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Scifi & Fantasy - What's the Difference?

Discussion in 'Sci-Fi and Fantasy Talk' started by scifive, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. scifive

    scifive Scout

    Aug 16, 2013
    I think I know what the difference is but I'd like to see what others think. My mind is that fantasy is dragons, wizards, etc... while Scifi is almost always space related? I'm sure it's a lot more detailed but what do you think?
  2. Kevin

    Kevin Code Monkey Staff Abductee

    Mar 20, 2004
    For the most part I think that is how most people view it but bear in mind that sci-fi is based around the notion of science and as Arthur C. Clarke has said...
    Items once seen as tales of fantasy are now part of our everyday life and/or can be explained by science. It is for that reason why I think fans tend to dip into both genres as opposed to being strictly entrenched in one world or the other.
  3. scifive

    scifive Scout

    Aug 16, 2013
    Hmm cool quote, thanks for that. I like your explanation. It does seem that the two are quite closely entwined. Back in the day, Dragons/Wizards = Fantasy, Star Trek = SciFi.

    Now there are so many books/movies/shows that have all that and a bag of chips it's sort of become one genre.
  4. Jetshroom

    Jetshroom Rocket Ranger

    Feb 14, 2013
    It's an epicly mixed bag and I think it comes down to the reader's personal view of what each genre includes.
    I know people who don't consider Vampires to be fantasy. Vampires came out of Horror as a genre, but they haven't been objects of horror for quite some time.
    For me, the supernatural is fantasy. There are multitudes of sub-genres, but if it's supernatural, then I generally consider it fantasy.
    If it has fancy technology or takes place in the future, I generally consider it Sci-fi. Then of course, there are the mish mash of sub-genres of Sci-fi.

    So, I'll try to list them:
    Classic Fantasy: Takes place in a pseudo medieval time, may involve supernatural creatures (Anything from Dragons to Dufflepods). In general, meta-human supernatural beings are a threat. No advanced technology.

    Paranormal Fantasy: (Includes Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy) Takes place in a more modern environment. Technology may intersperse with magic and the supernatural. Typically only involves supernatural beings that are essentially meta-humans. (Vampires, Werewolves, Fairies etc) These meta-humans may be a threat, but often are love interests/heroes.

    Classic Sci-fi: (includes Space Opera, Military Sci-Fi) Takes place in a future/high tech world. Lots of technology involved. Technology is a substitute for magic. Supernatural creatures are replaced with aliens, or engineered life forms.

    Hard Sci-Fi: These are books that are ABOUT the science behind the setting. There will be calculations, explanations and a focus on realism. There probably won't be aliens.

    Dystopian/Utopian Sci-fi: Modern or Future setting, focussing on the type of society involved. May include some post-apocalyptica. Can contain varying levels of technology, varying levels of realism. Can span Hard and Classic Sci-fi.

    Post-apocalyptica: These may be Sci-fi or Fantasy books that take place in a distant future specifically one that occurs AFTER an apocalypse upsets the status quo. These can masquerade as classic fantasy with hints of an earlier, scientific civilisation, or sci-fi where people struggle to learn how to deal without their precious technology.

    Then of course, there's your further varying niche genres: Power Fantasy, Steam punk, Cyberpunk, Fairy Tales, Adventure, historic fantasy etc. Each of which has it's own distinct hallmarks.

    Of course, these are only MY interpretations of what different genres are. Feel free to make up your own. And DON'T GET INTO AN ARGUMENT WITH A SCI-FI FAN WHO THINKS THAT ONLY HARD SCI-FI IS REAL SCI-FI AND EVERYTHING ELSE IS FANTASY! This is an argument that nobody wins.
  5. scifive

    scifive Scout

    Aug 16, 2013
    Wow, awesome explanation Jetshroom. I agree with every one of your points. It makes sense and it also shines light on the huge conglomerate that is fiction these days.
  6. HMart

    HMart Xarhian Theologist

    May 17, 2012
    Generally, anything that falls outside the realm of the plausible becomes Fantasy rather than SciFi. Purists tend to see SciFi in this way. I think it's a bit more vague than that, but what do I know. ;)

    This is why my work is "technically" SciFan. It's parallel universe stuff rammed into a medieval-era setting. There are fantastical elements that push it into Fantasy, somewhat.
  7. Imzadi

    Imzadi Imzadi

    Jan 23, 2013
    :cool::cool: I think that sci-fi stories are loosely based on some scientific possibility, like wormholes, time travel, etc. Fantasy stories usually have no basis in fact at all, like unicorns, wizards, etc. :eek::eek::cool:
  8. actionavenue

    actionavenue Artist, Cartoonist and Dude

    Aug 4, 2011

    I like Jetshroom's breakdown of the genres and sub genres.
  9. jermychriston

    jermychriston Scout

    Aug 21, 2013
    Science fiction is a vast topic. It starts from past to the far future. This is unpredictable and uncertain. It can be related to time travel or space related. It can be even fantasy related. It may contain mystery or facts. It can be called even magical.So it cannot be defined exactly.

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