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Science fiction stories


Disciplines > Storytelling > Plots > Classic story types > Science fiction stories

Description | Example | Discussion | See also



Science fiction (or 'Sci-fi') stories tell tales of the future, often the distant future where science and engineering has conquered all.

Human stories are the projected against this backdrop, typically of exploration of the endless frontiers of space or warring against terrifying species who may well be technically superior.

Science fiction stories may also include projections of current fears, such as 'big brother' governments that control every aspect of your life or out-of-control robots or other unfeeling monsters that try to take over the world.


Star Trek
Logan's Run
I Robot


It has been said that a sufficiently advanced technology will appear as magic and science fiction often uses it for magical purposes, solving problems at a stroke. The science of science fiction stories is thus like magic in fantasy tales. They both represent the human hopes for rescue from what Shakespeare called the 'slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune'.

The technologies and societies of science fiction display the creative prowess of its authors, although some can get lost in expounding their vision at the cost of good old fashioned plot and character development.

Technologies can get invented to solve storytelling dilemmas and deus ex machina events are common, such as the regular use of the Star Trek transporter to get the heroes out of impossible difficult corners. In fact the transporter was originally invented to save on the cost of building and filming space ships to get people down to planets. Likewise the 'inertial dampers' allow for massive acceleration to light speed without flattening the crew against the aft bulkhead.

There is much grandeur in science fiction that can evoke awe and wonder, from vast space-scapes to terrible weaponry. The aliens and monsters met in the stories are often superior in some way. In battle, this leads to David-and-Goliath stories of the human underdog defeating the greatly superior enemy. It can also yield tales of wisdom as near-gods are encountered. Aliens also can be used as substitutes for real-world ethnic minorities and tales told of racial hatred and abuse.

See also

Fantasy stories

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