Science Fantasy
Science Fiction meets Fantasy.


(permanent link) added: 2012-01-29 19:31:43 sponsor: Ekuran (last reply: 2012-03-14 09:05:42)

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Robots and wizards, spaceships and dragons, lasers and fireballs. Mix these ingredients in your cyborg witch's boiling pot of Dark Matter, and you get Science Fantasy.

Science Fiction and Fantasy stories can be difficult to tell apart under normal circumstances, as all but the very hardest sci-fi introduces some hypothetical technology that one has to take on faith, like FTL Travel or Humanoid Aliens. And at the other end of the scale, even High Fantasy works have consistency requirements like Magic A Is Magic A, which can blur the line into Sufficiently Analyzed Magic.

Science Fantasy works, on the other hand, take traditional Fantasy and Science Fiction tropes and throw them in a blender, purposely creating a setting that has the feel of both. Expect to see a lot of classic Fantasy tropes (e.g. warriors with swords, dragons, wizards, castles, and elves) and a lot of standard Science Fiction tropes (e.g. spaceships, aliens, lasers, scientists, robots, and time travel).

In any event, it's bound to include Sufficiently Analyzed Magic, Magitech, Functional Magic, and Magic from Technology.

It should be noted that some works may slant towards one or the other, yet still contain elements of both. Science Fantasy lies near the middle of a continuum between Science Fiction and Fantasy, so there will naturally be a wide range of works that lie somewhere between "Fantasy with a dash of Sci-Fi" and "Sci-Fi with a smidgen of Fantasy". For an explanation of why the genres are so linked, see the analysis page on Speculative Fiction.

Subtrope of Speculative Fiction, under which all Fantasy and Science Fiction falls. Compare Urban Fantasy, Gaslamp Fantasy, Space Opera, and Planetary Romance. Fantasy Kitchen Sink is the version of this trope without science fiction.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Scrapped Princess blends fantasy and sci-fi elements, with a world seemingly in Medieval Stasis where magic and Tron Lines abound. Then adds Ruins of the Modern Age and the Skid into the mix. Not to mention the existences of Xeferis, and Natalie, who're dragoons that link with their masters. And the Peacemakers, who are a powerful race of alien overlords who can enslave the minds of all who gaze upon them. To say nothing of their true power!
  • \'\'El-Hazard\'\' is another series that blends science fiction with fantasy, featuring a story centered around a time paradox set in a land rife with magic and supernatural wonder. Yet, there are remnants of ancient technology as well, such as the Stairway to the Sky, the Eye of God, and the demon dolls.
  • \'\'Mahou Sensei Negima!\'\' seemed to be straight Urban Fantasy at first, what with the mages and golems and vampires. Then Chachamaru came in. And the Mad Scientists. And the Magic Internet. And the magical Playful Hacker vs The Cracker face-off in cyberspace. And the martian Time Traveller from the future with Humongous Mecha and Mecha-Mooks. And most recently, it seems that the magic world is actually on Mars. It pretty much ends up as sci-fi and fantasy in a blender.
  • In \'\'Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha\'\', the Space-Time Administration Bureau that the main characters work for is like \'\'Star Trek\'\'\'s Federation, except where \'\'Star Trek\'\' would have a piece of Techno Babble to power its futuristic devices, \'\'Nanoha\'\' just uses magic. Magical Energy Weapons, magical Faster-Than-Light Travel, magical cyborgs, magical artificial intelligence with Windows-esque error codes...
  • \'\'Outlaw Star\'\' has spaceships and aliens, but the Space Pirates use Chi Magic and the most popular resort world in the galaxy was originally a Mana mine. The main character\'s signature weapon is a fireball-flinging Magitek pistol.
  • Wolf\'s Rain. Technology meets mythology.

Fan Fic

Film
  • The genre of \'\'Star Wars\'\' was explicitly stated by Lucas to be space fantasy.

Literature
  • The \'\'Young Wizards\'\' series by Diane Duane, especially from the third book onwards. What do you do with your Magic A Is Magic A Functional Magic that looks suspiciously like programming? Go to Mars. And then explore the rest of the galaxy and meet up with aliens.
  • In the \'\'Artemis Fowl\'\' series, the faeries have both real magic and higher tech than humans.
  • Heinlein\'s \'\'Glory Road\'\' is a reconstruction of pulp adventure novels with an ordinary modern day man swashbuckling his way across several savage planets inhabited by \"dragons\" and other such beasties in search of a device that recorded the memories of all the Empresses of the Fifty Universes.
  • Piers Anthony\'s \'\'Apprentice Adept\'\' series fits perfectly. The setting is one world split across two realities. One of them is called Proton, which is high tech, while the other is known as Phaze, where magic prevails.

