1. ellebell16
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    ellebell16 Member

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    Is this considered science fiction?

    Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by ellebell16, Dec 23, 2010.

    I've never been a huge science fiction buff. Star Wars is cool and everything, and I loved the Star Trek movie, but I've never been too jazzed up about aliens and robots and space, etc.

    However, I got an idea for a series that takes place in space. It has to do with the planets in the Milky Way and technically alien life forms (but they appear as human). But I read somewhere that science fiction is about making the implausible possible, and fantasy is making the impossible possible. As far as I know, there is no way that what I'm developing could or will ever happen. It has nothing to do with space travel. It's about civilizations on the Milky Way planets, but a lot of the series takes place on Earth.

    Would it still be science fiction, or fantasy? Or some combo of the two?
     
  2. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    Star Wars was a "space opera" and Star Trek was very soft science fiction, with a heavy reliance on technobabble. What separates Science Fiction from Fiction is Science... not aliens.
     
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  3. jo spumoni
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    jo spumoni Active Member

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    People would probably still call it sci-fi if there are aliens involved. In my opinion, sci-fi and fantasy have never been all that separate from each other, so I'd guess you probably have a combination of the two. Nonetheless, by virtue of the aliens and space component, I think it would be slightly more sci-fi.

    I'm not a big fan of either genre, though, and I certainly don't pretend to be an expert on what makes the genres.
     
  4. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    In the 70s, Harlan Ellison tried to promote SF being not Science Fiction, but "Speculative Fiction". It obviously never caught on, but goes to show that the tension has long been there.

    My mind wants to say "fantasy", but the reflex to "alien world" is too call it Sci-Fi.

    I know this didn't really help, but it is an interesting topic to explore.

    -Frank
     
  5. TokyoVigilante
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    TokyoVigilante Member

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    There are different degrees of Science in SF. What separates Fantasy/S-F is the iconography and how you use it.

    Group of Barbarians on a quest to save a princess from a Dragon. Fantasy, right? Bh what if the Dragon is a gigantic snake, or the last surviving Dinosaur interpreted as a dragon? Everything about it screams Fantasy, bu knights fighting surviving remnants of prehistoric animals is pretty Science Fictional. But it seems more likely that it would appeal to a Fantasy audience.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, Star Wars has laser guns, space ships, aliens, etc. But it's actually a pretty poor example of "proper" science fiction. It's more of a fantasy story then the above example, but the dressings make it Sci Fi.
     
  6. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Science fiction is logically extrapolated from existing science and technology. This is why it is sometimes called "speculative fiction;" it never caught on widely, but I have heard the term enough for it to be relevant. ;) If you can look at the technology and worlds in you story and say "yeah, someone could build that someday," and "yeah, it's possible to reach that planet, settle on it, build a city," etcetera, etcetera, it's probably SF. The same applies to your alien races. "Do they make sense, biologically? Could they really exist?" If the answer is 'yes' you might have a science fiction story on your hands.

    But there's always that gray area. As TokyoVigilante pointed out, genres are largely about iconography. Hyperdrives and faster-than-light travel are not logically extrapolated, yet they have become icons of SF. There is nothing today that proves these things should be possible, yet no one will say "hey, wait a minute" if you use those things because they have been deemed acceptable. Still, good SF should be generally grounded in science; icons aren't everything.

    If you don't think your story could ever happen in RL, it's probably fantasy.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I think Star Wars is basically Fantasy (or a Fantasy Western) in space. I don't think it really qualifies as science fiction. But that's my personal view, and there are a lot of view on that topic.

    Whether your story is science fiction, ellebell, would depend (for me) on the implementation. Is it going to be consistent with well-established scientific principles? If not, is there a good scientific (even if speculative) explanation for the departure? If the answer to both of those is no, then it is probably not science fiction to me.
     
  8. ellebell16
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    ellebell16 Member

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    Ooh you guys have given me some really good answers.

    I think it fits more into fantasy now that I've gained a little perspective. None of this could ever in a billion years happen. It just seems that space/aliens is an automatic science fiction flag. It's not grounded in science, but more in astrology and stuff like that. My main fear is that people are going to automatically assume that it's science fiction because it takes place in space.
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with much already stated, especially Steerpike's mention that Star Wars is basically Fantasy. It is. It absolutely is. Just replace R2D2 and C3PO with an Elf and a Dwarf and voila, High Fantasy.

    I think you should worry less about the genre of your story and more about the story itself. Science Fiction, I think of all the genre's, is the one genre most disposed to ignoring its own borders and there is "science fiction" from the Golden Age that today would get completely reclassified. Much of the work of Ray Bradbury, Robert Silverberg, and even Rod Serling would get called Magic Realism today and not Science Fiction at all, and not because science has caught up with fiction, but simply because the sensibilities of today's ready/watcher have changed.
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Wreybies makes excellent points.

    Also, as I understand it, the publisher is going to end up deciding whether to categorize it as science fiction or something else (and they may well categorize it as such, even if it doesn't meet the more rigid definitions).
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    just write it!... deal with the genre after it's done...
     

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