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. or depicting space exploration. Exploring the consequences of such innovations is the traditional purpose of science fiction, making it a "literature of ideas".
What is science fiction?
Definitions of science fiction: Science fiction includes such a wide range of themes and subgenres that it is notoriously difficult to define. Accordingly, there have been many definitions offered. Another challenge is that there is disagreement over where to draw the boundaries between science fiction and related genres.
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.
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:
Mundane science fiction—a subgenre of hard sci-fi which sets stories on Earth or the Solar System using current or plausible technology.
Soft science fiction—focus on human characters and their relations and feelings, often exploring psychology, sociology, anthropology, and political science, while de-emphasizing the details of technological hardware and physical laws. In some cases, science and technology are depicted without much concern for accuracy.
Themes related to science, technology, space and the future, as well as characteristic plots or settings include:
Steampunk — denotes works set in (or strongly inspired by) an era when steam power was still widely used — usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian England — though with otherwise high technology or other science fiction elements
The setting is the environment in which the story takes place. Alien settings require authors to do worldbuilding to create a fictional planet and geography. 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:
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:
Alien (6 films since 1979 and 2 Alien vs Predator films since 2004)
Babylon 5 (2 television series, 7 TV movies since 1993)
Doctor Who (TV series since 1963, 2 Dr. Who films since 1965, and 1 1996 television film, five spinoff TV shows (K-9 and Company, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Torchwood, K-9 and Class), video games and hundreds of books)
Dune (23 novels since 1965, 1 film in 1984, 3 comics since 1984, 2 TV series since 2000, 1 film in 2021)
Godzilla (36 films since 1954 and 3 TV series since 1978)
^"Science fiction - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
^"Definition of science fiction noun from Cambridge Dictionary Online: Free English Dictionary and Thesaurus". dictionary.cambridge.org. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
^"science fiction definition - Dictionary - MSN Encarta". encarta.msn.com. Archived from the original on 21 June 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
^Marg Gilks; Paula Fleming & Moira Allen (2003). "Science Fiction: The Literature of Ideas". WritingWorld.com.
^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.