Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Anatomy of a Horror Setting #3-2: Binomial Nomenclature Horrorificus

There are three classes of science fiction that are the initial focus of the horror/science fiction cross-genre author. There is Hard Science Fiction where there is great accuracy to the science. There is Cyberpunk, essentially already a fairly dark genre. Then there is Soft Science Fiction where the science is not that strictly correct. These classes can be broken down further. In addition there are other classes of science fiction. The class with the least to say about mixing it with horror would be the Hard Science Fiction. The reason for this is that focus on accuracy and reality. This is not to say that it is flawless, but it does not particularly settle for verisimilitude. The Hard sub-genre requires horror strongly based in reality and might be best relegated to thrillers.

Cyberpunk has restraints upon it that also limit the horror that can be mixed into it. Or so one would think. Anyone who has come across GURPS Cthulhupunk or Catalyst's CthulhuTech RPG will agree. Though the focus isn't on horror Shadownrun is another example of cyberpunk and the fantastical. Cyberpunk can actually be written as horror without stepping outside of the technology that makes up the backbone of its science. It's all a matter of focus, where criminals with advanced weaponry like cybernetics and smart guns roam the streets, and hackers get their brains fried plying their skills against faceless monolithic corporations that are more sadistic and powerful than the worst dictators. Still, it is a genre ripe for adding upon in even more nefarious ways.

Soft science fiction is the most open class of science fiction covering a multitude of different styles from Space Opera like Star Wars, to modern day uses of unconventional science like Fringe, to the goings-on of Utopias with trouble like Isaac Asimov's Caves of Steel--itself a mystery cross-genre work--to dystopian stories like Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Soft science fiction immediately has a built-in cast of characters directly usable for horror in the form of aliens. There is no lack of alien horror stories. Being alien means extra-terrestrial beings are an unknown. Its already been discussed that science can be used for nefarious purposes, however even benign purposes can have unseen affects. Soft science fiction often has strong social overtones, which lend themselves to horror.

Mood: bright.
Music: Iron Maiden by Iron Maiden and Before the Winter by Stratovarius.

Iron Maiden: Iron Maiden
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Stratovarius: Visions

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