Much like Slytherins, the genre of science fiction often gets an unfair reputation. Yes, sure, there's the occasional silly story about laser guns and aliens with knobbly foreheads—but there are also plenty of fascinating, psychologically intense sci-fi novels for Slytherins to enjoy.
Unlike Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff, we don't get to know too many redeeming Slytherins in the Harry Potter books (sit down, Snape apologists). Our main exposure to Slytherin is through Draco Malfoy and his unsavory crew. But that doesn't mean that all Slytherins are sniveling little rich boys. If you consider yourself to be resourceful, cunning, and endlessly ambitious, you might just belong to the house of Salazar Slytherin. Witches and wizards from Slytherin are all about getting ahead in life... by any means necessary. They'd always rather trick their enemies then have it out on the battlefield. They know who their true friends are. And they make for ideal sci-fi readers.
Science fiction is all about creative thinking, after all. The best sci-fi stories aren't just straight forward alien battles: they have levels. Twists. Plenty of moral gray areas. Slytherins may find themselves surprisingly captivated by some of these strange, and occasionally sinister, sci-fi novels:
1. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
If you've been wondering what that new Amazon show is all about, then you should go straight to the source and read The Man in the High Castle. It's set in 1962, in America, in a reality where the United States is occupied by Nazi Germany. It's a dark, twisted vision of a world that could have been, with a plot full of hairpin turns. Any Slytherin will love the resourceful characters and the intense political intrigue.
2. The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor
One uniquely talented individual without a fully formed sense of morality? Sounds like a Slytherin to me. The Book of Phoenix is set sometime in the future, in both North America and Africa, in a world where super-powered people can be genetically engineered. One so-called "experiment," however, grows disillusioned with her life of captivity, and sets out to escape. Of course, her freedom might just alter the course of human history (how's that for ambitious?).
3. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Charging into battle might be more of a Gryffindor thing. But kidnapping strategically brilliant children and forcing them to come up with military tactics? That's a pretty Slytherin move. Ender's Game is set in a bleak future, where humanity is at war with a far superior alien race. The Earth's only chance at survival is to train genius children like Ender through a series of war games, until one of them emerges as the general who can save the human race.
4. The Martian by Andy Weir
What would a Slytherin do if left alone on Mars? Survive. When Mark Watney finds himself stranded on Mars, he relies on his own ingenuity to stay alive. Slytherins aren't all blind ambition, after all: they're also about using whatever's at hand to achieve their goals. And so all Slytherins will appreciate a sci-fi book about one man's resourcefulness in the face of insurmountable odds (and his gallows sense of humor doesn't hurt either).
5. The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
What Slytherin doesn't love a good tale of vengeance? The Stars My Destination is a futuristic retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, so Slytherins won't be surprised to learn that it's full of revenge. It's also full of people who can jump through thousands of miles in mere seconds and radioactive hit men. For the Slytherin who likes bitter protagonists and classic literature, this is the book to read.
6. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Dead-pan humor. Apocalyptic danger. A religion that's all about feet. Cat's Cradle is a strange, bitterly ironic novel that has enough dark comedy and wit to hold the attention of any Slytherin reader. Slytherins will enjoy the level of trickery involved, while still hoping that the characters manage to avoid bringing about Armageddon. Is Vonnegut's vision of humanity a little on the pessimistic side? Sure, but his end-of-the-world tragedy is so hilariously bleak that you can't help but laugh.
7. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Very few science fiction and fantasy books celebrate liars as much as The Golden Compass. Lyra, along with her daemon Pan, might be brave and intelligent. But her real skill is a very Slytherin aptitude for deception. Plus, the underlying themes of complicated morality and questionable authority are awfully Slytherin as well. And, on top of all that, The Golden Compass is just a brilliantly written novel, with a very real, very tricky little girl at its center.
Images: Warner Bros.