Science fiction

An alien invasion as featured in H. G. Wells' 1897 novel The War of the Worlds.
Space exploration as predicted in August 1958 in the science fiction magazine Imagination.

Science fiction (sometimes called sci-fi or simply SF) is a genre of speculative fiction that typically deals with imaginative and futuristic concepts such as advanced science and technology, space exploration, time travel, parallel universes, and extraterrestrial life. It has been called the "literature of ideas", and often explores the potential consequences of scientific, social, and technological innovations.[1][2]

Science fiction, whose roots go back to ancient times, is related to fantasy, horror, and superhero fiction, and contains many subgenres. However its exact definition has long been disputed among authors, critics, and scholars.

Science fiction literature, film, television, and other media have become popular and influential over much of the world. Besides providing entertainment, it can also criticize present-day society, and is often said to inspire a "sense of wonder".[3]


"Science fiction" is difficult to define precisely, as it includes a wide range of concepts and themes. James Blish wrote: "Wells used the term originally to cover what we would today call "hard" science fiction, in which a conscientious attempt to be faithful to already known facts (as of the date of writing) was the substrate on which the story was to be built, and if the story was also to contain a miracle, it ought at least not to contain a whole arsenal of them."[4]

According to Isaac Asimov, "Science fiction can be defined as that branch of literature which deals with the reaction of human beings to changes in science and technology."[5] Robert A. Heinlein wrote that "A handy short definition of almost all science fiction might read: realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method."[6]

Tom Shippey compared George Orwell's Coming Up for Air (1939) with Frederick Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth's The Space Merchants (1952), and concluded that the basic building block and distinguishing feature of a science fiction novel is the presence of the novum,[7] a term Darko Suvin adapted from Ernst Bloch and defined as "a discrete piece of information recognizable as not-true, but also as not-unlike-true, not-flatly- (and in the current state of knowledge) impossible."[8]

Lester del Rey wrote, "Even the devoted aficionado or fan—has a hard time trying to explain what science fiction is," and the lack of a "full satisfactory definition" is because "there are no easily delineated limits to science fiction."[9] Author and editor Damon Knight summed up the difficulty, saying "science fiction is what we point to when we say it."[10] Mark C. Glassey described science fiction as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart described pornography: "I know it when I see it."[11][12]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Wetenskapsfiksie
Alemannisch: Science-Fiction
العربية: خيال علمي
asturianu: Ciencia ficción
azərbaycanca: Elmi fantastika
Bân-lâm-gú: Kho-ha̍k siáu-soat
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Навуковая фантастыка
भोजपुरी: साइंस फिक्शन
brezhoneg: Skiant-faltazi
čeština: Science fiction
eesti: Teadusulme
Esperanto: Sciencfikcio
føroyskt: Science fiction
français: Science-fiction
한국어: SF (장르)
Bahasa Indonesia: Fiksi ilmiah
interlingua: Science-fiction
italiano: Fantascienza
Lëtzebuergesch: Science-Fiction
Lingua Franca Nova: Naras siensal
lumbaart: Fantascienza
magyar: Sci-fi
македонски: Научна фантастика
മലയാളം: ശാസ്ത്രകഥ
Bahasa Melayu: Cereka sains
Nederlands: Sciencefiction
norsk nynorsk: Science fiction
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Ilmiy fantastika
саха тыла: Билимнээх ыра
Simple English: Science fiction
slovenčina: Vedecká fantastika
slovenščina: Znanstvena fantastika
српски / srpski: Научна фантастика
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Naučna fantastika
Türkçe: Bilimkurgu
吴语: 科幻
粵語: 科學幻想
中文: 科學幻想