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Science fiction is a genre of fiction. It differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation). Exploring the consequences of such differences is the traditional purpose of science fiction, making it a "literature of ideas". Science fiction is largely based on writing rationally about alternative possibilities. The settings for science fiction are often contrary to known reality.

Following the Age of Reason and the development of modern science itself, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels was one of the first true science fiction works, together with Voltaire's Micromégas and Kepler's Somnium. This latter work is considered by Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov to be the first science fiction story. It depicts a journey to the Moon and how the Earth's motion is seen from there. Another example is Ludvig Holberg's novel Nicolai Klimii iter subterraneum, 1741. (Translated to Danish by Hans Hagerup in 1742 as Niels Klims underjordiske Rejse.) (Eng. Niels Klim's Underground Travels.)

The study of science fiction, or science fiction studies, is the critical assessment, interpretation, and discussion of science fiction literature, film, new media, fandom, and fan fiction. Science fiction scholars take science fiction as an object of study in order to better understand it and its relationship to science, technology, politics, and culture-at-large.

The field has grown considerably since the 1970s with the establishment of more journals, organizations, and conferences with ties to the science fiction scholarship community, and science fiction degree-granting programs such as those offered by the University of Liverpool and Kansas University.

Selected science fiction work

Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 is a 2000 American film adaptation of the novel Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard. Directed by Roger Christian, the film stars John Travolta, Forest Whitaker, and Barry Pepper. The film depicts an Earth that has been under the rule of the alien Psychlos for 1,000 years and tells the story of the rebellion that develops when the Psychlos attempt to use the surviving humans as gold miners.

Travolta, a long-time Scientologist, had sought for many years to make a film of the novel by Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. He was unable to obtain funding from any major studio due to concerns about the film's script, prospects, and connections with Scientology. The project was eventually taken on by an independent production company, Franchise Pictures, which specialized in rescuing stars' stalled pet projects. Travolta signed on as a co-producer and contributed millions of dollars of his own money to the production, which was largely funded by a German film distribution company. Franchise Pictures was later sued by its investors and was bankrupted after it emerged that it had fraudulently overstated the film's budget by $31 million.

Battlefield Earth was released on May 12, 2000. The film was a major commercial failure and critical flop and has been widely dismissed as one of the worst films ever made. Reviewers universally panned the film, criticizing virtually every aspect of the production. Audiences were reported to have ridiculed early screenings and stayed away from the film after its opening weekend. This resulted in Battlefield Earth failing to recoup its costs. Travolta originally envisioned the film as the first of two adapted from the book, as the screenplay only covered the first half of the novel. The film's poor box office performance meant that the planned sequel would not be made.

Science fiction topics

Creators Artists (list· Authors · Editors
Media Animation · Anime and manga · Comics · Films (list· Games (board · role-playing · video· Literature (magazines · novels · poetry · stories· Opera · Radio · Television (films · list · sitcoms· Theatre
Subgenres Alternate history · Apocalyptic · Christian · Comedy · Cyberpunk (derivatives· Dying Earth · Feminist · Hard · Human society · Libertarian · Military · New Weird · Planetary romance · Recursive · Social · Soft · Space opera · Sword and planet · Tech noir · Space Western
Related genres Fantasy (Science fantasy· Mystery · Horror · Slipstream · Speculative (Weird) · Superhero
Themes Artificial intelligence · Extraterrestrials (First contact· Floating city · Lost World · Planets · Politics (Utopia/Dystopia · World government· Religion (ideas· Resizing · Sex (gender · homosexuality · reproduction· Simulated realities/Virtual worlds · Space warfare (weapons· Superpowers · Timeline (Alternative future · Future history · Hyperspace · Parallel universes · Slipstream · Time travel)
Subculture Fandom: By nationality · Conventions (list· OrganizationsStudies: Awards · Definitions · History · Journals · New Wave
By Country Australia · Bangladesh · Brazilian · Canada · China · Croatia · Czech Republic · France · Japan · Norway · Poland · Romania · Russia/Soviet Union · Serbia · Yugoslavia

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