April 20, 2012

Book 101 - Science Fiction

If you haven't noticed by now - science fiction is one of my favorite genres. I know many don't like it associating it with star ships flying through the universe, but the genre is so much more than that.

I really like Rod Serling's definition, "Fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible." Basically science fiction is a genre that deals with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities.


Copyright by Winston Science Fiction (Alex Shomburg)

As a means of understanding the world through speculation and storytelling, science fiction has a background in mythology and precursors of the genre can already be found in Lucian's True History which dates back to 200AD. Not surprisingly science fiction is often called a literature of ideas. Its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically postulated laws of nature though some elements in a story may also be strictly imaginative speculation. And it's usually the perfect balance between established facts and fictitious elements, a blending of the known and the unknown, that makes a great science fiction novel.

Science fiction elements are many-fold including eg a time setting in the future, in alternative timelines, or in a historical past that contradicts known facts of history, a setting in outer space or on other worlds, characters like aliens, mutants, androids, or humanoid robots, a futuristic technology, scientific principles that contradict known laws of nature, eg time travel or faster-than-light travel, different political or social systems (dystopia, anyone?) or a post-apocalyptic setting, and even paranormal abilities such as mind control, telepathy, or teleportation.

Science fiction has plenty of sub genres. Genres concerning the emphasis, accuracy, and type of science described are Hard Science Fiction (a particular emphasis on scientific detail), Soft Science Fiction (focus on human characters and their relations and feelings instead of the details of technology), and Social Science Fiction (concerned with sociological speculation about human society). Themes related to science, technology, space and the future, as well as characteristic plots or settings include Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic, Steampunk, Time Travel, and Space Opera, to name but a few.

How about you? Science fiction yay or nay? Any preferred sub genres? Dystopia, maybe? Let me know.

6 comments:

  1. Before as a child i was a lot in science fiction because my brother was giving me his book of starwars and star trek but after a moment i stopped a bit.

    This month i discovering science-fiction romance books and i like this ^^ gini koch 's books are funny and Michele Hart serie I-marshal ( book 2 and book 3 my favorite) is really great too so yes i like

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    1. This has happened to me with a lot of genres, especially paranormal novels which I loved as a teenager, but only ever returned to them in the past year.

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  2. I love fantasy and can tolerate most science fiction. There a few novels that combine the two and I'm still waiting on a novel to really wow me that does combine the two...

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    1. Oh oh ohhh ... I think I might know a book for you! The trilogy "The Complete Ivory" by Doris Egan is one of my all-time favorite books EVER. It combines fantasy with only a bit of science fiction. The book is hard to come by, but you can still buy it used on Amazon.

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  3. I really love the genre! Science Fiction and Fantasy are probably my two most-read genres, and I can't get enough. I read a lot of other things as well, but most of the books on my shelves are definitely sci-fi/fantasy. =]

    Great post!

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  4. I don't really like typical SF but I love dystopia and I like Heinlein's writing style. I'm a fan of steampunk as an art but I haven't read anything steampunkery yet. what I've found so far looked too much YA for my taste and it putted me off ...

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