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Illustrated Guide to Genres

Science Fiction


Science fiction is a branch of fiction characterized by imagined future technology and scientific advancements. Science fiction often includes imaginative concepts including space travel, time travel, extra-terrestrial life, advanced weaponry, and/or human and animal biological enhancements.

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Science fiction is a branch of fiction characterized by imagined future technology and scientific advancements. Science fiction often includes imaginative concepts including space travel, time travel, extra-terrestrial life, advanced weaponry, and/or human and animal biological enhancements. The genre frequently explores the impact of science upon society, often with a cautionary message. Science fiction is distinguished from fantasy by its explicit attribution of its fantastical elements to realistic causes rooted in scientific theory. Such scientific bases may be described with varying degrees of detail and accuracy; some novels carefully rely on existing, verifiable scientific theory, while others loosely root their premises on imagined future breakthroughs.

While imaginative futuristic works have existed for centuries, even millennia, the Scientific Revolution of the 17th through 19th century set into motion the beginnings of the modern science fiction genre. Stories like Francis Godwin’s 1638 The Man in the Moone and Voltaire’s 1752 Micromégas both include references to space travel. The genre grew in popularity with such 19th century classics as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Both stories contributed to the “mad scientist” figure that has since become a well-known archetype in science fiction. Writers like Jules Verne and H. G. Wells helped propel the genre into its 20th century boom. Writers including Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and George Orwell helped solidify the place of science fiction in serious literature.

Today, science fiction spans multiple mediums, including plays, novels, short stories, movies, and TV shows. The popular dystopian fiction in books like The Giver, Divergent, and The Hunger Games relies on science fiction elements.


Literature in the Science Fiction Genre

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•   (English) Science Fiction   •   (Español) Ciencia Ficción   •   (Français) Science Fiction   •   (Deutsch) Science-Fiction   •   (Italiana) Fantascienza   •   (Nederlands) Science Fiction   •   (Português) Ficção Científica   •   (עברית) מדע בדיוני   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) الخيال العلمي   •   (हिन्दी) कल्पित विज्ञान   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Научная Фантастика   •   (Dansk) Science Fiction   •   (Svenska) Science Fiction   •   (Suomi) Tieteiskirjallisuus   •   (Norsk) Science Fiction   •   (Türkçe) Bilim Kurgu   •   (Polski) Fantastyka Naukowa   •   (Româna) Operă Științifico-fantastică   •   (Ceština) Sci-fi   •   (Slovenský) Sci-fi   •   (Magyar) Tudományos-fantasztikus   •   (Hrvatski) Znanstvena Fantastika   •   (български) Научна Фантастика   •   (Lietuvos) Mokslinė Fantastika   •   (Slovenščina) Znanstvena Fantastika   •   (Latvijas) Zinātniskā Fantastika   •   (eesti) Ulme