What is (qualifies as) Sci-Fi ?
The question is pretty strait forward. First, I will give my thoughts, then a I give a list. I would like to hear people's thoughts on what qualifies as Sci-Fi and what does not.
Science fiction is a fictional story where the characters find themselves in a setting that is just beyond the scope of what is scientifically possible. The science may be built on a minority opinion in scientific circles, but there is a clear desire to remain true to our understanding or put forth speculation for those things that are theory but not fully understood. Science Fiction stays true to the universal laws that are initially laid down and accepted. (i.e. If transportation from one location to another is possible, then the transporter cannot become a time machine without some proper scientific explanation). Another question, does a setting in the future automatically make something Sci-fi?
So, to you guys, which qualifies as Sci-Fi and what does not and any thoughts.
The list is random and just off the top of my head. Please add your own.
(I do not believe that all of these qualify, I am just trying to get the discussion going).
The Hunger Games
Left Behind Series
Lord of the Rings
Two Headed Shark Attack
War of the Worlds
Chronicles of Narnia
A.I. (by Brian Aldiss, later movie by Spielberg)
Cowboys vs Aliens
The Twilight Zone
Always an interesting question, if a sempiternal one.
The broader category that subsumes sf is "speculative fiction", which is tales set in worlds in which one or more major laws that affect human behavior--physical, psychological, cultural, whatever--works (or work) nontrivially differently than they do or ever have (so far as we know) in consensus reality. Science fiction is that subset of speculative fiction in which the differing laws are laws of nature, however bizarre their departure be from what we believe we know about natural law.
Writers choose speculative fiction over ordinary fiction for a variety of reasons. The good reason is that by altering the conditions that the folk in the tale find governing their lives, that writer can better or more readily explore whatever aspects of the human condition he or she is writing about. The bad reasons include what one might call "wallpaper": unusual settings for the sake of the settings, rather than the meat of the tale. An easy way for a reader to spot such stuff is to ask whether the tale could be told with few changes, and those mechanical rather than essential, if placed in a different, non-exotic setting. (Aka Cowboys and Indians in outer space).