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Science Fiction - Essay

  • Date Submitted: 06/06/2011 09:01 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 34.9 
  • Words: 605
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Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with the impact of imagined innovations in science or technology, often in a futuristic setting.[1][2][3] Exploring the consequences of such innovations is the traditional purpose of science fiction, making it a "literature of ideas".[4]

Science fiction is largely based on writing rationally about alternative possibilities.[5] It is similar to, but differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation).

The settings for science fiction are often contrary to known reality but the majority of science fiction relies on a considerable degree of suspension of disbelief, which is facilitated in the reader's mind by potential scientific explanations or solutions to various fictional elements. These may include:

    A setting in the future, in alternative timelines, or in an historical past that contradicts known facts of history or the archaeological record
    A setting in outer space, on other worlds, or involving aliens[6]
    Stories that involve technology or scientific principles that contradict known laws of nature[7]
    Stories that involve discovery or application of new scientific principles, such as time travel or psionics, or new technology, such as nanotechnology, faster-than-light travel or robots, or of new and different political or social systems (e.g., a dystopia, or a situation where organized society has collapsed)[8]

Science fiction is difficult to define, as it includes a wide range of subgenres and themes. Author and editor Damon Knight summed up the difficulty by stating that "science fiction is what we point to when we say it",[9] a definition echoed by author Mark C. Glassy, who argues that the definition of science fiction is like the definition of pornography: you don't know what...

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