Talk:List of science fiction themes

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Science Fiction concepts[edit]

Is it just me or is this page very similar to Science Fiction concepts? Any objection to the idea of folding them into each other (this page is certainly better wiki-ed than t'other) and redirecting concepts here? --Bth

Sounds good to me, go for it. --Brion
since this was posted, concepts was merged into Outline of science fiction.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 07:11, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Removals and additions[edit]

I've made a few value judgements that some of the things in concepts were ... well, a bit minor. I'm listing them here for the record, and so that anyone who disagrees can restore them:

  • Humanoid aliens/non-humanoid aliens. In media SF, humanoid aliens are a budgetary necessity more than anything else. And by listing both of those, you're just coming back to "aliens"
  • Aliens interfering in human history i decided was a subclass of Secret History
  • Flying cars; they're a prop, I would contend, rather than anything more significant.
  • Ditto for spray injections
  • Ditto videophones, esp. since we have them now.
  • "FTL signature"? I assume this refers to how you can tell where an FTL ship's been, but it doesn't strike me as a major SF theme/concept
  • I took out "Spacecraft" and "Space Stations". They probably want to be restored; perhaps we need an "exploration of space" section, with "interstellar travel" folded into that
  • Religions (anti-science/anti-spaceflight/anti-computer) I took out because I don't think that's a balanced view of SF's view of religion. A lot of SF does like to bash religion, true, but not all of it. Off the top of my head I can raise the following objections: Cordwainer Smith, the Superet Light Church in Stephen Baxter's Ring, who are the prime movers of a big project to fly a spaceship to the end of time, Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow, about a Catholic first contact mission, and I'm sure there are many many others. I would like to see religion in the list, but I don't have the time/energy to treat it properly at the moment.

I also removed space opera and techno-thriller, 'cos they're subgenres rather than themes (maybe that logic could be applied to alternate history too, but I'm not claiming to be consistent). And I changed the text at the top about how "new writers should avoid these", since a) it wasn't NPOV, b) it was badly written and c) this has turned into a fairly comprehensive list of everything in SF, and it would be a bit difficult for new writers to write an SF story without at least some of these components. It's "science fiction themes", not "science fiction cliches"

--Bth

FTL Signatures have been widely used, most promenintly in Star Trek, but also in Asimov's Foundation series, Cambell's The Idealists (where he calls them "Wakes"), and in the Elite computer game series.

--Imran

Right so. I still don't think they're a major theme/concept, rather just a part of whatever invented FTL technology the writer contrives. --Bth


Does "Uplift" qualify to be listed on this page? (The fact that it's been linked to a specific author article suggests that it's going to fail the "re-used by many authors" criterion.) -- Paul A 04:03 Apr 30, 2003 (UTC)

Point taken. I've seen it in several places (Orion's Arm being another) but haven't done the research to compile it. I suspect it's a growing theme but you're welcome to remove it. Samw

It occurs to me that "uplift" as seen in Brin's novels is arguably the intersection of two more common science fiction themes: "earthlings enter wider galactic society" and "technological tinkering makes animals smart". I can think of multiple examples for either of those, but not many that combine both. -- Paul A 05:08 Apr 30, 2003 (UTC)


I removed the link to the Galactic Empire because the link refers to that Galactic Empire in Star Wars. Perhaps a link to Galatic government would be more appropriate. -- Two Halves not logged in

I resolved this, and restored the link, by making Galactic Empire a (short) article, rather than a redirect to Galactic Empire (Star Wars)
Yes, that works well. Thank you for doing that. -- Two Halves

Category[edit]

I reckon we could do with a Category:Science Fiction Concepts - it would contain most/all of the items on this list, plus also the ones which aren't widespread or generic enough to appear, but are still noteworthy. Just thought I'd ask whether there are any similar categories, or any other reasons why it might be a bad idea, before going ahead and creating it. Chris Thornett 13:53, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Never mind, I just noticed Category:Science fiction themes... Chris Thornett 20:53, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

Im not for the last change[edit]

Hi AKR

I am not for the last change you did about politics. You should be less accurate or more general, speaking about the 2 extreme, as well as to involve just alien views.. I suggest. --Despres (talk) 14:42, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry, I don't understand, could you see if you can make your point more clearly. --AKR619 (talk) 03:28, 6 July 2008 (UTC)

on wikia[edit]

on the wikia called future there is a saving of this page if users delete the page on wikipedia —Preceding unsigned comment added by Despres (talkcontribs) 14:53, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

AKR619 I meant it's way too political[edit]

your stock you puted on the page is way too political and not enough science fiction, I would say and I suspect. We all know politics has many allure but does it make it science fiction? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Despres (talkcontribs) 06:29, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

The future of female/male[edit]

hi

anybody know the future or some science fiction stories or any particular topic related to the battle if there is one, of female/male. We know that with robotics, women wont need to make children anymore, robots will do them, so Im asking if female will disapear or will fight over men. or just partner as the origin of our species.

