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Science Fiction

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Daria as Barbarella

Science fiction (sometimes hyphenated as science-fiction or abbreviated as SF or sci-fi) is imaginative writing about the consequences of advancements in science and technology. Science fiction differs from fantasy in that whatever happens in science fiction is expected to be possible within the laws of nature as they are understood today or as they might be understood in the future. What happens in fantasy is assumed to be impossible under any circumstances (Clarke's Third Law aside). Speculations about exotic discoveries like teleportation, faster-than-light spacecraft, and time travel are included, as many elements of the modern world (e.g., computers, spacecraft, vaccines, nuclear power) were also once thought impossible.

Science Fiction in Daria Canon

Jane and Daria as alien sex goddesses on Sick, Sad World ("The Lawndale File")

Science fiction was only lightly touched upon in the Daria series, primarily through Artie's fantastic tales of being kidnapped by aliens and the unfortunate appearance of Daria and Jane as alien sex goddesses on Sick, Sad World. "The Lawndale File" parodied The X-Files series and other science fiction stories, but presented nothing of a true science fiction nature. The UFO convention in "Esteemsters" used its SF elements to humorous effect.

Controversial episodes that many fans consider to be fanciful, such as "Depth Takes a Holiday" and "Daria!", are here considered to be fantasy. Some fanfics spun off from those episodes, however, qualify as science fiction.

Science Fiction in Daria Fanworks

Like fantasy writing, science fiction works are usually sorted into broad subgenres like cyberpunk and alternate history. Daria SF has certain subgenres that appear frequently, while others are almost never seen (e.g., steampunk). The better-known types of Daria SF are named below, with examples of each. Crossovers are included under the appropriate heading. Note that a story can fall into multiple subgenres depending on its content.


Alien Contact

Non-Daria examples: Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Independence Day

The core of the alien contact tale is the interaction between humans (one or more of the Daria cast) and creatures or intelligent beings from other worlds. Alien invasion stories fall under this group.

Examples


Trent Lane of the rock band Teutonic Spiral

Alternate History

Non-Daria examples: Timeline-191, The Plot Against America

It is explained in the section on alternate universes that most AU Daria tales revolve around twists in the personal histories of the series cast or Lawndale alone, not the larger history of the world itself. Fanfics covering greater historical change are included here as science fiction.

Examples


Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic

Non-Daria examples: The Terminator franchise, the Mad Max franchise

Disaster on an epic scale strikes the world, and civilization crumbles before it. This can come from virtually any source, including but not limited to natural disasters, war, extra-terrestrial invasion, or pandemic. Zombie-overrun futures are very popular in the Daria fandom. In other fandoms, this sort of story is called Apocafic for "(Post-)Apocalypse fiction."

Examples


An unfortunate if rather amusing atomic mutation

Comic Science Fiction

Non-Daria examples: Galaxy Quest, Mars Attacks!

A mix of science fiction and comedy, often using SF cliches to generate amusing situations. Most comic SF in Daria fanworks tend to be parodies of and/or crossovers with other works of science fiction comedy.

Examples

Cyberpunk and Postcyberpunk

Non-Daria examples: Neuromancer, The Diamond Age

Cyberpunk stories revolve around near-future settings in which technology has continued to advance while society has gradually decayed. Cybernetics, advanced computer systems, and corporate corruption are common themes in this subgenre. Postcyberpunk features much the same, but tends to focus on nanotechnology and a more optimistic, less gritty view of the future.

Examples


Gadget SF

Non-Daria examples: The James Bond film series, The Rocketeer

Someone invents or otherwise stumbles across a futuristic gadget or gadgets. This tends to cause trouble, either through unexpected effects of the device itself or because other people are willing to go to desperate lengths to procure the item for themselves.

Examples


The Tombot

Mecha SF

Non-Daria examples: The Gundam franchise, Robot Jox

Mechas are large, human-piloted robots that are typically designed for combat purposes. These machines can range virtually any size, from just slightly larger than the human inside to taller than skyscrapers. Most instances of mecha SF in Daria fanworks are crossovers with anime series, in which the mecha subgenre is very popular.

Examples


Soft and Social SF

Non-Daria examples: 1984, Fahrenheit 451

Social SF concentrates on the "soft" sciences of psychology, sociology, political theory, and the like. The harder, technological advances themselves present in these stories often take a back seat to the societal, mental, and philosophical ramifications that they cause by their existence. In some cases, the "hard" SF elements may be done away with entirely to focus solely on the changes made to the overall human condition.

Examples


Jodie lands on the moon

Spaceflight

Non-Daria examples: The Astronaut Farmer, the Star Trek franchise, Space Truckers

Spaceflight based SF covers a broad range of stories which heavily utilize the creation, discovery, and use of spacecraft. This includes near-future stories in which Daria characters visit local astronomical areas and phenomenon, such as the moon or Mars, and more distant tales involving the exploration of faraway sectors of space via faster-than-light technology or cryogenic sleeper ships.

Examples


Time-traveling Jane fixes the Sphinx

Time Travel

Non-Daria examples: The Time Machine, Timeline

Whether into the past or into the future, time travel presents special opportunities and dangers.

Examples


Science Fiction vs. Science Fantasy

Science fantasy is a genre that combines elements of science fiction with fantasy. Unlike science fiction, science fantasy works on rules that are more ill-defined, and may even include entirely impossible elements that are merely treated as if they have a scientific basis. Some science fantasy may include straight science fiction, but also has straight fantasy elements such as magic featured alongside it. As it is difficult to quantify exactly how much infused fantasy causes the flip from one genre to the other, a hard line may never be drawn between the two genres.