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Sci-Fi: A Broad Movie Genre with a Wide Appeal

There’s probably no literary or movie genre that’s as beloved by many as science fiction. This can be generally defined as a collection of stories dealing with science, and, in many cases, the future. Though it only became popular during the 20th Century, sci-fi has since spawned various subgenres including space operas (like George Lucas’ Star Wars) and time travel (like H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine).

What separates a sci-fi film from other movies? Basically, they will contain scientific or pseudo-scientific explanations for the events that unfold in the film. For example, a zombie film like David A. Prior’s Zombie Wars, isn’t exactly a horror movie, but horror-themed sci-fi, since the explanation given for the existence of zombies has scientific basis, like the spread of a virus. On the other hand, fantasy works, such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, generally rely on magic and mystery to explain their various plot devices, and thus are of a different genre than sci-fi.

There are many other literary genres today that may be considered subgenres of sci-fi. Near- future science fiction, like Greg Bear’s Blood Music, is primarily a reimagining of current technologies that most people are familiar with, such as biotechnology and nanotechnology. Meanwhile, sociological science fiction, like Robert Silverburg’s To See the Invisible Man, explores the various social implications of technology and its effects on human relationships.


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