7
  • Sharkado's Wikipedia entry lists it under "2010s science fiction films" hierarcy.

  • It was shown on SyFy TV channel.

  • Movie Trailers Youtube Channel listed it under Sci-Fi

  • Its premise is Science-Fictiony: a storm with tornadoes capable of lifting sharks into the air.

  • While IMDB lists it as "Horror" genre, Horror in and out of itself does not preclude being ontopic for SFF site - we have plenty of ontopic questions about works that are Horror (Dracula, Lovecraft, etc...)

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    re: Point 2, so was WWE wrestling. – Valorum Aug 2 '14 at 20:42
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    @Richard - It still provides correlation. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Aug 2 '14 at 21:36
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    From their own FAQ: "For us "sci-fi" includes a broad range of imagination-based entertainment, including science fiction but also fantasy, the paranormal, adventure and others. Syfy helps us define our unique take on the genre." As such, being on Syfy doesn't make it sci-fi. -syfy.com/faq – Valorum Aug 2 '14 at 21:51
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    Even if it isn't "SciFi" wouldn't it still be on topic as it is purely fantastical. – user20155 Aug 6 '14 at 3:13
17

I would argue that Sharknado is on-topic here, because it falls under the realm of science fiction.

(i.e. I disagree with Richard's answer which claims that the film cannot be science fiction, because the phenomenon of rains of animals has been recorded historically and is therefore established as scientific fact).

Stories playing in the present, mainly influenced by a scientific phenomenon which may be possible but has not happened so far, are generally counted as science fiction.

This includes the entire sub-genre of apocalyptic fiction. Tales about disasters such as a widespread plague, a meteorite impact, a thermonuclear war, are generally considered Science fiction.

Sharknado deals with a local apocalypse, not a global one, but I would argue that that does not preclude it from being counted as science fiction.

The important thing is, as far as I understand, Sharknado explores the consequences of a phenomenon that has a scientific explanation, but has not happened so far. (Whether the scientific explanation is sound is another matter, but that just says something about the quality of the movie, not whether it is on-topic here)

If the movie instead suggested a supernatural explanation or malevolent force behind the phenomenon, it would fit more into the fantasy genre (but still be on-topic)

  • I don't think all apocalyptic material is by definition Sci-Fi, but only if it is set in the future (maybe?). Like if a film was made of a the Black Plague or another illness nearly wiping out (a) civilisation, would that be Sci-Fi? – Wikis Aug 3 '14 at 10:45
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    I do think so. I would count alternate history as Sci-Fi too, such as the Nazis winning World War 2. I think requiring the setting to be in the future is a bit too strict, and instead restrict it to settings that did definitely not happen in our actual present or past, but could conceivably be part of our future or an alternate present or past. Of course, opinions may differ. – HugoRune Aug 3 '14 at 10:50
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    Also: "A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away..." :-) – HugoRune Aug 3 '14 at 10:56
  • priceless, well played! – Wikis Aug 3 '14 at 11:26
10

No, it is not Science Fiction, but it is Speculative Fiction and thus on topic (alas).

Wikipedia says:

Speculative fiction is an umbrella term encompassing the more fantastical fiction genres, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror fiction, weird fiction, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history in literature as well as related static, motion, and virtual arts.

  • Or Fantasy....which is still on topic. – Oldcat Aug 6 '14 at 19:44
-2

I guess this meta question was triggered by my vote to close on the question Are there any other marine animals in Sharknado?

I don't know the answer for sure; I haven't watched the film. That's why I started with a comment and then, after waiting and not receiving any rebuttal, went on to vote to close.

My reason for challenging it was having read a few summaries (eg Wikipedia) and not seeing anything in those summaries implying sci-fi. Eg I don't consider a "freak storm" sci-fi, unless it is caused by a mad scientist or an alien1.

I don't consider any of the reasoning in this question to make it sci-fi: eg Wikipedia might list it under sci-fi because it's got to go into one genre - but unless it has something specifically sci-fi in it I don't think we should accept it.

Richard says it is fantasy. But there is (using his definition) no magic, supernatural events, make-believe creatures or exotic fantasy worlds. He has highlighted, "and the extraordinary". But every film contains something extraordinary - otherwise it would just be a film about everyday life. "Extraordinary" is far to broad and vague to use to categorise a film as on topic for this site.

So my answer is: "Sharknado is off-topic for Sci-Fi & Fantasy". Please upvote if you agree; please downvote if you don't. May this community decide!

1 Or an mad scientist alien... or a time travelling - no, let's not go there.

  • Actually, since I waited to post this Meta question until there were 4 close votes, as opposed to your comment, this was very definitely NOT triggered by your VTC :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Aug 2 '14 at 21:52
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    For the record, the film also features a helicopter blowing up tornados. That alone would push it into the fantasy category. – Valorum Aug 2 '14 at 21:55
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    FWIW, I have a good feeling when I see experienced contributors on this site disagreeing in an agreeable way. Well played, all. – Wikis Aug 2 '14 at 21:57
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    Also, the sharks don't behave like real sharks. That means they're fantastical. – Valorum Aug 2 '14 at 22:05
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    @Richard Lassie is an extraordinary dog and it doesn't behave like a real dog. Is Lassie on-topic? I totally agree with Wikis on this, but I see that the community feels different about this so I'm just going to accept that! – Einer Aug 3 '14 at 7:30
  • @einer - Lassie doesn't do anything a real dog can't (theoretically) do, albeit her grasp of the English language seems to be a bit unrealistic. I'd say that it's bordering on fantasy, but only very very slightly. – Valorum Aug 3 '14 at 7:41
  • Lassie is an interesting case. I was thinking of "Bruce Almighty"! On topic? Can open, worms everywhere... – Wikis Aug 3 '14 at 10:25
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    @Richard - a helicopter blowing up tornados could be just bad science. Do we classify all cases of bad science as fantasy? – user8719 Aug 3 '14 at 11:58
  • @wikis - Bruce Almighty would be firmly on topic. – Valorum Aug 3 '14 at 12:04
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    @Richard I don't think fantasy equals to unbelievable. If that, most of actions films would be fantasy. – Flamma Aug 3 '14 at 12:14
  • @Richard: really, I was kidding! Why? – Wikis Aug 3 '14 at 12:23
  • @flamma - because he's basically a superhero – Valorum Aug 3 '14 at 12:50
  • I would personally judge Bruce Almighty to be on-topic. There is precedent with Noah, but we need to keep in mind that religious texts are off-topic. – phantom42 Aug 3 '14 at 13:21
  • I'm finding it ironic that this post sleeps with the fishes... – Valorum Aug 3 '14 at 16:41
  • @Richard - or maybe, zombie like, it will rise again... – Wikis Aug 3 '14 at 20:52
-4

Science fiction is defined as:

Fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals, or more generally, literary fantasy including a scientific factor as an essential orienting component
Webster's Dictionary

Since the phenomenon of rains of animals (and in particular rains of fishes) has been recorded historically and is therefore established as scientific fact, the Sharknado isn't science fiction per se.

However, since a rain of sharks would be a vanishingly rare event and because the sharks we see in the film seems to possess a level of aggression well beyond that of their real-world counterparts, it's still very much on-topic for the site since it falls under the heading of fantasy, e.g.

Fantasy films are films with fantastic themes, usually involving magic, supernatural events, make-believe creatures, or exotic fantasy worlds. The genre is considered to be distinct from science fiction film and horror film, although the genres do overlap. Fantasy films often have an element of magic, myth, wonder, escapism, and the extraordinary.
Wikipedia

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    I'm not sure the phenomenon of rains of 6+ foot long sharks has been established as scientific fact.... It is an exaggeration of scientific fact, which is a bit different. Either way, I agree it is on topic. – Beofett Aug 2 '14 at 20:50
  • I had to downvote for the reasons specified in my answer. – Wikis Aug 2 '14 at 21:46
  • @Beofett - Unless there's a scientific reason why sharks are immune to the same phenomenon, I'm sure that there has been at least one rain of sharks in the past 400 million years. – Valorum Aug 2 '14 at 21:54
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    @Richard the Wikipedia article specifies that the animals in these rainstorms are small and light. The sharks in the movie are neither. – Beofett Aug 2 '14 at 22:08
  • @Beofett - That's true, but I'm struggling to find a scientist on record as saying that there's a maximum size for a waterspout/tornado – Valorum Aug 3 '14 at 8:37
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    I'd say (though I've never seen the film) that it deals with the impact of actual or imagined science on society and is thus science fiction by the cited definition. – Matt Gutting Aug 3 '14 at 11:57

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