I got into a discussion with a friend on Facebook who wanted to know what was current in Sci-fi. This is what I said at the time. Understand that this is an excerpt from a casual discussion, not a researched article, and as such should be looked at as a blurb of general interest only, spouted off from the cuff about the general ferment that has stuck in my mind. What do you think of when you consider this question?
Check the Hugo and Nebula award-winners for the past few years. There’s a push to bring back a lot of the old tropes but corrected for their biases. A space opera called Binti was really huge a couple of years ago, for example, and women swept the Nebulas last year. So space opera and other pulp genres are making a comeback if you can avoid falling into racist/sexist/homophobic stereotypes (so I think you’re good!)
People are also reading a lot of slipstream, dystopia, military sci-fi and alternate history. Robert Sawyer and Margaret Atwood are kind of the big Canadian authors right now. David Weber and Eric Flint are still the reigning champions of military sci-fi and alternate history respectively, but they’re considered the pulp guys (they have yet to win an award and I doubt they will, but they’re selling more books than everyone else, if you see what I’m saying.)
Countercultural stuff is in a Renaissance. But they’re also reinventing the wheel. A big hit recently was Ancillary Justice, which won ALL the major sci-fi awards, but Jamie (my partner & editor) read it and he says it’s just a cross between space opera, The Ship Who Sang and I, Robot, with some gender blending and psychological weirdness. But I haven’t read it yet so I’m just taking his word for it.
Hope this helps somewhat!