Defining the Science Fantasy Genre

What exactly is Science Fantasy?

(disclaimer: this is MY definition, others, including yours, may be very different!)

Science Fantasy in a nutshell is Science Fiction blended with Fantasy… basically you take all the dragons, elves and wizards OUT of the medieval setting they are usually found in, like Lord of The Rings, and you put them into a futuristic or advanced technology setting like Star Wars.

I’ll start my explanation of my definition by breaking the Science Fantasy genre down into its component parts.

The Fantasy genre typically, but not always, takes place in a technologically medieval setting. A medieval setting is often used because, well if you have magic, why develop technology to make life easier… just use a spell! You have your Fantasy ingredients of Dragons, Elves, Fairies, Goblins, Magic, Spells, Wands, Wizards, etcetera… you get the picture.

The Science Fiction genre typically, but not always, takes place in a technologically advanced or future setting. A future setting is often used because, well we are living in the present and I don’t see flying cars, lightsabers or faster-than-light travel yet! You have your Science Fiction ingredients of artificial intelligence, faster-than-light travel, giant mechas, laser guns, robots, spaceships, transporters, etcetera… you know.

The Science Fantasy genre typically, but not always, puts fantasy ingredients into a future setting… so we finally let the dragons, elves and wizards advance technologically as well as evolutionarily from their medieval tar pits they’ve been stuck in forever. We finally let them travel to the stars aboard spaceships and fight each other with spellguns and laserswords! A wizard doesn’t need to lug around a bundle of physical books when he has a digital library’s worth in his datapad slipped in his pocket!

But you stated in the Fantasy genre explanation, why develop technology when you can accomplish advanced feats with a spell? I knew you’d ask me that! Simply stated, what if EVERYONE can’t do magic or choose not to (for philosophical or religious reasons or something)… so what do they do instead, develop technology!

So in my own Story Universe, The Akasha Records, ancient magic has always existed… but people have developed advanced technologies because not everyone can, or chooses not to, use magic. In my particular setting, technology has advanced more rapidly than in the reader’s universe simply because the fusion of technology and magic has lead to a much more rapid growth of both… they compliment and advance each other through research and development.

What’s YOUR definition of the Science Fantasy genre? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credits: sykosan @ deviantart.com.

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