Science In Genre Only: The work is unambiguously set in the literary genre of Science Fiction, but scientific it is not. Applied Phlebotinum is the rule of the day, often of the Nonsensoleum kind, Green Rocks gain New Powers as the Plot Demands, and both Bellisario's Maxim and the MST3K Mantra apply. The vast majority of science comedy is in this genre, as it's easier to write jokes when you don't have to worry about contradicting yourself. Also sometimes referred to as Future Fantasy; just replace the castles with skyscrapers and magic with limitless technology.
Anime and Manga
- Mazinger Z has elements of World of Phlebotinum, since it tries to be consistent with the rules and physics of its own world, but often real world physics are overruled by Rule of Cool and Rule of Fun. And thus, you have eighteen-meters-tall robots that are surprisingly fast and agile for its size, run on Phlebotinum and are Made of Indestructium.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann universe is not run not by the laws of physics, but by the Rule of Cool. While the show remains relatively non-screwing with physics in the first arcs, the latter one more than makes up for it.
- Dragon Ball started out as a fantasy series, and thus even the later sci-fi parts are mixed with fantasy elements according to Rule of Cool. Indeed, No Such Thing as Space Jesus was averted almost as soon as the Human Aliens were introduced. By the end of the series, the plot involved Wizards from Outer Space, a Humanoid Abomination and multiple instances of Person of Mass Destruction.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica has some definite aspects of Science Fantasy, with magic not necessarily being subject to the normal rules of science fiction. The science in the series doesn't end up having much to do with real world physics, though. Kyubey's description of entropy apparently contradicts conservation of energy, and the technology that his species uses blurs the line between science and magic to the extent that the two are functionally indistinguishable.
- The DC and Marvel universes, which in some ways resemble sci-fi versions of the Fantasy Kitchen Sink, will occasionally make weak, palsied gestures in the direction of verisimilitude and then follow that with a two-page spread that violates every rule of physics yet discovered, except the most important one.
- It should be noted that some parts and characters of these universes would fall into other categories, but those are the exceptions and taken as a whole they fall squarely into this category.
- Astérix and the Falling Sky: In what is usually a mundane/fantasy-ish classical antiquity setting, we have a science fiction-esque plot. There are two alien races shown, one of them have tin-can rats as soldiers while the other have Superman clones. Both have spaceships (one had a rocket while the other had a flying saucer) and came from places light-years away from Earth, only coming to the Gaulish village to fight over the iconic magical super potion that said village have. It turns out that the magical potion is not compatible with the aliens' physiology.
- Star Wars — at least the films — tends to run on the Rule of Cool. In fact, accoring to Scott Manley, it's probably better to call it a high-tech fantasy. Space Is Noisy, Space Fighters take each other on in Old School Dogfights, Artificial Gravity is so ubiquitous that it doesn't even bear mention, an Earth-sized planet is blown up with such force that the debris rushes outward faster than the speed of light, etc.. (The Star Wars Expanded Universe tries to be a little more restrained, and probably belongs in the next harder category.) Throw in The Force and it clearly becomes Fantasy IN SPACE!
- Godzilla starts from nuclear radiation's main effect being making skyscraper-sized monsters and Godzilla being a living nuclear reactor, somehow, and just builds from there.
- Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is packed full of all kinds of bizarre nonsense. The fastest mode of travel, for example through the universe is by bistro, as in "place you eat in" or "second most overworked word in food marketing after newnote , and the second fastest mode is a drive that runs on the power of improbability — but the stories are fully aware of how absurd it is, and the reader is encouraged to think about it. It Runs on Nonsensoleum was clearly a favorite, if not the favorite, trope of creator Douglas Adams.
- Lois Lowry's The Giver never gives any scientific justification whatsoever for... well, anything, really. Not the psychic transmission of memories, not the total control kept over every aspect of the Community, right down to its climate and color—or, rather, lack thereof. The focus is more on human nature.
- The Machineries of Empire has some elements of World of Phlebotinum with the phlebotinum in place being the calendar (which somehow has Reality Warper properties), but this doesn't explain faction abilities, animal-shaped shadows or mirrors showing the person possessing you at the moment.
- The original treatment Python Anghelo wrote for Popeye Saves the Earth is this, with Popeye building an ark to leave Earth. The pages describing Popeye's journey through space has a stream-of-consciousness feel to it, full of abstract concepts made up as Python went. Also, light years are used as a unit of time rather than distance.
- Warhammer 40,000 features chainsaw swords, psychic spacemen, elves in space, orcs in space, undead robots, planet-eating bugs, three-hundred-metre-tall millennia-old walking battle cathedrals, soul-eating space stations and vehicles that travel faster because they're painted red (justified, sort of...), and that's just scratching the surface. The primary means of FTL is flying through Hell. In 40k, Rule of Cool is physics. As is Rule of Scary.
- Metamorphosis Alpha, the first Sci-Fi RPG, was Dungeons & Dragons IN SPACE, and featured unlikely mutants with superpowers as player characters. It's Spiritual Successor is Gamma World.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: Stuff happens. Don't think too much how. Characters breathe in space on at least two occasions. Artificially intelligent robots built entirely out of random spare parts. A VW Microbus converted into a spaceship. As the theme song says: "It's just a show. You really should relax."
- Power Rangers in its more scientifically themed seasons. (More magical seasons usually make a token gesture towards this with giant robots, but aren't close enough to trying to qualify). Even when they get their powers from a government research lab, the morphing is still a mix of phlebotinum and handwaves, the sources of energy are either phlebotinum or not mentioned at all, faster than light travel and humanoid aliens are the rule, sparks shoot out of weapons and struck objects entirely at random irregardless of object composition and the kind of weapon in question, there's never an equal and opposite reaction for most actions, and the square-cube law is in the corner rocking back and forth in the fetal position muttering about giant robots, giant monsters, and the impossibilities of the human shape on the kaiju scale.
