When I think of the question “what is science fiction,” I try to approach it first from a literal perspective. Science fiction – a fictional creation that is based on the knowledge of science; or to phrase it without using the word “science” or “fiction,” a fabricated composition rooted in the systematic study of behaviors of the natural entity. But this definition seems limiting to the genre of science fiction in many ways. Although it does provide a baseline understanding to what science fiction could be.

In my opinion, beyond the element of “science” and “fiction,” the genre also includes a few other key elements, including imagination, the evaluation of the current science, and its effort in trying to understand the future. First, all science fiction partake an element of imagination, specifically, the imagination of the possibilities and potential of current science and technology. And I believe this element is key and is definitively in all types of science fiction; because, if not, science fiction would just be a fabricated science report. Second, most if not all science fictions deal with the evaluation of current technologies. Through various plots, storylines, and metaphors, science fiction tries to bring in questions and evaluate controversial debates in the scientific field, from the effectiveness of technology to its moral implications. Third, with the format of imaginative thinking and the critical engagement of technology, I see the genre of science fiction as a creative format in trying to understand, make peace, have an expectation, or warn about the unknown/the future. Though not all science fiction is set in the future, even the ones set in the “now” and the few set in the “past” all use imagination in creating a story set in a realm where we are curious about yet unknown.

So to maybe summarize into a sentence, my definition for science fiction is that it is a creative storytelling format that makes up stories with imaginations of the possibilities of current scientific progress in an attempt to understand what tomorrow could look like.