The improbable becomes ridiculous

How far can you go before the improbable becomes ridiculous? Where is the line drawn between fiction and science fiction?

asteroid-hits-earth-2For example: Imagine a YA novel where the characters live an everyday life. They go to school, they have friends, there is romance, there is sorrow… and then there is a cataclysmic event like a giant asteroid hitting the planet and everything is thrown into disorder. Okay, at this point we are still in fiction, but what if after this asteroid hit people were affected with some sort of disease that caused them to selectively develop gills or an extra limb or disintegrate into a pile of ashes or something within days or even hours or minutes.

homeschooling-zombies-710x532Have we moved to science fiction and/or fantasy? Can it still be plain ol’ fiction? Do people say that could never happen in such a short period of time, this is ridiculous, and throw the book across the room? How much of a plausible exclamation needs to be given? Can you attribute it to some unknown chemical in the asteroid and leave it at that? Also, Is the zombie genre considered fiction or science fiction?

This is just an example and not something I am writing (except for the zombie part), but what I am writing has the potential to turn into something unbelievable or something pretty cool. I am just trying to figure out where that line is.

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2 thoughts on “The improbable becomes ridiculous

  1. As someone who writes both SF and Fantasy this question resonates with me. I’ve had folk tell me that my SF is fantasy and my fantasy is SF so obviously the line is very close:) At the end of the day it’s all fiction!

    • Good point. I think it is easy enough to do the extreme on either end. But when you write it so close to the present, it is hard to differentiate.
      But a good book is a good book no matter what!

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