--Jon —Preceding unsigned comment added by Despres (talkcontribs) 04:49, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Or vice versa. There are stories in which everyone is hermaphroditic (Schild's Ladder, Oceanic); stories about colonies where only one sex exists (Virgin Planet, Spartan Planet, War with the Yukks, Ethan of Athos) for various reasons ... —Tamfang (talk) 03:59, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

See alsos[edit]

I've moved these here so they can be discussed. Why is thier link to SF, that makes it so interesting for readers that they might want to read these articles?

  • Disruptive technology - a term from real life economics. Itz means any (real) technology that disrupts existing markets. This is more likely to be found in mainstream fiction than SF.
  • Exploratory engineering - is a real discipline of engineering. Why is it here, but mathematical modelling isn't? or computational chemistry? or xeno-geology? See also shouldn't be the place to list ALL sciences that have ever been in an SF book-
  • List of emerging technologies - similarly, these are real technologies - all because they have sometimes been in SF books does make them appropraiate for the see also. How is wireless internet of major importance to SF themes?
  • Protoscience - is science that has yet to be proved true. Maybe it is more appropriate for this article tzhan the others, by why in the see also? If protoscience is a major theme of SF, why is it not in the main article as a theme (with a reference!)? Same with Fictional technology.

Tags[edit]

Removing the uncited tag is clearly in bad faith. Who thinks this article is cited? anyone? This is not an opinion, everyone can see that it clearly has no references!Yobmod (talk) 08:35, 19 August 2008 (UTC)


Merge info:

The following is a list of science fiction topics.

Topics[edit]

Lists[edit]

Science fiction by country[edit]

Media[edit]

Information sources[edit]

See also[edit]



Protected[edit]

The page has been protected.

Please discuss here on the talk page.

Incidentally, there have been edit summaries that are simply inappropriate. Further attacks or incivility may lead to further sanction. - jc37 11:26, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Upon further investigation, I've changed it to semi-protection. However, if this ends up hindering discussion, full-protection will be re-enabled. - jc37 17:13, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Need greater clarity per WP:LIST#Lead section or paragraph[edit]

"If the title does not already clarify what the list includes, then the list's lead section should do so. Don't leave readers confused over the list's inclusion criteria or have editors guessing what may be added to the list." and Wikipedia:Featured list criteria recommends that "[a list] has an engaging lead section that introduces the subject, and defines the scope and inclusion criteria of the list."

Currently the lede is very vague which is perhaps one of the factors leading to the recent edit war.

Is there some way that we can more clearly define the expected content and organization of this list article? -- The Red Pen of Doom 17:53, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

If no one gets to it before monday, i'll take a stab at adapting parts from the Science fiction articles intro - that has some cited stuff on general themes. I'm currently pushing 2 lists through to featured Lists, so will see if the leads i wrote for them are ok with reviewers.Yobmod (talk) 18:24, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Just what is this article's focus?[edit]

I don't suppose anyone has thought through the distinctions and overlaps among and between theme, motif, trope, concept, novum, and (sub)genre--? These are all category terms relating to content, but not all category terms serve the same function in SF criticism--or are even used in exactly the same way. First job: figure out exactly what is being described here and get a grip on the appropriate critical terminology.

Then there's the OR issue: Much of this article strikes me as being just that, rather than a report on or digest of what various authorities in the field have to say about the conceptual building blocks of SF (which is what the article seems to be trying for). There is a literature that deals with this, so there's no need to reinvent the wheel or make up new terms.

