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Are all stories set in the future SF/F?

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Are all stories set in the future SF/F?

Postby Bmat » Sun Feb 18, 2007 10:14 am

Are all stories set in the future Science Fiction or Fantasy?

I suspect that there are or can be stories set in the future that are not genre. Everything I can think of, though, that is set in the future, includes technological or social changes that take place over time.
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Postby clknaps » Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:14 am

What about those alternate timeline/history fiction stories, that suppose questions like "what if Hitler won the war" and now it's 2007 or something like that. I wouldn't really call that SF/Fantasy.
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Postby Bmat » Mon Feb 19, 2007 7:28 am

clknaps wrote:What about those alternate timeline/history fiction stories, that suppose questions like "what if Hitler won the war" and now it's 2007 or something like that. I wouldn't really call that SF/Fantasy.
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I am not sure. If technology or sciences have progressed differently from what is actually present in the time, then maybe it is SF/F.
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Postby aldan » Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:33 pm

I'd say that if there are any changes in tech, caused by the changes in the timestream, then it'd be SciFi. If there are not, but there are non-historical political figures in the future of which the story's written, then it'd likely be more of a Fantasy, because of the very different political situation.

Now, please realize that I feel Fantasy is not only stories about wizards and goblins and lions and tigers and bears (oh, my!), and that I feel that Star Wars was a Science Fantasy movie, which used the trappings of SciFi to tell a Fantasy story.
Last edited by aldan on Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Qray » Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:17 pm

aldan wrote:...and that I feel that Star Wars was a Science Fantasy movie, which used the trappings of SciFi to tell a Fantasy story.


Space Opera (this is not a slight and should not be confused with a Soap Opera) A grand tale told with space as a backdrop.

BSG is borderline Science Fiction/Space Opera. Depending on the episode of the week.

Most "scifi" on t.v. and the big screen isn't Science Fiction. It's Space Opera. Science fiction deals with the influence of science on society or individuals. An excellent example of this can be found in Asimov's works dealing with robots.

Then again, the line between Science Fiction and Space Opera can get blurred even in the same piece of work. Asimov's Foundation, which had the mathematics known as psychohistory at it's core, was at times Science Fiction and at times Space Opera.

As for the alternate future kind of story, just like anything else, I guess it would depend on each individual story, but generally I'd be inclined to consider those kind of stories as Fantasy.
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Postby who me » Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:42 pm

science fiction
n. A literary or cinematic genre in which fantasy, typically based on speculative scientific discoveries or developments, environmental changes, space travel, or life on other planets, forms part of the plot or background.
American Heritage Dictionary

so I have been thinking about it. most story's set in the future are science fiction.
because they revolve around the advance of technology.

there are how ever exceptions like the post apocalyptic story's (mad max or postman) are (usually) not science fiction.
there is little or no science left.
I also discovered a rather interesting niche of science fiction that does not necessarily take place in the future zoological science fiction, the Ugly Chickens by Howard Waldrop is a example, what if the Dodo bird had not died out in 1720?
yes jurassick park could count to i guess.

now that I think about it where would Larry Niven's integral trees fit in ?
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Postby Chuffy » Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:35 am

who me wrote:there are how ever exceptions like the post apocalyptic story's (mad max or postman) are (usually) not science fiction.
there is little or no science left.
?


These styles I always refer to as Futuristic as opposed to Sci-Fi.
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Postby The Master » Fri Mar 23, 2007 12:00 am

I'll take a stab at this!

There are many sub-genres of Speculative Fiction.

Science Fiction is often used as an overall term but true "hard" Science Fiction is based on current or reasonably projected science and technology. A key, driving plot device is the impact of that science on society and the individuals in the story. Interestingly enough that means much post apocalyptic fiction like Mad Max really is solid Science Fiction because it relies entirely on a science reason for the state of the world (Nuclear War is typical) and explores the effect that has on society. It does not have to be set in the future. "The Day After Tomorrow" was a hard SF story about global warming, "Deep Impact" was about a comet hitting the earth. Both are based on reasonably projected scientific theories.

Alternative History, Near-Future settings, Space Opera and much of the other popular genre stories we see rely upon the trappings of space and Science Fiction elements for effect but it may not always be a key element of the story. If you have techno-babble instead of actual science or impossible science (transporters, faster than light travel) for convenience then its probably not true Science Fiction. That doesn't make it any less entertaining of course :)

Instead of science Fantasy utilizes magic, or some other supernatural power as the key plot device. Horror stories are usually considered Dark Fantasy. Horror where the cause is purely human (psycho killers) are considered Suspense.

The Integral Trees...wow, haven't read that in forever! Larry Niven is known for being very hard SF. Anyone who uses theoretical quantum physics to set his stories gets a tip of the hat from me! With a little checking (cheating) I recall that the setting was a gas torus surrounding a neutron star, which was dense enough to support life. The inhabitants are decendants of long before human colonists from Earth. Thus, while there is a typical colony origin and an astronomical basis for the story setting its also unlikely that life could survive there making the science pretty muddy. I would place this one more in the general Speculative Fiction category compared to his Ringworld books.
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Postby Dark Knight » Fri Mar 23, 2007 6:01 pm

Well what of a story set in the future, but there is magic....

I know most fantasy stories are set in the sword time zone.....

Some are set now, like Harry Potter....

And a few are set in the future...

I always think of "The Darksword Trilogy", by Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman...when you start to read it, it reads like fantasy....with all the magic... then you findout about the spaceships.... interesting ideas there.... Of course I consider this Fantasy.....

To me I think it comes down to what you decide on your own, most stories like Star Wars and Star Trek I think of as SF....

In the end to me it does not matter, as long as it is a good story.... :wink:
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Postby Talon Sinnah » Thu Mar 29, 2007 5:55 pm

I have not read all of the Darksword books but I do mean to.


I do not know if there really is a lone seperating the two. You can make extrememly close connections to both no matter how you put it. One of my favorites is Time Machine by HG Wells. Excellent story and very well done, I do not think the movie did it justice but hey it worked. The only thing I was able to pick Sci Fi easily was the actual time travel. The rest could be fantasy with the Morlocs or whatever they were.
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Postby Talon Sinnah » Fri Mar 30, 2007 6:35 pm

Once I thought about it a bit I decided that my last post was well a load of crap. Allow me to atone for it.


I believe one can say that the difference between Fantasy and Sci Fi is that Science Fiction could likely happen. Scientist or at least some believe that dimensions are almost more likely then aliens. Time travel may not be imposible and lasers are just around the corner. Fantasy on the other hand is dream things that are very unlikely of being true. Let's face it dragons are probably fake to an extent and unless elves are a sub class of humans we will not find them.

Now in regards to my last one I would like to change my opinion on Time Machine. While it is a great book it is more Science Fiction then anything. Sorry for my insolence.
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Postby Spiderkeg » Tue Apr 24, 2007 9:13 am

There always seems to be some confusion as to what defines science fiction and what defines fantasy. I think Rod Serling said it best.

While seated on a park bench giving the introduction for The Fugitive, he notes that this episode combines science-fiction (“the improbable made possible”) with fantasy (“the impossible made probable”).
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