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Encyclopedia > Science fiction themes

Science fiction has a number of common concepts and themes that have been reused by numerous authors. Some have become cliches, and only truly novel treatments of them gain attention, whilst others have become "part of the furniture"—they can be included in a story without much explanation because readers are already familiar with the core concept. Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Note that this partial list contains some authors whose works of fantastic fiction would today be called science fiction, even if they predate, or did not work in that genre. ...


In alphabetical order:

For the 1979 movie, see Alien (movie). ... The existence of alien beings (intelligent extraterrestrial life) has been one of the enduring themes of science fiction. ... Alien invasion is a science fiction theme in which extraterrestrial life attacks Earth with the intent to conquer it. ... The subject of contact and interaction by the human race with benevolent aliens is a subject of science fiction. ... First contact is a term used to describe a first meeting of two previously unknown cultures. ... This article is about the guiding principle in the fictional Star Trek Prime Directive see Prime Directive (disambiguation). ... Astrobiology (in Greek astron = star, bios = life and logos = word/science), also known as exobiology (Greek: exo = out) or xenobiology (Greek: xenos = foreign) is the term for a speculative field within biology which considers the possible variety of extraterrestrial life. ... An android is an artificially created being that resembles a human being. ... Gynoid (from Greek gyne - woman) is a term used to describe a robot designed to look like a human female, as compared to an android modeled after a male. ... The term cyborg, a portmanteau of cybernetic organism, is used to designate a creature which is a mixture of organic and mechanical parts. ... Cybernetics is a theory of the communication and control of regulatory feedback. ... A humanoid robot playing the trumpet In practical usage, a robot is a mechanical device which performs automated tasks, either according to direct human supervision, a pre-defined program or, a set of general guidelines, using artificial intelligence techniques. ... Apocalyptic science fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction that is concerned with the end of the world or civilization, through nuclear war, plague, or some other general disaster. ... Apocalyptic science fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction that is concerned with the end of the world or civilization, through nuclear war, plague, or some other general disaster. ... An arcology, so far only existing conceptually (with experiments taking place at population density. ... Artificial intelligence (also known as machine intelligence and often abbreviated as AI) is intelligence exhibited by any manufactured (i. ... A von Neumann machine is a model created by John von Neumann for a computing machine that uses a single storage structure to hold both the set of instructions on how to perform the computation and the data required or generated by the computation. ... The term clone is derived from κλων, the Greek word for twig. In horticulture, the spelling clon was used until the twentieth century. ... Colonization (or colonisation) is the act where life forms move into a distant area where their kind is sparse or not yet existing at all and set up new settlements in the area. ... Artists conception of a terraformed Mars in three stages of development. ... Cosmology is the study of the large-scale structure and history of the universe. ... ... Many religions have postulated an end to the Universe. ... Omega Point is a term created by Tulane University professor of mathematics Frank J. Tipler to describe a hypothetical cosmological scenario in the far future of the Universe. ... Cryonics is the practice of preserving organisms, or at least their brains, for possible future revival by storing them at cryogenic temperatures where metabolism and decay are almost completely stopped. ... Cyberpunk (a portmanteau of cybernetics and punk) is a sub-genre of science fiction which focuses on computers or information technology, usually coupled with some degree of breakdown in social order. ... Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction, usually set in an anachronistic Victorian or quasi-Victorian alternate history setting. ... A detective is an officer of the police who performs criminal or administrative investigations, in some police departments, the lowest rank among such investigators (above the lowest rank of officers and below sergeants), a civilian licensed to investigate information not readily available in public records (a private investigator, also called... Ecology can mean either: the natural environment, or an analysis or study using the principles and methods of ecological science. ... Common Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) in their Magnificent Sea Anemone (Heteractis magnifica) home. ... Economics is the social science studying production and consumption through measurable variables. ... A dystopia (alternatively, cacotopia or kakotopia) is a hypothetical society usually portrayed as existing in a future time when the conditions of life are extremely bad due to deprivation, oppression, or terror. ... A post-scarcity economy is a hypothetical form of economy or society, often explored in science fiction, in which valuable things (material, energy or information) are free or practically free, creating abundance. ... Iain Menzies Banks (born on February 16, 1954 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland) writes mainstream novels as Iain Banks and science fiction as Iain M. Banks. ... For the main article on culture, see culture. ... Cory Doctorow Cory Doctorow (born July 17, 1971) is a blogger, journalist and science fiction author in favor of liberalizing copyright laws, and a proponent of Creative Commons. ... Down And Out in the Magic Kingdom is a 2003 science fiction book, the first novel by Canadian author and digital-rights activist Cory Doctorow. ... Whuffie is the ephemeral, reputation-based currency of Cory Doctorows sci-fi novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. ... This article is about the writer and editor. ... For other definitions of fantasy see fantasy (psychology). ... Galactic empires are a fairly common theme in science fiction. ... History is a term for information about the past. ... Alternative history or alternate history can be: A History told from an alternative viewpoint, rather than from the view of imperialist, conqueror, or explorer. ... Prediction of future events is an ancient human wish. ... Psychohistory is the name of a fictional science in Isaac Asimovs Foundation universe, which combined history, psychology and mathematical statistics to create a (nearly) exact science of the behavior of very large populations of people, such as the Galactic Empire. ... A secret history (or shadow history) is a version of history that is at odds with commonly accepted historical events and which is claimed to have been deliberately suppressed or forgotten. ... Horror fiction is, broadly, fiction intended to scare, unsettle or horrify the reader. ... As with any complex, emergent concept, language is somewhat resistant to definition. ... Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ... Esperanto flag Esperanto is a constructed international language. ... In linguistics, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (SWH) states that there is a systematic relationship between the grammatical categories of the language a person speaks and how that person both understands the world and behaves in it. ... Babel-17 is a science fiction novel by Samuel R. Delany in which the Sapir_Whorf Hypothesis (that language forms thought) is strongly influential. ... Samuel Ray Chip Delany, Jr. ... The Languages of Pao is a science fiction novel by Jack Vance, first published in 1958, in which the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is strongly true. ... John Holbrook Vance (b. ... The universal translator is a fictional device common to many science fiction works. ... The Babel fish is a fictional species of fish in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. ... A military or miltary force (n. ... The concept of a death ray is generally portrayed as some form of directed energy weapon that projects energy at a person or object in order to destroy them. ... Space warfare is when combat takes place in outer space. ... The mind is the term most commonly used to describe the higher functions of the human brain, particularly those of which humans are subjectively conscious, such as personality, thought, reason, memory, intelligence and emotion. ... Artificial intelligence (also known as machine intelligence and often abbreviated as AI) is intelligence exhibited by any manufactured (i. ... A hive mind (sometimes spelled hivemind) is a form of collective consciousness strongly exhibiting traits of conformity and groupthink. ... Mind control (or thought control) has the premise that an outside source can control an individuals thinking, behavior or consciousness (either directly or more subtly). ... In Transhumanism and science fiction, mind transfer (also referred to as mind uploading or mind downloading, depending on ones perspective) refers to the hypothetical transfer of a human mind either into a computer or other non-human receptacle, or from one human body to another. ... Solipsism (from the Latin ipse = self and solus = alone) is the metaphysical belief that only oneself exists, and that existence just means being a part of ones own mental states — all objects, people, etc, that one experiences are merely parts of ones own mind. ... Marvel Comics In Marvel comic books, particular those of the X-Men franchise, a mutant is a human being who is born with physiological modifications that allow for abilities not possessed by normal humans. ... A mite next to a gear chain produced