Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 1 decade ago

What's the difference between science fiction and fantasy?

It's a stupid question, I know, but they seem so similar.

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Science fiction deals with things that might possibly happen (or, in the case of the subgenre of science fiction known as alternate history, things that possibly could have happened); fantasy deals with things that never could happen.

    There is always a path from our here-and-now to the milieu of a science-fiction story: usually that path simply involves time passing and plausible advances in science and changes in society taking place during that time.

    There is never a path from our here-and-now to the milieu of a fantasy story: no matter how much you might want to get to the fantasy world, you can't, because magic and supernatural powers do not work in our universe -- you can't get there from here.

    Succinctly: there's discontinuity between our reality and fantasy; there's continuity between our reality and science fiction.

    ----------------

    ROBERT J. SAWYER, Science Fiction Writer

    Hugo Award winner for HOMINIDS

    Nebula Award winner for THE TERMINAL EXPERIMENT

    John W. Campbell Memorial Award winner for MINDSCAN

    http://www.sfwriter.com * sawyer@sfwriter.com

    ----------------

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  • fails
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Science Fiction Vs Fantasy

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  • 1 decade ago

    Actually, it's a great question, and one that gets a great deal of debate among serious fans of the genres. To confuse the issue even more, there's the debate over what is sometimes called 'science fantasy', by which most fans mean exactly what the average person thinks of when THEY think of science fiction, ie. things like Star Wars, Star Trek, etc.

    The commonly accepted dividing line is that Science Fiction should be based on science that is at least plausible (some will argue for possible, but that opens up a huge theoretical debate over just what is scientifically possible). If the science is unimportant, implausible or outright impossible, and you thought it might be science fiction, it's probably science fantasy,

    Fantasy is even more nebulous than science fiction, merging as it does into anything that involves the supernatural such as horror, many types of religious fiction, comic book superheroes, etc.

    Many say the key idea is one of intent. Science Fiction, in its truest form, is supposed to look at our world and speculate on how it might change or evolve into something different. Often this speculation involves the possible impact of new technologies. Fantasy is supposed to be more directed towards answering questions concerning issues such as good and evil. There is some truth to this model, but since both genres also have the ability to ignore the deep questions and just tell darn good stories, it is clearly incomplete.

    What's the real difference? Who knows. What I can be sure of is the debate WILL continue.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They may not have been his own words but I recall the late, great Rod Serling introducing a Twilight Zone episode with words to the effect of the following:

    "It has been said that Science Fiction is the genre of storytelling that makes the improbable seem possible, while Fantasy is the genre that makes the impossible seem probable."

    That's always been my preferred way of delineating the difference between the two.

    TMcG

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  • 1 decade ago

    Basically I think it comes down to this: in SF there is a scientific (or at least scientific-sounding) rationale offered for the phenomenon (whatever it is); in fantasy it just happens. So if say a scientist works for a number of years breeding ponies to come up with one that has a horn sticking out of its forehead, that's science fiction; but if a unicorn just appears one day in the middle of a meadow, that's fantasy.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Science fiction is fiction that relies upon fictional advances in science. Fantasy usually involves 'other worlds', or fictional versions of history.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Hmmm...what's the difference between SF and F? What a fine question. As a writer of both, as well as other things, for a tad over 51 years, I think I have an answer for that. An answer that works, too!

    First, Science Fiction comes in two basic forms. One is hard (meaning accurate) and the other is soft. Hard SF is driven by several things. Characters, philosophy, psychology, and, above all, science. The science in hard SF is projected forward if the story occurs in the future, but it doesn't have to be. In hard SF there is speculative, "What if?" and non-speculative. What I write today that involves today need not speculate on anything, but it usually does. All future based SF, both hard and soft, contains an element of speculation, obviously. So, whether speculative or not, hard SF has the science riding in the front seat and often shares the driving chores. Soft SF, has the science riding in the back seat and it may shout out directions to the drivers, but the drivers are characters and plot.

    Science Fiction means what it says. The science employed must be based in real science. You are free to stretch the envelope all you want, even to the point where it rips, but your science had better be defensible. That is, the writers had better know what they are talking about. A sound and working knowledge of science must be in the writers portfolio or he/she should know someone in the science being used to keep it as real as the plot will allow. Believe me, there are readers who know their science and any straying from the path of possibility needs to be defensible. This holds for both hard and soft SF.

    Much of the stuff stocked on the shelves under "Science Fiction" is NOT science fiction at all. Science Fantasy, filled with technobabble is there, too. You will also find pure Fantasy there. As soon as anything like magic, and other things associated with fantasy show their ugly faces, the writer has slipped from SF into the realm of Science Fantasy or plain Fantasy.

    So, does one need to be a scientist to write science fiction? The answer to that is, "No." But I can tell you that it certainly helps.

    J.

    http://www.jrichardjacobs.net

    "The speed of the brain is inversely proportional to the speed of the mouth squared."

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    What's the difference between science fiction and fantasy?

    It's a stupid question, I know, but they seem so similar.

    Source(s): 39 difference science fiction fantasy: https://tr.im/bazyB
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  • 3 years ago

    Sci Fi Vs Fantasy

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  • 1 decade ago

    No not a stupid question at all. A very good question. The difference is very simple. Science Fiction is what is called speculative fiction. An author starts with a present day issue - let's say the environment. Then they project our current course forward into the future and speculate on what will happen in the world if we "stay the course". Science fiction is meant to be a warning to people that the future is bleak if we don't make changes now. Fantasy can be almost anything an author can imagine. That is the difference. It's why good Sci Fi is just so hard to find anymore. Too many people confuse it with fantasy - as you did. Pax - C

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