Science Fantasy – TV Tropes
Pearl: Fantasy is for babies. It’s just a bunch of make-believe fairy tales. Sci-fi, on the other hand, is a thinking-squid’s genre. It’s about exploring the potential of our universe… based on actual science.
Marina: Space dragons are actual science?
Robots and wizards, spaceships and dragons, lasers and fireballs. Mix these ingredients in your cyber-witch’s boiling pot of dark matter, and you’ve got yourself Science Fantasy.
Science Fiction and Fantasy stories can be difficult to tell apart under normal circumstances, as all but the very hardest sci-fi introduces some hypothetical technology that one has to take on faith, like FTL Travel or Humanoid Aliens. And at the other end of the scale, even High Fantasy works have consistency requirements like Magic A Is Magic A, which can blur the line into Sufficiently Analyzed Magic.
Science Fantasy works, on the other hand, take traditional Fantasy and Science Fiction tropes and throw them in a blender, purposely creating a setting that has the feel of both. Expect to see a lot of classic Fantasy tropes (e.g. warriors with swords, dragons, wizards, castles, and elves) and a lot of standard Science Fiction tropes (e.g. spaceships, aliens, lasers, scientists, robots, and Time Travel).
In any event, it’s bound to include Sufficiently Analyzed Magic, Magitek, Functional Magic, Magic from Technology, Fantasy Aliens, and probably Scientifically Understandable Sorcery. Sometimes, it may contain so much fantasy and science fiction as to be both Fantasy Kitchen Sink and Sci-Fi Kitchen Sink.
It should be noted that some works may slant towards one or the other, yet still contain elements of both. Science Fantasy lies near the middle of a continuum between Science Fiction and Fantasy, so there will naturally be a wide range of works that lie somewhere between “Fantasy with a dash of Sci-Fi” and “Sci-Fi with a smidgen of Fantasy”. For an explanation of why the genres are so linked, see the analysis page on Speculative Fiction.
Subtrope of Speculative Fiction, under which all Fantasy and Science Fiction falls. Compare Urban Fantasy, Gaslamp Fantasy, Space Opera, Dungeon Punk, and Planetary Romance. Contrast How Unscientific!, where the mix of genres seems out of place; Magic Versus Science, where both aspects are in a rivalry, and The Magic Versus Technology War, where an in-universe warfare happens between wizards and scientists. Compare and contrast Doing In the Wizard and Doing In the Scientist, which retcons a fantasy element to a sci-fi one and vice versa. Compare and contrast Fantastic Science, where magic operates by logical rules similar to real-world science and The Spark of Genius, where powers and abilities that operate like fantasy magic are dressed up in scientific trappings.
Science fantasy may also arguably describe character oriented stories where the fantastic elements are very subtle and are common to both science fiction and fantasy. Examples could include Paranormal Romance which just happens to involve Applied Phlebotinum, Time Travel or Artificial Intelligence. Many such stories strive to keep the fantastic elements understated (often in the form of minimal Special Effects) in the interest of focusing on human drama.
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- ARIA is set in a replica of Venice on the planet Aqua (née Mars), there are elaborate technological control systems maintaining the environment — floating islands for climate control, underground facilities for enhancing the planet’s gravity — the works. Then the cast is caught up in supernatural time travel and ghosts of the past appear. This sounds like the setting for a gripping tale of planetary exploration and the technological and social struggles of the colonists as they deal with a mysterious past. But really, it’s just an excuse for Scenery Porn, as the female gondoliers float through a beautiful, peaceful city in their happy-go-lucky lives.
- Aura Battler Dunbine was a noteworthy Humongous Mecha anime because it was a Yoshiyuki Tomino work and because it happened in a medieval setting full with unicorns, fairies… and giant robots. And that medieval world was a parallel dimension the main character arrived at through a dimensional gate.
- A Certain Magical Index‘s Tag Line is “when science and magic cross paths”, and draws liberally from all sorts of speculative fiction and fantasy tropes for each story arcs.
- Digimon is set in a digital world that in later seasons is accessed by a computer. The titular Mons have magical powers and many are based off mythical beasts.
- Dragon Ball:
- Dragon Ball starts out as a new rendition of a fantastic Chinese folk tale, with some science-fiction elements on the side (everything made by Capsule Corp).
- Dragon Ball Z introduces alien invaders, space travel, androids, and it all gets weirder from there. The final arc involved Wizards from Outer Space, and an unstoppable pink blob-monster from near the dawn of time.
- Dragon Ball GT
- Dragon Ball Super also throws destructive gods and The Multiverse into the mix.
- EDENS ZERO is described by Hiro Mashima himself as “space fantasy”, which he was inspired to create due to his misconception as a kid that this is what the abbreviation “SF” (science fiction) stood for. It’s set in a largely futuristic Magitek universe filled with aliens, robots, and space travel—barring some more primitive worlds—some of which is deliberately modeled after a fantasy setting, such as the robotic Demon King who came from a fantasy theme park and ruled the cosmos (but was actually a swell guy). The main characters and several others also have a superhuman ability from the “Dark Ages” called Ether Gear, which is Magic by Any Other Name.
- El-Hazard: The Magnificent World is another series that blends science fiction with fantasy, featuring a story centered around a time paradox set in a land rife with magic and supernatural wonder. Yet, there are remnants of ancient technology as well, such as the Stairway to the Sky, the Eye of God, and the demon dolls.
- Hunter × Hunter is set in a world brimming with strange fantasy creatures and mythical locations juxtaposed with modern cities and cutting-edge technology, and characters can manipulate their auras to use Nen, which gives them access to fantastic abilities.
- The Leijiverse has this in spades.
- In Lyrical Nanoha, the Space-Time Administration Bureau that the main characters work for is like Star Trek‘s Federation, except where Star Trek would have a piece of Techno Babble to power its futuristic devices, Nanoha just uses magic. Magical Energy Weapons, magical Faster-Than-Light Travel, magical Cyborgs, magical artificial intelligence with Windows-esque error codes…
- Mahou Sensei Negima! seemed to be straight Urban Fantasy at first, what with the mages and golems and vampires. Then Chachamaru came in. And the Mad Scientists. And the Magic Internet. And the magical Playful Hacker vs The Cracker face-off in cyberspace. And the Martian Time Traveller from the future with Humongous Mecha and Mecha-Mooks. And it is implied that the magic world is actually on Mars. It ends up as sci-fi and fantasy in a blender.
- One-Punch Man is set in a sci-fi/fantasy world of superheroes fighting against supervillains and monsters.
- Outlaw Star has spaceships and aliens, but the Space Pirates use Chi Magic and the most popular resort world in the galaxy was originally a Mana mine. The main character’s signature weapon is a fireball-flinging Magitek pistol.
- In Panzer World Galient the setting was a typical medieval fantasy world… with giant robots thrown in the mix. Later events show the setting to be closer to a science fiction story set in a medieval society (with a plot inspired by heroic fantasy tropes) than it is a high fantasy story that features giant robots.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica is primarily a Magical Girl show, yet it takes place in a rather futuristic city. On top of that, the conflict in the series stems from the approaching heat death of the universe, and at one point Kyubey gives a (dumbed-down) explaination of entropy to Madoka. The science part really comes in when Kyubey’s full motivation for recruiting magical girls is revealed. He and his race are Sufficiently Advanced Aliens attempting to stop the heat death of the universe. Magical girls, who become witches, really are magical and not bound by the laws of physics, so the energy their despair produces can be used to fight entropy. Indeeed, its considered a sci-fi series in many circles, and fans like to discuss the science in this series; even SF Debris reviewed it.
- Sailor Moon is largely an Urban Fantasy Magical Girl Warrior series, but the S season shifts toward this, due to Big Bad Professor Tomoe being a Mad Scientist using technologically-created Daimons in his quest for magical talismans. The Sailor Guardians were also Human Aliens in their past lives, and the majority of monsters are extraplanetary aliens of some kind.
- Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru is filled with sci-fi and Japanese folklore-like elements. It has cyborgs, virtual reality game systems, and robotic animals all powered but souls and magic.
- Scrapped Princess blends fantasy and sci-fi elements, with a world seemingly in Medieval Stasis where magic and Tron Lines abound. Then adds Ruins of the Modern Age and the Skid into the mix and the existences of Xeferis, and Natalie, who’re dragoons that link with their masters. And the Peacemakers, who are a powerful race of alien overlords who can enslave the minds of all who gaze upon them. And their true forms resemble Humongous Mecha!
- StarTwinkle Pretty Cure is a Magical Girl show whose theme is outer space, and one of the magical girls is a Human Alien. Many of the villains are also based on various Youkai despite being aliens, in a similar vein to Urusei Yatsura.
- Urusei Yatsura technically may be a sci-fi, but essentially all of the aliens are some form of Youkai from Japanese Mythology: Lum is from the Planet Oni, Oyuki the Yuki Onna is from Neptune, etc. In practice, anything from Science Fiction or Fantasy can happen from Time Travel to Onmyōdō exorcisms, so long as it’s funny.
- The Vision of Escaflowne has a girl from present day Earth being magically transported to Gaia, a sort of hidden moon from where she can see the Earth and the Moon. In this world, feudal states, Italian-like and Arabian-like cities, and a superior technological empire are at war, using Mechas that are powered by dragon hearts. Oh, and there are Fairies, but we won’t call them that.
- Wolf’s Rain: Technology meets mythology. In an incredibly twist at the end of the series, you’d think the entire story happened centuries in the future, when in reality it was 10,000 years in the past.
- WorldEnd: What Do You Do at the End of the World? Are You Busy? Will You Save Us? seems like a pretty standard fantasy world at first, with floating islands and various fantastical races. However, its later revealed that the gods who created the world were actually Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. It also turns out they only terraformed the planet the story takes place on. The primary antagonists of the series are actually the planet’s original inhabitants who seek to reverse the Visitors terraforming and restore the world to the way it once was.
- Zombiepowder. flavors it with Western themes. At the same time as you have gunplay, chainswords, bounty hunting, and gangs of outlaws, you have strange arts bordering on magic, people who can teleport, and rings that eat life force and can use it to revive the dead and make the living immortal.
Comic BooksSuperhero comic universes in general, such as the ones published by DC and Marvel, don’t so much straddle the line as obliterate it, in that ray-guns and magical spells coexist quite comfortably.
- Judge Dredd: The Dreddverse is mostly a sci-fi dystopian urban sprawl with robots, mutants, hoverships, and colonization of deep space, but there are quite a lot of supernatural elements, including psychics, undead enemies, demonic possession, and various types of magic.
- Marvel Universe
- Pathfinder: Worldscape takes place in a plane of existence that draws warriors from three different settings such as the titular campaign (which already features this trope, as seen in the “Tabletop Games” folder below), Earth in its various timelines including Hyborian Age and Mars. As result, we have sorcerers prancing about in airships and radium guns being wielded alongside swords and magic.
- Rom Spaceknight features a cyborg knight from a faraway planet coming to Earth to thwart an invasion of evil alien wizards.
