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Definition of Science Fiction

Essay by   •  February 13, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,215 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,174 Views

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Perhaps one of the most versatile genres in films, television, books, artwork and any number of things today is science fiction. Many times I have seen a sci-fi movie filed under comedy or drama. That is one of the major things that has led to my love for science fiction, the simple fact that it can be so much more than just science fiction. I would like to present a definition of what science fiction is in this paper. My definition will not be exact, because so many people have a different idea of what counts as sci-fi and, not only that, but we may have found yet another venue for science fiction by the time this paper is complete. In order to define what science fiction is and to support my definition, I am going to give some examples of stories that I think fall into this genre first and then give a semi-solid definition of what I think science fiction is.

The first example of science fiction I'd like to take a look at is Alien. A prime example of straightforward science fiction would be this movie. Space miners (or merchants...something like that) are awakened from their cryogenic sleep-state much earlier than was originally planned. A distress/warning beacon on an unfamiliar planet caused their ship to awaken them so that help could be dispatched. Of course, it turns out to be a ship that was taken over by the Aliens and the Earthlings' ship was soon to be infested. No questions about this one; it is most definitely science fiction. Humans meeting up with aliens and, of course, space travel, instantly places this film into the science fiction category.

Another example of science fiction, and one that proves science-fiction's elusive nature, is Tarzan. This is a fantastic example of a popular story that nobody would normally think of as being sci-fi. Everyone knows the story: A baby is lost in the jungle, raised by apes, and then is discovered years later by some jungle-adventurers. It sounds sort of questionable as to whether this should be considered science fiction, but it remains a fact that this story takes place on Earth and involves a character that has adopted ape-like qualities. One could argue that this is just a fictional story or even fantasy, but it still retains an element of science and, therefore, falls into the category of science fiction.

Time travel: is it really science fiction? Some people would not agree that it is true sci-fi since there are so many arguments as to why time travel cannot exist. Personally, I think time travel is science fiction since it is based on our laws of physics and can be shown mathematically using Physics (relativity, etc.). Since I believe time travel falls into this category, I would like to give a great example of a time traveling story. H.G. Wells' The Time Machine is a fantastic story about a scientist who is ridiculed by his peers for his theories on time travel and even examples he shows them. He ends up traveling through time in a machine that he built and has a fantastic adventure.

An interesting addition to this list of science fiction is Jurassic Park, the book and movie. The first time that someone mentioned this was sci-fi to me I was a little surprised, but after thinking about it for a second I realized they were right. The dinosaurs were created using a scientific process and, somewhat, neatly explained within the story. Every time I watched that movie I had never stopped to think about what genre it was, which happens with many people I'm sure and not just with that movie. This is one of my favorite examples of science fiction because people normally just think of it as being action.

A final example of science fiction is Galaxy Quest. This is an obvious choice for an example of sci-fi, but the real reason I choose to include this story is to give an example of a comedy in the form of sci-fi. This is a story about aliens who have been receiving our television broadcasts for many years and they developed their own culture based on a sci-fi series called, you guessed it, Galaxy Quest. Poking fun at Star Trek and at space based science fiction movies in general, this movie is very enjoyable and at times I really forgot I was watching a science fiction movie and felt more

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