Difference Between Science Fiction and Fantasy


Main Difference

The main difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy is that Science Fiction is almost related to real things and based on technology, whereas Fantasy has no grounding in reality.

Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

Science fiction deals with technology and scenarios. Fantasy deals with magical occurrences; they have no basis in reality and science. Science fiction contains speculative fiction set in a naturalistic universe. Fantasy is a subclass of uncertain fiction set in a non-naturalistic universe. Science fiction is a genre based on future science and technological advances. Fantasy is a genre that uses supernatural elements as the main plot, theme, or setting.


Science fiction has its importance and foundation in science. Fantasy not based on science and reality. Science fiction describes improbable possibilities. Fantasy represents plausible impossibilities. Science fiction involves scientific concepts. Fantasy involves imaginary concepts. Science fiction can be about robots, space, and aliens. Fantasy is talking about something immortal. Science fiction is possible because it based on facts—fantasy not based on facts, so it is not possible. Science fiction displays things that could possibly take place in the real world. Fantasy is the realism of things that are unlikely to happen.

Science fiction doesn’t use supernatural elements. However, fantasy uses magic or supernatural things. Science fiction has technology-based plots or themes. Fantasy has magical themes or plots. Science fiction can be possible and contrary to reality. Fantasy can’t be possible and is far from reality. In science fiction, stories are related to rational or reasonable things. In fantasy, stories not based on rational and logical things.


Comparison Chart

Science FictionFantasy
Science fiction means imagined future scientific or technological advancesImagining impossible and improbable things is known as fantasy
Related To
Real thingsThings that do not exist in real life
Based On
Technology and scienceUnreal things

What is Science Fiction?

Science fiction can divide into different categories hard science fiction, soft science fiction, cyber fiction, time travel, social science fiction, alternate fiction, military science fiction, superhero fiction, mystery fiction fandom, and community fiction. Science fiction deals with futuristic settings and plot themes such as time travel, extraterrestrial life, space travel, parallel universe, and different futuristic scientific inventions.

In science fiction, we will talk about things that could happen in the real world. However, science fiction is a plausible theory and can explain through science and logical reasoning. Science fiction categorized into hard and soft science fiction. Hard science fiction contains astrophysics, chemistry, etc. Soft science fiction contains sociology, economics, anthropology, etc.

In Webster’s New World Dictionary, science fiction is defined as “systemized knowledge that derived from observations and study.” Science knows things are real because they are observable and repeatable in the real world around us. Word science fiction is difficult to narrate properly. Science fiction includes an extensive range of concepts, themes, or plots.

In the opinion of Robert A. Heinlein, the definition of science fiction is realist speculation with manageable future situations that are based on adequate proper awareness of the real-world about its present and past, and knowledge of nature and its importance. Science fiction usually called sci-fi. Science fiction is such a literature content that is imaginative but related to science or technology.

What is Fantasy?

Fantasy is a genre that used as a supernatural element as a main plot or theme. Most of the stories that belong to this genre take place in imaginary worlds, where supernatural and magical creatures exist. Fantasy is said to be one of the oldest genres in literature. Many myths, legends are also belonging to this genre of fantasy. However, modern fantasy fictions often belong to folklore and mythology. George and Martin’s song “ice on fire,” Tolkien’s hobbit of Lord of the ring, and Lewis’s Chronicles and Rowling’s Harry Potter series are some popular works of this genre.

Fantasy is a fictional universe genre. Roots of fantasy are in old traditions which came up as a drama and literature later on. In the 20th century, it expanded into different media like television, video games, graphic novels, and film. Fantasy is different from other categories of science fiction and horror just because of the lack of creative scientific themes. Fantasy is a category of imaginative fiction associated with adventure and magic, generally setting in another world than the real world.

Fantasy uses mystic or other unbelievable elements as a plot or theme. In the world of fantasy, magical brutes are influential. Many of the fantasy authors used mythology and folklore as inspiration. Another basic rule of fantasy category is the engrossment of some psychic things like magic and other supernatural things. Word Fantasy means to envisage; this might involve other special magical powers such as dragons, unicorns, or a non-existent best friend.

Key Differences

  1. Science fiction has its grounding, whereas fantasy has no grounding.
  2. Science fiction is possible; on the other hand, fantasy is not possible.
  3. Science fiction based on real facts; conversely, fantasy is based on totally imaginary and not based on facts.
  4. Science fiction is almost related to real things; on the flip side, fantasy is related to things that don’t exist in this world.
  5. Science fiction is all about technologies and science. However, fantasy is about imagination only.
  6. Themes in science fiction contrary to reality, while fantasy uses supernatural forms and magic in its theme.
  7. Science fiction established on scientific concepts. Although fantasy based on imaginary concepts.
  8. Science fiction is possible; contrarily, fantasy is impossible.
  9. Though science fiction is a theme or plan, while the fantasy is future science
  10. Science fiction is the future genre; on the flip side, fantasy is an older genre.
  11. Science fiction is said to be possible because it based on facts, while fantasy doesn’t have any base or roots.
  12. Science fiction is an unreal future that belongs to scientific or technological promotions, utmost social or other environmental changes. However, fantasy belongs to horror movies.
  13. Science fiction involves different laws or theories of science; on the flip side, fantasy means to imagine the occurrence of fantasizing.
  14. Science fiction makes logical sense and contains scenarios and technologies about science, while in modern culture, fantasy is predominantly features of medieval nature.
  15. Science fiction is a new category of the last century; on the other hand, fantasy is an older category.


It is concluded that science fiction is a reality, and fantasy is just imagination and magical thoughts.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson