Great Fiction is Superversive: A Dummy’s Guide


I’ve been sort of following the SuperversiveSF blog for awhile now, but frankly didn’t have a clue what superversive meant. I figured it was one of those science fictiony words that I either wouldn’t understand or wouldn’t care about.

Yes, there have been posts talking about what superversive means and what kind of books are superversive. I know I read some of them, but no one defined it in Dummy terms. I like Dummy explanations.

When I saw they were putting together a list of books that are superversive, I figured I’d search out an explanation I could understand.

I enter the word in Google. Oh, it’s not a dictionary word. Okay. 

Urban Dictionary is the first link.

Superversive Adj. Nurturing; supportive, building up

Antonym: subversive

Oh. Well, That makes sense. Fiction that builds up. Builds up what, exactly?

I think the easiest way to explain this is to look at the opposite of superversive – subversive. Subversive means to undermine.

Subversive stories undermine ideals. However, they don’t come across that way. Instead, they come across as neutral, but ultimately lead the reader to only one conclusion.

For example, in nearly all of the modern YA published by big houses, there is a gay character. The books don’t come out and make a judgement about the character directly. They don’t say that this is normal, this is correct, everyone should accept that gay characters will have relationships. Instead, the character is always the best friend, the brother, the nice guy who everyone loves. It’s done in TV as well. Anyone who believes differently, anyone with a religious objection, anyone that sees something wrong with gay relationships are viewed as bad in the books. There is no balance. If you do not agree with the positive spin on gays relationships, you are bad.

And the one thing teens most want to do is fit in. These books undermine the religious principles that some parents try to instill in their children.

On the other hand, superversive builds on traditional values that don’t try to hide that they support traditional values. They are the timeless classics of good versus evil, heroes that overcome great odds, tales of right and wrong.

Superversive stories are first and foremost good stories. Secondly, they overtly support good values. There are no hidden agendas, no ideas slipped in between the lines, and no sneakiness of any kind.

That is something very hard to find with big publishers today. They are too busy trying to support the latest “cause” that they don’t seem to notice that their readers are going elsewhere for books.

I used to read/listen to a lot of books on tape, many of them YA. That ended several years ago when I started noticing the subversive trend. It was no longer about good, uplifting fiction. It was about making sure all of the latest cause check boxes were marked. I have turned more to indie publications where I know what I’m getting.

I went back through my very long list of audiobooks to see if there were any that would be considered Superversive. Didn’t find any that would be considered superversive. A few that would be subversive, but mostly books that don’t fit into either category.


If you’re looking for good fiction that is uplifting, inspiring and fun, check out and add some of your own suggestions of superversive books.



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