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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to science fiction:

Science fiction – a genre of fiction dealing with the impact of imagined innovations in science or technology, often in a futuristic setting.[1][2][3] or depicting space exploration. Exploring the consequences of such innovations is the traditional purpose of science fiction, making it a "literature of ideas".[4]

What is science fiction?Edit

  • Definitions of science fiction: Science fiction includes such a wide range of themes and subgenres that it is notoriously difficult to define.[5] Accordingly, there have been many definitions offered.

Science fiction is a type of:

  • Fiction – form of narrative which deals, in part or in whole, with events that are not factual, but rather, imaginary and invented by its author(s). Although fiction often describes a major branch of literary work, it is also applied to theatrical, cinematic, and musical work.
    • Genre fiction – fictional works (novels, short stories) written with the intent of fitting into a specific literary genre in order to appeal to readers and fans already familiar with that genre. Also known as popular fiction.
    • Speculative fiction
  • Genre – science fiction is a genre of fiction.

Genres of science fictionEdit

Science fiction genre – while science fiction is a genre of fiction, a science fiction genre is a subgenre within science fiction. Science fiction may be divided along any number of overlapping axes. Gary K. Wolfe's Critical Terms for Science Fiction and Fantasy identifies over 30 subdivisions of science fiction, not including science fantasy (which is a mixed genre).


Genres concerning the emphasis, accuracy, and type of science described include:

  • Hard science fiction—a particular emphasis on scientific detail and/or accuracy
  • Soft science fiction—focus on human characters and their relations and feelings, while de-emphasizing the details of technological hardware and physical laws


Themes related to science, technology, space and the future, as well as characteristic plots or settings include:


Genres concerning politics, philosophy, and identity movements include:


Genres concerning the historical era of creation and publication include:

  • Scientific romance — an archaic name for what is now known as the science fiction genre, mostly associated with the early science fiction of the United Kingdom.
  • Pulp science fiction
  • Golden Age of Science Fiction — a period of the 1940s during which the science fiction genre gained wide public attention and many classic science fiction stories were published.
  • New Wave science fiction — characterised by a high degree of experimentation, both in form and in content.
  • Cyberpunk — noted for its focus on "high tech, low life" and taking its name from the combination of cybernetics and punk.


Genres that combine two different fiction genres or use a different fiction genre's mood or style include:

Related genresEdit

Science fiction by countryEdit

History of science fictionEdit

Elements of science fictionEdit

Character elements in science fictionEdit

Plot elements in science fictionEdit

Plot devices in science fictionEdit

Setting elements in science fictionEdit

The setting is the environment in which the story takes place. Elements of setting may include culture (and its technologies), period (including the future), place (geography/astronomy), nature (physical laws, etc.), and hour. Setting elements characteristic of science fiction include:


Cultural setting elementsEdit

Sex and gender in science fictionEdit

Technology in science fictionEdit

Themes in science fictionEdit

Style elements in science fictionEdit

Works of science fictionEdit

Information sourcesEdit

Science fiction in academiaEdit

Science-fiction subcultureEdit

Science-fiction awardsEdit

The science fiction genre has a number of recognition awards for authors, editors, and illustrators.[6] Awards are usually granted annually.

International awardsEdit


Nationality-specific awardsEdit

  • Kitschies—for speculative fiction novels published in the UK
New Zealander
Pacific Northwestern
  • Big Roscon award for outstanding contribution to science fiction[9]

Themed awardsEdit


New artists / first works awardsEdit

Career awardsEdit

People influential in science fictionEdit


Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim (SWCA) - From Droid Builder's Club Room

There are a number of science fiction media franchises of this type, typically encompassing media such as cinema films, TV shows, toys, and even theme parks related to the content. The highest-grossing science fiction franchise is Star Wars.

Space science fiction franchises:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Science fiction - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  2. ^ "Definition of science fiction noun from Cambridge Dictionary Online: Free English Dictionary and Thesaurus". Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  3. ^ "science fiction definition - Dictionary - MSN Encarta". Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  4. ^ Marg Gilks; Paula Fleming & Moira Allen (2003). "Science Fiction: The Literature of Ideas".
  5. ^ For example, Patrick Parrinder comments that "[d]efinitions of science fiction are not so much a series of logical approximations to an elusive ideal, as a small, parasitic subgenre in themselves." Parrinder, Patrick (1980). Science Fiction: Its Criticism and Teaching. London: New Accents.
  6. ^ "Science Fiction Awards Index". Locus Magazine.
  7. ^ SRSFF
  8. ^
  9. ^ "This is fiction: What is Roscon and why",, 11 April 2017 (retrieved 15 September 2019)
  10. ^ "Emperor Norton Award". science fiction awards database. Retrieved 28 May 2019.

External linksEdit