- Saga is set against the backdrop of a Magic vs. Technology War, with the winged natives of the planet Landfall bearing high-tech weapons against the horned and magically-inclined denizens of the moon of Wreath. Various trappings of both sci-fi and fantasy also present throughout the series, including a race of robots living in a medieval monarchy, spaceships made out of trees, dragons, sentient animaloid races, and ghosts.
- Soulfire takes place in the Cyberpunk future of 2211 AD and is about a boy whose destiny is to bring magic back into the world.
Fan WorksMany fanfics will fall into this category, usually crossovers between works on opposite ends of the speculative fiction scale.
- Always Having Juice is set on an alien planet in a fictional planetary system with at least two other life-sustaining planets in it, and Everyone is a Super (and because of their Bizarre Alien Biology if one’s not, it’s curtains for them…) with Floating Continents kept afloat by magical (and occasionally evil) artifacts from the ancient past. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
- Child of the Storm features this, true to its comics roots, mixing up A.I. with Genius Loci, magic and technology — though there tends to be a little more emphasis on magic than technology.
- The Conversion Bureau, is set Twenty Minutes In The Future with A.I. handling most menial tasks, holograms everywhere, cybernetic upgrades readily available, and the early phases of space colonization. With the emergence of Equestria there are also spell casting unicorns, weather controlling pegasi, monsters from across many mythologies, and two Physical Gods of the moon and sun.
- Crucible (Mass Effect) started with the time travelled Ad Astra which continue the sci-fi theme from canon, then the existence of living stars was revealed which kinda ventured out of this, and then ghosts/souls started to popping here and there and finally Death himself appeared which firmly pushed the series into Fantasy theme. And don’t even get into what Shepard actually is and was or whom she’s connected to.
- Glorious Shotgun Princess is a crossover between the (comparatively) hard Sci-Fi of Mass Effect, and the clearly fantasy (and Kung-Fu) world of Exalted.
- In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, C’hou has become a massive Science Fantasy Kitchen Sink, blending magic and tech much more thoroughly, with outworlders who embody everything from The Flintstones caveman-type tech to AD&D adventuring parties to Star Trek expys, and where you can go from a monster-filled dungeon to a high-tech city just by walking through a jump gate. Or, at least, so it seems; the entire thing is actually a giant telepathic MMORPG, and the real C’hou is more or less what it used to be (which is still science fantasy, albeit less so).
- Mass Effect Human Revolution starts out as Space Film Noir, but fantasy elements start creeping in from the Caleston arc onwards due to the lingering effects of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
- The universe of Sonic X: Dark Chaos, being essentially a twisted mixture of Warhammer 40,000 and Shin Megami Tensei, runs entirely with this. It combines Space Opera science fiction mixed in with magical Chaos powers, Lovecraftian horrors, and Sufficiently Advanced Aliens.
- Undocumented Features, a Mega Crossover, fuses many Fantasy and Science Fiction sources into a single narrative. For example, a Norse God used dimension door to get his party onto the Klingon Space Pirates‘ ship, whereupon their sorceress summoned a protective wall of roses as they hacked the computer to gain control of the ship — all while a Space Battle was going between the two ships outside.
- With Strings Attached completely blurs the lines between fantasy and science fiction. The planet C’hou has the quasi-Victorian land of Ketafa, with its guns, factories, and occasional motorized vehicle, and the exceptionally nonstandard fantasy continent of Baravada; the Fans influence events via Magitek and watch things on their computer screen; and the four visit three wildly different worlds on their Vasyn quest, including a 1950s parallel New York-Xanth expy, a universe where science has overtaken magic (but it still has its adherents), and a more traditionally magical world of adventure that was partially put together with Magitek.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- The Chronicles of Riddick series shifted into this with The Chronicles of Riddick, the second film. Pitch Black was fairly hard sci-fi, but Riddick 2 introduces superhuman warriors on a holy crusade led by an Evil Overlord, elemental alien seers, and a prophecy saying that Riddick (now the last living member of an extinct Proud Warrior Race destroyed by the Overlord) will be the one to kill the Necromonger leader. It still comes off as a strange mix with Low Fantasy, as the harder elements are still present in every scene that doesn’t involve the Necros.
- Electric Dreams: A 1980s era home computer achieves sentience because its owner accidentally spills sparkling wine on the keyboard. It also seizes control of all the household appliances, and starts writing love songs for its owner’s girlfriend (much like Cyrano de Bergerac). Naturally, a Love Triangle Ensues.
- The Godzilla franchise has monsters of both magical and scientific origin fighting or teaming up with each other, sometimes within the same movie.
- Immortal is set in the future and features things such as flying cars, human augmentation, and other sci-fi conventions, but there are also Egyptian gods running amok with supernatural powers.
- Prisoners of the Lost Universe has humans from a modern Earth enter a Heroic Fantasy type world via a dimensional transporter.
- The genre of Star Wars was explicitly stated by Lucas to be space fantasy. It’s the story of a farmboy who meets an old wizard, learns magic and swordfighting from him, and then fights an evil wizard and a dark knight. He travels throughout strange lands where he meets monsters, rescues princesses, and… flies a spaceship. Because all this takes place in another galaxy where space aliens fight with laser guns and manual labor is done by robots. The prequels participate in some Doing In the Wizard, but even they don’t try to explain the ghosts and the prophecies. The massive Expanded Universe gives us dragons, magical artifacts… and also features mass dewizardification, Depending on the Writer.
- Sucker Punch: The third battle scene is this at level 11. When Goblins are perfectly capable of being catapulted onto your World-war 2 gunship, and your assault rifle’s bullets are just bouncing off that big dragon’s hide, you realize that yeah, you’re in a Science Fantasy scene.
- The Acts of Caine mixes a Cyberpunk future Dystopy with a High Fantasy world far Darker and Edgier and Bloodier and Gorier than your usual one.
- Almost Night has vampires, werewolves, a troll, an elf, the main character drinks a magic potion, and the plot is centered around the spell book of an evil wizard. However, there are flying cars, space travel, a space empire, aliens, and laser guns.
- The Apprentice Adept series fits perfectly. The setting is one world split across two realities. One of them is called Proton, which is high tech, while the other is known as Phaze, where magic prevails.
- Artemis Fowl: This is a major part of the premise, as the novels focus on Artemis’ interactions with magic and the fairy folk while both sides make use of highly advanced technology. It’s squarely between the two as well. The first book follows a boy trying to steal gold from a leprechaun — done up as a high-tech heist movie! The boy is an wealthy evil prodigy, the gold is a ransom, and the leprechaun is actually an agent of Lower Elements Police reconnaissance (LEPrecon). Book number five has Artemis calculating, mathematically, the exact time that demons would appear out of nowhere (It Makes Sense in Context) due to magic, and the use of a high-yield bomb to power a spell. Someone once described the first book as “Die Hard WITH FAIRIES“. Apt.
- The Belisarius Series has sword-bearing warriors, robots, scizo-tech, time-travel, visions of the future, and all, all mixed up.
- The Bone Season is set in an Alternate History Cyberpunk England and adds in people with Psychic Powers and Rephaim, a race that combines characteristics of The Fair Folk and vampires.
- Book of the New Sun series is set After the End in a Schizo Tech world mixing feudalism (and a Low Fantasy style of narration) with space travel, androids, laser weapons, etc. However, there is a device the protagonist gets a hold of called the Claw of the Conciliator which appears to be magical with no scientific explanation. Generally sold as science fiction. One reviewer comparing the tetralogy with the fifth book, The Urth of the New Sun described the first four books as “science fiction pretending to be fantasy”, and the fifth as “fantasy pretending to be science fiction”.
- The Cthulhu Mythos is considered an example of Dark Fantasy, and it’s not without reasons: it revolves around a pantheon of incomprehensible gods, many of whom are worshipped by cultists who wish to summon them through occult means. There are also Spell Books, most notably the Necronomicon, as well as malevolent wizards and witches, with one god in particular- Yog-Sothoth -often serving as their patron. However, the gods in question are actually aliens from different parts of the universe (such as Yuggoth), and the “magic” is implied to be a case of Clarke’s Third Law.
- The Dante Valentine series is set a few hundred years in the future on an Earth where demons, necromancy, golems, Healing Hands, and the Devil himself exist side-by-side with computers, firearms, Hover Boards, and Frickin’ Laser Beams. The series uses elements of Sufficiently Analyzed Magic (e.g. the setting’s version of vampires, the Nichtvren, reproduce partially through a retroviral infection), but not everything can apparently be analyzed (there’s apparently an “etheric transfer” involved in Nichtvren as well).
- The Dark Angel Trilogy has flaming swords, unicorns and vampires. It is set in the distant future, when the Moon has long since been terraformed into a lush paradise complete with its own animals, plants, and races.
- The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, set in a post-apocalyptic world where oil refineries, nuclear-powered water pumps, and the music of ZZ Top co-exist with wizards, succubi, and gunslingers who fight for truth and justice in the Arthurian tradition.
- The Dragaera books look at first to be typical Dungeon Punk, with magic, elves (OK, “Dragaerans”), swordfights, et cetera. However, careful inspection indicates science-fictional underpinnings: humans (“Easterners”) are from “small invisible lights” (meaning the stars, invisible in the Empire because of the enclouding), genetics and gene manipulation are well-understood, and some characters view abstract concepts like “the soul” as matters of engineering, not religion. Let’s not even get started on the gods and the nature of magic…
- The Dune series is usually considered science fiction, but after Star Wars it might be the best well-known example. The Galaxy has an Emperor and several rival feudal-aristocratic family rule over even complete planets. There is quasi-magic, Jedi-like women wizard-advisors-priestess-Mistresses. Monsters. Sci-fi setting is clear.
- Feral runs on this. While magic does exist, ‘wizard’ may well be the same as ‘scientist’, with use of scientific thought and processes throughout the story. The story takes place after its worlds creation of the printing press, and it’s stated multiple times that its creation is more important than anything other device. Char, the main character, uses science and magic to create armor and weapons, including a blunderbuss whose gunpowder is lit by a fire rune.
- The First Dwarf King uses this beautifully. Much of the first act takes place in a world populated by humans, elves, dwarves, orcs, and demons. Sounds like a Standard Fantasy Setting, right? Well, the races have gotten to the point where they use guns in the place of bows and arrows, which they wield tandem with swords, axes, and warhammers. In addition, the second act reveals a race of aliens living on an island off the coast, whose society utilizes the equivalent of 21st century technology. Just to make things even more complicated, the aliens’ closest allies are a race of Lizard Folk who live in Medieval Stasis by choice, yet have also developed a fleet of airships. The lizards also have a Church Militant whose members can call upon their god to summon katanas out of thin air. And that’s just scratching the surface. The story also uses this trope in its setting and backstory. The universe was created by an omnipotent entity who used evolution to set the races on their course to sentience. Humans, elves, dwarves, orcs, and Redariam evolved from apes, while the Tarsi evolved from ancient reptiles.
- Freakling by Lana Krumwiede is set in an after the end crapsaccharine world with some advanced technology and where people have psychic powers.
- Glory Road is a reconstruction of pulp adventure novels with an ordinary modern day man swashbuckling his way across several savage planets inhabited by “dragons” and other such beasties in search of a device that recorded the memories of all the Empresses of the Fifty Universes.
