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Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction dealing with imaginative concepts such as futuristic science and technology, space travel, time travel, parallel universes and extraterrestrial life. Science fiction often explores the potential consequences of scientific and other innovations, and has been called a "literature of ideas."It usually eschews the supernatural, and unlike the related genre of fantasy, historically science fiction stories were intended to have at least a faint grounding in science-based fact or theory at the time the story was created, but this connection has become tenuous or non-existent in much of science fiction.
Science fiction is difficult to define, as it includes a wide range of subgenres and themes. Author and editor Damon Knight summed up the difficulty, saying "science fiction is what we point to when we say it", a definition echoed by author Mark C. Glassy, who argues that the definition of science fiction is like the definition of pornography: you do not know what it is, but you know it when you see it.
Hugo Gernsback, who was one of the first in using the term "science fiction", described his vision of the genre: "By 'scientifiction' I mean the Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story—a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact and prophetic vision."
In 1970 William Atheling Jr. wrote about the English term "science fiction": "Wells used the term originally to cover what we would today call ‘hard’ science fiction, in which a conscientious attempt to be faithful to already known facts (as of the date of writing) was the substrate on which the story was to be built, and if the story was also to contain a miracle, it ought at least not to contain a whole arsenal of them."