Science Fantasy is any form of fantasy that does not exclude technology as a whole. This means that it can be set in almost any time period (meaning, the setting can appear to be mostly mediaeval like Melanie Rawn’s The Ruins of Ambrai or it can be in a futuristic setting like Frank Herbert’s Dune). There are two main subgenres under this banner: Other Planet (this post) and Dying Earth (next post).
In Other Planet stories, the story takes place on another planet and may or may not include in-your-face technological advances. I originally thought I wasn’t entirely sure that I’ve encountered this kind of fiction, but, as I sat down to think about it, I realised that I have books by different authors and even some movies on DvD that are set on other planets – but are still fantasy.
To be fair, the Dying Earth stories often spill over into Other Planet stories. So, these two subgenres are really not typically used in exclusion of each other.
In a purely Other Planet setting, humans have typically ventured into space and have started colonising other planets, though humans may have been forcibly taken to the other planet(s) by alien races. Humans may or may not be taking colonisation overboard. There may or may not be other races/alien races. In some stories, the fact that it is a planet other than earth hardly ever come up as a theme. In others, the fact that Earth is the original planet the humans come from is part of the normal facts and it is often referenced.
Examples of Other Planet in literature include:
- Melanie Rawn – The Exiles: The Ruins of Ambrai
- Anne McCaffrey – The Dragon Books (there are many)
- Frank Herbert – Dune
And in the movies:
- Titan A.E.
- Pitch Black