- Grunts! starts out as a stereotypical fantasy world told from the point of view of a tribe of Orcs. There’s a Last Battle, a Dark Lord, a Nameless Necromancer, halfling thieves, The Dark Lands, and all the things you’d normally expect to find in a High Fantasy world. Then the orcs get their hands on modern firearms (from our universe via a magic portal). Cue an elephant made to fly with anti-gravity and a cloaking stealth dragon. Then Aliens invade!
- His Dark Materials should fit in this. There are plenty of things that should go well with science fiction (the fact that Dust is a particle, the numerous technologies that look as if they came from various degrees of civilization, from Steampunk worlds to things akin to those you’d see on hard science fiction (especially in the last book), the alternate evolutionary paths of life on Earth seen in some worlds like that of the mulefa, etc.), but there are plenty of themes that should connect it to at least Low Fantasy (the witches, the fact that Dust is conscious, the armoured polar bears, etc.)
- Illium, by Dan Simmons, in breathtaking style. There are space robots called Moravecs, exotic rocket propulsion, planetary rings, teleportation, a space plane that is the essence of a UFO, and the entire Greek Pantheon. Throughout the book and its sequel, Olympos, the Moravecs are skeptical that these gods are genuinely gods and not some high-tech trickery.
- InterWorld features a multiverse organized as an arc, with the worlds on one side being ones where magic is in control, and worlds on the other where science is the dominant paradigm. Each end is ruled by a multiplanar empire, one representing Magic and one representing Science, which are both trying to take over the entire multiverse. There is a third organization, made up of different versions of the main character, who fight both sides and have the ability to travel freely between worlds, who move about the center of the arc.
- In The Locked Tomb series, spaceships, LED lighting, and comic books coexist with necromancy powered by the fundamental energies of death and life, animating skeletons, and summoning ghosts.
- The Lord Darcy stories by Randall Garrett are a Sherlock Holmes-style mystery series set in an alternate history with very rule-based magic. While technology (and politics) has barely equaled the gaslight-era by the 1970s, magic has effectively reached a bit higher than modern day technology. And magic isn’t just useful, it’s carefully codified, requiring as much study, repeatability and dedication (and certification, licensing and taxes) as modern engineering or medicine. Though now commonly billed as fantasy, most of the stories originally saw the light of day in either Analog Science Fiction or Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. Randall Garrett once stated that Lord Darcys world and ours shared the same laws of physics. He defined the magic of Darcys world as a form of psionics, which he thought of as a real-world phenomenon.
- Downplayed in Lucifer’s Star by C.T. Phipps where people duel with swords, fight with shields, and have nobles. They also possess dragons and unicorns for pets. This is all due to Sufficiently Advanced science, though with fantasy worlds being a popular archetype to terraform your colony around.
- The Machineries of Empire mixes spaceships, sentient AI and FTL travel with living shadows, possession and calendar-based Reality Warping.
- Anne McCaffrey:
- Acorna and sequels are about a foundling creature who looks like a “unicorn girl”, complete with a horn on her forehead, unearthly beauty, and the power to purify water and air. Except she’s not exactly magical: she’s an alien, and the setting is basic science fiction with spaceships and interplanetary travel. Double subverted when it is revealed that her species is genetically-engineered by aliens who combined their own DNA with that of unicorns they rescued from Earth.
- The Dragonriders of Pern books feature intelligent, telepathic, teleporting, and occasionally time-traveling dragons. These are just genetically engineered upgrades of pre-existing diminutive “dragons”, which have similar powers, though this Lost Technology aspect isn’t explored until the prequels. Later books also feature a supercomputer. McCaffrey always maintained that the books are Science Fiction rather than fantasy, as everything is based on hard science, and she spoke to many authorities in various sciences to work out the specifics of the world and the things that happen on it.
- In The Ship Who Won, a Role-Playing Game-obsessed space ship crew discovers a planet where magic actually works. (Until they discover the inhabitants are just abusing a Sufficiently Advanced weather-control system). Definitely sold as Sci-Fi.
- The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson takes elements such as evil spirits, haunted houses, and your classic Knight in Shining Armor and throws them in with things like air-ships, chainsaw-like weapons, and energy-based superweapons.
- The Nomes Trilogy is a good example of genre blending. All three books are written as a Borrowers/Littles sort of “tiny people living undetectably amongst us” story, except that it is revealed that the Nomes are in fact aliens marooned on Earth who have devolved somewhat, who only realize what they are when “The Thing”, a mysterious box that one of the characters carries, starts talking and turns out to be a sentient computer.
- The Play Places universe is science fantasy and not sci-fi according to its author, although this has yet to be seen from the ending.
- The Radiant Dawn mixes science fiction (the alien Wutner race), urban fantasy (the guns used by the defenders to protect the fortress), and fantasy (the magic used to raise the undead/Dawn’s shield).
- Rainbow takes place at least one thousand years from now on an Earth that has been conquered by a New World Order, and features many pieces of impressive sci-fi technology. Aliens and ghosts are also explicitly said to exist; however, so are witches, fairies, and magic. All stories are true, after all.
- The Rogue King series starts with spaceships crashing on an alien world, which is largely controlled by gods, and the larger population has some form of magic.
- The Shannara series takes place in our future, After the End, and includes robots and mad computers, but also elves and magic. Generally sold as fantasy.
- The Starship’s Mage series by Glynn Stewart uses magic as the key to faster-than-light travel, allowing humanity to colonize the stars after the war that created mage-kind.
- The Supernaturalist combines a Cyberpunk future with invisible (to all but a very few), soul eating (or so it appears) cryptozoological creatures called Parasites.
- A Symphony of Eternity is a Space Opera set in a universe where magic is used instead of technology, the aliens are varried and diverse with no two characters alike and the story is set around the backdrop of an Epic Galactic War with roman legion like units and Greek Phalanxes fighting by the side of magically powered tanks and space fighters that share the sky and outer space with power armours and pegasus riders.
- Tale of the Comet by Roland Green has an alien ship crash-land on a Standard Fantasy Setting. The survivors and the natives band together to fight a Borg Expy, and some of the aliens learn magic by watching a native Wizard.
- In A Taste of Honey, fantasy versions of Ancient Rome and Ancient Africa are combined with interstellar travel, so-called gods using sci-fi gadgets and Stock Superpowers that seem like magic but are actually science. The people fight with spears and swords and the gods use tablets.
- Terra Ignota seems like a pure Science Fiction series on the face of it, but the fact that Bridger can work miracles such as bringing toys to life and possibly even resurrecting the dead, which nobody can explain with science, edges it just that tiny bit into Fantasy territory. Due to sufficiently advanced science, there are also pet unicorns and all kinds of other fantastic beasts.
- The Three Worlds Cycle has sorcerers who can tap into a supernatural power. It also has human-like races from other dimensions crossing over, amazing engineering feats, and otherdimensional alien monsters.
- In The Vagrant Trilogy, the world starts off in a cyberpunk dystopia. A young girl is born with increasingly godlike supernatural powers and through her powers she realizes that there’ll be an invasion from Hell coming. So she spends years waiting for more people like her to emerge and ready for the Apocalypse. Unfortunately she’s unique and so she takes to becoming the God-Emperor and forcibly uplifts humanity into Crystal Spires and Togas to ready for the end. Unfortunately the invasion happens centuries after she dies, and so a good chunk of humanity is taken over by the victorious demonic forces. Which leads to the events in the story…
- The Warlock of Gramarye series dances mockingly on the edge of SF. Most of it takes place in a cod-Elizabethan land of swords and sorcery, knights and lords, witches and fairies, but all the magic is more or less explained away by a mixture of psi powers, alien life forms and Sufficiently Advanced Technology.
- David Weber is best known for his Space Opera and Military Science Fiction, but he occasionally plays with this trope:
- The Hell’s Gate series is about two human civilizations that come into contact with each other through inter-universal portals. One civilization, the Union of Arcana, is a very Magitek civilization with wizards and genetically engineered dragons, where the main weapons for fighting are swords and crossbows. The second civilization, the Empire of Sharona, has Psychic Powers along with some minor advantages like rifles, machine guns, cannons, steam engines, trains, armored personnel carriers and battleships. Neither side reacts well to the existence of the other.
- In Fury Born features a Space Marine protagonist who is possessed by a literal Greek goddess (one of the Furies, the goddesses of vengeance who torment evildoers). This makes for a somewhat jarring Genre Shift in the omnibus edition after Weber added two prequel novels of straight-up Military Science Fiction.
- The Witches of Karres by James Schmidt is about a spaceship captain who rescues three little girls who turn out to be the titular witches. Yes, you could call it “psychic powers”, but actually everyone in the book calls it “klatha magic”.
- Worlds of Shadow: Lawrence Watt-Evans describes the trilogy as this, since it has both a sci-fi and fantasy parallel universe interacting with ours.
- The Young Ancients begins as a stock fantasy setting, before learning it’s Earth thousands of years After the End. The magic also functions on a Techno Babble explanation. By book nine of the Magitek industrial revolution, there’s Magitek spaceships and a moon colony.
- The Young Wizards series by Diane Duane, especially from the third book onwards. What do you do with your Magic A Is Magic A Functional Magic that looks suspiciously like programming? Go to Mars. And then explore the rest of the galaxy and meet up with aliens.
- Roger Zelazny liked to challenge the boundaries between Science Fiction and Fantasy, and was known for blending in elements from Mythology:
- Creatures of Light and Darkness, often considered a companion novel to Lord of Light, featured actual Egyptian Gods in a Standard Sci Fi Setting.
- Lord of Light featured apparent Hindu Gods—actually humans with mutant powers—on a far-future colony world.
- Roadmarks mixes science fiction tropes like robots and cyborgs with fantasy tropes like dragons and mystical powers in a setting where characters casually travel the length and breadth of human history. (Reader’s choice which side the time travel falls on.)
- The Adventures of Slim Goodbody: The series overall has a 20 Minutes into the Future aesthetic to it, but mix in some Magic from Technology and the odd evil wizard, and this is what you get.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. dives head first into this in its fourth season, which introduces the explicitly supernatural Ghost Rider into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and has a plot line which revolves around S.H.I.E.L.D. competing with a literal ghost to recover a Tome of Eldritch Lore called the Darkhold, all existing contemporaneously with the usual sci-fi schtick of the Marvel universe. The same season even contains a subplot about a Life Model Decoy named Aida and her awakening as an artificial intelligence (partly due to the influence of Darkhold after she’s exposed to it). Prior to the fourth season, the show already contained some trace elements of Science Fantasy, such as the various Asgardian characters who occasionally showed up help S.H.I.E.L.D. (including two guest appearances by Lady Sif from Thor).
- Babylon 5 started out looking like pure sci-fi and eventually ended up here. The transmigration of souls, technomages, and the first sapient being in the galaxy (now an immortal) coexisted with psychic powers, hyperdrives, and battleships. Though notably, everything was explicitly given an empirical, scientific glossnote The “souls” are a copy of a person’s mindstate at death, the mages and immortal are using Sufficiently Advanced Technology. Various characters’ religious faith in the “fantasy” aspects are often revealed to be accurate on some level. At least, until the literal demon that appeared in one of the post-series DTV films — the creator explicitly wanted to write in the style of a High Fantasy epic. The main characters of the sequel series were even partially modelled on the classic adventuring party makeup.
