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Science-fantasy: What is that to you?

PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 6:24 am
by Lejonel
Science-fantasy. To me, that is the combination of sword and sorcery and hightech science, mainly as seen in Flash Gordon and other such sources. Trying to combine these parts results in a mishmash resembling some Sunday morning cartoons from the 80's, for good and for bad.

As I am currently trying to write a scenario for an rpg session I am looking for ideas to include. Therefore I ask: what is science-fantasy to you?

Re: Science-fantasy: What is that to you?

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 11:31 pm
by Chainsaw Aardvark
Well, first of all - do you separate Science Fantasy and Science Fiction the way I do?

I tend to believe the adage "Science Fiction asks the questions of tomorrow, today". The ultimate example is Issac Asimov's collection "I Robot", dealing with intelligent autonomous machines. At what point does working with an AI become more psychology than programing? Can you make a simple code to keep them in line, and what happens when that moral code has conflicts?

Science Fantasy tends to have trappings of the future, or at least improbably machines (super robots, cyberspace computers, cloning, etc.) but this is just a backdrop to explain why buildings are impossibly tall and everyone wears funny clothes. Its more like a reflection of modern or past times with embellished or fanciful details.

Or to put it all another way - in Science Fiction you ask "what sort of checks and balances are needed on a government when world destroying battle stations are possible" and Science Fantasy asks "Where can we find the right farm-boy to blow it up?" (In all fairness, I do love Star Wars, but its for the light sabres and not the physics).

Then there is the whole "Hard SF vs Soft SF" dealing with how many rules you set for yourself and the story's adherence to them. But I've probably already rambled too much...

I don't know much about 80's cartoons in Europe, at least in the US it was a bit of an interesting time. From the late 50's or so, there were strict rules about advertising to children, because the prevailing thinking was children had a hard time separating reality from fiction, and of course they didn't have money. Come the decade I was born in (Yes, I'll be 30 in less than two weeks) those rules went out the window, and we get half-hour toy commercials like GI-Joe and Transformers. Animation quality was better than the dark days of the 1960's and HanaBarbara's abominations (Yogi bear has a tie so you don't notice they only animate his head as a cost-cutting measure.) Stories were still kind of simplistic but the underground movement to view anime for mature themes was developing. Some stuff was being imported, though it was generally heavily edited and often augmented since US rules for syndication required higher minimum episode counts.

Things could be violent, but people generally didn't die. A large number of shows used lasers in place of real weapons, to hand wave why it could both shoot through a wall, and not actually hurt a person.

Thanks to youtube, here is a playlist of 1980's cartoon show opening credits: This will either be a huge help, or giant distraction. Good luck with that.

Where were we going with this again? Science Fantasy like cartoons? Oh. Umm... You might want to give players tokens that let them pull "Technobabble"powered deus ex makina stunts, or let them use the theme/lesson of the day to somehow strengthen the attempt (Because knowing is half the battle... oh mandatory cartoon PSAs, how we miss you)

I'll try to post again when I have ideas and not youtube induced nostalgia.

Re: Science-fantasy: What is that to you?

PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:00 pm
by Anastylos
Science fantasy can be as philosophical as science fiction. In my oppinion the only difference is that science fantasy needs some supernatural stuff. The force, mysterious alien artefacts, something like that. You can get the same effect in science fiction. Burning someone with a fireball or with a flamethrower both kills the victim. But in science fiction the is an explanation why something is possible and it is a reasonable and understandable answer.

Re: Science-fantasy: What is that to you?

PostPosted: Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:32 pm
by catty_big
Science fantasy is futuristic fantasy, whereas science fiction is futuristic 'normal'.