Science-fiction is one of the most versatile genres of fiction around, capable of combining settings with any other tale. Science-fiction as a genre is also a bit of a misnomer. The average science-fiction story is not just science-fiction. Tales can be action films, adventure stories, romance, horror, and more. From Blade Runner to Black Mirror, from Polaris Rising to Foundation. Science-fiction can be defined by both fun and thoughtfulness, and there is always a place for a fun adventure that does not require readers to analyze every paragraph. Books like The Forbidden Stars, Tim Pratt’s third novel in the Axiom trilogy, show the importance of such escapism while also taking the opportunity to define a possible future. While entertaining, the novels also take some time to normalize behaviors and lifestyles, sexual orientations and body modifications. Science-fiction lets us see all futures and revel in them.
Creating a sequel is not a simple undertaking. There is a lot of responsibility to follow up the first installment of the series in a way that satisfies your audience while also changing the game to ensure you are not remaking the original work. There is a balance that must be found, and the best sequels are oftentimes the ones that flip the original around. Instead of raising the stakes, they lower them. Think of The Empire Strikes Back’s, The Last Jedi’s, or The Wrath of Khan. The first movies in all of these series involved some sort of world-ending threat. The sequels focus in on the characters. The sequel, in this way, is easy to mess up, but better than the original when done right.