Tabletop Games
  • \'\'Shadowrun\'\' is the quintessential Cyber Punk Urban Fantasy.
  • \'\'GURPS Technomancer\'\'. The first above-ground atomic explosion in the U.S. releases magic into the world. As a result, people can cast spells and weird hybrid creatures are born, but only in the area covered by magical fallout.
  • \'\'Dungeons & Dragons\'\'. Several supplements and campaign settings over the years have been based on this premise:
    • Module S3 \'\'Expedition to the Barrier Peaks\'\', set in a spaceship that crashed in the Greyhawk setting.
    • The \'\'Odyssey - Tale of the Comet\'\' boxed set, which also involved a crashed spaceship.
    • Modules DA2 \'\'Temple of the Frog\'\' and DA3 \'\'City of the Gods\'\', both of which occurred in the Blackmoor setting.
  • Spelljammer is essentially D&D as a Space Opera with magic-powered wooden ships sailing the phlogiston currents between stars.
  • Eberron is one of the codifiers of the Dungeon Punk sub-sub-genre. Elemental binding magic allows for airships, mag-lev trains, and sapient constructs, among other things.
  • \'\'d20 Modern\'\'. The standard setting is Urban Fantasy, but there\'s plenty of options for adding sf into the mix. The bodak, for example, is a zombie Grey.
    • Technically, the game is \"whatever the GM wants\". The only explicitly Science Fantasy campaign setting is \"From the Dark Heart Of Space\" from d20 Future. Though Dark Matter comes close.
  • \'\'Dragonstar\'\' is a D20 Role-Playing Game that combines \'\'Dungeons & Dragons\'\' fantasy roleplay roles with a Science Fiction setting with intersteller travel, robots and other features of futuristic technology.
  • \'\'Feng Shui\'\' takes place in a universe where robot monkeys coexist with demonic creatures.

Video Games
  • Nearly every recent \'\'Final Fantasy\'\' has had this. Besides the series standard magic and Summon Magic:
    • \'\'Final Fantasy IV\'\' had a spacecraft capable of going to the moon and a Humongous Mecha, although it\'s otherwise fantasy in all respects.
    • \'\'Final Fantasy VI\'\' had steampunk-esque technology and Edward\'s tools, which included a chainsaw and drill. The sand-diving Castle Figaro was treated as using science rather than magic, although it\'s really not physically possible.
    • \'\'Final Fantasy VII\'\' had near-modern cities, guns, genetic engineering (sort of), electricity, and power plants. However, those power plants ran on the literal lifeblood of the planet, which also produced magic crystals that could teach you magic.
    • \'\'Final Fantasy VIII\'\' has Summon Magic, magical Time Travel, schools that convert into ancient moving fortresses, and a ship that got lost in space while launching an evil sorceress into a space prison. It also has Esthar, a Crystal Spires and Togas-like futuristic country.
    • Final Fantasy IX is mostly fantasy, but includes quite a lot of Steampunk technology and a Sufficiently Advanced Magitek alien race to which both the protagonist and the Big Bad belong.
    • \'\'Final Fantasy X\'\' has machina, a slightly steampunk-esque technology that can make guns, grenades, mecha, and blitzball stadiums. On the other hand, there\'s an Eldritch Abomination running around killing everyone and the pyreflies that make up a person can reform into monsters after their death.
    • \'\'Final Fantasy XII\'\' has guns and more science fiction like airships than previous titles, but the airships are powered by magical phlebotinum. Not to mention all the other magical elements.
    • \'\'Final Fantasy XIII\'\' appears to be Science Fiction at first, with guns, more \"realistic\" airships, mecha, and genetic engineering. But most, if not all, of the tech is powered by fal\'cie, magical beings. Who can also grant magical powers to chosen humans, although it sucks to be chosen this way for the human.
  • \'\'Star Ocean: Till the End of Time\'\' does this as well, by having Fayt and Cliff, who\'re members of the Pangalactic Federation, crash land on Elicoor II, a planet who\'s inhabitants are a type-3 civilization. Fayt and Cliff go to great lengths to conceal the true nature of their identities to avoid unnecessary trouble, leading to predictable results. Except for the part where they learn that their universe, and everything in it, is one big virtual game!
  • \'\'Xenoblade Chronicles\'\' invokes this as well, featuring a massive medieval world mixed with magitech beings, weapons, and locals which is showcased in many of the game\'s trailers.
  • \'\'Albion\'\', a game where a spaceship in the future lands on a world with magic instead of technology. A lot of the time is spent in primarily fantastic or scifistic settings, but they eventually mix, and both elements are present at least a little most of the time.
  • Chrono Trigger: An apocalyptic future with destroyed domed cities caused by a Cosmic Horror, combined with a medieval sword-and-spell setting in the past. And it's all connected by Time Travel.

Web Comics
  • \'\'Girl Genius\'\' is steampunk combined with fantasy. Most of the weird stuff can be explained by technology, but not everything. The magic includes stuff like the river Dyne (which is an apparently natural spring the waters of which make the drinker a mad genius, though in most cases it\'s instantly lethal), Geisterdamen (ghost-like beings), Frankenstein-esque reanimated corpses, Jaegermonsters (non-human beings with superhuman strength and lifespans who are former humans who drank the \"Jaegerdraught\"), multiple cases of Brain Uploading, the castle Heterodyne\'s seemingly telekinetic ability to move chunks of itself...
  • \'\'Gunnerkrigg Court\'\'. There are robots and other advanced tech in the Court, while the Gillitie Wood is full of magic-users (including Physical God Coyote). Transformation to/from forest creatures is an accepted part of the universe, and the Court has students and teachers skilled in \"etheric sciences\".
  • \'\'Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger\'\' is a sequel to \'\'Tales of the Questor\'\' that takes place 700 years later in the interstellar age. At that point most Racconnans rely on technology for most of their Lux use.

Western Animation
  • \'\'Thundercats\'\' has space travel, futuristic vehicles and the like, but also features a magic sword used by the hero and an undead Sorcerous Overlord as the main villain.
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