ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Genres Of Science Fiction & Fantasy - Part 8

Updated on September 30, 2009

Mixed Genre

Used as the broad term for any piece of fiction that utilizes the characteristics of two distinct types of fiction, mixed genre does well in telling exactly what the final genre of Speculative Fiction is. What it does not do, however, is explain just how much of each of those two genres is being used. The term Hybrid has to be used to describe the specific use of both Science Fiction and Fantasy.

To describe the type of Science Fiction that seeks to present a world(s) in the future and with technology superior to ours, while retaining the ideas and qualities of Fantasy style, the term Galactic Fiction was used once in an interview with Margaret Weis. The use of the word "galactic" is obviously the focus of the title. One can easily see what the connection to Science Fiction is, but how does "galactic" resemble Fantasy in any way?

Analyzing the word rather loosely, one thinks of galaxies as containing multitudes of stars and planets: planets which, in Science Fiction, typically contain many varied peoples. So the focus, then, is the people and the worlds, rather than the science and technology. The best, and probably most lasting, example of this particular hybrid is "Star Wars" in all of its many forms. As a movie focused on the people and their struggles rather than their blaster rifles, the story utilizes obvious science and technology, as well as some not-so-blatant allusions to myth and legend.

The more uncommon counterpart to Galactic Fiction, is the hybrid that seeks to write a Fantasy story with a particular Science Fiction twist to it. As a sort of loose description, the term Trace Fantasy can be applied to it, implying that, while almost entirely Fantasy, the story still has traces of Science Fiction that give it a very different feel.

There are few examples of this, the Death's Gate Cycle series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman and even Terry Brooks' Shannara series, to some extent. Take this all with a grain of salt, however, as most of the stories that fall within this very limited category would generally be classified as High Fantasy, as their true intentions lie within that genre, rather than trying to do something truly different or out of the ordinary.

Other stories seek to find a closer balance of the two genres, creating the true hybrid of magic and gunpowder. Those stories in this category that work do so quite well; those that come short of their goal, sometimes seem to have never had a goal in mind from the beginning.

It is obvious that there is an exclusion (and a very deliberate one) of the Horror genre. While many are quick to include Horror along with Fantasy (indeed, there is an anthology each year that combines the two genres), there is a very distinct difference between the two that keeps them apart. Science and technology are the focus of Science Fiction; characters and cultures are the focus of Fantasy. Horror, on the other hand, uses the structural device of suspense as the focus of its stories. While characters may be well-developed, the author's intention of keeping vital information from the reader until the crucial moment is more remnant of Mysteries than it is of either Science Fiction or Fantasy.

This does not mean, thought, that there are not works that mix the two. Quite the opposite. The broad category of Mixed Genre easily includes stories that blend both Science Fiction and Horror, as well as Fantasy and Horror. Some notable works are Stephen King's Dark Tower series and novel The Eye of the Dragon (exemplifying the two hybrids respectively). But both of these works have a focus entirely different from that described throughout this essay as being Science Fiction or Fantasy. Thus I have intentionally omitted Horror, as I'll be glad to leave that for others to detail as they please.

From the treasure room to the trade station, the span of Speculative and Imaginative Fiction is grand, encompassing all those fantastical things that any number of brilliant minds seems to be able to conjure. The stories themselves are without bounds; but there are those out there who wish to put a bit of constraint on the wild beast so that the casual observer doesn't simply see an unorganized pile of lasers and dueling daggers lying about in the brainstorm.

Back To Start


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)