What is science fiction doing
What is fantasy and what is science fiction?
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How do I recognize a fantasy or sci-fi novel and what are its characteristics? We explain it!
Science Fiction (SciFi)
It is a genre in literature, film, video games, etc. Science fiction (SciFi) is often about technical and scientific developments in the future or an alternative world. Space travel, time travel, lightsabers etc. have their place in SciFi, as well as aliens, robots or the effects of artificial intelligence on the lives of the characters in the novel.
Hard science fiction
This subgenre focuses on scientific accuracy and accurate technical details. Technical progress and the ongoing thinking of current scientific knowledge and theories are at the core of the plot of hard science fiction.
E.g. Cixin Liu "The Three Suns".
Soft science fiction
In contrast to hard science fiction, soft science fiction focuses on social, psychological and political issues. Technology and science are therefore more of the scenery in which the plot is embedded in order to be able to show the challenges these developments bring with them.
E.g. Frank Herbert "The Desert Planet".
Comic science fiction
Comic science fiction puts fun first. Classic science fiction settings and topics, such as life on another planet, aliens, time travel or artificial intelligence are used as a background for a not very serious look at society, political developments and sometimes even the genre science fiction itself.
E.g. Douglas Adams "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".
Feminist science fiction
This subgenre deals with the role of women in alternative, future scenarios. Further topics of feminist science fiction are gender roles, sexuality, equality, etc. Often these topics are dealt with in utopias and dystopias in distant worlds in the future or the past.
E.g. Naomi Alderman "The Gift".
Military science fiction
War technology, novel weapons, epic battles on foreign planets or alien attacks - Military Science Fiction deals with the action-packed side of weapon development and the effects of military technology on society.
E.g. H.G. Wells "War of the Worlds".
This sub-genre only takes place in space. Aliens, alien planets, space travel, sophisticated weapons, the fight between hostile camps and great love or perhaps a large-scale alien attack? All elements that are in harmony with space can be combined in the sub-genre “Space Opera”.
E.g. James S.A. Corey "Leviathan Awakes".
Cyberpunk and Steampunk
In cyberpunk, scientific developments and technical successes, such as artificial intelligence or cybernetics, are combined with strong political and social conflicts. In steampunk, on the other hand, technical and stylistic elements from the 19th century are taken further and form the background against which the action takes place.
E.g. Philip K. Dick "Blade Runner".
E.g. Judith and Christian Vogt "The Broken Doll".
Social science fiction
Social science fiction focuses on the societal effects of new technological developments and alternative, e.g. interstellar, habitats. It's about how people and society are influenced by technology and which sides these developments bring about in us - the high points and the abysses. E.g .: George Orwell "1984", Suzanne Collins "Hunger Games".
Dark future scenarios that often end badly determine this genre. Society is facing challenges, alternative regimes have become established, and there are often technical innovations. Dystopias raise the question of whether all that the future has brought to society is really that good?
Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
This genre combines fantasy and science fiction. In a world that is about to collapse or has already collapsed, the heroes of the story must prevent the apocalypse or find their way through the dangerous post-apocalyptic world. The apocalypse can be triggered from any side: Whether zombies, vampires, environmental disasters, new technologies, alien attacks, etc. For example: Eyall Kless "The Black Mark"
It is a genre in literature, film, video games, etc. Fantasy deals with fantastic worlds and phenomena such as mysticism, magic, mythical creatures or foreign peoples such as elves or dwarves. Depending on the fantasy subgenre, there are different compositions and characteristics of these elements. However, the subgenres often overlap.
High fantasy novels take place in a completely made-up world that often follows its own laws and rules. There are different races and "races", e.g. elves, dwarves and orcs. Often magic plays a role and epic battles have to be fought. Good fights evil to save the world. Classic examples are "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien and "Eragon" by Christopher Paolini.
Low fantasy is the term used to describe stories that place more emphasis on individual fates than on saving the world. The demarcation between good and bad is often less clear. The main character is rarely a shining hero, but rather a loner who wants to save his own life. In addition, low fantasy stories can be viewed as stories in which the magical / mystical components are significantly lower or occur less often than in high fantasy. An example of the first explanation is "Conan the Barbarian".
Urban fantasy is the term used to describe stories that are realistic and at the same time contain elements of fantasy. Books of this genre play in the world we know, but in which magical beings such as vampires, witches, or shapeshifters also exist. Magic or sorcery can also be part of this world. A well-known example of urban fantasy is J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series.
Medieval Fantasy (Historical Fantasy)
Middle Ages or historical fantasy often takes place in worlds that are based on the real world in certain epochs (often the Middle Ages). The authors take real historical locations, personalities or circumstances as a template and season them with a good pinch of fantasy. Examples are “Judassohn” by Markus Heitz and George R.R. Martin's “A Song of Ice and Fire”.
Fantasy meets science fiction - the supernatural and the fantastic are combined with technology and science. Be it the power in "Star Wars" or the bred vampires in "The Transition" by Justin Cronin - fans of both genres will get their money's worth here.
The humorous fantasy takes the clichés of the genre to extremes and delivers twisted worlds with exaggerated and therefore lovable characters. Often facts from our real world are satirically targeted. When reading Terry Pratchett's “Discworld” novels, for example, no eye stays dry for long.
In horror fantasy horror and horror break over the lives of the protagonists. Regardless of whether it is werewolves, vampires, Frankenstein's monsters or Cthulu himself - to read books like this you need nerves of steel. Often times it gets bloody, disgusting, creepy and disturbing. Examples are the works of H.P. Lovecraft or Louis Stevenson with “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ”.
In Dark Fantasy, the focus is on dark beings such as demons, devils, vampires and similarly unpleasant contemporaries. Their existence is known to the people in these books and splatter and gore elements are omitted. In this respect, dark fantasy can be seen as a more harmless variant of horror fantasy. Current examples are "The Chronicles of the Underworld" by Cassandra Clare by Cassandra Clare or the "Biss ..." series by Stephenie Meyer.
The supernatural, horror, fears - Dark Mystery combines elements from fantasy (sometimes also science fiction) and horror. Dark conspiracy theories, mysterious connections, inexplicable events find their place here as well as dark, fear-filling scenarios. For example: Sarah Perry "Melmoth", H.P. Lovecraft
A romantic story with elements of fantasy literature is called Romantasy. Fantastic elements are associated with the present. In this genre, the main focus is on love, or a love story of the characters. A well-known Romantasy series is e.g. the "Obsidian" series by Jennifer L. Armentrout.
Animal Fantasy is the genre in which animals are the main characters in the story. Either people are transformed into animals, or one perceives the world from the perspective of the animals. A very well-known Animal series is, for example, "Warrior Cats" by Erin Hunter.
Fairy tale novels
Fairy tale novels are modernized fairy tales that are similar in style to simple folk tales. In addition, opposites such as good and bad, as well as symbols and mythical creatures often play a special role. An example of this is "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Caroll.
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