Jargon Busting Literature: Science Fiction

Books, Jargon
Pile of Books

Business and the internet aren’t the only areas that are rife with jargon. Literature is just as confusing, so here’s a guide to some of the stuff that baffles us, starting with a little Science Fiction.

Science Fiction is a genre of books and films that is hugely popular. However, as you might expect from a genre that revolves around the fantastical, it has been the basis for a lot of newly joined terms that baffle and confuse. So, here is a jargon busting guide to some of the most popular Science Fiction keywords that leave a lot of us scratching our heads.

AI – Meaning Artificial Intelligence, AI usually refers to a computer or robot that has similar intelligence to a human, in the sense that it can work independently. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will act like a human, or even think entirely like a human, but could perhaps just be able to perform a specific task that a human might normally do.

Popular examples include: AI; I, Robot.

Alternative History – This usually involves an author taking a well-known event, either in history or sometimes in a person’s personal life and twisting it around to see what life might have been like if things hadn’t occurred like that at all.

Often these occur in a way to suggest that that is just what occurred. However, some novels and films create time travel that effects time lines, or even parallel universes,

Popular examples include: Sliding Doors, Back to the Future.

Android – Often referred to as “robot”, androids are often seen as being human-like AI’s that have been genetically or biologically engineered by scientists etc, rather than born naturally. Their thought processes are typically programmed into them, and are not entirely human.

Clone – A genetic copy of something or someone else. Whilst not being the original, it will look and may even act exactly like the original.

Popular examples include: Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Cyborg – An organism that looks human, but is actually just human skin, with a robot or machine underneath. It will often have human-like characteristics and some AI, however it will notably not be human.

Popular examples include: Alien, Terminator.

Cyberpunk – Created during the 1980s, cyber punk combines crime fiction with science fiction. It is often very technological.

Popular examples include: Akira

Cyberspace – A term that is often used to describe the Internet, Cyberspace tends to refer to a virtual reality that exists inside – really, or artificially – a computer.  Most of the time, this is artificial, meaning that the world of cyberspace will be explored only by the human conciousness and not the physical form.

Popular examples include: The Matrix, Existenz, Tron.

Dystopia – Often used in the term “Dystopian Future”, dystopia typically refers to a society that isn’t very appealing, as a result of events. In many books this is normally due to oppression caused by some kind of government, leader etc. However, sometimes the cause may have been an apocalypse that has left the world in ruin. For a lot of science fiction this usually creates a world that seems completely backwards to the “free” world we are used to., and usually technology has been stripped back, putting people back into the basics of earlier h

Popular examples include: The Hunger Games

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