The Sci-Fi & Fantasy Fans Society is a celebration human imagination as it applies to all things science fiction & fantasy in the form of books, movies, TV shows, video games, comic books, etc.
But what are science fiction and fantasy? Those are good questions and over the years, various authors that have contributed to one or the other or both have attempted to define them in various ways. One thing that can be said is that both science fiction and fantasy are each members of a broader category of fiction known as speculative fiction.
Speculative fiction is a type or genre of fiction that encompasses works in which the setting is other than the real world, involving supernatural, futuristic, or other imagined elements.
In the simplest terms, science fiction can be defined as a sub-genre of speculative fiction that typically involves futuristic science and technology. This may include (but is not limited to) space travel, time travel, faster than light travel, parallel universes, extraterrestrial life, self-aware artificial intelligence, robots, androids, cyborgs, extrasensory perception (ESP), etc; but it usually avoids the supernatural.
Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific and technological innovations and has sometimes been referred to as the “literature of ideas”.
Several well-known examples of science fiction include the following:
- “Star Trek” (created by Gene Roddenberry)*
- “Star Wars” (created by George Lucas)*
- “Mass Effect” (created by video game company Bioware)
- “Halo” (created by video game company Bungie)
- “Babylon 5” (created by J. Michael Straczynski)
- “The Martian” (book by Andy Weir; film adaption directed by Ridley Scott)
- “Starship Troopers” (book by Robert A. Heinlein)
- “2001: A Space Odyssey” (created by Stanley Kubrick & Arthur C. Clarke)
- “War of the Worlds” (book by H.G. Wells, multiple film adaptations)
- “Doctor Who” (created by the BBC)
- “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (by Douglas Adams)
- “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (by Jules Verne)
- “Foundation” Series (by Isaac Asimov)
- “The Forever War” (by Joe Haldeman)
- “Dune” (by Frank Herbert)
*While this franchise is generally considered to be science fiction, some have argued that it should be reclassified as science fantasy since it contains one or more elements that are generally regarded as being supernatural.
Also in simplest terms, fantasy can be defined as a sub-genre of speculative fiction that typically involves the supernatural, which may include (but is not limited to) magic, magical creatures, mythological creatures, ghosts, myths, legends, etc. While fantasy stories are often set in a medieval time period, that isn’t always the case; and it usually doesn’t include themes associated with science fiction or horror (which are two other types of speculative fiction), but that doesn’t mean that they can’t overlap.
Several well-known fantasy examples include the following:
- “Harry Potter” / “Fantastic Beasts” (created by J.K. Rowling; several film adaptations)
- “The Hobbit” / “Lord of the Rings” (created by J.R.R. Tolkien; several film adaptions)
- “A Song of Ice and Fire”, a.k.a. “Game of Thrones” (created by George R. R. Martin)
- “The Earthsea Cycle” (created by Ursula K. LeGuin)
- “The Chronicles of Narnia” (created by C. S. Lewis)
- “Alice in Wonderland” (created by Lewis Carroll; several film adaptations)
- “The Wizard of Oz” (created by L. Frank Baum; several film adaptions)
- “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” (created by Josephine Leslie; film & TV series adaptions)
- “Howl’s Moving Castle” (created by Hayao Miyazaki)
- “Princess Mononoke” (created by Hayao Miyazaki)
- “Spirited Away” (created by Hayao Miyazaki)
- “Peter Pan” (created by J.M. Barrie; multiple film adaptations)
- “Mary Poppins” (created by P. L. Travers; adapted to film by Walt Disney)
Science fantasy is essentially a sub-genre of speculative fiction that includes elements of both science fiction and fantasy. While science fiction and fantasy exclude aspects that are unique to the other, science fantasy blends the futuristic scientific & technological elements with the supernatural ones.
With this definition, superhero and super-villain fiction can be regarded as a type of science fantasy since various superhero & super-villain characters often have abilities that fall into both science fiction and fantasy. Superhero and super-villain fiction can also be treated as a separate sub-genre of speculative fiction.
Examples of science fantasy include the following:
- “Star Trek” (created by Gene Roddenberry)*
- “The Gods of Mars” & Barsoom Series (by Edgar Rice Burroughs)
- “Krull” (directed by Peter Yates)
* Writer James F. Broderick describes “Star Trek” as science fantasy because it includes semi-futuristic as well as supernatural/fantasy elements such as The Q. Also, according to late iconic science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, many purists argue that “Star Trek” is science fantasy and not science fiction because of its scientifically improbable elements.
|The realms of science fiction and fantasy are limited only by human imagination.|
Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Halo, Mass Effect, Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters, etc., are but a small sample of the franchises that we discuss.