Essay 1: What is Science Fiction?

Essay 1: What is Science Fiction?2021-05-16T16:01:37-05:00

Rising Above “Genre Fiction”

To name and define Science-Fiction is an act of rebellion against those who seek to diminish its worth. These are the readers whom Ursula LeGuin accuses of often calling the genre “escapist” while being privately frightened of its literary strength and revealing of haunting truths. Beyond aesthetics, beyond means, the essence of Sci-Fi as LeGuin states is a descriptive genre that distillates truths of the present and then expands upon them. These realities are magnified to reveal their innate truths. Science is simply the means by which to expose these realities. Science works for these purposes because it is at the essence of the modern world and, in some respects, functions as a modern pseudo-deity. While one could argue that today many talk away science, a generous soul with a teaspoon of mercy may respond that many of those who today reject the truths of science do so […]

By |February 8th, 2022|Categories: Annie, What is SF|0 Comments

What do we call SF?

I actually haven’t read much Science-Fiction, or at least not for a while. My early culture in this genre comes exclusively from my father, who wasn’t much a reader. To me, S-F was first and foremost video games, movies, and comics. And I think it’s safe to claim that 19th century literary works and games like StarCraft II don’t share a common purpose or structure and barely share an aesthetic guideline. So then, how could we justify this common label of “Science-Fiction”?

Well, first thing that comes to mind: they all introduce the reader to one or more products of a fictitious science, or fictitious products of an existing science, and then it kind of extrapolates on that. I had previously encountered the concept of novum presented by Darko Suvin, and it seems really relevant to me. Most science-fiction works elaborate on some kind of premisse: “let’s say […]

By |February 8th, 2022|Categories: Essay 1, Maxime, What is SF|0 Comments

Sci-Fi is a worldview and methodology

I believe that, as any Genre, the spectrum of Sci-Fi is not self-defined. It is not the authors’ intention to create “Sci-Fi films/novels” and thus get such a category, but that some works are shaped and referred to as “Sci-Fi” by cultural forces and contexts. Therefore, from a genre perspective, “science fiction” is flux. At its beginning, Sci-Fi may be a kind of wonder related to geographical discoveries and the unfolding of human history. It is an imagination of folded space and unknown time, thus expanding them. For example, The War of the Worlds can be seen as a kind of geographical fiction with a fixed narrative method, similar to nautical novels such as The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and the stranded genre such as Robinson Crusoe. Such stories always create extreme environments, place the protagonist in a dangerous situation that he has no choice but to face, rely […]

By |February 8th, 2022|Categories: Essay 1, What is SF, Xiaoyu|0 Comments

What is science fiction?

Science fiction is a genre of fictional works that depict such fantasy content about science as future technology, time or space travel, parallel universes, artificial intelligence, etc. According to Isaac Asimov, science fiction is like a social experiment, depicting fictional societies. He sees science as the great and unifying principle of the earth, while using science fiction as a special medium to popularize scientific knowledge while prompting people to consider the connection between human beings and various aspects of technology and history, and to consider the harmonious development of human beings and society as a whole.

In my opinion, I agree that science fiction is also a fictional genre. Its narrative is driven by events, technologies or societies that are impossible, unreal, or take place in the future, in the past or in a secondarily created world. The genre exhibits different characteristics depending on the reality, possibility, probability and […]

By |February 8th, 2022|Categories: Essay 1, What is SF|0 Comments

What is Science Fiction?

Science Fiction is rooted in material and historical actualities, which differentiates it from Fantasy or Myth. It looks at a world that we have defined as normal and reorders it. Many of the material players are present, satisfying the need to feel recognizable, but details have been altered pushing the narrative into a zone that is unfamiliar. As Suvin states, Science Fiction is broadly defined by “the presence and interaction of estrangement and cognition”.

