Science Fiction Vs Fantasy
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Basic Information

Defining and dividing Science Fiction from Fantasy (and vice-versa) is very tricky and subjective, hence the need for the encompassing category of Speculative Fiction. Here's a small compare and contrast list that might help, or might just annoy you…

Science Fiction Fantasy
Improbable Impossible
The Future The Past
Spacecraft Horse
Aliens Five Races, Mythological Creatures
Starfish Aliens Dragons
Genetic Engineering, Psionics, Radiation, Robotics, Technology Magic
Mad Scientist, Psychic Powers Wizard
Robot Elemental, Golem
Laser Sword
Outer Space, Interstellar Terrain Standard Fantasy Setting
Negative Space Wedgie Monster of The Week
Planet of Hats Adventure Towns
Abusive Precursors Orcus On His Throne
Starship Captian Knight In Shining Armor
Sufficiently Advanced Technology, Sufficiently Advanced Aliens Magic A is Magic A, Magitek


2. What's New with Phil and Dixie: Medieval vs. SF page 1 — a classic take on this question. ( Page 2 )

Game and Story Use

  • Naturally ripe for subversion or crossover genres - sci-fi with swords is not unknown and quite a few fantasy settings include various degrees of precursors with some decidedly ambiguous leftovers.
  • Confusingly the term "science fantasy" is sometimes employed to describe the works also known as "space opera" and similar things where a thin coat of high technology paint has been splashed over what is clearly a fantasy setting - usually featuring (space) knights, (laser) swords and (space) magic and with no real attempt to integrate any kind of technological or engineering basis.
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