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Detective Science Fiction

What is Detective Science Fiction?

These stories are often set in a near-future and feature where technology aids law enforcement and criminals. Detective stories lend themselves well to Science Fiction because in many ways detective and scientists are similar: problem solving, questioning, following clues, tasked with getting to the truth.

You can view the crowd-ranked "Popular" Detective Science Fiction books list and vote and/submit entries to it.

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Other Features of Detective Science Fiction

  • Level of Real Science

    Relatively high. Technology in Detective Sci Fi is a key feature—androids committing murder or cleaning robots killing someone or psychic abilities for crime stoppers—of the storyline and the science is therefore explained quite well.

  • Level of Grand Ideas/Social Implications

    Moderate. Detective Sci Fi confronts ideas of guilt, innocence, and how technology interacts with these human ideas. The story can interact with these ideas obliquely or can delve into the depths seeking.

  • Level of Characterization

    Good. Characters are a key element in Detective Sci Fi—they are the detectives and the criminals (most of the time) and so readers get a good sense of who they are especially their motivations and thought processes.

  • Level of Plot Complexity

    High. Detective Sci Fi is all about the events and unravelling the events and arriving at the truth. As such, plot is well developed with sufficient twists and turns and explanations.

  • Level of Violence

    Moderate-High. Violence is often the beginning of an investigation for the Sci Fi detectives and there can be more violence as the detective gets closer to capturing the culprit. Sometimes though, the story is more deductive than violent.

Related Science Fiction subgenres




    Cyperpunk is often crossed with Detective Sci Fi because its worlds have dark, bleak atmospheres and examine the downside of technology (see our Best Cyberpunk Books list). Of course, the various off-shoots of cyberpunk such as nanopunk, biopunk, ribbopunk might have Detective Sci-Fi elements. Add Detective Sci Fi to that mix and you have a detective solving a murder that was the result of technology.

  • SpyFy is similar to Detective Sci Fi in that they both are about, in part, how techonologial advancement has effected the profession.

  • Another branch that's related would be Hard Boiled / Science Fiction Noir / Tech Noir. Think Blade Runner, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, etc.

Detective Science Fiction isn't for you if...

You don't like mysteries and plot twists. You especially don't like this in a futuristic technology setting.

Popular Detective Science Fiction Books