- Battlestar Galactica includes a large amount of cosmology and theology. Much of it appeared to be in the form of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, particularly in the form of the mythical Lords of Kobol and the angelic seraphs from War of the Gods. The original series had a liberal dose of thinly disguised references to the Book of Mormon, the Christian Bible, Judaism, and Islam. The reimagined series settled for Greco-Roman mythology.
- The second season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century has a lot of fantasy involved. In “Journey to Oasis”, it has orc-like monsters, a cave filled with deathtraps, and a living sword with an invisible wielder.
- The trope is one of the major themes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 4. The penultimate episode is an epic battle between the forces of science and the supernatural, orchestrated by a Big Bad who has a foot in both camps.
- Doctor Who: A very clear-cut television example of this. Oh, where to begin… The original series was supposed to be firmly grounded in observable reality — the Doctor himself identified as a scientist on a number of different occasions, because the series was originally intended to be an Edutainment Show — but then the more zany science fiction elements took over. By now, it uses elements from all over Speculative Fiction, from eldritch abominations to Venetian vampires to Cybermen. (Though this gets subverted, as many of the apparent monsters commonly turn out to be just unusual aliens instead.) And it’s all brought together by a Time Travelling TARDIS which looks like an antique police box on the outside and apparently goes where and when it is needed. The Eleventh Doctor’s era was even explicitly stylised as “a dark fairytale”, mixing space opera worthy elements with a childhood-like imagination and fantasy ethos.
- Kamen Rider
- Legends of Tomorrow is about a team of superheroes on a futuristic, time-traveling spaceship. And while many of the heroes get their powers from some sort of technology, the team has also featured a warlock, a reincarnated Ancient Egyptian priestess, a couple of magical totem bearers, and a member of an ancient League of Assassins who was brought Back from the Dead through magic. The villains they fight range from immortal sorcerers and primordial demons to mad scientists and alien invaders. At one point, the characters even needed to find the formula for cold fusion, because it was the only thing that could repair a mystical artifact.
- Lost has ghosts, immortal people, and sentient Islands that can move…and also well thought out time travel, exotic matter, and electromagnetism as a key plot elements. Though, really, no one knows what genre it is.
- Power Rangers. Some series lean more towards science or magic, others happily mix the two, but it’s inevitable when you have superheroes and physics-defying giant robots fighting monsters.
- Shadowhunters is this in contrast to the books it was based on. In the books, the Shadowhunters used ancient magic and tools to track demons. In the show, the Institute is shown having lots of high-tech machinery and security systems to do the tracking.
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World had the 1920s Challenger Expedition that were stranded on a Prehistoric Plateau not only dealing with Dinosaurs and Apemen but a huge assortment of other Fantasy/Scifi themes. Everything from witches and disembodied spirits to space aliens and time travel. The supernatural plots usually had Challenger scoffing at the idea of such rubbish and that everything they encountered had an answer based in science.
- Super Sentai
- Supergirl (2015) is mostly a straight (if very soft) science fiction series, but its third season revealed that the planet Krypton also had genuine, magical witches, and the main Story Arc of the season revolved around stopping these alien invaders from starting a supernatural apocalypse on Earth.
- Tin Man is a retelling of The Wizard of Oz in a sci-fi setting. Essentially it’s meant to be the original Oz that Dorothy landed in — with a few hundred years’ worth of industrial advancement. There are some Cyberpunk elements, but the villain is still a Wicked Witch who’s planning to bring about The Night That Never Ends.
- The Twilight Zone, which was the earliest TV series in America to show the line between Fantasy and Science Fiction get blurred, from ghostly flying saucers to tales of a man who could create anything with a tape recorder.
- Wizards vs. Aliens has a perfect balance of both science fiction and high fantasy elements. The creators, Russell T. Davies and Phil Ford, had originally worked on Doctor Who, in which there are often fantasy creatures, but they were always rationalized into alien beings. The idea for Wizards vs. Aliens came when it occurred to them they didn’t have to merge one genre into the other, they could have both existing in the same universe!
- Bloodline has this kind of setting. While Lilo and her allies stick with magic, the antagonistic Shengdi a variety of weapons. Examples: Flying mobile bases, modern day battle suits, scythes, tanks. And, of course, silver bullets and their own kind of magic.
- The Korean manhwa Noblesse features an 800-year old vampire awakening in modern-day Korea, his having to deal with an age-old betrayal and his fellow Noble Vampires, who wield immensely powerful Soul Weapons passed down from generation to generation, containing the spirits and powers of their previous owners. Oh, and the bad guys is an international military organization known as the Union, which runs Supersoldier experiments with modified humans, werewolves, and vampires.
- The Evillious Chronicles, a dark multi-media series heavy on magic and science-fiction technology. This is epitomized by the kingdom of Levianta, where they carried out a project to impregnate a woman with the souls of a god and then raise them in scientific test tubes. After the kingdom’s fall, much of the chronological series is almost strictly magic, even featuring sorcerers in medieval civilizations—until the rest of the world starts developing technology again and the lines once again become muddled. That’s not even mentioning the odd machines used in the series’ versions of heaven and hell.
- While The Adventure Zone starts out as full D&D High Fantasy, later arcs shift more towards this. It’s a story about magic, Artifacts of Doom, wizards, castles, and dwarves wielding giant hammers — while at the same time containing elevators, colonies on the moon, robots, aliens, interdimensional space travel, and Costco.
- The Elandrid, the first entry in the “Thomas Tells a Story” series of audioplays, features a mix of science fiction and sorcery and old-fashioned social upheaval, with the plot focusing on The First Arcanist, Elandra Ramirez, being dispatched to the planet Freya to investigate reports of an android that can perform magic. Things escalate from there when she learns that Gabriel Burns, The Lord Regent, has been dispatched on the same case.
- Metamor City is a Layered Metropolis inhabited by humans transformed by a regional curse, elves, lutins, demons, celestials, vampires, mages both licensed and unlicensed, and psionics. They’ve also got Flying Cars and several varieties of Cyberpunk technology.
- The Minister of Chance is a borderline Doctor Who spinoff but with more of a fantasy slant.
- d20 Modern. The standard setting is Urban Fantasy, but there’s plenty of options for adding sf into the mix. The bodak, for example, is a zombie Grey.
- DragonMech. The setting was simple Standard Fantasy Setting. Now, there are also alien invaders from the moon and Steampunk Humongous Mecha that developed to fight them.
- Dragonstar is a D20 Role-Playing Game that combines Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplay roles with a Science Fiction setting with interstellar travel, robots, and other features of futuristic technology. Thus you get wizards with laser pistols and an interstellar empire ruled by dragons.
- Duel Masters as a whole. Magic is pretty much an in-built feature, being what separates the five civilisations, and thematically is does play up the fantasy angle. However, both the light and water civilisations have very advanced technology, to the point that the former are actually mostly living machines/cyborgs whose light manipulation can easily just be interpreted as standard sci-fi laser/optics use, and the fire civilization has a lot of Steampunk.
- Dungeons & Dragons. Several supplements and campaign settings over the years have been based on this premise:
- Empire of the Petal Throne: The combination of a far-future setting, lashings of Clarke’s Third Law, Psychic Powers labelled as magic, actual gods, and general weirdness makes this a non-standard fantasy setting with some Science Fiction underpinnings.
- Exalted was written with the intention of “burning down the generic fantasy warehouse”, in the words of one of its writers. Part of what they threw out was the distinction between science-fiction and fantasy, leading to such innovations as warstriders and Magitek everywhere. 3rd edition has scaled things back towards fantasy for a variety of reasons, however.
- Fading Suns throws out any distinction between science fiction and fantasy, though the closer the narration veers toward omniscient, the more likely something is to sound like sci-fi. In general, it’s a Feudal Future where sci-fi stuff has taken on mystical and fantasy elements. Psis aren’t just trained minds, they’re sorcerers (and bear occult markings…which may just be genetic mutation); the family’s ancestral sword is a wireblade; cyborgs have replaced part of their body with occult magic, and the sacred jumpgates represent the light of the Pancreator. And then you get into stuff such as theurgy and Antinomy, which calls upon what appears to be the divine or demonic forces respectively…but it might also be Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, or just another expression of humanity’s potential.
- Fellowship has some story elements that can be introduced to the game that mix fantasy and sci-fi:
- Feng Shui takes place in a universe where robot monkeys coexist with sorcerers and demonic creatures.
- GURPS Illuminati University is set in a very weird pun-filled interdimensional university where wizards, demons, aliens and budding mad scientists happily mingle.
- GURPS Technomancer. The first above-ground atomic explosion in the U.S. releases magic into the world. As a result, people can cast spells and weird hybrid creatures are born, but only in the area covered by magical fallout.
- Mage: The Ascension features groups that use science and groups that use magic.
- Usually, Magic: The Gathering is average fantasy, but whenever Phyrexia is involved, it becomes this. Especially now that they have access to Blue mana.
- Monte Cook’s Numenera is inspired by works like Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun, and is set a billion years into our future. The setting, called by its inhabitants the Ninth World, mixes a society with medieval technology with technological artifacts left behind by the previous civilizations that have risen and fallen over the previous billion years. Monte has cited Clarke’s Third Law to explain the presence of things that would otherwise be at home in a fantasy setting such as “wizards” (Nanos, whose powers are derived from cybernetic implants, extradimensional aliens, or other non-supernatural sources), “gods” (alien entities or ancient A.I.s), and floating cities (kept aloft by some sort of anti-gravity or repulsor tech).
- Pathfinder looooves itself this trope. An entire book is devoted to the various planets in Golarion’s solar system. There is also a nation in the setting called Numeria, where a starship crashed smack in the middle of a savage, barbaric land thousands of years ago. To top it all off, an entire Adventure Path, “Iron Gods”, was based in that nation which asks the question, “what happens when an artificial intelligence gains the ability to grant spells to its followers?”. This Adventure Path was further supplemented with both an entire book on sci-fi technology and technological magic, and another book that details the various alien races you can play as, including androids.
- Starfinder is a spinoff dedicated to science fantasy. Taking thousands of years after Pathfinder, the native races of Golarion now live on the Absalom space station after their home planet mysteriously disappeared. Knowledge of when, why, and how Golarion vanished was lost to The Gap, a millenia-long period of which there are no memories or historical records anywhere in the multiverse. Advanced technology like energy weapons and starships have become common place, along with a new form of magic called Technomancy, using the correlations between magic and technology to create something more powerful than either on their own.
- Rifts is set a few centuries after the high tech world of tomorrow is utterly trashed by the return of magic. Human supremacist armies of cyborgs, chemically-enhanced supersoldiers and Humongous Mecha traipse across the landscape. Atlantis has risen. Sorcerers summon demons and raise the dead. Rifts in spacetime spew out critters from other dimensions more or less at random. Elves and dragons and goblins roam the wilderness. Killer cyborgs from another dimension want to kill all humanoid life on Earth. Gods battle alien invaders. Vampires openly run entire cities. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Phase World and the Three Galaxies sub-setting of the game takes this trope all the way. You have science-based interstellar civilizations (the Consortium of Civilized Worlds) alongside magic-based ones (the United Worlds of Warlock). The local Evil Empires (The Transgalactic Empire and the Splugorth Dominions) are ruled secretly or openly by Eldritch Abominations. Technology, magic, psionics and super powers all co-exist in a Standard Sci Fi Setting… which is currently undergoing a Demonic Invasion.
- Shadowrun is the quintessential Cyberpunk Urban Fantasy. It’s set in a world after The Magic Comes Back, with elves, dwarves, trolls, orcs, and dragons, but it’s also set 20 Minutes into the Future, so instead of forging axes underneath mountains, said dwarves are more likely to use cybernetic interfaces to pilot unmanned combat drones.
- Skyrealms Of Jorune is a far-future Planetary Romance that featured powerul energy manipulation powers that resembled magic, floating islands, Power Crystal, a wise and an ancient race, lots of strange monsters and human colonists who have a fallen several notches in tech and culture but recently rediscovered a large cache of energy weapons.
- Warhammer 40,000 is perhaps one of the genre’s most glorious (and darkest) examples. It takes place in a (far) future Space Opera setting, has spaceships, lasers, extraterrestrials, Psychic Powers, Humongous Mecha and an army of genetically-engineered Supersoldier Space Marines. However, said spaceships must travel through hell to move between stars, the lasers are blessed in the name of The God-Emperor by the all-pervasive Church Militant, the extraterrestrials are based on classic fantasy races IN SPACE, Psychic Powers are drawn from the same hellscape your spaceship has to dive through and are as likely to get you purged as a heretic witch as get you possessed, the Humongous Mecha are Lost Technology worshiped by the resident Cargo Cult and the Space Marines are fanatical Knights Templar. The medieval Gothic aesthetic to the entire place is there to drive home just how regressive and oppressed everything is. John Blanche, the artistic madman who defined the dark gothic aesthetic of both Warhammer games, describes the setting in the September White Dwarf magazine (the game’s 30th anniversary special) thus:
“Warhammer 40,000 is, to me, a pure [English] view of medievalism in space. It’s full of fear, superstition, conflict and servitude and that’s what we aim to show in the artwork.”
- Albion, a game where a spaceship in the future lands on a world with magic instead of technology. A lot of the time is spent in primarily fantastic or scifistic settings, but they eventually mix, and both elements are present at least a little most of the time.
- Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia: The series features girls who control magical powers with their songs and goddesses who control the giant towers that humanity has been forced to live in after a disaster destroyed the world’s land. The backstory of the series reveals that this disaster was caused by the technology of a highly advanced civilization. The towers themselves were built by these civilizations. The villain in the first game invades the tower’s systems with viruses that can take physical form and possess many of the tower’s robot guardians. The magic wielding girls themselves are actually an artificial race designed to use magical powers based on the intricate principles of “wave science”. The prequel series, Surge Concerto takes this even further, as Ra Ciela’s civilization is even more advanced than Ar Ciel’s, and one of the series’ games even takes place almost entirely on a spaceship. However, there’s still the same magic music and gods as is usual for this universe.
- Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura is a mixture of more specific genres: High Fantasy and Steampunk. The overarching story is fantasy epic, set in a more dystopian land that includes race and class conflict and the growing pains of an industrializing society as themes. Magic vs. technology is less a war than an ideological clash that can at least find common ground in its goals if not its practical methods.
- Asura’s Wrath IS this trope with a Hindu and Buddhist twist.
- Battleborn: While the game is a deeply sci-fi work in the vein of Borderlands, it has a number of things that are more fantasy in basis. These include among things, magical abilities derived from science grounded concepts and Magitek-like technology. The most notable of all of these however are the Eldrid, an entire faction consisting of fantasy inspired individuals whose number includes a sentient Fungus, a Space Elf, a space dwarf, and a skeletal ice golem.
- Castle Crashers starts out in what is, ostensibly, a quirky Low Fantasy setting, with a war against a barbarian tribe, evil wizards, and the classic chestnut of the princesses getting kidnapped. Upon crossing the ocean, you immediately thwart an Alien Invasion by the Alien Hominids.
- Cave Story takes place on a Floating Continent, which is inhabited by fantastic creatures such as bunny-shaped Mimigas, (undead) sand-dwelling crocodiles or humanoid cockroaches, ruled over by an old witch who’s responsible for an abomination that keeps the island afloat from inside a chamber protected with terminals and water control. There’s also an incubator corridor that keeps dragon eggs and Ridiculously Human Robots.
- Chrono Trigger: An apocalyptic future with destroyed domed cities caused by a Cosmic Horror, combined with a medieval Sword & Sorcery setting in the past. And it’s all connected by Time Travel.
- Cosmic Fantasy.
- Crystalis, a Zelda-esque top-down action-adventure game for the NES, takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where human civilization has regressed to medieval times and embraced magic over technology. The game’s Big Bad has taken control of a floating tower and is threatening the world with powerful magic and Lost Technology.
- Deep Rock Galactic shows constant hints that the setting is a Standard Fantasy Setting that made it out of Medieval Stasis and advanced past the space age, into proper sci-fi. The dwarves may be kitted out like mining space marines, but they mention the “empires of old” in their toasts, elves are implied to exist and Deep Rock has some among its management, and a clean shaven look is mentioned as “progressive” in the context of dwarven society. And sure enough, the game is all about the dwarves heading out to dig in the most dangerous of places for valuable ores, kitted out in the heaviest armor and armaments their company can provide, so clearly the dwarves are still dwarves.
- Destiny is science fiction turned on its side by the discovery and harnessing of paracausal forces that defy physical law, i.e. space magic. So in addition to alien Space Pirates, conquering empires, and time-traveling robots, there are wish-granting dragons, undead wizards in service to dark gods singing songs that kill people, and you, the player, a Guardian brought back from death and granted strange powers by the Light to protect humanity. Bungie has even described the game as being “mythic science fiction”.
- Doom features an invasion by demons from hell … thwarted by a space marine on Mars with a plasma rifle.
- In DOOM (2016), you play a warrior whose wrath is legendary among the forces of hell, clad in mystical Powered Armor and using all manner of ballistic and energy weaponry, awakening in a Martian facility owned by a humanity that has started mining Hell and using its energies to advance to a Golden Age, whilst experimenting on demons and engaging in dark arts rituals. Your allies are an A.I and the Cyborg C.E.O of the company that runs the place, fighting against the demonic forces of hell whose Earthly agent is a scientist using an exoskeleton to counter a crippling disease.
- Endless Legend mixes the sciencey bits of its predecessor with fantasy, as the game takes place on a former Concrete Endless world which has been populated by the survivors a wrecked spaceship. Suits of Animated Armor powered by money argue with sentient dragons in the courts, on the battlefield Power Armor-wearing hatchetmen follow their Humongous Mecha into battle against witches and wizards who get their power from pain, while an empire of malfunctioning robots converts bands of orcs and trolls to join their cause in destroying the ruins of the Endless.
- ELEX can be best described as Gothic meets Fallout. It takes place on a world similar to modern day Earth that was devastated by a meteor strike. Said meteor brought with a new element, Elex, that can grant people magical powers.
- Fallout itself occasionally dabbles in more fantastical elements. While usually a Sci-Fi Kitchen Sink, Fallout games have featured an actual ghost and an InnBetweenTheWorlds, a haunted office building with a Tome of Eldritch Lore and ancient cults that worship abominations.
- Nearly every Final Fantasy has had this. Besides the series standard magic and Summon Magic:
- Final Fantasy I was mostly fantasy, with added bits of Lost Technology showing up later in the game, largely thanks to the Lufenians.
- Final Fantasy III featured post-apocalyptic Ancient technology.
- Final Fantasy IV had a spacecraft capable of going to the moon and a Humongous Mecha, although it’s otherwise fantasy in all respects.
- Final Fantasy V has people from other worlds landing on the planet via a meteorite, dimension travel and lost high technology, as well as castles, kings, pirates and dragons.
- Final Fantasy VI had steampunk-esque technology and Edgar’s tools, which included a chainsaw and drill. The sand-diving Castle Figaro was treated as using science rather than magic, although it’s really not physically possible.
- Final Fantasy VII had near-modern cities complete with television, guns, genetic engineering (sort of), electricity, and power plants. However, those power plants ran on the literal lifeblood of the planet, which also produced magic crystals that could teach you magic. The original game had a cell phone-like device, referred to as a ‘PHS.’ The spinoff game Dirge of Cerberus and the film Advent Children feature these cell phones much more prominently.
- Final Fantasy VIII has Summon Magic, magical Time Travel, schools that convert into ancient moving fortresses, and a ship that got lost in space while launching an evil sorceress into a space prison. It also has Esthar, a Crystal Spires and Togas-like futuristic country.
- Final Fantasy IX is mostly fantasy, but includes quite a lot of Steampunk technology and a Sufficiently Advanced Magitek alien race to which both the protagonist and the Big Bad belong.
- Final Fantasy X has machina, a slightly steampunk-esque technology that can make guns, grenades, mecha, and blitzball stadiums. On the other hand, there’s an Eldritch Abomination running around killing everyone and the pyreflies that make up a person can reform into monsters after their death.
- Final Fantasy XII has guns and more science fiction like airships than previous titles, but the airships are powered by magical phlebotinum. And all the other magical elements.
- Final Fantasy XIII appears to be Science Fiction at first, with guns, more “realistic” airships, mecha, and genetic engineering. But most, if not all, of the tech is powered by fal’cie, magical beings. Who can also grant magical powers to chosen humans, although it sucks to be chosen this way for the human.
- Final Fantasy XIV has the science fiction aspect mainly as the trait of the antagonistic Garlean Empire, who are incapable of using magic, but Cid Garlond has been making use of both since he defected from said empire. Other science-fantasy concepts induce a fallen Crystal Spires and Togas empire (Allag, with some emphasis on crystal spires) and aliens (specifically, the dragons or at least Midgarsomnr and his brood; and the machine lifeform Omega).
- Final Fantasy XV is about a modern-era king on a journey to steal back the world’s last gigantic mana crystal from a medieval-era nation that has been armed to the teeth with advanced robotics technology. Half of the battles involve fighting robot legions equipped with lances and plate armor or exosuits, and the other battles involve hunting down fantastic beasts that make up most of the planet’s ecosystem. Noctis uses magical teleporting swords, but he and his allies can also use artillery installations and handguns.
- Final Fantasy Type-0 revolves around a war between a dominion of magic users whose army is made up of students from the resident Wizarding School with Summon Magic, and an aggressively expansionist, vaguely Nazi-esque empire employing Humongous Mecha and Fantastic Nukes.
- Geneforge is another examples of this. The Shapers are a sect of wizards who can literally create life, but the methodology is strongly implied to be at its heart pure sci-fi. Most of its machinery is explained as being carefully designed semi-living creatures that, for example, shift to open a door when someone approaches, or release a cloud of spores that signals other creations to, say, not explode. You’ve even got General Alwan, who’s kept alive by what is basically intravenous magic.
- Gradius routinely weaves in and out of this, especially in terms of some of the game’s bosses, as some are prophecized ancient terrors, while others are elemental beings, like dragons and phoenixes made of fire, or lions made of sand. Even Moais are also enemies and bosses in the series. Other supernatural elements routinely come into play as well, especially in the MSX games where the concept of ESP plays a role in the story. To compliment the fantastical side, the series also has fleets of battleships, robot spiders, and alien monsters made of Body Horror. What other game lets you play as a Cool Starship that battles fiery dragons and battleships with Frickin’ Laser Beams and Attack Drones?
- The Guild Wars series flirts with this. It’s hinted that the Mists are actually something akin to Hyperspace and the humans and Forgotten are confirmed to have been brought to Tyria from another planet by the gods (who may or may not be Sufficiently Advanced Aliens). The charr and asura races, on the other hand, are racing headlong into this trope from the other direction — the asura have magitek with a definite sci-fi feel, while the charr are in the midst of an industrial revolution and continuing to advance at a breakneck pace.
- The Guilty Gear series of games, set in a future where a new, unlimited source of power has been discovered… called “Magic”. Humanoid robots and artificially created killing machines coexist with people who can summon the power of the elements and fight with melee weapons (admittedly, melee weapons which can spit fire and lightning).
- Journey. Besides the beautiful sand that submerged the world, glyphs, magical cloth, and the impaired buildings, technology is uncommon at most. You fly using the energy bundled in your scarf, and although there exists an ancient language you can’t seem to talk at all, even the game hardly shows any text beside from the logo and closing credits. Singing near large pieces of cloth can release “cloth creatures” from the machines’ remnants. Glyphs and confluences teach you the history of a civilization started by your ancestors. The reason why the game takes place After the End is the machines powered by energy from red banners destroyed the world in a war against the White Robes.
- The Kingdom Hearts series has magic, souls (“hearts”), fantastic creatures, and a prophecy involving a hero of destiny… alongside spaceships armed with lasers, Mad Scientists, advanced robots, and Magical Computers including an Inside a Computer System level. The spaceships with lasers are firmly on the magic side of it. They are made from size-changing gummi blocks that broke off of the sky. On your second visit to the Inside a Computer System world you have to bring a computer program modified by Merlin’s magic to TRON so that he can do battle with the MCP.
- Kirby is set on a fantastic alien planet and features fantasy tropes such as castles, knights, dragons, and magical artifacts alongside Eldritch Abomination, high tech spaceships, and interplanetary travel. The plot of Kirby: Planet Robobot kicks off after alien invaders mechanize Kirby’s home world for their own profit and the main gameplay feature is Kirby piloting a Mini-Mecha.
- The Legend of Zelda has shades of this in that, while mostly a fantasy series, a few games use technology beyond what one could expect from such a setting. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks places heavy emphasis on trains, while The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has the the Ancient Robots as a major race. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is particularly centered on this trope, being set in the wake of the collapse of a highly magically and technologically advanced civilization, and a variety of either technological or Magitek mechanisms feature prominently, including the Sheikah Slate (a tablet-like device capable of letting Link teleport, freeze water, magnetically control metallic objects and freeze things in time), the robotic, laser beam-shooting Guardians, energy-based weaponry that Link can scavenge for, and four animal-shaped Humongous Mecha roaming the world.
- Monster Hunter is set in a world filled with wyverns, oversized and incredibly dangerous beasts, and dragons that can range from the mundane ‘fire breath’ to being outright terrifyingly unexplainable. The humans of said world hunt them with Bamboo Technology weapons made out of the bodies of dead monsters, and no special powers except strength and willpower. Some of said weapons include gigantic swords, complex axe-swords hybrid weapons, bowguns (which are really just guns that vaguely resemble crossbows), glaives which allow the controls of a giant insect, and more. Said dragons and wyverns also tend to have a semi-scientific explaination for their Elemental Powers rather than just ‘magic’.
- The Longest Journey Saga: Magic and technology once coexisted. Past misues of the two brought the Powers That Be to separate the two into Stark (technology, “our” world) and Arcadia (magic/medieval world). Attempts to alter this balance are what drives the plot. The later games also throw in some Steampunk.
- Lost Odyssey is set during an era called the “Magic-Industrial Revolution”. It has swords and sorcery alongside muskets and tanks, idyllic villages with haunted houses near dirty steel and concrete cities and mortals and immortals the latter from another world fighting alongside, and against one another. The opening sequence alone features a battle between armored knights and barbarian warriors utilizing very steam-punkish weapons (one of the most interesting being a machine that resurrects dead soldiers, powered by magical chanting). Then there’s Grandstaff, which is described as a “Magic Staff“. It’s actually an enormous mechanical TOWER that channels magic. The entire game is one massive kitchen sink.
- Metal Slug has tanks armed with painfully slow rolling mortar shells and mining drills, anti-personnel homing missiles, antrophomorphic weapons, animals with mounted machine guns, man-eating plants, a pathogen that turns the players undead, shiny flashing bullets and grenades and access to alien technology. Okay. Some of these are scientific, while others are magical.
- Metroid is mostly science fiction, what with an intergalactic bounty hunter armed with advanced Powered Armor pursuing evil Insectoid Aliens across different alien planets. But the games also feature fantastical elements, especially from Metroid Prime onward. The Chozo are an advanced race whose high-tech machines are essentially Magitek, and on at least one planet they were able to become Seers and Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence after they abandoned their technology. One of their major creations, the Metroids, are strange energy-based parasites who can suck some sort of Life Energy from their victims; the various other factions that research the Metroids really don’t know what exactly this energy is, only that creatures can’t live without it. The Reptilicus of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption have a somewhat similar culture to the Chozo and are explicitly stated to use magic, most frequently used for their various Golems. And Samus Aran’s Arch-Enemy, Ridley, is a dragon, a creature usually found in fantasy.
- Metro 2033 takes place in a fairly standard Grimdark version of After the End, with hostile mutants, scattered human survivors, and a climax that involves using pre-cataclysmic weapons. There are also enough murderous ghosts for one of the characters to have a theory on them (Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory were also atomized), including a bona fide Afterlife Express.
- Metro: Last Light takes this even further at one point, actually throwing a player into a hellish supernatural dimension where one of the game’s big moral choices takes place. Also features a legitimately haunted airplane wreck.
- The Might and Magic series (which includes the first four Heroes of Might and Magic games) takes place in fantasy worlds but with SF-elements (mostly involving Lost Technology.) Not many people who haven’t played M&M6 knows that the Kreegan/Inferno town of Heroes 3 is in fact populated not by demons but by hive-minded aliens (except for when the Inferno town is used to represent the non-Kreegan demons that are also around in the setting). For those that only know the HoM&M series: one of the third game’s expansion packs was supposed to add a cybernetic army but they changed their mind after receiving threats of boycotting the series and death threats from ‘fans’ angry at the intrusion of science fiction into their fantasy setting. The greatest example of just how science fantasy the series was may be that for the first five games, the Big Bad and the Big Good were magic-using robots travelling around in spaceships and infiltrating societies with castles, wizards and elves living on worlds created by really advanced Magitek.
- Minecraft is not necessarily an example of this due to there not being much interaction between the “technology” (redstone) and “magic” (potions); however, many technology and magic mods of Minecraft, due to using a common API, intersect in the way they are used, resulting in systematic ritualism and magical devices which are capable of interfacing with technological devices from other mods.
- The Mortal Kombat universe also combines elements of both science-fiction (cyborgs, advanced weaponry, parallel dimensions, spaceships) and fantasy (magic, dragons, gods, demons). However, the blood physics the series was well known for have gone more realistic and scientific over time.
- Next Jump SHMUP Tactics‘s Excuse Plot involves an alliance of men, elves, dwarves, and orcs brought together by a mutual love of alcohol battling an Evil Empire of dragons by using huge versions of their traditional weapons mounted on Space Fighters. The orcs even have a wizard’s staff mounted on their fighter as its main gun!
- NieR and its sequel take place in a post-apocalypse Earth, and feature both eldritch magic and advanced technology, but most schools of magic have been reverse-engineered and applied for use in machines.
- Most of The Ninja Warriors Again is purely sci-fi, with robots, vehicles, guns, lasers, and other technologies. The fifth boss Jubei however has green fire ninja magic with no technological explanation and the red fire-breathing ninja mooks have teleportation, suggesting that supernatural elements do exist in the game.
- The final act of Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee involves raiding an Eternal Engine death factory run by Corrupt Corporate Executives full of machine-gun toting guards, electric defense systems, and floating magnetic mines…while wielding the power of Shrykull the lightning god. The good ending’s cutscene even involves shamans using their combined spiritual power to bring divine wrath on the head of the Big Bad.
- Omikron: The Nomad Soul features Mechaguards, Supercomputers and Cyberpunk Dystopias mixed with Soul Magic and Demonic Invaders.
- Perimeter has Physical Gods with Sufficiently Advanced Technology that reside in floating cities. You lead super-advanced, Shapeshifting robotic soldiers fighting demons on alien worlds. Faster-Than-Light Travel is achieved by sending things through the noosphere.
- Phantasy Star, though as the series progressed, it more thoroughly embraced the sci-fi side of things.
- Pokémon takes place in a Constructed World full of magical creatures called Pokemon, impossible geography, aliens, robots, psychic powers and spaceships. One sort of pokémon is theorized to be aliens from the moon, and they rub shoulders with several kinds of vengeful ghosts, dragons, and something that can only be described as “God’s dog.”
- The Ridge Racer games mix realistic vehicle physics and driving physics as well as fantasy symbolism. The later games in the series even have exaggerated driving physics which is no means a possible science as well as Nitro Boost.
- Rise of Legends features Steampunk robots and soldiers fighting Genies and and magicians. That is, until the Alien Gods show up.
- Sacred 2 is a good example, although the barrier between Magitek and actual technology is difficult to define. You have artificial beings (both cibernetic and organic), lasers, lightsabers, force fields, strange energies and Resident Evil-esque mutant zombies in a High Fantasy premise.
- The SaGa Series:
- The Final Fantasy Legend starts off as a typical fantasy game, with medieval weapons, monsters for enemies, and all of the usual trappings. Late in the game, however, players travel through the post-apocalyptic ruins of a modern day city. Weapons also begin to include sci-fi staples, such as guns, chainsaws, and even a Laser Blade.
- Final Fantasy Legend II is a fantasy game with sci-fi elements. It’s centered around gods and the ancient stones called MAGI that give them power, but heroes and enemies include robots as well as magical creatures and humans. Weapon stores sell heavy assault guns alongside swords and spellbooks.
- In Final Fantasy Legend III, the heroes fight against evil gods to recover the missing parts of their time machine.
- In Sa Ga Frontier, the main characters include a half-Mystic, a wizard, a former model turned secret agent, a henshin hero, a sentient monster, a sentient robot, and a slacker bard. The recruitable characters just get weirder from there. The Regions you travel to are a mix of magical and technological, while you ride on various airships and spaceships to travel between those Regions.
- Sakura Wars is set in an Alternate History where steam-powered technology has given way to everything from Mini-Mecha to computers, cellphones, and tablets before the 1930’s. Said Mini Mecha are used partially driven by spiritual energy and used to combat supernatural demons.
- Septerra Core wandered back and forth between the two, blending such elements as Steampunk technology, magic fueled by the planet itself, genetic engineering and a pantheon of gods.
