Science fiction is a modern genre that has developed in tandem with technological developments of the past century. It is very braod and generally covers fiction that involves aspects of science or technology in its facets.
It is often abbreviated to ‘SF’ or ‘Sci-Fi’ and has a large fan base across the world, reaching across the globe through books, television, film, art, games, theatre or any other new media.
In contrast with fantasty, most elements imagined within sci-fi are largely possible through established scientific developments – and through scientifically appropriated laws of nature. It’s largley written based on considering alternate possibilities to our realities (study of ‘alternate universes’) in a rational and entertaining way.
Sci-fi does this through several methods, including:
-involving technology or science prinicples in the story
-involving a futuristic setting, possibly through alternate time lines or alternate universe
-involving application of scientific principless [e.g. time travel, nanotechnology, faster-than- light travel, robots, psionics, etc.]
Science fiction can also include social sciences, such as economics, politics, anthropology, psychology and sociology – this is commonly refferred to as ‘soft’ sci-fi. It can be used within the traditional sci-fi.
An example of this is Crash a novel by J Ballard, with its introduction being published in the course reader.
Published in 1973, Crash is a story about car-crash fetishism – meaning the protagonists in the story aer aroused by participating or staging car-crashes. Ballard uses formal and cold language about this ‘automotive paraphilia’ which makes the book sound like a report or journal of medicine, rather than a novel. This highlights the focus on technology Ballard has – enabling the fiction to fall under the genre umbrella of Sci-fi. Its inclusion of the social sexual study encourages the sub-category of soft sci-fi.