YA Genre 101: Fantasy/Science Fiction

Happy Monday, all!  Hope your weekend was a good one.

Today we pick up with YA Genre 101.  The topic today:  Fantasy and Sci Fi. (not SyFy as the Sci Fi channel would like to spell it).

Fantasy is not all knights and gnomes and dragons, but you will find elements of magic and paranormal activity.  The story tends to take place in other worlds with magical creatures but it doesn’t have to.  Many times the story takes place in both the real world and a mysterious magical world accessed by portals of some sort.  Fantasy stories tend to steer clear of technological/scientific themes.  They usually contain elements of folklore, and mythology.

Fantasy relies heavily on world-building.  Characters and the environment have rules (as magic has rules).  Word count for fantasy YA tends to be a bit higher because of the extra need for world building.

Science Fiction is fantasy in a technological sense.  It often takes place in outer space/other planets, but it doesn’t have to – as long as the theme is scientific/technology related. Many times the plot will involve aliens, paranormal activity, space travel and parallel universes.  It is not uncommon to see the story take place in the future, though it can happen in the ‘now’ if the ‘now’ is an advanced technological race.  You’ll tend to find items like ray guns, humanoid androids and mutants.

It is not unusual to see this genre overlap with others – urban fantasy being a huge offspring of fantasy.

Samples of YA Fantasy:


Samples of YA Science Fiction:



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13 thoughts on “YA Genre 101: Fantasy/Science Fiction

    1. My guess would be because they usually both have elements very close together. They are whimsical, far-fetched notions. They are both imaginative fiction dependent upon strange settings and supernatural/unnatural beings, Sci Fi is fantasy. Even in urban fantasy, the existence of werewolves or vampires or whatever creature is the ‘fantastical’ element is fantasy. So is space travel to other worlds inhabited by aliens. Look at Gene Roddenberry and his entire Star Trek series. Totally sci fi but the stories were loaded with fantasy. You can have fantasy without science fiction but you can’t have science fiction without fantasy. At least, that’s why I think they are ‘lumped’ together.


  1. I kind of get irked when these genres are placed together. And I know they are normally entered as a pair. They are so drastically different. Why do you think they are always lumped together like they belong?


    1. I happen to completely agree with you. I love writing the worlds and the characters, though it’s difficult to do something not done before in some fashion.


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