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tgoyetteWhat is Science Fiction?2013-02-18 09:58:55

The definition of Science fiction is up in the air. One point of view is: “I know it when I see it.” Another perspective is that the science must be integral to the plot so that if it were removed then the story would fall apart

Paul D. Filippo wrote an article some years ago that defined Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror in general terms as follows:

Fantasy assumes an animate universe than can help or hurt us at its own desires.
Science Fiction assumes a neutral universe that doesn’t care one way or another. There are physical rules set and we succeed or fail depending on whether we follow those rules or not.
Horror assumes a malevolent universe that is trying to hurt or kill us.

How do you define Science Fiction?

2013-02-18 10:01:21
IronspiderScience Fiction is usually the section in the bookshop or library where I find the kind of fiction I enjoy reading! I've never been too concerned with strict definitions as it can limit the things you read. Labels can be handy for keeping you away from utter dross (anything in the Dark Fantasy section), but if you adhere to them too much, you might miss something worthwhile. I thoroughly enjoyed Paul Theroux's 'O-Zone' (still have my original copy with the cut-out cover), which I remember being stacked in the Modern Fiction section of the bookshop I bought it from.2013-02-20 05:08:26
TheWhitefireScience fiction, in my mind, ranges from the almost-fantasy Planetary Romance stories like "John Carter of Mars" to the undoubtably hard science fiction of stories like "I, Robot". What defines science fiction at it's core for me, however, is well... the Science. It doesn't have to be good science, but there has to be rules and it can't just be "because magic" for most things. There are some science fictions that work around this by saying "It is a natural phenomena that is so complex, it resembles magic to us". But there is always an understanding that there is a scientific explanation for everything. How this separates it from fantasy, is that in fantasy magic is there because it's magic. It is an integral force to the universe. There might be lots of magic (powerful wizards and sorcerers, for instance) or there might be very little magic (maybe the only thing magical about the world is a certain enchanted sword, or some kid discovers a land of fuzzy goblins living under his bed). But I think the lines between science fiction and fantasy get a little blurry the less science and the less literal magic there is in their respective settings. I mean, a setting where the only thing that separates it from the real world is the existence of griffons could just as easily be sci-fi that centres on the cryptozoological as it could be fantasy that centres on the mythological.2013-02-20 23:51:56

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