As it stands, the article is a straggling list of "ideas some people find in SF," peppered with nonce terms and links to WP articles of dubious relevance or usefulness. (Paradise engineering? Quantum suicide? Nudity in science fiction?!) In fact, I wonder whether the project is a reasonable one, since the "ideas" (themes, tropes, motifs, concepts, novums) that SF can address is endless--essentially, any scientific or pseudoscientific notion or area of study. There are hundreds of books and essays that grapple with exactly this problem, a body of scholarship not easily reducible to a Wiki list. RLetson (talk) 17:09, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

I think i merged 3 very similar lists into this one. The problem with making separate articles for themes, tropes etc is that the boundary between is impossible to police. But i agree the whole list looks like OR at the moment. Next step will be to maybe split the lists into sections for tropes that make something SF from the themes that can occur in any genre that SF has notably tackled. Btw, the nudity in SF article was redirected as being a cruftlist, and some of the other tpics should have similar things done to them.Yobmod (talk) 12:05, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Reverts[edit]

Why are people reverting to the poorly formatted and organised version - have they even looked at the changes? A list of SF character types exists as a seperate article, completely sourced; why revert to a version of this article with a redundant unsourced coipy of that? And why to the version before the themes were sorted into relevant sub-headings?Yobmod (talk) 08:45, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

In order to get protection removed, here is what i propose the article should be:

changed back to the version in which the themes are organised by topic, instead of being randomly ordered, and the improvment templates are put back, and the uncited original research that i disputed and removed according to policy be removed unless someone finds some cites.Yobmod (talk) 14:02, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

What is the rationale for constantly deleting the lead, with all it's citations, and the improvment templates? We could make an RfC, which would certainly support the version more in line with policy (ie, less OR and more cites), but as the only person reverting has "retired" from wikipedia and ignores talk pages, it seems dispute resolution would be useless.Yobmod (talk) 09:07, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

As no talk is happening, despite repeated requests, i'll reply to the last edit summary: "All what you're doing is deleting themes that aren't exclusive to science fiction, yet every theme in science fiction can be used in fantasy, horror, even surreal comedy, this is vandalisim".
It is not vandalism, as none of these themes have any sources, therefore are original research. Themes that can be used in SF and any other genre are not appropriate for this page, as this includes every theme ever used in fiction. However, continuous removal of the improvement templates, and the lead along with all citations does constitute vandalism, particularly when no reason is giving for doing so.Yobmod (talk) 09:21, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
And the reverts continue. If a version of the article exists that is more than just a list, we should stick to it and amend piecemeal rather than revert wholesale to an agreeably inferior version. Alastairward (talk) 12:08, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

Stock characters[edit]

There is cited list of SF stock characters linked in the this list. Can anyone give a reason that this article should have another such list instead of the link to the subarticle?Yobmod (talk) 13:00, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Same reason why we can't have links to the subarticles like domed city, walking city, floating city as well as many more. What kind of idiot refuses us to have those things on this page, oh that's right, you. --AKR619 (talk) 05:23, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Floated TOC[edit]

Any reason the TOC is now floated left? AFAIK this is recommended against as it interferes with text readers for blind people (? or some reason), so should only be used with a specific reason. I'll unfloat it if no-one has objections. Hmmm, but maybe this is the reason "If the TOC is going to be placed in a long list page, it should be floated." Is this page long? I'll leave it for now.Yobmod (talk) 13:05, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

What to include?[edit]

  • I'm happy to include:
    • Any article that is focused on a general topics use in SF (eg. Politics in science fiction), and this list should act as a hub for such articles.
    • Topics or ideas that are cliched science fictional (eg. Ray guns - a work with ray guns becomes SF due to their presence)
    • Any other topic that has a citation to a reliable source saying this is a theme of SF. Many encylopedias exist that would provide such citations. In such cases, a short summary of how they are important parts of SF should be given if it's link to SF is not intuitive. (eg. Libertarianism - i'm sure sources exist that claim libertarianism has been widely explored in SF).
    Here is a sub-page with the types as i see them. The third group is the one that certainly needs citations, as they are concepts that are common in non-fiction and in other genres, so need proof that SF has an especial link to them. NB. I don't propose to use this splitting in the article, is just to show what needs sourcing imo. Yobmod (talk) 13:18, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Per WP:OR / WP:V I think we need to start with: topics that have been identified by reliable sources as being SF themes. -- The Red Pen of Doom 19:26, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I think I may still have a copy of the Empire magazine science fiction special, it groups up films in terms of themes such as future dystopia, space opera etc. Might this suffice? Alastairward (talk) 22:11, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
  • The Empire magazine would seem like a great start for the sources! Anything is better than "I saw it in one episode of Trek". Although the examples you give might be more genres, so would be good sources for the Science fiction genre article?Yobmod (talk) 09:17, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Well that's the thing, we can't include anything because Yobmod claims we can only use themes that are exclusive to science fiction, which is just absurd because all science fiction themes can be used in fantasy (which can be called sci fantasy, but Yobmod refuses to list), horror (another which Yobmod refuses to list) and surreal comedy. For political structures I added two Ecology and Economics and cited them both, and Yobmod deleted them. If you check the history of this page others edited it but they didn't edit out any of the things Yobmod did, as they (or at least I) know that they can be science fiction themes. So I think that the only way Yobmod will be happy is if we stick with the edit I just made--AKR619 (talk) 00:25, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
  • You have never cited any of the themes before, and science fantasy is already on the Science fiction genre page, which is prominently linked. If there are no themes exclusive to science fiction, what is the point of this list? If we are going to include themes explored in horror and fantasy, they will also need citations. Books like Science Fiction A to Z: A Dictionary of the Great Themes of Science Fiction prove that lack of citations is inexcusable.Yobmod (talk) 09:17, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Anyway, i just added another 10 citations, all from Encylopedia Brittanica, which lists 8 major themes of science fiction.Yobmod (talk) 09:41, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree with Yobmod. The list should be left to themes exclusive to sci-fi, otherwise the list will be too broad to be useful. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 15:00, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
  • But here's the thing history and time travelling (which you did show a citation to), travelling to the earth's centre, creation of the universe, the future, parallel universe, the ultimate fate of the universe, dystopias and utopia (which you did show a citation to), telepathy, intelligence amplification, invisibility, psi powers and psychic phenomenon (as well as the three themes beneath it), resizing, shapeshifting, teleportation, apocalypses or world wide disasters, posthumanism, the ultimate fate of the universe and the kardashev scale, floating cities, underground cities, walking cities, the age of post-scarcity and domed cities can be used in fantasy, there for not exclusive to science fiction. Alien invasions and artificial intelligence (amongst the other themes that are on the page that I can't think of) can be used in horror and are there for not exclusive to science fiction. And as much as I hate to (as we'd be stuffing up the article even more so, but it'd be for it's own good because then after seeing how bad the article's gotten Yobmod wouldn't be so strict about which themes can be used in science fiction) we need to get rid of them immedietally.--AKR619 (talk) 01:13, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Aliens in a horror story makes it SF-horror for example, no?. Feel free to tag any of the themes without citations. My suggestion above include "Any other topic that has a citation to a reliable source saying this is a theme of SF". As to your WP:POINTy edit summaries, i have no rules, i'm just just WP:RS and WP:OR and consensus on the talk page.Yobmod (talk) 09:36, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I sense more than a little obsessiveness in the taxonomy department here. Like it or not, SF, horror, fantasy, utopia/dystopia, and some other related genres are not absolutely isolated from or opposed to each other--they share a number of crucial traits (starting with counterfactuality) and freely swap motifs. The Big Divide is between "fantastic" and "non-fantastic" narratives, which is why it might make sense to compile a list of motifs or tropes or icons (all better terms than "themes," which can have several kinds of meaning in literary discussions) found only in "fantastic" narrative, or even those mostly found in SF as distinct from fantasy (e.g., spaceships vs. fairies). But it's hard to find motifs that exist exclusively in one genre--there's just too much swapping around in SF/F/horror/whatever. If you want watertight compartments and either/or logic, literary genre theory is the wrong place to look. RLetson (talk) 23:15, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I agree completely, which is why i have said that any theme of SF that is provided with a citation saying such is appropriate to this page, whether or not it is used in other genres. AKR619 used the strawman arguement above while removing cited themes of SF, such as Time travel. I added the citation, and have never suggested it should be removed as it is also present in non-SF. But we have to have the citation to stop thngs like "Red-headed women that are fiery and beautiful and intelligent" being added, even if we have (unfortunately) all read 100's of SFF books that have such characters.Yobmod (talk) 08:56, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
  • By the way Utopia/distopis is in the list, with a ciation added by me. I don't understand why otzher people hate adding citation so much - i add them to every content addition i make on all articles. 09:27, 15 January 2009 User:Yobmod
  • Oh no you don't, don't you dare do one thing and try to tell other people you did the opposite, at 8:55 (American time) on the 16th of December 2008 you deleted anarcho-capitilism off the list of science fiction themes and you left this summary Political structures: rmv thheme common to all genres--AKR619 (talk) 12:51, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Edit summaries have limited space. Therefore i didn't write "Removed uncited theme commmon to all genres of fiction, non-fiction and to philosphical political debate, as science fiction (along with other genres of speculative fiction) does not include this theme in any especial way." But as always, if some one wants in in the list, all they need to do is find a citation, per wikipedia policy.Yobmod (talk) 14:13, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Isupport the version that contains the citations and the lead, and with less original research that is inline with the policies og WP:verify, WP:cite, WP:lead and WP:OR. As everyone (6 users in total) else who has commented seems to agree, i think that removing the citations, lead and the templates consistutes vandalism, and should be revised unless arguments are given that change the consensus.Dillypickle (talk) 08:55, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  • Just wanted to remind people that wikipages are never reliable sources, especially when they don't mention the theme in any way, and nor is putting "this doesn't need a citation" in ref brackets. Just ion case they though edit summaries that claimed to have added sources were true.Yobmod (talk) 08:17, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

