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Okay, I've been wondering about this question for some time. I'm pretty sure there's a consensus that the whole secret agent/spy action genre is not science fiction, but I can't work out why.

Here's some things that place it in the Sci Fi category:

  • technology that doesn't work here and now (you can't actually get most of Mr Bonds gadgets)
  • some science-driven technologies (e.g. Magnets used to deflect bullets, collecting huge amounts of sunlight and directing it to make a weapon)
  • it takes place in our universe. It doesn't claim that its content works outside the laws of physics. It's not super-natural, just deeply implausible.

Here's some things that place it outside the genre.

  • no aliens, alternate universes, time travel etc.
  • it mostly takes place on this planet.
  • storylines aren't particularly science-driven. More about people and politics (and punching the Bad Guys™).

So I'm a bit stuck, here. I think it must actually be Sci Fi, even though my first impression is that if definitely is not.

So here's the question; does James Bond fit into the genre of Science Fiction or not? I'd really like to see your working on this one.

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    Sci-Fi, try Spy-Fi – Jimmy M. Apr 18 '16 at 4:38
  • And on meta, consensus seems to be that James Bond is not sci-fi. Neither are cop dramas even when they use implausible technology. – Molag Bal Apr 18 '16 at 4:38
  • @JimmyM. I suppose it definitely is, which might lead us to the wider question of whether or not the more ludicrous Spy Fiction is a subset of Science Fiction. – AJFaraday Apr 18 '16 at 4:39
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    I don't have any objective reason why Star Wars is sci-fi and James Bond is not. It's just popular opinion, I guess. The scope of this site is "I know it when I see it" a lot of the time, which is awkwardly vauge... – Molag Bal Apr 18 '16 at 4:42
  • I think you make a good case for James Bond being sci-fi, at least loosely. And I know the question wasn’t asking what’s on topic on the site, but I think some James Bond questions could survive here. If anyone wants to test the waters, try asking a question about Moonraker. Also, I feel like this is a useful discussion, so if this question gets closed as a duplicate, maybe someone could post a new answer to the old question to bump it. – Molag Bal Apr 18 '16 at 6:26
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    Taking the purist definition of Sci-Fi; Star Wars doesn't actually qualify as there's no actual science. It's fantasy in space (something Lucas himself proved when he transplanted the entire story and all the characters to a fantasy setting as Willow). – GeoffAtkins Apr 18 '16 at 6:52
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    My understand is that James Bond as a series is not on-topic, in the same way you can ask about behind the scenes for Star Wars say, but I would hope the sci-fi elements of James Bond would be on-topic. YMMV. – AncientSwordRage Apr 18 '16 at 8:17
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    @AncientSwordRage Actually, the question isn't asking whether it is on topic on the site, just whether it is science fiction. Sadly those too definitions don't overlap perfectly, underestandably, since they are themselves fuzzy. – BMWurm Apr 18 '16 at 10:04
  • @AJFaraday Especially the immensely ludicrous Spy Fiction stuff that exists out there: Spy Kids 2 has gene-splicing to create new creatures, global EMP, and there are similar things in all the other installments in the series (then again, it does have time travel in the fourth one, so by then it becomes full on (bad) science fiction, just like with the laser guns in Moonraker). On the not actually asked question of on-topic-ness: I agree with AncientSwordRage: it depends on the element: Q about the laser guns in Moonraker: OT, about why Bond's bedding some chick: nOT. – BMWurm Apr 18 '16 at 10:15
  • @BMWurm Spy Kids was delightfully awful, wasn't it? Although you're right about it being loosely in the science fiction genre. – AJFaraday Apr 18 '16 at 10:31
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I believe most of the denizens of this stack exchange consider James Bond to be off topic, for no logical reason. None of your "things that place it outside the genre" carries any weight whatsoever.

  • no aliens, alternate universes, time travel etc.

Most science fiction stories have no aliens, alternate universes, or time travel. I think you will have a hard time coming up with a finite list of gadgets and themes such that every science fiction story has to have one of them. Anyway, a list of required or permissible themes would be an utterly ridiculous and point-missing way to define science fiction.

  • it mostly takes place on this planet.

Great gobs of science fiction take place entirely on the planet Earth. As to what proportion of the whole that is, whether more than half or less than half, I wouldn't hazard a guess.

  • storylines aren't particularly science-driven. More about people and politics (and punching the Bad Guys™).

I guess over 90% of science fiction is not "particularly science-driven." Consider two four-letter words: Star Wars. I'm not going to claim that Star Wars is science fiction, or that it isn't, but whatever it is, it takes up a lot of space in this stack exchange.

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  • I don't know, midichlorians sounded pseudo-scientific. Yeah, there seems to be consensus, but I still can't grasp why. – AJFaraday Apr 18 '16 at 6:54
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    That's not how I understood "science-driven". I took it to mean that the science (pseudo or otherwise) is important to the story. – user14111 Apr 18 '16 at 7:08
  • Me either. And a a story built on a scientific concept is one of those definite pointers, most of H.G. Wells' stories are just extrapolating an idea from science. – AJFaraday Apr 18 '16 at 7:09
  • Actually, I would claim that Star Wars isn't science fiction, it's just fiction (even historical fiction if you go along with the A long time ago... thing). It is a moot point though, since either way it is on topic here, because this stack is called "science fiction & fantasy", and as @GeoffAtkins pointed out, it clearly is the latter. I think you hit the definition of scifi with: "extrapolating an idea from science". Which makes Jules Verne a bother: 20'000 leagues, for sure, but what about 80 days? It's a science experiment after all, so for me it qualifies, but YMMV... – BMWurm Apr 18 '16 at 9:59
  • If you agree with this sentiment and not the one in the duplicate question, you should probably vote on the existing policy accordingly and not just upvote this answer. – user31178 Apr 19 '16 at 19:10

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