Space Fiction | Definition, Examples, Characteristics, Authors, Movie, TV Series

Space Fiction

Space Fiction

Space Fiction Definition

Space fiction is a sub genre of Science fiction. Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction defines the term, “Science fiction set primarily in space or that involves space travel. Hence, space-fictional,” Space fiction is actually a peculiar category that is based on contemporary space technology. Space fiction authors, artists, and illustrators generally portray the Spacecraft, like automobiles and they narrate certain basic systems that function properly in their space fictional world.

Among these systems are:

PROPULSION (engines),

GUIDANCE (steering),

LIFE SUPPORT (air to breathe, food and water),

CABIN QUARTERS (manned operations and living area),

COMMUNICATIONS (radio transmission and reception),

THERMAL PROTECTION (isolation from the extreme temperatures of space as well as the heat of reentry),

DISPLAYS AND CONTROLS (a means of flying/controlling and monitoring the status of the spacecraft’s performance – switches and gauges).

Space fiction may include space opera which is also the part of science fiction. According to WikipediaSpace opera is adventure science fiction set in outer space or on distant planets.” The conflict is heroic, and typically on a large scale. Space opera is sometimes used pejoratively, to describe improbable plots, absurd science, and cardboard characters. But it is also used nostalgically, and modern space opera may be an attempt to recapture the sense of wonder of the golden age of science fiction.

The pioneer of this subgenre is generally recognized to be Edward E. (Doc) Smith, with his Skylark and Lensman series.

Space Fiction Characteristics

The characteristics of space fiction are similar to science but it differs when it turns exclusive direction matters of space. The chief traits of such fiction are as follows:

  • Positioned between reality and fantasy and full of high imagination.


  • A spatial setting or scenes in outer space (e.g., spaceflight), on other worlds.


  • A time setting in the future,


  • Characters that include aliens, mutants, androids, or humanoid robots.


  • Paranormal abilities. Other universes or dimensions and travel between them.


  • Scientific principles that are new or those contradict known laws of nature, for example time travel, existence of life on other planets.


  • Futuristic technology

Science Fiction Examples

The pioneering name in the field of space opera is Edward E. (Doc) Smith, with his Skylark and Lensman series. The Star Trek television series franchise is often described as space opera that encourages this sense of wonder, in which most of the scripts are generally about peaceful space exploration.

Alastair Reynolds’s Revelation Space series, Peter F. Hamilton’s Void, Night’s Dawn and Pandora’s Star series, and Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky are latest instances of this genre.

Shikasta a novel of Doris Lessing is a fine example of “space fiction,” The latest Star Trek movie came out in May, 2009 is also good example of space fiction. Besides, the first “future war” story which was the part of space opera, was “The Battle of Dorking”, a story about a British defeat after a German invasion of Britain, by George T. Chesney published in 1871 in Blackwood’s Magazine. Later, prior to the outbreak of World War I George Griffith’s The Angel of the Revolution published in 1892. H. G. Wells’ story “The War of the Worlds” inspired many fiction writers to write stories of alien incursions and wars between Earth and other planets.

A story inspired by H. G. Wells was Garrett P. Serviss 1898 newspaper serial “Edison’s Conquest of Mars”. It was considered to be a sequel to “Fighters from Mars”, an unauthorized and heavily altered version of The War of the Worlds in which the human race, under the leadership of Thomas Edison, takes the war between the Martians and humans back to Mars, Serviss’ story was thought to be the very first space opera. But the work that is most widely regarded as the first space opera is E. E. “Doc” Smith’s The Skylark of Space, an almost canonical “Edisonade” for half of the story. David Weber’s Honorversenovels present a view of space warfare that simply transplants the naval warfare of Horatio Nelson (and of Horatio Hornblower) into space.

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Space Fiction Authors

The authors Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Charles Stross and Robert A. Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Carl Sagan, Stephen Baxter, Larry Niven are some of the finest authors of 21 century space fiction.

15 Top Space Fiction Movies

  1. Space Sweepers
  2. Outside the Wire
  3. In the Shadow of the Moon
  4. Titan A.E.
  5. Treasure Planet
  6. Zathura: A Space Adventure
  7. Sunshine
  8. Star Trek 
  9. Moon
  10. Gravity
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy
  12. Interstellar
  13. Jupiter Ascending
  14. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  15. First Man

Space Fiction in English Literature

  1. Dune by Frank Herbert
  2. Out of Orbit by Chris Jones
  3. The Twice and Future Caesar by R. M. Meluch
  4. The Martian by Andy Weir
  5. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  6. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  7. Solaris by Stanisław Lem

7 Best Space Fiction TV Series

  1. Defying Gravity
  2. Final Space
  3. Space: Above and Beyond
  4. Virtuality
  5. Star Trek: The Next Generation
  6. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
  7. Babylon 5

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