- Star Trek: Though set in space in the 23rd century, almost every episode from the Original Series, The Next Generation, Voyager, and large parts of Deep Space Nine and Enterprise has some degree of eldritch-like being, inconsistent time travel scenario, impossible machine malfunction (usually related to the transporters or AI programs), or an actual all-powerful god-like figure with the temperament of a spoiled 16 year old, which were the actual Roman gods in the Original Series and Q in the Next Generation, Voyager, and Deep Space Nine. The shows' writers attempted to keep to some kind of scientific canon by first lampshading any dilemna that didn't comply with established canon and then inventing new, often contradictory terms in order to create a convoluted description of what happened and an equally convoluted solution for said problem. The franchise as a whole has often been referred to as "The Twilight Zone in space".
- Kamen Rider is similar to it's younger brother above, with similar handwaves for the morphing. Special mention to the Heisei era Riders, who tend to be men in suits rather then Hollywood Cyborgs, and yet have more Egregious body morphing.
- As an example, Kamen Rider Drive featured a slot machine transformation which extended the tire across Drive's torso into three tire sized slots. The resulting transformation should have horrifically disfigured Drive rather then let him quip about it.
- The original 1978 Battlestar Galactica: They cross interstellar — or maybe intergalactic, even they're not sure — distances in a matter of days. Spacecraft move like airplanes, unless they're big spacecraft, in which case they move like ocean ships. Guns fire "lasers" that move more slowly than bullets, with Cylons shooting blue and Vipers shooting red. A city's stockpile of "Tylium" catches fire, and then blows up the entire planet. The Artificial Gravity that keeps them right-side-up doesn't even merit a mention, as it's questionable whether the writers even knew that people on space ships experience zero gee.
- In Doctor Who and the other Whoniverse series, anything and everything can be Hand Waved by either Sufficiently Advanced technology, Rule of Cool, Rule of Funny, Rule of Scary, the Timey-Wimey Ball, or some combination thereof.
- Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 are even softer than MST3K. Not only does stuff happen and things run on nonsensoleum but the depicted reality contradicts what we are familiar with in everyday life. Planetary systems and galaxies twirl around one another, and everything has a near-Earth gravity. The protomatter of stars help you launch from place to place, and ludicrously speedy travel between the loosely defined galaxies is a must.
- Shiggy believes in putting fun before everything else, including basic logic. Also, Mario can breathe in space.
- The Pokémon games are set 20 Minutes into the Future, with settings closely resembling those of present-day Earth, only with technologies like flawless conversion of matter to energy, limited teleportation, and Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke. However, it is clear right from the start that Rule of Cool takes priority, with any scientific explanation, if any is given at all, brief and flimsy. In other words, in the Pokémon games, science is capable of doing anything required by the game mechanics and/or the plot.
- Homestuck doesn't even obey real world physics in favour of gaming abstractions, and the characters are capable of instant messaging one another through time via unexplained mechanisms. The comic deals with concepts like the way time works between dimensions and the impossibility of FTL travel, but mostly for whimsy and intentional convolution, and characters frequently complain that magic is not real while using it.
- Ellie On Planet X: The "robot studying aliens" premise could be swapped out for a fantasy one, without changing anything about the cute critters or Seussical landscapes.
- To Boldly Flee has nineteen Internet reviewers turn a house into a working spaceship capable of traveling from Earth to Jupiter in less than a week to investigate a literal Plot Hole. Definitely running on Rule of Cool and Rule of Funny.
- Microsoft Sam Reads Funny Windows Errors: As soft as MST3K. Like it, stuff happens. A diarrhea death star that will destory planets in milliseconds. Planets as big as stars, Casual Interstellar Travel in the 21st century, and many other Rule of Cool, and Rule of Funny improbabilities, such as flags having the awesome face, and everything starting with rofl or lol. This is however, MST3K Mantra.
- Futurama is chock full of every single popular science fiction trope, often with intentionally silly Reverse the Polarity style answers to justify them. Only "harder" than MST3K because there's no MST3K Mantra in the opening and the occasional legitimate maths and science appears as a Genius Bonus. Just for starters, there's a ship that once made the entire universe move around it, while the ship itself lay still, making the ship work at triple capacity.
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: Even if you accept the premise of water molecules turning into food molecules via atom rearrangement - this movie will challenge your Willing Suspension of Disbelief by throwing anything resembling logic out of the window to replace it by Rule of Fun. See the main entry for more details. The original book (and its sequel) did this too.
- Phineas and Ferb gives no explanation for, well, anything. Everything happens in Cartoonland Time and is run by either Rule of Cool, Rule of Funny, Cartoon Physics, or a mixture of the aforementioned, and platypi are blue.
- BIONICLE begins with a Patchwork Map island in the middle of a Single-Biome Planet, inhabited by Cyborg Hobbits who live like primitive humans. They are joined by a Six Man Band of cyborgs with superpowered masks and Elemental Powers. Although many of the initial mysteries have been resolved, and the series went through a drastic shift from mystical to semi-sci-fi, there is almost no explanation of how anything actually works. Creator Greg Farshtey has the MST3K Mantra in his sig on the fansite BZPower.
- Transformers, full stop. If there is a scientific principle that hasn't been broken somewhere in the Transformers mythos, it's because you haven't looked hard enough. Time travel, alternate realities, FTL spaceships, blatant disregard for the Square-Cube Law, and No Conservation of Mass, Energy, or anything else. Vaguely justified because A God Did It.
Back to Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness.