A very practical look at science fiction in role-playing, using no definitions but my own.
As I see it, the blanket literary category is “fantasy,” of which “science trappings” is a subset, and within that, “political content” is also a subset. I’m choosing to use “science fiction” to mean fantasy with science trappings and political content. I want to stress that fantasy and science fiction are therefore not opposed or alternatives.
Also, by this definition, the various concepts of alternate history and predicting future events are irrelevant. As I see it, science fiction is only and always about the moment it is written. This also means that the Star Wars films, as well as games or any associated media, are not science fiction at all.
Another variable would concern whether the work involved is any good or not, but again, that’s an independent variable. I can think of much “fantasy with science trappings” which is good and much “science fiction” which is not, for instance, as well as vice versa.
My goal with this project is to produce a number of usable handouts for each game which facilitate and promote them. It’s also a way for me to increase my chances of getting around to playing all of them (I’m about halfway through).
All comments and especially any input about play-experiences are welcome, although please bear in mind that these are rough drafts.
I’m currently working on sheets for: EABA: NeoTerra, shock:, FreeMarket, Zero, Burning Empires, Center Space (probably using the Hero Wars system), Rats in the Walls (in playtest), Reality Cops (in playtest), 3:16, Lacuna, Tsyk, Cyberpunk (original version), Mars Colony, Underground, Orbit, Space Rat, and a few others.