Is Star Wars Science Fiction?

There are quite a few articles around the net that are trying to debunk the idea that >Star Wars is actually Science Fiction, with some claiming it's actually fantasy instead. On the surface Star Wars would seem to define Science Fiction very well, it has space ships, lasers, aliens, faster than light travel and even a planet killer in the shape of the Death Star.

Look again though and you can see all the hallmarks of standard High Fantasy fare, the fact the story is set a long time ago is the first and most obvious, surely Science Fiction should be set in the future?, well no not really. Is Arthur C Clarkes 2001 novel and film no longer science fiction now that it's set in the past? or many other classic science fiction stories that were created in the golden age.

Star Wars does feature however a hidden monarch, a princess, an old wizard and an evil Dark Lord, elements of any standard fantasy fare. Then there's the modern equivalent of sword fighting with the light-sabre and the use of the "force" which is very much akin magic, especially when you consider that most people clearly do not understand it.

Then there is the hero's quest, the young timid novice who grows throughout the story to become a strong hero and savior of the Galaxy.

So Star Wars is a fantasy story told against a science fiction backdrop, or in other words, speculative fiction, a genre that generally overlaps one or more genres of science fiction, fantasy or horror.

So there you have it, one of the greatest and most successful science fiction stories of all time is actually speculative fiction. My advice, enjoy it as it is, a truly great family story that is a joy to watch and read.