Science Fiction employs a form of synthetic thinking with the goal of illustrating a new reality. The abnormality of this new world is only comprehensible in its contrast to the readers empirical reality.  In this way, Science Fiction simultaneously relies on and challenges the existing social framework of society. Science Fiction is neither utopian nor dystopian but rather an alternate space that activates qualities from both worlds, as a heuristic method to condition the reader to consider […]

By |February 7th, 2022|Categories: Essay 1, What is SF|0 Comments

Science Fiction, The Art of Not Exploring the Moon

The beginning quote by Louis Althusser in the essay, “Science Fiction and Critical Theory,” by Carl Freedman, in which it says, “To change the world is not to explore the moon…”. This is not the full quote, nor the full meaning, but it did strike me. The point of changing the earth is not to explore the moon, but maybe exploring the moon can help us change the world. To me, that is Science Fiction, the point of Science Fiction is not to simply explore a universe that is being taken over, of a world that is heavily impacted by the climate crisis, Robot control, or a Space Mission, it is about using said themes to hopefully help change the world that we exist in.

I read Science Fiction because it reminds me of the ways our World could go, the ways technology could adapt, the way another life […]

By |February 7th, 2022|Categories: Essay 1, What is SF|0 Comments

Science Fiction – A safe zone for criticism

Science Fiction is about the concerns for “here”, it speculates about what the future will be like by exaggerating the existing conflicts at present. There are five elements for action cycle in the stage performance directing theory- Inciting incidents, Crisis, Catastrophe, Climax and Denouement. Science Fiction is like revealing the catastrophe and climax resulting from these conflicts.

Science Fiction is a safe zone for all kinds of criticism towards the society since it uses metaphor to escape from being accused of pointing at the reality. It’s like using the concept of multiverse and build the world based on the elements we have right now and choose a controversial path to go to the extreme. When all the topics are merged together it only feels like an itch, but when the topic is extracted apart and put under the spotlight it will be strong enough to blow our minds. It is about performing […]

By |February 6th, 2022|Categories: Essay 1, What is SF|0 Comments

What Is Science Fiction?

Young MagicianI have to say, I love this question. Science Fiction is so many things. It’s a genre certainly, but even that is intrinsically complicated. 

Let’s start at the beginning. I’m a magician. I’ve been a magician since I was twelve years old.  So Arthur C. Clarke’s quote has framed my life, my career, and my view of the world.  “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” said Clark. And certainly, we’re living in a time when there’s magic all around us.

I began reading Science Fiction as young boy, absorbed by the power of speculative fiction. And, to be honest, the adventure of space travel and the future. I embraced the idea that Science Fiction has been called the literature of Ideas (Gilks et al.), and it is most certainly a very new genre of literature […]

By |February 5th, 2022|Categories: SteveRosenbaum, What is SF|0 Comments

What Is Science Fiction?

Science Fiction (Sci-Fi) is the genre that discusses and displays stories in alternate realities by presenting the author’s vision of answers to three questions:

1) What if? 2) What could happen? 3) Why and how? (optional)

First, by considering and answering the question of “what if,” the author provides the setting that differs from the daily reality to innovate or change one or multiple ordinary storytelling elements as time (when), place (where), species or characters (who and whom), and events (what) via techniques like defamiliarization and displacement. For example, tons of Sci-Fi works involve changing the setting of time, while Xeno works innovate new species, and these two also can happen simultaneously in one piece. Note that not all Sci-Fi works are about the future: Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) sets at the end of WWII, Counterpart (2017) mixes the present and the 1970s, and […]

By |February 4th, 2022|Categories: What is SF, Xinyu|0 Comments

what is science fiction: a reflection


Science fiction is a genre that considers futuristic expressions of utopia and disaster. It is an art form that stretches and tests the limits of what we hold true in the realms of time and space and is deeply reflective of the state of the world at present. Science fiction differs from mythology as it is focused on the future rather than the past/ and or mysticism. Science fiction’s titillating nature in marrying catastrophe with beauty is, in some ways, its jarring reflection of the present. Science fiction can consider technology, climate crisis, or biological warfare as a site in which the anxieties of the future can be played out. The science fiction genre is deeply rooted in the worldbuilding process, as it attempts to structure society and the physical world anew. Be it across different dimensions or […]

By |February 4th, 2022|Categories: Essay 1, Mashael, What is SF|0 Comments

What is Science Fiction? 👽

What if aliens make sci-fi movies... about us? - Conspiracy Keanu | Meme Generator

