"Sci-Fi" vs. "Science Fiction"

Discuss the difference between what "sci-fi" and "science fiction": that is, what differentiates a Star Trek, Star Wars, or Stargate from Isaac Asimov or Philip K. Dick? Is one inherently a better art from than the other? Does inaccurate or fantastical science somehow negate a potential "science fiction" work and downgrade it to "sci-fi"? are these designations warranted, or even altogether accurate? Can cover the literary, film, and televised examples of each genre, and examine if one is more commonly found in one dramatic form than the other (e.g., is "sci-fi" more common to film and TV, and "science fiction" to the written word?).

  • This seems to be a similar question as to what are the ill-defined differences between the popularized term of "Indie" verses the proper term "Independent?" Is an "Indie Film" or an "Indie Game" something that is produced by a young up-and-coming artist(s) who wish to make it big in the industry without the help of a big studio production? Or is that what the term "Independent" means, and "Indie" is in fact a term coined by the Industry to make smaller independently studio funded films and games sound more cool? Also, I would argue that the term "Science Fantasy" ought to be included in this discussion, because "Science Fiction" is a term meaning a fictionalized tale that uses current scientific facts and theories to spin an intentionally pseudo-realistic story that has a percentage chance of actually happening at some time in the future, or could have happened some time in the past under the right conditions. "Science Fantasy" chooses instead to only coat the surface and setting of a story in "technological" advances and gadgetry, or it perhaps takes place on another world or in another dimension, but it does not bother to base it's world in anything accurate or scientific. It's all just for looks, not for logic. So then what is "Sci-fi" supposed to mean? It seems it is intended to mean a science fiction tale that may or may not be based in scientific facts, but is nonetheless a more sensationalized story that does not go down the same thought provoking, philosophical, and psychological routes that a more "well-crafted" science fiction story might. Perhaps a discussion in definition of terms would be in order before a discussion of labeling and association of certain stories with such terms can begin. – Jonathan Leiter 7 years ago
  • I agree with Jonathan in regards to his comments about "Science Fantasy" vs "Science Fiction" and I think it would not only be extremely interesting, but extremely helpful if you share what you find to be the difference and where there may be a misunderstanding or interpretation of these in regards to literature and media. The questions you are asking are perfect, but I think it would be quite a bit more tangible for the audience if you provide the "answers" (opinionated or expository) as the bulk of your writing instead of potentially perpetuating the questions and merely bringing them to the forefront (which can be a great part of it as well). I hope this helps. – EvanWebsterWiley 7 years ago
  • As well as the similarities! – Jaye Freeland 6 years ago
  • I have found ideas recycled in the movies from science fiction classics. One example is a plot twist in James Cameron's Avatar, with the twins at the beginning having to exchange places was straight out of Heinlein's Time for the Stars. If you read enough science fiction it is possible to find where writer's of screenplays have "borrowed" from science fiction authors. I guess it's inevitable because the screenwriters probably were avid science fiction readers before they became sci-fi screenwriters. I think a well set up sci-fi or science fiction universe has a set of principles like – Munjeera 6 years ago

Want to write about Literature or other art forms?

Create writer account