What is Science-Fantasy?

August 1, 2020


Uh oh, here comes trouble! “They” say you can either take the wand or the laser-sword… but why must you be forced to choose one or the other? Why can’t you have both?

Among the more classic genres, the one we call Science-Fantasy is not actually new. It is, however, a genre that has all-too-often been placed into either Science-Fiction or Fantasy as a matter of convenience. This post is an independent initiative taken to assert that this genre deserves its own position.

To state it definitively, Science-Fantasy is a genre of story-telling which equally embraces the nuances of Science-Fiction and Fantasy-Adventure.

Good start… so let’s break it down into pieces. What is Science-Fiction?

Looking it up, I found this…

sci·ence fic·tion ˈsīəns ˈˌfikSHən/
fiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.

Okay… fair enough. Let me also add, for the purposes of the writing one will find being offered by this author, one other characteristic. This author considers himself to be a story-teller, not a scientist, and therefore that is where most of my focus will be placed – on the story.  In other words, it is my opinion that if you take the science out of Science-Fiction and you no longer have a gripping story, chances are you do not have very good Science-Fiction. Of course, as I am writing this, the premise of The Matrix comes to mind. Take the science out of that and what do you have? Nada! Well, I did say ‘chances are’.

Now, let’s continue. What is Fantasy-Adventure?

fan-tuh-see, -zee
Also, fantasia. Literature. an imaginative or fanciful work, especially one dealing with magical, supernatural, or unnatural events or characters.

To give you examples, let’s take a look at two of the most popular Science-Fiction franchises: Star Trek and Star Wars. First and foremost, I am not taking sides as to which is better. I have been entertained by both and reserve personal judgment of them for the moment.

Star Trek is classic Science-Fiction with nearly ever characteristic being based off scientific theory. Given the right kind of slide-rule or tricorder, everything can be approached. From transferring matter into energy and transmitting it to all places of interest, to ships reaching and besting the speed of light… all you need is a bag of popcorn, and perhaps a couple semesters of Physics, and you’re in for a ride of wonder and surprise.

Star Wars is also considered to be a work of Science-Fiction, possessing its own brand of FTL ships and energy weapons, but the moment you turn to engage the Force, that is where you engage a metaphysical element that defies scientific explanation, placing it easily in the category of Fantasy. Those who use the Force are even called Knights – bread and butter characters for Fantasy stories. I am even reminded of the dialog one officer had with Darth Vader, calling what he used ‘sorcerous ways’.

The Rims: Where Science-Fantasy is reborn!

It seems simple enough in concept. Combining the definitions of Science-Fiction and Fantasy-Adventure should result in the creation of a Science-Fantasy story. And that is exactly what one will find once they step into the Rims!

Acrobatics, Gymnastics, Parkour, and Martial Arts… clones, talking plants, automatons, and sentient non-humanoid forms… sentient machines, cyber-dominion, and devices that can bend light and alter density… cars, bikes (not all of them have wheels), planes, and ships of all sorts and sizes… spell-casters, energy-wielders, mentalists, and agents of inter-dimensional creatures purporting themselves to be gods (with hard-to-refute argumentation)… these all come together in the Rims as a backdrop to the story of a Captain, her ship, and her crew as they search for their place in the universe. But before the declaration can even be made, they have to contend with their detractors who are at least equally if not more gifted and/or equipped.

So yes, here come trouble… and yes, I am referring to both the main characters and their obstacles. Some of them have wands… some of them have laser-swords… and some of them have a combination of the two. Oh, what wonders will be revealed!!!

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