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Sliding Scale of Realistic Versus Fantastic
Just as the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism determines the 'mood' of a series, this scale determines how much a particular series is unlike reality in relation to the natural laws, general conditions, and probabilities of Real Life. Stories also vary greatly in their realism concerning human behavior, but that trope has yet to be created.

There are cases where the writers believe in something which most of the audience consider unrealistic; these should be judged according to the audience' standards, for no one knows exactly what a writer believes. There are cases where they got their facts wrong. If it's obviously deliberate laziness, the work deserves a place at the fantastic end, even if it's unintended.

There are also stories in which the precise cause of things is never delineated: both a naturalistic (positivist) and a supernatural explanation is possible.

Not to be confused with Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness - a time-travel story with rigorous rules can be fairly Hard but decidedly Fantastic, for example. Sliding Scale of Like Reality Unless Noted charts the degree to which a work of fiction set in what is ostensibly a "modern", Earthly environment departs from Real Life.

A story's way of dealing with Back from the Dead can often be a very good - but not the sole or final - indicator:

  • Mundane: Death is final. No one ever comes back from the dead.
  • Unrealistic: If anyone comes back, it's from Not Quite Dead or from improbably surviving events that should have killed them (but, of course, they Never Found the Body).
  • Unusual: People can outright come Back from the Dead, somehow, but it's a very rare occurrence.
  • Fantastic: It's difficult to come Back from the Dead and it has certain requirements.
  • Surreal: Death lasts about a minute.

The existence or non-existence of sentient extra-terrestrial life is another indicator of where a work might belong on the scale:
  • Mundane: Since neither sentient nor non-sentient extraterrestrial life has been proven to exist in real-life as we know it, the issue is moot and completely irrelevant in this work.
  • Unrealistic: Works in this category mimics real-life as we know it, and any indication on the existence of extra-terrestrial life is deliberatively left vague.
  • Unusual: Sentient extra-terrestrial life can decidedly exist, but it is not the center theme of the work.
  • Fantastic: The existence of sentient extra-terrestrial life, and the far-ranging implications it brings with it, could be a center pillar of the work.
  • Surreal: Non-undercover aliens are commonplace and there's probably one in your workplace.

Some works can rank one or two steps up or down this basic scale.

Please list examples in an alphabetical order.



Sliding Scale of ProactivenessSorting Algorithm of TropesSliding Scale of Robot Intelligence
Sliding Scale Of Muggle InvolvementSpeculative Fiction TropesSlow Transformation

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