using nanotechnology Nanotechnology as a collective term refers to technological developments on the nanometer scale, usually 0. ... Parallel worlds started as a plot device in science fiction. ... The exploration of other worlds is one of the most enduring themes of science fiction. ... Politics is the process and method of decision-making for groups of human beings. ... A dystopia (alternatively, cacotopia or kakotopia) is a hypothetical society usually portrayed as existing in a future time when the conditions of life are extremely bad due to deprivation, oppression, or terror. ... See Utopia (disambiguation) for other meanings of this word Utopia, in its most common and general meaning, refers to a hypothetical perfect society. ... Galactic empires are a fairly common theme in science fiction. ... The concept of Totalitarianism is a typology or ideal-type used by some political scientists to encapsulate the characteristics of a number of twentieth century regimes that mobilized entire populations in support of the state or an ideology. ... The term libertarian is also claimed by libertarian socialism. ... A world government is a hypothetical entity consisting of a single government with authority over an entire planet. ... Anarchism is a term which encompasses a variety of political philosophies, social movements, and political ideologies that advocate the abolition of all forms of imposed or involuntary authority including social hierarchy and coercive power. ... Apocalyptic science fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction that is concerned with the end of the world or civilization, through nuclear war, plague, or some other general disaster. ... Soft science fiction or soft SF is science fiction whose plots and themes tend to focus on human feelings, while de-emphasizing the details of technological hardware and physical laws. ... Posthumanism is a kind of neohumanist ideology. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Genetic engineering, genetic modification (GM), and gene splicing (once in widespread use but now deprecated) are terms for the process of manipulating genes in an organism, usually outside of the organisms normal reproductive process. ... The term cyborg, a portmanteau of cybernetic organism, is used to designate a creature which is a mixture of organic and mechanical parts. ... Parapsychology is the study of the evidence involving phenomena where a person seems to affect or gain information about something through a means not currently explainable within the framework of mainstream, conventional science. ... Clairvoyance is defined as a form of radio waves). ... Telepathy from the Greek τηλε, tele, distant, and πάθεια, patheia, feeling, is the supposed ability to communicate information from one mind to another, and is one form of extra-sensory perception or anomalous cognition. ... Psychokinesis (literally mind-movement) or PK is the more commonly used term today for what in the past was known as telekinesis (literally distant-movement). It refers to the psi ability to influence the behavior of matter by mental intention (or possibly some other aspect of mental activity) alone. ... Resizing (including size-changing, miniaturization, magnification, shrinking, and enlargement, is a theme in fiction, especially science fiction. ... Modern science fiction frequently involves themes of sex, gender and sexuality. ... A bagpiper in military uniform. ... Polygamy, literally many marriages in ancient Greek, is a marital practice in which a person has more than one spouse simultaneously (as opposed to monogamy where each person has a maximum of one spouse at any one time). ... Human sexuality is the expression of sexual feelings. ... Reproduction is the creation of one thing as a copy of, product of, or replacement for a similar thing, e. ... Shapeshifting, transformation or transmogrification refers to a change in the form or shape of a person. ... Simulated reality describes a hypothetical environment that, although experienced as real, is actually a highly detailed simulation of reality. ... Sociology is the study of the social lives of humans, groups and societies. ... Sociobiology is a branch of biology and also sociology that attempts to throw light upon behavior in both human and non-human societies in terms of evolutionary advantage or strategy. ... Feudalism comes from the Late Latin word feudum, itself borrowed from a Germanic root *fehu, a commonly used term in the Middle Ages which means fief, or land held under certain obligations by feodati. ... Eusociality is the phenomenon of reproductive specialisation found in some species of animal, whereby a specialised caste carries out reproduction in a colony of non-reproductive animals. ... The word Caste is derived from the Portuguese word casta, meaning lineage, breed or race. ... Space exploration is the physical exploration of outer-Earth objects and generally anything that involves the technologies, science, and politics regarding space endeavors. ... Interstellar space travel is unmanned or manned travel between stars, though the term usually denotes the latter. ... For an account of the concept of hyperspace used in science fiction, largely unrelated to the topic of this article, see hyperspace (science fiction). ... Introduction The Alcubierre metric, also known as the Alcubierre Drive or Warp drive, is a theoretical model for propelling a spacecraft faster than the speed of light. ... 