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World Of Phlebotinum: Level 2 on the Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness. The universe is full of Applied Phlebotinum with more to be found behind every star, but the Phlebotinum is dealt with in a fairly consistent fashion despite its lack of correspondence with reality and, in-world, is considered to lie within the realm of scientific inquiry.


Anime and Manga
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: A lot of the Applied Phlebotinum in this series involves branches of biology and engineering that neither exist in real life nor are ever likely to exist. "Metaphysical biology," for example — Doctor Kozo Fuyutsuki's specialty — is kind of like genetics, only it involves human souls instead of genes. While there is so much bizarre phlebotinum that it's impossible to keep track of what's ACTUALLY supposed to do what, it's still usually internally consistent.
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  • Outlanders: While most of the Applied Phlebotinum is derived from Psychic Powers, it's treated fairly consistently throughout, and unlike most Space Opera the series has a rather good understanding of the implications of the scale of a galactic civilization. The series generally stays fairly in line with reality outside of the Phlebotinum as well - the advanced technology built by Earth humans largely qualifies as Speculative Science.

Literature

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Pinball

  • Most pinball games with technology and science themes are firmly within Science in Genre Only, but Dialed In! revolves around a new energy source that, when not carefully handled, creates outbursts in the form of natural disasters. It's made pretty clear that few people, if any, have much understanding of this source other than that it's atomic, and the only thing known to the public about it is that it can be stored on a smartphone. The story strongly suggests that Dialed In Electronics, a Mega-Corp, understands this energy source and how to use it much better than any outsiders, but they won't reveal anything. The setting of Dialed In! otherwise appears to be mundane.

Television

Tabletop Games

  • The Rocket Age mostly runs on Radium, which apparently allows for ships fast enough to make trips between the inner planets only take weeks and trips to Jupiter only take months. Weaponry tends to be consistently explained and logical, although the setting does of course ignore the energy requirements. However, Rocket Age also includes psychic powers and immaterial beings and offers no real explanation.

Video Games

  • StarCraft: A borderline case of this category. While it's certainly not as soft as Lensman or Neon Genesis Evangelion, there are a number of scientifically questionable elements throughout, particularly found in the nonhuman races. On the other hand, most Terran technology seems, if not realistic, then plausible, save for a few elements such as gravity manipulation. Then there's Psychic Powers, which have no justification at all, but that's to be expected, considering they're a stand in for magic.
  • Zone of the Enders falls pretty clearly into this category. It has a lot of things that are relatively plausible, but the presence and frequent use of metatron takes it right into this territory, especially as the player is frequently exposed to elements enabled by it.
  • Stellaris. It's as realisitic and internally consistent as a Grand Strategy game has to be to work, but beyond that, it's positively dotted with space-borne creatures, inexplicable anomalies, Psychic Powers, and the odd Eldritch Abomination. Many mysteries are left pointedly unexplained. Of note: post-release development has generally tended towards softening the universe, because the developers have found the appetite for Rule of Cool far exceeds that for hard sci-fi, at least in their fandom. More Rubber-Forehead Aliens and Beast Men are included, for instance, because they're statistically much more popular than Starfish Aliens.
  • Destiny is a setting that verges somewhere around this, for while the Traveler's Light, the powers of the Darkness, and other esoteric abilities approach fantasy-style magic, all of it is treated in a scientific manner in-universe. While Light itself is not consistently understood, this is mostly because the characters are operating on incomplete knowledge and piecing together their history.

Webcomics

Western Animation

  • Rick from Rick and Morty is a powerful, universe hopping super-genius, but the show stays pretty consistent in what he can and can't do—it's explicitly stated that he can't bring back the dead, for instance. He can travel to alternate universes, though, which offers the show something of a wildcard in this regard, allowing them to bend the boundaries of the show.

Back to Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness.
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