What is Sci Fi?

Well it is the first day of Sci Fi week on my blog and I thought it appropriate to discuss what the Sci Fi genre actually is. What I have recently come to realise is that the Sci Fi genre actually means different things to different people.

If we look at the dictionary definition of the term ‘Sci Fi’ it actually gives quite a broad answer. A genre of fiction that deals with imaginary but plausible content such as futuristic science, technology, space travel, aliens, parallel universes and the paranormal (but not the supernatural). Hmmmm wow that can cover quite a lot can’t it?

Sometimes, I have to admit that it can sometimes become quite difficult to distinguish between what is fantasy and what is Sci Fi. Obviously if we take J R R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, we can pretty much come to the conclusion that that is fantasy and not Sci Fi. The same can go for H G Wells’ The War of the Worlds but just in reverse. But what about a medium that contains a mixture of both?

Take James Cameron’s Avatar for instance. Despite looking a lot like the 1992 film Fern Gully, it has a mixture of fantasy elements such as different races and their religious beliefs including flying creatures. But yes it does involve futuristic technology and other worlds despite our own.


But when did we first come across the Sci Fi Novel? Interestingly, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is considered to be one of the earliest examples of Sci Fi despite its gothic and romantic setting, and that was published in 1818. If you venture into one of the bigger book shops, you’ll find that Sci Fi can be split down further. Categories such as Hard Sci Fi, Military Sci Fi, Western Sci Fi, Biopunk and Apocalyptic are to name but a few.

And with the franchises of Star Wars and Star Trek, Sci Fi was transported to

Image taken from http://www.galaticwatercooler.com

the general public on a much more mass scale and it became popular. I do still think that Sci Fi can be quite ‘cult-y’ and is often associated with geeks and can actually be seen as derogatory and not real writing.

I have a few favourite TV shows that are Sci Fi which I will talk about in later posts this week, but if I am honest, I haven’t read too many novels in this broad genre. I grew up with Fantasy and Adventure and tended to stick to what I knew. However, with my two guest interviews this week, I have discovered a real interest in the subject and I hope I can keep it up and continue to venture further.

What does Sci Fi mean to you? And what are some of your favourite books in the genre? Please do comment and start talking, it will be interesting to see if any particular book / series seems to be more popular. Have you always been a fan of Sci Fi? Or are you not a fan and prepared to tell us why?


*COMING TOMORROW: Book review of Other Systems by Elizabeth Guizzetti and an interview with the author herself!*


5 thoughts on “What is Sci Fi?

  1. I always think of Sci-Fi as anything involving technology beyond what we can use in the present day, and that means it doesn’t have to be set in the future. Have you seen the film The Prestige? It’s set in the late 19th century and features a very futuristic machine, would thoroughly recommend it 😀

    1. Has it got Christian Bale in it? I think I’ve heard of it … I think, lol – but I totally see your point. Thanks for sharing Jack

      1. Yeah, that’s the one – Hugh Jackman too! Great idea having a themed week btw, I will be checking back throughout 🙂

  2. To me Science Fiction is essentially a story on any theme (murder, love, exploration, crime, etc.) which contains technology (technology being the key term) which we don’t currently possess or have never possessed, if the story is set in the past. It is certainly a difficult one, a bit like Film Noir – it means different things to different people and is almost impossible to pin down to one definition.

    1. I think you are right, though I am definitely sure genres merge at times. I was really shocked to discover so many sub genres inside Sci Fi itself. Thanks for visiting.

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