What are the conventions of science fiction genre?

What are the conventions of science fiction genre?

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Science fiction cinema is a film genre, a transcript of the literary genre, which uses science to support narratives with speculative representations of imaginary phenomena such as extraterrestrials, alien planets and travel in time or outer space, often with technological elements such as futuristic spaceships, robots and other artifacts more or less inspired by the possibilities of science. Science is to the genre what fantasy is to myth.

Science fiction films have sometimes been used to critically comment on political or social aspects, utopias, dystopias or uchronias, and to explore philosophical questions such as the definition of human beings, their scope and future or destiny, the beginning of their existence or their predictable end, apocalyptic or not.

Defining precisely which films belong to the science fiction genre is often difficult, as there is no universally accepted definition of the genre or its underlying genre of literature. According to one definition:

Science Fiction Book Awards

Donna Haraway considers that speculative fabulation offers us the best metaphors to create representations that break with the figurations of the Anthropocene and the Capitalocene. In this way, human beings can rethink their relationship with non-human alterities in order to generate fictions, “SF games of responsibility-ability” that help us to reject anthropopolitics.

In the same vein, as Rosi Braidotti states, “among the people with the most vivid ethical sense in Western postmodernity are precisely those who write science fiction, who take the time to pause and reflect on the death of the humanistic ideal of ‘man,’ inscribing this loss, and the subsequent ontological insecurity, at the heart of contemporary culture.”

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In this sense, we must go back to the work of Christine de Pisan, an intellectual who lived between the 14th and 15th centuries, in the context of the querelle des femmes – the old academic debate in defense of women’s intellectual capacities. From her bedroom she decided to claim a city of her own in The City of Ladies (1405), where she imagined a world governed and inhabited by women claiming their right to education and equality. Symbolic and political spaces exclusively for women are known as gynotopias. The City of Ladies inaugurates a literary tradition that gained great relevance during the suffragism of the first wave of Anglo-Saxon feminism in the 19th century.

Examples of science fiction

Once the first division has been made, a second one can be made, under thematic criteria; whether they are related to science, technology, space and the future, as well as their plots and scenarios:

Science fiction can also be defined by criteria external to the text itself, beyond its formal or thematic characteristics, such as the period in which they were written. Attending to the historical period in which they were created and published we can find:

Characteristics of science fiction cinema

Sometimes it has also been called “literature of anticipation”, due to the fact that some authors, such as Jules Verne, have anticipated the emergence of scientific and technological achievements, such as space rockets or submarines.

Also in the 19th century, Jules Verne and H. G. Wells appeared, both considered masters of the genre, although the former focused mainly on the development of scientific inventions and the latter on social criticism (of British imperialism in The War of the Worlds, or of the class struggle in The Time Machine…).

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But it was certainly the first half of the 20th century that we could call the Golden Age of science fiction, with the appearance of authors such as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell or Ray Bradbury.

And in the 80s and 90s, genres such as cyberpunk and postcyberpunk appeared, where, of course, computers and computers made their appearance and gave rise to a whole aesthetic current where new technologies coexisted with the sordid environments of the urban underworld.