I want to ask a story identification question about a book I read in the 1980s - one of the main features of the book was the highly advanced multifunction wrist watches involved. These watches were advanced for the day, but I feel more in a "James Bond" way rather than a "futuristic version of a smartphone" way.

So, what are the limits to the requirement for a scifi aspect here? The watches could definitely have not existed in the 1980s, and indeed would struggle to build them today with the same miniaturisation.

Is that enough to satisfy a scifi requirement?

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    For what it's worth, there are questions about James Bond movies on this site.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 13:12
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    @Clockwork I think there was a discussion some years ago on meta, that concluded James Bond should not be on topic here, for some reason
    – user13267
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 3:13
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    @user13267 That's quite interesting, since questions such as these seem to be perfectly on topic in my opinion: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/245023/…
    – Clockwork
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 7:59
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    @Clockwork I think James Bond is on topic too, and personally I haven't seen that meta discussion myself; someone told me about it in comments, that that was the consensus at that time. May be these days the consensus is that James Bond is on topic
    – user13267
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 8:05
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    @user13267 - We allow Bond-related questions where there's clear sf-nal content, such as the futuristic spaceship in Moonraker or the diamond laser in Diamonds are Forever
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 17, 2023 at 21:34
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  • So what Im getting from these comments and answer is “theres no clear answer, try it and see if your interpretation of scifi is the same as someone elses”. Which seems dangerous and Im not willing to risk it tbh. Thanks anyway.
    – Moo
    Commented Mar 17, 2023 at 21:50
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    @Moo From the accepted answer in Valorum's link, "5. If you're not sure it's SF but you think a good case can be made for it, it's on-topic". So if you want to ask about a work that's a borderline case you just need to explain why you believe it's on the SF side of the border.
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 12:28
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    Agreed that it seems like a dupe of Are works that aren't SF per se, but have occasional SFnal elements on-topic? (e.g. spy movies)
    – Andres F.
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


I would argue it's very simple; if the story was written as SF, then it's on-topic. This older meta question suggests that just because smart watches exist today doesn't mean that they can't still appear as science fictional elements of a story. My search-fu is weak and I can't find a more relevant meta right now, but note that it's possible to have a science fiction story without any advanced technology; consider The Gate to Women's Country for instance.

My caveat to the above is that the discussion of spy fiction and thrillers suggests that they would largely be considered off-topic. But this is not a hard-and-fast rule; Gibson's Spook Country is listed as a genre work by ISFDb, was sold as SF, and would almost definitely be considered on-topic.

Basically if you have a sufficiently strong belief that it was intended as, or marketed and sold as, a work of science fiction, then an ID question about it would be on-topic.


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