Subject: SF Criticism

Terms used in the criticism or discussion of science fiction, e.g. names of genres or tropes.



Word Definition
adult fantasy n. (1932) fantasy intended for adults rather than children
Africanfuturism n. (2018) Nnedi Okorafor’s term for: a subgenre of science fiction that heavily features elements of African history or culture; cf. Afrofuturism
Afrofuturism n. (1993) a movement in literature, music, art, etc., featuring futuristic or science fiction themes which incorporate elements of Black history and culture
Afrofuturist adj. (1994) of, relating to, or characterized by Afrofuturism n.
Afrofuturistic adj. (2000) = Afrofuturist adj.
alternate future n. (1941) in time-travel contexts: one of a number of possible futures; cf. slightly earlier alternative future n.
alternate history n. (1954) a timeline that is different from that of our own world, usually extrapolated from the changing of a single event; the subgenre featuring such a timeline; (also) a story featuring this
alternate reality n. (1950) = alternate world n.
alternate universe n. (1950) = alternate world n.
alternate world n. (1944) one of many possible universes, which may have different physical laws or a different history than our own
alternative future n. (1932) = alternate future n.
alternative history n. (1970) = alternate history n.
alternative reality n. (1941) = alternate world n.
alternative universe n. (1944) = alternate world n.
alternative world n. (1943) = alternate world n.
anime n. (1985) a Japanese animated film or television programme, drawn in a meticulously detailed style, usually featuring characters with distinctive large, staring eyes, and typically having a science-fiction or fantasy theme, sometimes including violent or sexually explicit material; this genre of entertainment
Asimovian adj. (1942) of, relating to, or characteristic of the writing of Isaac Asimov
Ballardian adj. (1964) of, relating to, or characteristic of the writing of J. G. Ballard, esp. in featuring desolate, dystopian settings and a pessimistic view of the effects of modern technological society
BEM n. (1940) = bug-eyed monster n.
big dumb object n. (1981) a large, mysterious, alien-made artifact encountered in space or on another world
biopunk n. (1991) a subgenre of science fiction which focuses on the societal effects of biotechnology and genetic engineering
Bonestellian adj. (1953) of, relating to, or characteristic of the art of Chesley Bonestell, esp. in featuring accurate depictions of astronomical objects
Bradburian adj. (1951) = Bradburyish adj.
Bradburyesque adj. (1948) = Bradburyish adj.
Bradburyish adj. (1948) of, relating to, or characteristic of the writing of Ray Bradbury, esp. in focusing on psychological concerns (often based on the presumed simplicity of personal interactions) rather than technological developments
Buck Rogers adj. (1934) = science fictional adj.; characteristic of hackneyed or dated science fiction
bug-eyed monster n. (1939) a monstrous alien with bulging eyes, esp. as a stereotype
bullet time n. (1999) a video effect in which the camera appears to move around a stationary or very slow-moving subject
Campbellian adj. (1949) of, relating to, or characteristic of the writing that appeared in the magazines edited by John W. Campbell, esp. in featuring heroic characters in technologically advanced scenarios
catastrophe adj. (1948) = disaster adj.
Clarke’s Law n. (1962) any of three maxims formulated by Arthur C. Clarke (sometimes specified as Clarke’s First Law, Clarke’s Second Law, Clarke’s Third Law): (a) ‘When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong’ (b) ‘The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.’ (c) ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’
cli-fi n. (2009) a subgenre of science fiction concerned with the effects of climate change
conlang n. (1991) an artificially created language; esp. a language invented to represent the speech of an alien race
cosy catastrophe n. (No cites) see catastrophe adj.
counterfactual n. (1991) a work of alternate history n.
cyberpunk n. 1 (1984) a subgenre of science fiction typified by a bleak, high-tech setting in which a lawless subculture exists within an oppressive society dominated by computer technology
cyberpunk n. 2 (1984) an author of, or protagonist in, cyberpunk n. 1
cyberpunkish adj. (1989) resembling or reminiscent of cyberpunk n. 1
dark fantasy n. (1973) a subgenre of fantasy that features gloomy or frightening themes, incorporating elements of horror n.
different story n. (1919) esp. in the early pulp era: a science fiction, fantasy, or weird story; an impossible story .
disaster adj. (1975) designating a genre that deals with a global catastrophe (natural, man-made, or extraterrestrial in origin) and its aftermath
dystopia n. 1 (1952) a work set in a dystopia n. 2
dystopia n. 2 (1955) an imaginary place or state of affairs in which conditions are extremely bad; the genre of fiction set in such a situation; cf. utopia n.
dystopian n. (1868) one who advocates or describes a dystopia n. 2
dystopian adj. (1953) of or pertaining to a dystopia n. 2
dystopianism n. (1962) dystopian quality or characteristics
dystopic adj. (1967) of, pertaining to, or resembling a dystopia n. 2
edisonade n. (1993) a story featuring a young male inventor who uses his inventions and ingenuity to defeat his foes or to explore new territory
Ellisonian adj. (1954) of, relating to, or characteristic of the writing of Harlan Ellison
epic fantasy n. (1961) = high fantasy n.