Science fantasy  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Science fantasy is a mixed genre within speculative fiction drawing elements from both science fiction and fantasy.

Historical view

The label first came into wide use after many science fantasy stories were published in the pulp magazines, such as Robert A. Heinlein's Magic, Inc. and L. Ron Hubbard's Slaves of Sleep. Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp produced the Harold Shea series. All were relatively rationalistic stories published in John W. Campbell, Jr.'s Unknown Magazine. These were a deliberate attempt to apply the techniques and attitudes of science fiction to traditional fantasy and legendary subjects. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction published, among other things, all but the last of the Operation series, by Poul Anderson.

Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore published novels in Startling Stories, alone and together, which were far more romantic. These were closely related to the work that they and others were doing for outlets like Weird Tales, such as Moore's Northwest Smith stories cited above.

Early science fiction book publisher Gnome Press published Robert E. Howard's Conan the Conqueror in hardback in 1950 with the book clearly labeled "science fantasy" on the dustjacket.

Ace Books published a number of books as science fantasy during the 1950s and '60s. Many of them, such as Leigh Brackett's Mars stories, are still regarded as such. Conan the Conqueror was published as an Ace Double with Brackett's Sword of Rhiannon. Others, such as Andre Norton's Witch World books, are now considered outright fantasy. Mercedes Lackey has discussed this period in her recent introduction to an omnibus edition of the first three Witch World books. In the U.S. at that time, these were almost the only stories which used that label.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Science fantasy" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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