“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clark
(All works mentioned here are trademarks of their respective authors or media companies).
Science Fantasy is any story that mixes elements of science fiction – the world that could be, of science and technology – and fantasy – the world that couldn’t, of magic. The levels to which they can be combined range on a scale of mostly fantasy with some science fiction elements, such as the Shannara series, to heavy science fiction with some fantasy elements, such as Star Wars. Then there are those where both elements exist side by side, such as He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, a sword and sorcery franchise that has high tech elements just as much as magic; and the Final Fantasy video game franchise; and also the horror franchise of H.P Lovecraft. Sometimes, such as in the computer game, The Longest Journey, these two genres are at odds against each other.
Some, such as Dr. Who, have fantasy elements which always turn out to be science fiction elements. On the other hand The Legend of Korra has science fiction elements that are made possible through the fantasy elements. These I would also classify as science fantasy. On the other hand, works such as Sherlock Holmes or Scooby Doo, where fantastic elements are revealed to be hoaxes, I do not consider to be science fantasy.
So the line is subtle and blurred. However, if one can find the stories within the borders of the genre, I believe some of the greatest speculative fiction are written. This is why I have chosen this sub-genre, or pan-genre if you prefer. It forces the author, in this case myself, to stretch one’s imagination to see how science and technology either co-exist or come into conflict with each other. It also helps to break out of the medieval stasis that many fantasy novels suffer from, a trope I feel is a dead horse that has been beaten so much that nothing of said horse is recognizable.
I hope to be able to share this passion with you, and that you will come to enjoy it as much as I.
Source: Tyler Leonhardt – On Science Fantasy