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The difference between science fiction and fantasy: what every screenwriter needs to know

* Superman.jpgBy: Script Magazine

We all know him: Kal-El, the last son of Krypton. He's faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and is able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Known as "the man of steel," Superman emulates truth, justice and the American way. Most of us love, or at least like him. Given the choice of superpowers to pick from, I imagine most of us would choose his. But to the writer, and more specifically, the screenwriter, what is Superman?

Is Superman a product of science fiction? Let's look. He's an alien from the planet Krypton. He flies to Earth in a technologically advanced spacecraft-the same technology that creates his fortress of solitude in the frozen arctic. His arch nemesis, Lex Luthor, is an evil genius who uses advanced technology in never-ending attempts to thwart, kill and otherwise maim Superman. It's settled then; Superman is science fiction.

Or is it? Look closer. He's bulletproof, can fly, is super strong and fast, with X-ray heat vision, freezing breath and super hearing. Superman's powers break every law of physics with no explanation other than the fact that he's an alien. Clearly then, Superman must fall within the mysterious genre of fantasy.

24th December 2017




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