Hundreds of fans geek out over the differences between Science Fiction and Fantasy in every convention they go to.
There are several opinions in this debate. But the most important ones come from the writers of both the genres. So let us find out how the professionals separate Science Fiction from Fantasy.
If a book or a movie portrays scenarios or technology that is based on existing science or potential future science, consider it as science fiction. They consider space operas and even time travel to be science fiction because despite the technology not being present today, it is theoretically possible.
Fantasy typically deals with supernatural or magical occurrences and is considered to be an older genre when compared to science fiction. Many people consider fantasy to be the oldest genre. Look back in time and you can see even the Greek myths were more based on fantasies than science fiction.
In comparison, science fiction is only a few hundred years old.
But both the genres follow a set of rules. Even if a book or a movie is based on a fantasy, it still follows its own rules and it won’t portray something outside that set of rules. The only difference is that the author makes up the rules in case of fantasy.
According to some writers, science fiction always starts with a ‘what if’ question. The genre typically explores a current problem from a ‘what if’ frame looking for a solution. As an example, Star Trek, the most celebrated science fiction, explores the question of what if we can explore the universe? Each of their episodes frames a different question and thus explores a different possibility.
There are many series, books and movies where both the genres intermingle, but still stay true to their battle-tested differences.