What about imdb.com links with movies and television with those science fiction themes, and come on we got to include something like "this doesn't need a citation" to themes like alien invasions and time travel just in case some retard comes on and demands citation to where such things as alien invasions and time travel can be used in science fiction. Oh and don't complain about my choice of words for them, because they have to be if they demand citation to where of all such things alien invasions and time travel can be used in science fiction. --210.49.251.226 (talk) 06:13, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Time travel and aliens have citations. IMDB is not a RS. Thank you.

IMDB trivia may not be a reliable source, but pages for the movies and television pages are, especially the ones with posters, because those movies and television shows DID happen. --210.49.251.226 (talk) 23:46, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Revamp of list[edit]

In line with RLetsons comments above, about these not all being themes, i'm thinking of arranging the tropes that obviously form parts of the themes under each theme, then if the tropes have sub-article, making them into collapsible lists. This way the list is maximally useful for people just browsing, without looking like a long mess. I think a (sourced) paragraph explaining how and why the theme is important in SF should be written too, some of which will simply be condensations of the articles we have.

Eg:

Main heading - Advanced technology (with cite)

sub-heading - Space travel (with cite)
Sub-heading - Military (with cite)
collapsible list with : weapons in SF, Rayguns etc etc

Main heading - Alternative societies (with cite)

sub-heading - Politics in SF (with cite)
collapsible list with: libertarianism, Robocracy etc etc.
sub-heading - Religion in SF (with cite)
collapsible list with: Religious ideas in SF
sub-heading - Sex and gender(with cite)
collapsible list with: Sex in SF, Gender in SF, Homosexuality in SF, etc etc.

Any opinions on ordering, or problems with using collapsble lists? Also, does this page therefore need a rename to List of SF themes and concepts or somesuch?Yobmod (talk) 10:49, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Thoughts[edit]

First, I agree with the idea of keeping this to the more "strict" themes of sci-fi, rather than try to include those of the several overlapping genres (such as horror or fantasy). This being a wiki, after all, we should easily be able to have several such lists, and simply "see also" them.

Also, my recollection is that the inclusion of "aliens" (as in non-human, non-terrestrial, life forms) typically places any otherwise sci-fi story into "science-fantasy".

Sci-fi tends to relate directly to differences (I'll shy away from calling them necessarily "advancements") in philosophy (both personal and group), and technology. A change in "society" is merely a change in the perspective from what may be considered a "norm", to whatever the author may be describing/presenting in their work.

That said, the philosophical change to the person/group/society must be science/technology related for it to be called more than just a work of philosophy, and to instead be sci-fi. (There have been arguments about Thomas More's Utopia for years - whether it should be called sci-fi or not. I'll shy away from that debate as well : )

And all of the above would obviously need to be cited from various sources.

(I not so recently read an old article where they were discussing the various works of Arthur C. Clarke, and analysing whether they fell into philosophy, sci-fi, or sci-fan.)

Good luck on the ReOrg. (I may join in myself if time and energy permit : ) - jc37 03:03, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Alright so I'll take you agreeing not to include alien invasions and time travel and stuff like that in this list because it can be included in science fantasy as a vote to delete the page, or stuff it up some more --210.49.251.226 (talk) 06:13, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

This list sucks[edit]

I don't mean this as a slight to the authors. I just mean that when I have time, I'm going to completely redo this list to be A. less indiscriminant B. Cited and C. give more context to the sublists. i kan reed (talk) 18:06, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Curious. Did you ever redo this list? :) Misty MH (talk) 07:43, 1 February 2013 (UTC)

Dimensions. Interdimensional Concepts.[edit]

I noticed that the word "dimension" isn't found in the Article or on Talk. Neither then are Interdimensional concepts directly mentioned. These are, of course, major concepts in much sci-fi, and even discussed in theoretical physics. I went over the list a couple of times, thinking about where to add such, but couldn't decide. Ideas? Consensus? Misty MH (talk) 07:54, 1 February 2013 (UTC)