familiarity—much like Mundane Science Fiction.
Frequently, Near-Future Sci Fi is about current technology, or technology in development today and its effects on our world.
You can also view the Crowd-Ranked Near-Future Science Fiction books list and vote and/submit entries to it.
Other Features of Near-Future Science Fiction
- Level of Real Science
High. Near-Future Sci Fi is set in a world that is a natural progression from our own and so technological and scientific advancements are believable and utterly real.
- Level of Grand Ideas/Social Implications
High. Near-Future Sci Fi examines the results of a change or development—often related to science and technology—on our society. Frequently, this examination reveals a sense of fear or anxiety about the future.
- Level of Characterization
High. Because Near-Future Sci Fi is set in a world much like our own characters often feel more real and readers can find themselves easily identifying with these characters.
- Level of Plot Complexity
High. The development of events and their consequences are central to Near-Future stories and as such plots are well defined and meaningful.
- Level of Violence
Moderate. Violence is a part of our current world, so violence also tends to be a part of near-future settings as well. When there is violence in a near-future setting is it is often a consequence of a sequence of events and part of the story's overall commentary on science, technology and/or society.
Related Science Fiction subgenres
Mundane Science Fiction. Mundane Sci Fi settings tend to be in the near-future so as to maintain its close to Earth necessity.
Political Science Fiction. Near-Future Sci Fi provides a space for making direct and immediate political commentary.
Dystopia. Rare is the optimistic Near-Future story. Mostly, Near-Future stories present concerns about the path of current events and their consequences, so a dystopian society is natural partner in the Near-Future sub-genre.
Near-Future Science Fiction isn't for you if...
If you prefer far-off tales. Because Near-Future Sci Fi takes place close to home it often expresses a sense of an anxiety about the future that some readers may find unsettling.
- 1 Islands in the Net
By Bruce Sterling. This novel, though now slightly dated, depicts an uncomfortably possible near-future of “high tech and low humanity.”
- 2 Earth
By David Brin. A novel set in 2038 that depicts a world on the edge of environmental collapse.
- 3 Queen of Angels
By Greg Bear. A Hard Sci Fi tale that takes place in a very near-future California and centers around a poet-murderer.
- 4 Halting State
By Charles Stross. A tale about a virtual bank robbery in 2018 and its connections to the real world.
- 5 Bridge Trilogy
By William Gibson. The trilogy begins in 2006 and is concerned with the race to control cyberspace technology.
- 6 Man Plus
By Frederick Pohl. There is a war for natural resources taking place on Earth and a goal of colonizing Mars and one former astronaut is transformed to live on the Martian frontier.
- 7 The Space Merchants
By Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth This collaborative novel can be labelled a satire. In the near-future this book presents, business has taken the place of government and society is distorted—an expression of fear or anticipation is prevelant.
- 8 The Execution Channel
By Ken MacLeod. A Near-Future Sci Fi/Spy Thriller story that depicts an anti-terrorist dystopia.
- 9 River of Gods
By Ian McDonald. This story takes place in 2047 India and follows 9 distinct characters and features a caste of genetically engineered children, gender neutral adults, AIs, and a water shortage.
- 10 The Diamond Age
By Neal Stephenson. A sophisticated device falls into the hands of an impoverished girl—a look at how nanotechnology can influence our world.
- The Martian (Andy Weir)