What is Science Fantasy?

“Science fantasy is a mixed genre within the umbrella of speculative fiction which simultaneously draws upon and/or combines tropes and elements from both science fiction and fantasy. It also sometimes incorporates elements of horror fiction.” [1]

Science Fantasy (SciFan) is a genre that is often ignored. Not too many people are familiar with the genre, but it was originally coined in the late 1930’s by John W. Campbell, Jr. in his magazine that was (ironically) entitled Unknown.

 unknownThe Science Fiction genre is often defined as the improbable made possible, whereas the Fantasy genre is commonly defined as the impossible made probable. So then, what is Science Fantasy (SciFan)?

“As a combination of the two, science fantasy gives a scientific veneer of realism to things that simply could not happen in the real world under any circumstances. Where science fiction does not permit the existence of fantasy or supernatural elements, science fantasy explicitly relies upon them.” [2]

Many even argue that SciFan would more appropriately classify George Lucas’ Star Wars saga.


Think about it. Despite common belief, Star Wars is not Science Fiction. As fellow author Simon Dillon explains, “Let’s be completely clear on this: Star Wars is not science fiction. It is fantasy; a fairy tale that happens to be set in space. Perhaps the setting is what confuses people, but just because something takes place in space doesn’t make it science fiction.” [3]

You might be asking yourself now, “What supernatural elements are depicted in Star Wars?”

the-forceTwo Words: “The Force” is a mystical entity that is supernatural in nature. This is the primary element of Fantasy in the Star Wars saga that most people don’t take into consideration. Again, just because a story takes place in space doesn’t necessarily mean that it falls under the genre of Science Fiction.

There are many new stories that classify as SciFan, but the genre has been suppressed from the standard norm. The public has become so unfamiliar with the term,

Richard_M_Mulder_K (1)that even Amazon.com doesn’t recognize it in their Kindle Store categories.

Seven years ago I began plotting out the SciFan™ Universe Series. The genre can only be properly classified as SciFan. The plot contains government conspiracies regarding a futuristic tracking system in our modern world intertwined with an ancient primeval darkness in a distant world that is determined to consume the souls of all mankind. Several characters are given superhuman powers and strengths, allowing them to transport between worlds and wield great powers. These powers include: divination, telepathy, body jumping, mind control, self-healing, and incineration to name a few.

richard-m-mulder-map4In my story, a primeval darkness threatens to destroy mankind. The world’s largest gaming platform in the entire industry is led by a man with many secrets. The popular game DarkForce features the World of Zion which has been plagued by the destructive will of the Leviathan for centuries. What gamers don’t know is that the World of Zion actually exists, and the Leviathan has fed off of the souls of men and his fodder has become scarce. He now turns to Earth with an insatiable hunger. Only a woman from Earth who levels up to discover a divine inner power can challenge Earth’s Apocalyptic Fate.

Although my story could also classify under the subgenres of Metaphysical, Visionary, Dystopian and Sorcery, ultimately it classifies primarily under the genre of SciFan.


Do you have a SciFan story to share with the world? Can you think of existing stories that should be properly classified as SciFan? Let’s revolutionize the publishing industry and clamor for the debut of the SciFan genre taking the stage! Come join our SciFan Society to learn how you can participate in this growing movement!



25 thoughts on “What is Science Fantasy?

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  14. Thank you for the historical context! I write science fantasy, but stopped using the term years ago to describe my work because so many were puzzled by it. Instead I’ve been using “scifi-fantasy hybrid” to explain what I do! I will begin proudly using science fantasy again, and refer people to this website!


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  16. Great post, Richard. It has always been my feeling hat the line between Sci-Fi and Fantasy is barely there, if there at all.
    To me, a true Science / Sci-Fi novel would read like a physics text.
    Conversely, I’m quite critical when I hear people loosely, and inappropriately apply the terms.
    I read a poster about the last Star Wars film. They described it as Sci-Fi. I think this pretty much makes my point.


  17. I’ve always appreciated the distinction. For me, magic is the cut-off. Psionics is fine in science fiction, but if there’s magic, it’s science fantasy. Andre Norton’s Witch World is, to me, the quintessential foundation of the SciFan genre. 😉


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  19. I’d say it goes back before Campbell–A. Merritt’s stories are fantasy in style but they’re almost all given a pseudoscientific justification (racial memory, other dimensional entities, etc.)


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