Mechanical by Bruno Flexer

Mechanical by Bruno Flexer
Mechanical by Bruno Flexer

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Man of Steel - Superman - Science Fiction or Fantasy?

by Bruno Flexer, Author of:
Dragon Over Washington for Kindle,  Dragon Over Washington Paperback
The Fire At The Gates

Automatic Rebellion
UK Amazon: Bruno Flexer's Works

The question does beg to be asked, is the Man Of Steel, Superman, Science Fiction or Fantasy?

Man of steel - Superman - Science Fiction or Fantasy?

Seen the movie a few days ago, enjoyed it immensely, but it did bring to mind the question of science fiction over fantasy.

The answer at first seems quite simple. The movie, as well as much of the DC comics franchise as well as the various DC comics universe incarnations as seen in the movies and animated series all seem to strongly point at a science fiction roots and origin.

When you look at the Man Of Steel's roots, it has all the classic science fiction roots. Kal-El comes from another planet, is sent to our own by a space ship and is followed by his enemies who also use a space ship, of course after they break out from the Phantom Zone, a dimensional prison.

But shortly after, the boundaries of science fiction start to strain to explain the roots of Superman's powers, and he does have a lot of them. Super strength, heat vision, super hearing (which is also a vulnerability of his ...), flight, virtual invulnerability, and X Ray vision. All these powers accumulated over the time of the heroe's life as each and every DC comics author added and changed powers as he saw fit.

But, do these powers have any explanation that fits within science fiction boundaries?
Well, Superman's powers derive from the fact that as a Kryptonian who was born under a red sun, Superman's cells are absorbing the energy of our much younger and much more powerful yellow sun and he is able to metabolize the energy and produce the powers we know.

When seen through science fiction eyes, there are some things that could be explained. Strength and invulnerability can explained as stemming from the power inside his cells. Even his heat vision can be explained as excess power being shed off.

But about flight and X-Ray vision?

There is no scientific way to explain it, at least not according to the science we know today. But, is it less plausible than telepathy and telekinesis? Choosing whether something belongs to science fiction or fantasy is ultimately dependent on the creators definition. 

So, even though there are magical elements (and superheros and villains!) in the Superman DC universe, still, as the creators wish, it must be considered science fiction.

Which means Superman's powers stem from science fiction origins.

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