- Shadow of the Beast is set in a Roger Dean-inspired fantasy world called Karamoon, which features sword-wielding orcs, medieval architecture, goblins, morningstars, mechanical claws, jetpacks, and (in the third game) robots.
- The Shin Megami Tensei meta-series is made of Science Fantasy. The original novels that started it all presented summoning spells written in computer code so that computers could conjure demons — and those demons able to inhabit the computers into which they were summoned. Some games are more or less so than others — Shin Megami Tensei I, II, and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey are steeped in this genre, as are the Devil Survivor games and the first two Devil Summoner games (and parts of the Raidou Kuzunoha ones flirt with it). Persona and Persona 3 are much more so than 2 or 4. Meanwhile, Digital Devil Saga is, well… just look at the name.
- The Sims start out fairly grounded in everyday life, but with the expansion packs they turn into textbook Science-Fantasy. Science-Fiction elements include aliens, (complete with abductions and a Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong), Time Travel, jet packs, Robot Buddies who can think and feel like real Sims, smaller robots helping around the house, travelling to other planets, weather control machines, and so much more. Fantasy elements include zombies, genies, ghosts, The Grim Reaper, magic, witches and wizards, vampires, werewolves, voodoo dolls, potions and alchemy… the list goes on.
- The Sonic the Hedgehog series has always been a big fan of robots and machinery, and has also dabbled in time travel, alternate dimensions, aliens, and artificial life-form creation, while also containing many supernatural elements like the Chaos Emeralds and ancient gods.
- Space Station 13 fits into this category pretty squarely. On one hand, it takes place upon a highly technologically advanced space station some 500 years into the future, with spaceships, lasers, cyborgs, aliens and generally the standard run-of-the-mill science fiction elements common to most space settings. On the other hand, some of the factions out to destroy the station or otherwise cause general mayhem to its crew members include murderous demon cults and the Space Wizard Federation, who both employ different kinds of magic to achieve their goals. While not all rounds feature said roles, the ones that do tend to become very weird indeed.
- The Star Ocean series typically takes characters from a science fiction setting, and then plunges them deep into fantasy, while ever hinting at science fiction overtones throughout the stories.
- Special mention goes to Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, by having Fayt and Cliff, who’re members of the Pangalactic Federation, crash land on Elicoor II, a planet who’s inhabitants are a type-3 civilization. Fayt and Cliff go to great lengths to conceal the true nature of their identities to avoid unnecessary trouble, leading to predictable results. Except for the part where they learn that their universe, and everything in it, is one big virtual game!
- The Super Mario Bros. games are set in a Magical Land where Funny Animals, castles, a monarchy, and cute monsters collide with modern technology, aliens, robots, time machines, and space travel.
- Terraria starts with you fending off zombies, skeletons, and floating eyes with swords and bows. Then you start finding guns lying around. And then meteors start falling from the sky, from which you can craft Powered Armor, phase swords, and ray guns. Said power armor also boosts your magic damage, so you can run around as a space wizard (or fly around with rocket boots) pretty quickly.
- Torment: Tides of Numenera is the spiritual sequel to Planescape: Torment, and is based on Monte Cook’s Numenera tabletop game (mentioned above). The far-future post-apocalyptic setting uses sufficiently advanced science and technological artifacts left by the previous civilizations that have risen and fallen on the Earth over a billion years to explain traditional fantasy tropes.
- Touhou: While the series is fundamentally fantastic, there’s still a fair bit of science going on in the sidelines. Most of it caused by the kappa, who are an entire race of mad scientists, but neither of the attempts at nuclear fusion involved them at all.
- Voyage Inspired By Jules Verne involves Michel Ardan reaching the moon, and discovering that it has a complex ecosystem inhabited by a race of alien beings called The Selenites.
- Warcraft ‘verse’s technology is roughly at pre-industrial level, where guns are getting common, but swords and bows are still viable. However, the range of technology available is quite large. Rock axes can down demonic Humongous Mecha, and Death Rays can be used against ancient evil gods. And the dimension-hopping giants that ride around in spaceships.
- In World of Warcraft you can have a mage that can teleport, cast spells, ride a variety of mounts on the ground, from a normal horse, to a demonic unicorn, to a motorcycle on the ground and anything from dragons, to flying carpets, to a rocket in the air. Druids can turn themselves into a bird. Heck, engineering is a profession, where you can make your clothing produce rockets and bombs if you want to.
- In War Wind futuristic technology (such as bio-upgrades and ray guns), magic, and supernatural entities coexist quite well.
- WildStar is this and a Space Western. Instead of wands, the wizards use dual mag pistols and are called Spellslingers. They also have nuclear-powered greatswords, among other things.
- The Witcher series, while thematically planted quite firmly in a fantasy setting, nevertheless uses some subtle Magitek and some very anachronistic scientific concepts and ideas, considering the otherwise Middle-Ages level of the setting. For instance, genetics are not only understood but can be manipulated by both alchemy and magic. Microbiology for similar reasons is also well-studied by wizards and other learned folk, and pathology is a common medical discipline. Magical constructs, such as golems, operate on the magical equivalent of computer programming, and magicians, wizards and sorceresses make use of devices that aren’t all that dissimilar from telephones and webcams to communicate with each other.
- Starting around the sixth game in the series, the Wizardry games dove head-first into combining fantasy and sci-fi, where spells, magical creatures, and arcane artifacts are found hand-in-hand with spacefaring aliens, starships, and advanced energy weapons.
- Xenoblade tends to mix the two so thoroughly that it can make one dizzy. The prologue starts with two warring titans whose dead bodies make up the entire world, and then it transitions to advanced Human Aliens (Homs) fighting a war against relentless killer robots. The robots can only be stopped by a legendary ancient sword called the Monado, which turns out to be equipped with a Laser Blade. Then the Monado starts granting the protagonist visions of the future, but that turns out to have a reasonable scientific explanation. Later on the team finds the High Entia, who are a race capable of manipulating ether, yet that didn’t stop them from advancing their technology to great levels. It concludes with a flashback to when their world was created by two scientists from our world trying to create a new one, destroying their own in the process and turning them into the two titans and their computer system into the Monado.
- The Science Adventure Series falls into this category when it comes to the Chaos; duology, comprised of Chaos;Head and Chaos;Child. These two entries focus on Gigalomaniacs, who are literal reality warpers wielding what most people would consider magic swords. On the surface and in terms of execution, they lean more on the fantasy side compared to the other Science Adventure entries, though the explanations for them are more in the realm of Science, as they rely on quantum physics such as the Dirac Sea and antiparticles to justify why they work the way they do, instead of just being handwaved by an explanation such as “it’s magic”.
- Broken Saints uses a lot of the technology from (probably) Twenty Minutes In The Future, and just labeled “state-of-the-art” in-story. However, it also includes Shandala’s powers of healing and… not-so-healing…, and Kamimura’s ability to Soul Jar his pupil, holding a fragment of said pupil’s consciousness within his own mind. While the first ability is revealed to be part of her genetic design (very sci-fi), they are both firmly in the fantasy realm.
- Matt ‘n’ Dusty is this mixed with World of Weirdness and Law of Conservation of Normality, and is a complete straight-up comedy. Robots are voiced by the text-to-speech function in Moonbase Alpha, there’s a giant pink dragon that bakes cookies, the two titular characters survive the apocalypse and prevent it with a Stargate, PlayStations and Xboxes have apparantly been in a Robot War for centuries, and to top everything else off, Interdimensional Jack Benny as Father Time.
- RWBY is this but without space travel, featuring (among other things) characters with magical abilities, robots, airships, and smartphones called “Scrolls”.
- Archipelago contains a society with witch doctors, bird spirits, undead pirates, sharkmen, living books, ancient demigods, dragons, and ancient magical legacies, all built on the back of a fallen dragon … by which they mean an ancient spaceship. The bird spirits are corrupted A.I.s; the undead pirate is kept alive through the use of cybernetics; the sharkmen are genetically-engineered super soldiers; and the magic is implied to be all-pervading nanotechnology.
- The space setting of Arthur, King of Time and Space has magic-based FTL drives.
- Ava’s Demon has aliens, interstellar travel, advanced technology, magic, potions, and “demons”, which are like ghosts.
- Dan and Mab’s Furry Adventures has both magic and futuristic technology, and combinations of the two.
- The Dragon Doctors make heavy use of magic, but always use it rationally and scientifically (their leader even calls herself a “Magical Scientist”). LEGO Genetics are referenced at one point as being only possible with the use of magic to treat traits as conceptual objects.
- El Goonish Shive has genetically altered super-mutant assassins, aliens, mad scientists and many magic users, several of whom are main characters. Oh yeah, and one of the magic users can create a fairy version of herself, and Tedd’s been hacking a Magitek transformation ray gun since 2002.
- Gaia starts at a school of magic and is a mostly straightforward fantasy world, except for various modern things like lightswitches and sinks. And then there are the elves, who seem to have high technology/magitech.
- Girl Genius is steampunk combined with fantasy. Most of the weird stuff can be explained by technology, but not everything. The magic includes stuff like the river Dyne (which is an apparently natural spring the waters of which make the drinker a mad genius, though in most cases it’s instantly lethal. It also mutates creatures into monsters and can be used as a power source), Geisterdamen (who look like ghost-like beings, though they’re solid enough), Frankenstein-esque reanimated corpses, Jaegermonsters (non-human beings with superhuman strength and lifespans who are former humans who drank the “Jaegerdraught”), multiple cases of Brain Uploading, the castle Heterodyne’s seemingly telekinetic ability to move chunks of itself…
- Gunnerkrigg Court: There are robots and other advanced tech in the Court, while the Gillitie Wood is full of magic-users (including Physical God Coyote). Transformation to/from forest creatures is an accepted part of the universe, and the Court has students and teachers skilled in “etheric sciences”.
- Heartcore is set in a magical realm of fantastic beasts, powerful demons, and a single human settlement situated in a Domed Hometown with modern-day conveniences and advanced technology.
- Homestuck revolves around a very advanced game that Plays You, is set in a world in which everyone has their own videogame-esque abstract inventory systems, and features a lot of robots and cyborgs, but it also plays around heavily with fantasy tropes and themes such as princes and princesses, knights, dragons, quests, and magic.
- Iothera is a science fantasy with a lot of Magitek.
- Last Res0rt is set several thousand years into the future, contains nanotechnology, flying robots, and a galactic society… and also contains lots of creatures that run off of soul-based magic, including vampires, djinn, and zombies. Also, furries. It’s labeled Cyberpunk — but it’s about as Cyberpunk as, say, Shadowrun.
- The Mansion of E features robots along with magic.
- MegaTokyo has both light fantasy elements (mostly Magical Girls) and soft sci-fi (stuff related to the TPCD mostly). A Dark Magical Girl is best friends with a Robot Girl and said DMG used to control people’s emotions through an MMORPG.
- Metempsychosis includes both fantasy creatures and sci-fi themed space travel. One of the main characters so far is a Humanoid Alien who is chasing down one of these dragons, for as of yet unknown purposes.
- Nimona exists in a world with knights, magic, and shapeshifters, while computers and radios happen to also exist.
- Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger is a sequel to Tales of the Questor that takes place 700 years later in the interstellar age. At that point most Racconnans rely on technology for most of their Lux use.
- Sluggy Freelance is filled with this trope. Santa Claus is infected with alien DNA. Witches and Talking Animals lead teams of Space Pirates. A ray gun is used to blast a demon back in time. A centuries old sorcerer is President of the United States IN SPACE!!!
- Stand Still, Stay Silent is set in a post-apocalyptic world with various remnants of modern technology in which The Magic Came Back and the Plague Zombie creatures are closer to fantasy monsters than to standard undead.
- The Water Phoenix King takes place in a dying universe with fantastic races and features from scifi, such as each species having it’s own “technology” which could be nearly anything including forms of “magic”; in the instance of humanity, a poorly made martial-arts style and propaganda tool tied to an overbearing god. Who eventually dies, leaving humans at a huge disadvantage while other species still have access to more useful tech like steam-power or sorcery.
- Zap! is mostly soft science fiction, with psychics, robots, cat girls, FTL, and other scifi sundries. However, the aliens with Elemental Powers cement it in this category.
- Bloody Cutlass is a Spin-Off of Space Pirate Captain MacTaggart that places emphasis on the science fantasy elements more than its parent series did.
- While most of Chaos Fighters novels are fantasy with minor science fiction elements inserted in the fighting scenes, Chaos Fighters II and Chaos Fighters: Chemical Warriors are science fiction with significant fantasy style battles.
- While Chrono Hustle starts out as a sci-fi series, it starts including fantasy elements as early as the 4th story, in which a powerful magic user is introduced, although it is mentioned by some characters that she is just a powerful psychic. In the following story though, it is confirmed by characters with more information that she is an actual magic user. And then the 7th story introduces Greek Gods.
- The best explanation for the genre of Prolecto. It has angels and demons who make Chain Katars, versus guys in powered armor, and the main enemy is a demonic nanomachine entity.
- The SCP Foundation is primarily a Sci-Fi Horror universe about an organization of Mad Scientists who are trying to understand various paranormal/supernatural phenomena, and they attempt to contain and minimize any damage to the world caused by more dangerous anomalies. While the articles are generally written in a (pseudo-)scientific and clinical tone, much of what they’re trying to describe defies any logical explanation whatsoever. The various Lovecraftian entities they have in their custody include strange robots and powerful machines, severely mutated humans/animals/plants, extraterrestrial/extradimensional monsters, and outright magical beings such as spirits/demons/angels/gods. Though the titular SCP Foundation is loathe to describe anything they encounter as being explicitly “magical”.
- Tech Infantry is like a mish-mash between the Old World of Darkness and Starship Troopers. The titular “Tech Infantry” are an army of Mages and Werewolves in Powered Armor.
- Adventure Time has goblins, futuristic robots, princesses, wizards, hologram projectors, magic, and mini-anti-gravity chambers. All in a post-apocalyptic Earth.
- Avatar uses an interesting take on this trope.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender was very much set in a pre-modern fantasy world, with only one faction having any substantial industrial or steampunk technology.
- However, by the time of The Legend of Korra (70 years after The Last Airbender), technology has advanced considerably, with things like cars, airships, airplanes and even Humongous Mecha becoming more and more commonplace, reaching to almost Diesel Punk levels (especially by the time of Season 4). Essentially, Avatar shows what happens when a typical fantasy setting breaks its Medieval Stasis.
- In Barbie Star Light Adventure, while the setting is the futuristic planet of Para-Den, the story beats are that of a fantasy quest.
- The Ben 10 franchise has aliens, advanced tech, lovecraftesque Eldritch Abominations and magicians from an alternate dimension, as well as a species of aliens made of magical energy.
- Centurions was a Science Fiction series, filled with Technology Porn and set 20 Minutes into the Future. On top of that, the writers introduced Dracula, Merlin, a Hot Witch and her Evil Twin sister, an army of mummies, Atlantis, Psychic Powers and accidental Time Travel into various episodes.
- Courage the Cowardly Dog is a surreal comedy-horror cartoon about a talking dog who regularly encounters all kinds of weird sci-fi/fantasy villains, monsters, and other weird characters; including other talking animals, aliens, demons, robots, ghosts, zombies, wizards, mad scientists, etc.
- Defenders of the Earth is another example of a series which often combines elements of fantasy and science fiction. The extent to which this happens varies from episode to episode. Some are very much rooted in science fiction, though most of these still contain some fantasy elements. With others, such as “The Carnival of Doctor Kalihari” or “Dracula’s Potion”, the fantasy element dominates.
- Ewoks, being set in the Star Wars universe, naturally shares its progenitor’s blending of sci-fi and fantasy tropes. It leans much further towards the fantastical side if anything, in no small part because Endor is a world ruled by Stone Age cultures, with Force powers more overtly functioning akin to magic; shapeshifting, geokinesis and curses show up as Force powers in this setting, when traditional Force powers are more rooted in telepathy and telekinesis. Endor could easily be a non-humanocentric fantasy world, up until you see the episodes with visiting spaceships, laser-toting soldiers and robots interacting with the spear-wielding, spirit-worshipping hunters.
- The Fairly OddParents takes place in a modern setting and features fairies, genies, Greek gods, elves, monsters, and leprechauns as well as aliens, a kid genius, robots, and time travel.
- Gargoyles has laser weapons, robots, cyborgs, mutants, gods, fairies, ghosts, as well as various other mythological creatures (which obviously includes the titular gargoyles, of course). One episode even featured an alien soldier from outer space, who is never seen again.
- Gravity Falls is about a titular town filled with paranormal activity of both fantasy and sci-fi origin.
- Invader Zim is primarily a science fiction series, but Dib’s studies of the paranormal sometimes bring in magical stuff as well. Prominent examples include the demonic Mortos der Soulstealer, or the curse inflicted on Gaz that makes everything she eats taste like pork.
- Downplayed in Jackie Chan Adventures, an Urban Fantasy show that was heavy on magic, and thus is mostly fantasy. Though given the modern setting, some science fiction elements sneaked in; for example, the government agency Section 13 possessed some advanced and futuristic technology, such as laser weaponry and a time machine. And one episode revealed that Stonehenge is a landing pad for flying saucers, of implied extraterrestrial origin.
- Kaijudo is pretty much a mix of sci-fi and fantasy aesthetics and tropes. It is overall a Urban Fantasy tale, involving a mystical parallel universe, spells and fantastical creatures… that can be manipulated through power gloves, are strongly technologically advanced, with the light ones being living, sapient robots, and the villain is pretty much a Mad Scientist.
- Being the girl who can do anything, Kim Possible has dealt with enemies of every genre: spy, mutant, robot, magic, alien, superhero, even pirate.
- Love, Death & Robots is a speculative fiction anthology series which mostly leans on science fiction, though some episodes are more fantasy.
- Martin Mystery
- Masters of the Universe in its various incarnations always includes high technology and powerful magic.
- Mysticons takes place in a High Fantasy world that doesn’t have Medieval Stasis, resulting in Drake City, a skyscraper-filled place with pixie hollows in cracks in the pavement by leaky fire hydrants, elves, dwarves, and more, Magitek mechs and flying cars and Griffins, the main characters being Magical Girl Warrior types.
- Ōban Star-Racers is a Space Opera with some fantasy elements, like Aika’s magic (which is explicitly referred as such) and the God-like Avatar.
- The Phineas and Ferb episode “Nerds of a Feather” featured a war between fans of the science fiction genre (led by Baljeet) and fans of the fantasy genre (led by Buford), with Phineas and Ferb caught in the middle. They managed to end the feud by having both sides team up against a hologram of a mystical creature armed with weapons.
- PJ Masks: The show freely mixes elements of both genres. On the fantasy side, we have characters like Night Ninja and An Yu, and adventures involving ancient artifacts and anther dimension called Mysetery Mountain. On the sci-fi side, there are characters like Romeo, Luna Girl, PJ Robot and Newton Star, and adventures set in space. The three main heroes are a mix; their powers are more on the fantasy side, with them using magical bracelets to transform into heroes, and tapping into the animal spirits their powers are based on, but on the other hand they also have high tech vehicles and an HQ that can transform into a spaceship.
- Regular Show is a surreal comedy cartoon about the strange misadventures of two park groundskeepers (both of whom are anthropomorphic animals), who frequently run into all kinds of different supernatural trouble; ranging from dealing with magic curses, to fighting off evil aliens and monsters.
- Rick and Morty is more focused on the sci-fi elements like aliens, robots, cybernetics, and interdimensional and universal travel, but is also set in a world where the Devil, vampires, serial killers residing in dreams, and even one of heroes from Vindicators what summons Ghost trains to existing. Some other dimensions, like the one, depicted in “Meseeks and Destroy”, are fantasy worlds within a generally science-fiction influence multiverse.
- Samurai Jack involves a titular samurai warrior wielding a magic sword, who gets thrown through a time portal into the far future. During his ongoing quest to destroy a powerful shapeshifting demon who rules this world with an iron fist, he repeatedly encounters other warriors, sorcerers, demons, monsters, aliens, robots, etc. in an anachronistic world where the past meets the future.
- Steven Universe: The show has this with a dash of Genre Shift. Early on, The Crystal Gems are presented as straightforward magical beings that defend humanity, but as the first season progresses, it becomes clear that they’re actually aliens with advanced technology. What’s more, their species’ Bizarre Alien Reproduction makes them somewhat like robots. By the later seasons, which feature space travel to alien planets among other things, the show is more Science Fiction in nature, although several aspects of Gemkind—with powers like healing, future vision, or plant armies for instance—are still treated like magic.
- Tales of Arcadia is set in a science-fantasy universe where trolls, aliens, magicians, and many other types of strange beings lurk around the titular town of Arcadia, California.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) you got 4 mutant humanoid turtles who do ninjitsu, and battle ninjas, robots, aliens, and inter-dimensional creatures to boot.
- Thunder Cats has space travel, futuristic vehicles and the like, but also features a magic sword used by the hero and an undead Sorcerous Overlord as the main villain.
- Treehouse of Horror is an annual series of The Simpsons Halloween episodes which parody all kinds of horror, fantasy, and science fiction stories in an anthology format.
- The Venture Bros. had a Magic Versus Science contest between Dr. Venture and Dr. Orpheus (a parody of Dr. Strange), reaching its climax as Orpheus produces fire from his hands. Dr. Venture’s scientific one-up? A match.
- Wakfu takes place in a universe full of a variety of different from animal people, elves, plant people, and a race of greedy old people, it also has the titular base of magic that’s also the life force of all living things, gods and demons, and even reincarnation. On the Science Fiction side, it has aliens, laser weaponry, time travel, and robots.
- Winx Club focuses mostly on magic since the main characters are fairies with all sorts of magic powers such as fire, natue, or light. Fairies, witches, and wizards dominate the series. The Magic Dimension is also shown to have advanced technology such as laser guns, inter-planetary spaceships, advanced holograms, inter-dimensional phones, and the like that don’t seem to rely on magic at all. Tecna is the fairy of technology, showing that magic and technology can be used together.
Science Fantasy – TV Tropes
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