I’ve got to be honest, my views on science fiction are very split. On the one hand, I find that science fiction has a propensity for being the home-genre of the type of authors who like to write unnecessarily complex pieces of absolutely mindless, inaccessible, boring bullshit. Such pieces tend to be full of weird names like Ekevinium or Pastrami-genesis69. On the other hand, some forms of science fiction are insanely beautiful, thought provoking works. Personally, I like Ursula K. Le Guin’s description of science fiction as being descriptive instead of predictive. Reading past works of science fiction allows today’s readers to glean a good sense of what the author’s present looked like. We are able to ascertain a sharper understanding of what historic people’s general fears of the future […]

By |February 1st, 2022|Categories: Essay 1, Huda N., What is SF|0 Comments

What is Science-fiction?

On the one hand, science-fiction is an exaggerated portrayal of the present from the author’s point of view. Seeing how humans- our lifestyles, and technologies do nothing but harm to the world, we know and are afraid of our own future. Science-fiction is an attempt to warn, create fear, and console oneself that at least a handful of humans will survive and thrive in the worst case scenario, and that humanity will not perish. Science-fiction is something that changes according to its times. A century ago, in The Wars of the Worlds, we see that humans weren’t capable of matching up to the alien invaders on their own. But a work where humans are incompetent of defending themselves would not sell in today’s time. I believe, when it comes to contemporary science-fiction works, we give ourselves too much credit in terms of technology, morals and ethics. Whether it’s a good […]

By |January 31st, 2022|Categories: Abha, What is SF|0 Comments

Science Fiction’s Metaphor

Science Fiction’s Metaphor

     Ursula K. Le Guin’s definitions for science fiction are interesting and compelling. She mentions that science fiction is a “metaphor […] drawn from certain great dominants of our contemporary life—science, all the sciences, and technology, and the relativistic and the historical outlook”.  In this sense, it’s like any other form of fiction, yet, at the same time, it conveys something new. Science fiction, as its name specifies, needs a scientific fact. In the end, we can take this fact to an incredible context, but it is still science. In other words, it’s something we can grasp from our normal understanding of science, an extension of what we’ve discovered to this day.

     I define science fiction as a disguise. Science Fiction is a tool to disguise reality and question ourselves.  Just like a metaphor, it hides something and pretends it is something else. […]

By |February 12th, 2021|Categories: Essay 1, Paola E., What is SF|0 Comments

Who is Dionysios: A Metaphor and The New Birth of Tragedy

Friedrich Nietzsche used to call a balance between Apollonian and Dionysiosian culture in his early work The Birth of Tragedy, which was a representative work of his early life. If our traditional literature including poems and prose should be called an Apollonian culture, then Science Fiction should be the Dionysiosian side. In The left hand of darkness, Ursula Le Guin wrote that “Apollo blinds those who press too close in worship. Don’t look straight at the sun.” Based on that, Science Fiction is a balance of power as a Dionysionian power — insane, madness, irrelated to the true world, messy imagination of an inexisted world. 

But wait, that is not all. Someone has mentioned the Sun in some other way — that Sun will no longer be represented by Apollo — instead, that is the Sun which people are […]

By |February 9th, 2021|Categories: What is SF|1 Comment

What is Science Fiction?

Science fiction presents contemporary concerns through surrealist and fantastical metaphors. Stories of aliens and warfare, of technology and advancement, of utopia and fallibility hardly describe visions of pure fantasy. Instead, these plots reconcile existing strife, or at the very least, anticipate the pains that lay in the future if current trajectories are left unencumbered.

The original version of H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds manifests an alien invasion at the heart of the British Empire. Superficially, the tale was not out of the ordinary. Popular literature of the day envisioned the foreign powers attacking European homelands, and public perceptions swayed with these narratives. Fears of coming war were well-founded, and in many ways, the tripods’ attacks on southern England forecast the gruesomeness of the next century.

Yet, science fiction’s grandeur also provides cover, enabling authors to subtly consider ideas that are even less palatable to the masses than global warfare. […]

By |February 9th, 2021|Categories: Connor, Essay 1, What is SF|0 Comments
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