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Fictional Field of Science

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The world is full of wonderful things, with countless new discoveries paving the way to whole new scientific fields. A hundred years ago, fields like genetics, quantum physics and computer sciences were either almost unheard of, or simply did not exist yet. Go back a hundred years more, and more scientific disciplines we know today did not exist yet.

Science Fiction writers have picked up on this, and creating a whole new scientific field has become a common method to show that this is The Future. It also helps legitimize their Applied Phlebotinum (especially if it's a Minovsky Physics-type one) by telling us that there's a whole scientific field dedicated to it, making it feel more like an ingrained part of the work's setting.

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May or may not be a fictional extension of an already existing Real Life discipline. Super-Trope to Fantastic Science, which is when the new "science" studies/explains the supernatural. Not to be confused with Fiction Science.


Examples

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     General  

  • So many sci-fi works across the various media forms have Psionics, the "scientific" study of Psychic Powers, that listing them all would overshadow the rest of the examples. The term was first used in fiction by Jack Williamson, and heavily promoted by editor John W. Campbell under the belief that there was some scientific validity to the paranormal.
  • Some Speculative Fiction settings have fictional social sciences such as Asimov's psychohistory, which allow for not only description of social situations but far more accurate way of predicting future human actions or large scale developments in human society than is possible at present.
  • Many forms of Faster-Than-Light Travel will be associated with some sort of supporting field of science, often some sort of variant of Subspace or Hyperspace in their name.
  • Humans who study alien planets and lifeforms will often add the prefix xeno- (from the Greek word "xenos" meaning "outsider", "foreigner" or "stranger") to the name of an existing science, resulting in designations like xenobiology, xenoarcheology, xenolinguistics and so on.

     Anime and Manga  

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     Comics  

  • In the Marvel Comics Civil War series, Reed Richards helps Iron Man with the Superhuman Registration Act because he'd calculated the future of society by Psychohistory. In one issue, he explicitly stated that he'd been fascinated by Asimov's description about the discipline as a child, and as a result, had actually defictionalized it in-universe. He and Johnny even went and brought the Thinker to his HQ and showed him his equations, as aside from Reed he was probably the only one who could understand them.

     Fan Works  

     Literature  

  • Isaac Asimov:
    • "The Dead Past":
      • Neutrinics, the study and detection of neutrinos. During 1956, the particle was purely theoretical, a way to explain what happened to the law of conservation of mass and energy. Dr Asimov was inventing scientific-sounding nonsense to justify the Chronoscope and past-viewing.
      • Gravitics, the study of gravitational fields (also containing pseudo-gravitics, the study of artificial gravitational fields). Foster got his doctorate in an even narrower field, the study of how photons move in artificially-generated gravity. Foster's expertise in this field gives him new insight into the unrelated neutrinics, allowing him to design a visual-only chronoscope using only the equipment available in a household workshop.
    • Foundation Series:
      • Psychohistory is the science of predicting the behaviours of groups, from countries to worlds to galaxies, developed by Hari Seldon. Few specifics are given about this science, but its ability to create prophecy drives the plot of every story. Psychohistory isn't designed to predict the actions of an individual, although the more advanced scientists of the field do so on a regular basis. The mathematics contain unique symbols that describes reactions and are often rephrased for the audience as statements in English. The term Psychohistory was invented by Dr Asimov, but psychologists adopted it for use in their field, although its Real Life counterpart has a different meaning.
      • "The Encyclopedists": Symbolic logic is a field where language is parsed more simply, where words and concepts are transformed into symbols. Mayor Hardin uses it to analyze the various statements given to Terminus from Anacreon and the Empire, which finally proves to the Board of Trustees that they've been abandoned. Later stories would have Seldon mention similar symbols used by psychohistory.
    • "Homo Sol": The alien humans have numerous scientific and technological advances. Even their psychology is far in advance of ours, with mathematical notation and rules such as Kraut's Law and Karolean tensors. Of course, the humans of Sol are completely strange, being considered mad scientists as well as fierce fighters, requiring the invention of a new mathematical notation system to represent our mob psychology.
    • "The Imaginary": This story adds more details to the alien psychology, which combines elements of neurology and physiology. The story mentions new mathematical notations and rules, such as Demane's Integral, Wilbon's Theorem, and Helo's Tables of Time Integrals.
    • "Let's Get Together": Mentalics, as defined by this story, is "the name given to the biochemistry and biophysics of thought". It also mentions hyperatomics and force-field research.
    • Lucky Starr and the Big Sun of Mercury: Hyperoptics is a brand-new field of science that studies the effects of photons in hyperspace. Mr Mindes is trying an experiment which will result in being able to control how sunlight hits the Earth.
    • Robot Series:
      • Robopsychology, which Susan Calvin pretty much invented herself.
      • Asimov's stories predated the development of Robotics as a science, so when he had characters in his stories as scientists working with robots, he used the word "Robotics" to describe it, thinking the word already existed. It was in fact the first publicized use of the word, and Asimov is now credited with its creation.
  • From the Anita Blake series Preternatural Biology, the study of preternatural (magic/paranormal) creatures, like dragons, yeti, vampires, what have you. It's actually portrayed fairly realistically (for instance dragons aren't magic exactly and don't breathe fire, they are giant lizards, many of them hunted to extinction, and trolls are a kind of primate closely related to humans).
  • Gordon R. Dickson's Childe Cycle - The Exoctics have a social science called ontogenetics that allow them to perceive patterns in human history and to a certain degree predict which individuals and events will be key points in the evolution of humans to a higher state of being. While the exact details are intentionally left vague, it is said to involve calculations that take into account every person in all the world, as well as how institutions and societies shape the pattern of history and human evolution. One component of the science is the idea that certain individuals have an unusually large impact on the pattern of history. Gordon R. Dickson often uses this as something of a lampshade and in-universe justification for the fact that his Main Characters (some arguably rising to the level of The Chosen One) all play a major role in the movement of the Myth Arc toward his planned final ending, which sadly was never revealed in full because of Author Existence Failure.
  • Pthiriology, the study of lice, from The chair of Pthiriology chapter of Gog. The eponymous protagonist said that he wanted to create at the University of W. a chair that does not exist in any university in the world. Among the many proposals, this one was his favourite. The person who wrote it wanted to study lice not only from a taxonomic and biological perspective, but also culturally, in the arts and literature, politics and religion, giving many example of its significance in these fields.
  • Harry Potter: Magizoology, the magical equivalent of zoology.
  • Stanisław Lem's novel Solaris has "solaristics", the study of the titular planet.
  • Parts of the Star Wars Expanded Universe have Sith alchemy, slower and more scientific than the other things Sith learned - there's not usually the same emphasis on patience and repeated trials - and something that only Force-Sensitives could get much out of. Sith could study and apply this to create metals that lightsabers couldn't burn through, and twist animals and people into monsters.

     Live Action TV  

     Tabletop RPG  

  • Shadowrun has Parazoology and Parabotany, the scientific study of Awakened (magical) animals and plants, respectively.

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     Webcomics  


Alternative Title(s): Scientific Field Of Fiction

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