What elements make a story science fiction?

Discussion in 'Writing' started by Damian, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. Damian

    Damian New Member

    Hi guys,

    I'm currently in the process of writing a story set about 300 years into the future where there has been a near apocalyptic event. Does the fact its written in the future automatically make my story science fiction or could it be a post-apocalyptic adventure or even both?

  2. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Hi @Damian. welcome!
    Well, I think any science fiction story should convey a thought experiment: a "what if" setting. If you link that thought experiment with either soft or hard science, then it will be SF, at least in my eyes. Otherwise, you might be treading in the realm of fantasy.
  3. Tiran

    Tiran Well-Known Member

    If your story takes place in the future and the future is different from today (dystopia) in some way that is meaningfully important to the story, then it is likely SF. The exception being if the things that are different are do to something "fantastic" like magic.

    But just being in the future alone doesn't cut it. A drama might take place today and end 20 years from now, but unless there is something importantly different about that future, it is still a drama.

    There are many types of fiction that could be argued to be SF, like medical fiction, tech warfare and forensic mystery, but we don't categorize them that way. Sherlock Holmes dealt in speculative scientific methods at the time of publication. So the purpose of the story is certainly a larger factor in its classification than the elements used within it.

    Of course, the intention of the author trumps all other considerations. When you read a book like Banks' Inversions, the fact that the author told us we are reading SF is important for the interpretation of the events described, even if those events don't obviously read as speculative or scientific.
  4. KarenRollins

    KarenRollins Full Member

    I have a question. Have you written it already? Indeed, there are a lot of interesting things that we will see in 300 years in the future. Will love to read about them.
  5. EdwardOrozco

    EdwardOrozco Regular Member

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