Soar Together @ Air and Space: Creating Imaginary Worlds


Science Fiction vs. Fantasy – What’s the difference?

Both science fiction and fantasy combine parts of the world that we know with ideas that are imaginary.

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science fiction contains parts that are scientifically possible but are stretched by the imagination towards something that doesn’t exist yet but might in the future, like flying cars, household robots and space travel.

Fantasy is much more imaginary than science fiction and often set in a place like Earth, but contain things that make it different from Earth, like magic, made-up creatures, environments and people with special powers and abilities.

Check out the examples below that show these differences. We’ve broken down what to look for when figuring out whether something is science fiction or fantasy, and then give you the big reveal at the end of each example!

Books: Reading Beauty by Deborah Underwood

  • Environment: This book is set in a planetoid in another galaxy, with people who look like humans, but also with robots, fairies, and princesses.
  • Rules: This world looks like Earth, but has futuristic buildings, furniture and technology. But there are also familiar things like books and pet dogs!
  • Science Fiction or Fantasy? Fantasy! A whole different world on a planet was created as a setting for a retelling of familiar fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty.
  • Talk about it: If you were to retell a fairy tale in a futuristic space setting, which one would you choose?

Books: Akiko and the Planet Smoo by Mark Crilley

  • Environment: This story starts on Earth, but the lead character, fourth grader Akiko, travels to planets in other galaxies with a group of aliens who all come from different planets.
  • Rules: Akiko is a human who can travel through space and to faraway planets, thanks to the technology of her alien friends. Her mom de ella does n’t even notice she’s gone, thanks for an Akiko robot clone.
  • Science Fiction or Fantasy? Science fiction with a little bit of fantasy when imagining the aliens from outer space. Akiko’s feelings and worries about her feel very real but they’re being related to a science fiction storyline.
  • Talk about it: If you were to travel to another galaxy far from home, what tools or technology would you want to have with you?

TVseries: Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts

  • Environment: This story starts on Earth, but the lead character, fourth grader Akiko, travels to planets in other galaxies with a group of aliens who all come from different planets.
  • Rules: Akiko is a human who can travel through space and to faraway planets, thanks to the technology of her alien friends. Her mom de ella does n’t even notice she’s gone, thanks for an Akiko robot clone.
  • Science Fiction or Fantasy? Science fiction with a little bit of fantasy when imagining the aliens from outer space. Akiko’s feelings and worries about her feel very real but they’re being related to a science fiction storyline.
  • Talk about it: If you were to travel to another galaxy far from home, what tools or technology would you want to have with you?

Talk About It!

  • What other worlds have you experienced in books, movies, games, or TV shows that combine the real and the imaginary?
  • Which ones are your favourites? why?
  • Do you like science fiction stories or fantasy stories better?

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