Nicola C. Matthews & her various monikers are hailed as the Queen of Sci-Fan, specifically paranormal science fiction mashups otherwise known as para-sci. So you may be wondering – what is Science Fantasy exactly? I’m glad you asked!
Science Fantasy is “a mixed genre within the umbrella of speculative fiction which simultaneously draws upon and/or combines tropes and elements from both science fiction and fantasy. It also sometimes incorporates elements of horror fiction.”
There are three degrees of Science Fantasy:
Enlightened: Magic is fused with technology in order to manipulate and magnify the magic.
Standard: Magic is fused with technology, but not necessarily in a coherent sense.
Soft: Magic and Technology are merely present in the same realm.
Interesting side note: we are petitioning Amazon to make Science Fantasy a recognized genre in the publishing industry!
This leads us to the different Science Fantasy Subgenres:
Dystopian: A Dystopian novel is an imaginary society that is as dehumanizing and as unpleasant as possible and is primarily characterized by human misery, squalor, oppression and/or disease. This society doesn’t necessarily need to exist on Earth to be considered dystopic. To be considered a Science Fantasy Dystopian novel, the story must maintain a balance of supernatural and technological elements. Movie example of Science Fantasy Dystopian: Waterworld
Superhero: This is a subgenre that holds many different facets. You have people with extraordinary powers. Some explained with science, some with magic, some with cosmic space, some with technology, some with no explanation at all. You will definitely get a huge blend of targets here. Movie example of Science Fantasy Superhero: Thor
Space Opera: Space Opera is loosely defined as Science Fiction in space that doesn’t really follow the established laws of physics or how big space would be. Generally there is a lot of space traveling because the author can hand wave away the pesky notion that space is big. Like, really big. This subgenre can easy to slip into Science Fantasy almost on accident. All it really takes is something mystical in either the location, the tools, or the people. Movie example of Science Fantasy Space Opera: Star Wars Saga
Urban Fantasy: This is a subgenre that features the use of magic in an ordinary setting. Science Fiction is a little on the optional side mostly, but if you have future tech interacting with the magic, this is Science Fantasy. TV Series example of Science Fantasy Urban Fantasy: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Paranormal: This genre gets mixed with Urban fantasy, but Paranormal can happen pretty much on any timeline. More focus is given to mythical creatures such as Vampires and Werewolves. Obviously a story set in medieval times would be harder pressed to fit in the Science Fiction side of the equation, but if your story is set in the future, or maybe someone has time traveled to the past, that could qualify. Movie example of Science Fantasy Paranormal: Ghost Busters
LitRPG: LitRPG is a newer subgenre that is a mixture of Science Fiction, Sword and Sorcery and MMO/Reincarnation elements. Leveling is a key component in LitRPG, while other books can still be LitGaming if there is a HUD or similar system. Must include a combination of supernatural, technological and gaming elements. Movie example of Science Fantasy LitRPG: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Portal Fiction: This subgenre incorporates portals into an alternate world as a primary piece of world-building. More specifically, includes the use of portals between other worlds, while maintaining a balance of supernatural and technological elements. TV Series example of Science Fantasy Portal Fiction: Sliders
Steampunk: A subgenre of science fantasy that typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology. To be considered a Science Fantasy Steampunk novel, the story must maintain a balance of supernatural and technological elements. Movie example of Science Fantasy Steampunk: Howl’s Moving Castle
Alternate History: A subgenre of science fantasy consisting of stories in which one or more historical events occur differently from reality. To be considered a Science Fantasy Alternate History novel, the story must maintain a balance of supernatural and technological elements. Movie example of Science Fantasy Alternate History: Doctor Who
Myths & Legends: These stories include legends, myths and folktales. Legends usually involve heroic characters or fantastic places and often encompass the spiritual beliefs of the culture in which they originate. To be considered a Science Fantasy Myths & Legends novel, the story must maintain a balance of supernatural and technological elements. Movie example of Science Fantasy Myths & Legends: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians)