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Sci Fi

What is Sci Fi?

Sci Fi is an abbreviation for Science Fiction that was introduced in 1954 by Forrest J. Ackerman and influenced by the popularity of “hi-fi.” Initially, the term was used in a derogatory manner. At first, the abbreviation was not adopted by the Science Fiction community, rather it was used by journalists, other media types, and people who did not read Science Fiction, sometimes with a condescending tone. Members of the Sci Fi community, like Terry Carr and Damon Knight, began using the term to distinguish so-called Sci Fi hacks. The sci fi term was applied to works that were sensational and not well written. These works are filled with monstrous aliens, crude flying saucers, ill-thought out technology, a disregard for science, and is generally 'dumbed-down' for mass consumption. In opposition to the sci fi term, within the science fiction community the abbreviation 'sf' became popular.

In pop culture, SciFi often refers to films with some type of science fiction setting (Aliens, Star Wars, Star Trek, Minority Report, I, Robot, etc).

In recent years the derogatory tone of the term has regressed and sci fi has started to become the default term for Science Fiction. Regardless, the term sf, or just science fiction without abbreviation, is still in use within the science fiction community.

Insiders (i.e. those part of the Science Fiction community) tend to look at the Sci Fi term as science fiction that in not concerned with the technical aspects of the "science" but rather the story, characters, or setting. Outsiders see Sci Fi the same as Science Fiction.

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Other Features of Sci Fi

  • Level of Real Science

    None. Works that fall into the sci fi category sensationalize futuristic science and technology and ignore scientific principles.

  • Level of Grand Ideas/Social Implications

    None. These stories are pure entertainment and appeal to the lowest common denominator.

  • Level of Characterization

    Low. Stock characters are typical in sci fi stories and little time is spent developing them.

  • Level of Plot Complexity

    Low. Plots are simple and easy to follow.

  • Level of Violence

    Moderate. Violence is often used as a plot device and aides in the sensational feel of the story. Sci fi violence tends not to be graphic or particularly realistic.

Related Science Fiction subgenres




    Pulp Science Fiction. Like sci fi, Pulp Sci Fi offers little intellectual stimulation and follows simplistic plot lines. The actual "Science" is not explained and assumed as is. Pulp Sci Fi does have its own unique style.

Sci Fi isn't for you if...

If you like stories that are intellectually stimulating.

Sci Fi Examples