What the hell is Science Fantasy? Part 1: A definition

This will be the first part of many to come where I discuss what it is Science Fantasy, the genre I like to write the most.

By now, some of you have noticed that my stories have a weird mix of science fiction and fantasy, being more obvious in ‘Cosmic Egg’. Well, the thing is that today, having hard dividing lines between genres is something optional. Now is more common to have settings that blend magic and science and no one bats an eye.

We call that Science Fantasy.

But what the hell is science fantasy?

Rod Serling, the creator of Twilight Zone used to say that “… science fiction and fantasy are two different things. Science fiction is improbable made possible, and fantasy is the impossible made probable.” And by now you are well acquitted to that old adage from Arthur C. Clarke about how “any advanced technology is undistinguishable from magic.”

For me at least, parting from those definitions (the researcher in me is speaking, sorry),

My definition of Science Fantasy is:

“….a genre that blends fantastic and scientific elements into a coherent worldbuild to tell a story in a more interesting and flexible way.”

In summary, I believe that science fantasy is that melting pot of a world where magic and science walk together to give you stuff such as digital grimoires in the form of tablets, magical cantrips stored in mp3 players, giant robots moving to fight space dragons, wizards and nuclear physicists debating on why magic messes so much the wi fi signal. All of this in order to allow to tell any story you want the way you want

As I said before is the bastard child of too beloved fiction genres that grew slowly through the cracks to become a subgenre that now permeates our modern culture. You don’t believe me? Well, I have news for you: Star Wars is science fantasy. Think about it, you have a farm boy, alongside two scoundrels and two bumbling servants guided by a crazy wizard to rescue a princess from a black knight while stopping a menace that could destroy the world. It is one of the most basic plots of a fantasy story, but in Star Wars you have all that happening with spaceships, The Force instead of magic and lightsabers replacing magical swords. And like that, there are many examples, some more overt than others. The Shannara books, Dragaera, most of Discworld, John Carter of Mars, most 80’s cartoons, even Babylon 5 are science fantasy. You know what else is? Superhero comics. In a good day at the Justice League, an alien, a detective, a Greek demigoddess, a couple of scientist with superpowers, a space cop, a cyborg and a wizard gather to save the world and no one bats an eyelash. It’s the same with the Avengers. Thor talks about that on his premiere film about how in Asgard magic and science are one and the same and in the second film they use a quantum machine to analyze a soul. You don’t get more science fantasy than that. If you have player Final Fantasy, you have played science fantasy games. Actually, Japan had done quite well on the subgenre considering that most anime falls under it. As you see, there are plenty of examples on the topic.

A science fantasy story can veer a bit more towards one or another like any child can be more like either parent. The important thing is to have fun writing a story that resonates with the readers as much as with the author and allows to tell it in an imaginative way.

2 thoughts on “What the hell is Science Fantasy? Part 1: A definition

  1. Pingback: A brief story of Science Fantasy | Ricardo Victoria

  2. Pingback: Ricardo Victoria – Science Fiction Tropes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s