2D analogy to a wormhole. ... The Twin paradox is a thought experiment in special relativity. ... A generation ship is a theoretical starship that would travel much slower than light across great distances between stars (see interstellar travel). ... A sleeper ship is a type of manned spaceship in which most or all of the crew spends the journey in some form of hibernation or suspended animation. ... A space station is an artificial structure designed for humans to live on in outer space. ... Artists conception of a space habitat called the Stanford torus Space colonization, also called space settlement and space humanization, is the hypothetical permanent autonomous (self-sufficient) human habitation of locations outside Earth. ... Notes One of the most successful arcade games; Developed during the Golden Age of Arcade Games; According to KLOV the #7 most popular game of all times Asteroids is a popular vector_based video arcade game released in 1979 by Atari. ... Artists conception of a terraformed Mars in three stages of development. ... A superhuman is something exceeding normal human standards. ... Technology ( Gr. ... A mite next to a gear chain produced using nanotechnology Nanotechnology as a collective term refers to technological developments on the nanometer scale, usually 0. ... In futurism, a technological singularity is a predicted point in the development of a civilization at which technological progress accelerates beyond the ability of present-day humans to fully comprehend or predict. ... Telepathy from the Greek τηλε, tele, distant, and πάθεια, patheia, feeling, is the supposed ability to communicate information from one mind to another, and is one form of extra-sensory perception or anomalous cognition. ... Teleportation, or teletransportation, is the process of moving objects (or more likely with present techniques, fundamental particles) from one place to another by encoding information about the object, transmitting the information to another place, such as on a radio signal, and creating a copy of the original object in the... Time travel is a concept that has long fascinated humanity—whether it is Merlin experiencing time backwards, or religious traditions like Mohammeds trip to Jerusalem and ascent to heaven, returning before a glass knocked over had spilt its contents. ... Alternative history or alternate history can be: A History told from an alternative viewpoint, rather than from the view of imperialist, conqueror, or explorer. ... A parallel universe, also sometimes called an alternate universe, or an alternate dimension, is a hypothetical universe which exists separately from our own. ... An anachronism (from Greek ana, back, and chronos, time) is an artifact that belongs to another time, a person who seems to be displaced in time (i. ... This article refers to the time travel paradox. ... In science fiction, a biological uplift is a common but by no means universal term for the act of an advanced civilization helping the development of another species by bringing a non-sapient one into sentience, or by giving a sapient one spacefaring capabilities. ... Nohar Rajasthan is the private investigator from the Moreau Series of books by S. Andrew Swann (aka Steven Swiniarski) published by DAW Books. ... Cordwainer Smith -- pronounced Cordiner Smith -- was the pen-name used by the American author Dr. Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger (July 11, 1913 - August 6, 1966) for his science fiction works. ... Virtual reality (abbreviated VR) describes an environment that is simulated by a computer. ...

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Science Fiction Themes (263 words)
A theme is a small essay on a specific topic in relation to science fiction.
Science Fiction Progenitors: Portrays a number of authors who dealt with science fictional themes before the genre was "officially" born
Science Fiction Magazines: Describes some of the central, early science fiction magazines which have been mouthpieces of the genre at a time when it was not considered acceptable novel content
Kids.Net.Au - Encyclopedia > Science fiction themes (182 words)
Science fiction has a number of common concepts and themes that have been reused by numerous authors.
Some have become cliches, and only truly novel treatments of them gain attention, whilst others have become "part of the furniture", ie they can be included in a story without much explanation, because readers are all already familiar with the core concept.
Post-apocalyptic science fiction and new societies that develop after the event
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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