There’s a sub-genre I call “premature interstellarism”, stories about unfortunate explorers and colonists whose toolkits are, alas, not up to the challenge of exploring or settling other planets. Given the long history of failed colonization efforts on Earth, the planet on which we actually evolved, the idea that some colonization efforts would fail seems like a no-brainer. 2015’s Aurora is an example of such a book, standing next to such works as Poul Anderson’s “The Alien Enemy,” Joanna Russ’ We Who Are About To…, and Brian Stableford’s Daedalus series.
It’s a rare book that fits into just one possible sub-genre. There is a far larger, more important sub-genre to which Aurora belongs and that’s Books with Idiot Plots.
Trigger warning for physicists and biologists: this is supposedly hard SF, which is to say SF that provides enough technical detail that the reader can be certain that various mechanisms and events couldn’t work the way the author has them working. Also, spoiler warning.