Science Fantasy (SciFan) is a genre that fuses magical and technological elements in an elegant way in order to create worlds that inspire the imagination. It can also be a type of Science Fiction that uses alternate or imaginary science and technology that is simply impossible given all known scientific laws, theories, and constraints. Supernatural elements in this sense are also classified generally as ‘magic’. Likewise, scientific elements in this sense are also classified generally as ‘technology’. There are three degrees of SciFan:
Enlightened: Magic is fused with technology in order to manipulate and magnify the magic.
Standard: Magic is fused with technology, but not necessarily in a coherent sense.
Soft: Magic and Technology are merely present in the same realm.
This is a subgenre that holds many different facets. You have people with extraordinary powers. Some explained with science, some with magic, some with cosmic space, some with technology, some with no explanation at all. You will definitely get a huge blend of targets here.
Book example of Classic Superhero: Arena Mode by Blake Northcott
Book example of SciFan Superhero: Portals of the Grave by Lander Allen
Movie example of SciFan Superhero: Thor
This is a subgenre that features the use of magic in an ordinary setting. Science Fiction is a little on the optional side mostly, but if you have future tech interacting with the magic, this is Science Fantasy.
Book example of Classic Urban Fantasy: The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Book example of SciFan Urban Fantasy: The Man with the Golden Torc by Simon Mordan
TV Series example of SciFan Urban Fantasy: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
This genre gets mixed with Urban fantasy, but Paranormal can happen pretty much on any timeline. More focus is given to mythical creatures such as Vampires and Werewolves. Obviously a story set in medieval times would be harder pressed to fit in the Science Fiction side of the equation, but if your story is set in the future, or maybe someone has time traveled to the past, that could qualify.
Book example of Classic Paranormal: The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyere
Book example of SciFan Paranormal: Dinocalypse Now by Chuck Wendig
Movie example of SciFan Paranormal: Ghost Busters
Space Opera is loosely defined as Science Fiction in space that doesn’t really follow the established laws of physics or how big space would be. Generally there is a lot of space traveling because the author can hand wave away the pesky notion that space is big. Like, really big.
This subgenre can easy to slip into Science Fantasy almost on accident. All it really takes is something mystical in either the location, the tools, or the people.
Book Example of Classic Space Opera: Ringworld by Larry Niven.
Book example of SciFan Space Opera: The Secret King: Lethao by Dawn Chapman
Movie example of SciFan Space Opera: Star Wars Saga
LitRPG is a newer subgenre that is a mixture of Science Fiction, Sword and Sorcery and MMO/Reincarnation elements. Leveling is a key component in LitRPG, while other books can still be LitGaming if there is a HUD or similar system. To be classified as Science Fantasy, the story must include a combination of supernatural, technological and gaming elements.
Book example of Classic LitRPG: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Book example of SciFan LitRPG: Delvers LLC by Blaise Corvin
Movie example of SciFan LitRPG: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
This subgenre incorporates portals into an alternate world as a primary piece of world-building. More specifically, it includes the use of portals between other worlds while maintaining a balance of supernatural and technological elements.
Book example of Classic Portal Fiction: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and Pauline Baynes
Book example of Scifan Portal Fiction: A Bite of the Apple by Joyce Hertzoff
TV Series example of SciFan Portal Fiction: Sliders
Book example of Classic Dystopian: Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Book example of SciFan Dystopian: Conquest – A LitRPG Story by Richard M. Mulder
Movie example of SciFan Dystopian: Waterworld
Book example of Classic Steampunk: The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Book example of SciFan Steampunk: The Dragon Lady by Angelique S. Anderson
Movie example of SciFan Steampunk: Howl’s Moving Castle
This is a subgenre of Science Fantasy consisting of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently from reality., the story must maintain a balance of supernatural and technological elements.
Book example of Classic Alternate History: World War Z by Max Brooks
Book example of SciFan Alternate History: Murder In Absentia by Assaph Mehr
Movie example of SciFan Alternate History: Doctor Who
Myths & Legends:
, the story must maintain a balance of supernatural and technological elements.
Book example of Classic Myths & Legends: Myths and Legends by Anthony Horowitz
Book example of SciFan Myths & Legends: The Rise of Nazil by Aaron-Michael Hall
Movie example of SciFan Myths & Legends: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians)
What do you think? Did we miss any subgenres that should be listed here? Can you think of more examples? Feel free to tag your own! Let us know in the comments below!
What is SciFan? Find out here. 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!