Is Urban Science Fiction a Thing?



If urban fantasy is a thing, is urban scifi a thing too?

I mean stories dealing with scientific concepts or technologies, but based in the current era in an urban setting rather than a dystopia/utopia or outer space, along the lines of Maximum Ride or the X-Men for instance.

I’ve always loved stories that are not so far removed from reality (although there’s a special place in my heart for new worlds too- be it fantasy or science fiction) and set in the real world, with an element of science fiction technologies or themes

I would love to find some people writing or reading about the same things I am!


I definitely think that Urban Sci-Fi can be a thing. Such as exploring DNA and sciencey stuff like rockets and building aircrafts and high tech structures can be in an urban setting. I’m not too sure about Urban Fantasy, though? Lolol >_<


There was a time when I used to hope so, before my style of writing diverged from Urban Science Fiction into a “Cybergoth” arena, and only sightly.

You might be surprised how many spooky kids will try to tell an adult goth their not Goth enough. Even adult people, who should know better, don’t.

But yes, I like the idea of Urban Science Fiction.

It gets tricky, as by definition of it being present day, the idea of something being present doesn’t necessarily mean not dystopic.

It just means not dystopic like 1984.

Technology must be bleeding edge, not completely bug proof. And relationships, relationships, relationships.


That’s one of the more silly distinction between romance and non-romance to me. Fiction by it nature is about relationships.

But by bleeding edge, I don’t have mean science fiction with an edge. I mean the technology is so close to what we can imagine, that it’s not a terrible leap to imagine going from Android 1.0, to Quantum Cell Phones, in it early stages where people lose their account information to do malicious hackers.


Would not it be a take on cyberpunk, I.e a modernized society without the doomsday?


Yea that’s basically how I approach it.

Problem is without the doomsday my cyberpunk gets even darker.:confused:


You mean like Michael Circhton? Tons.


Aren’t those basically tech thrillers though? What I’m specifically thinking of more in the Techno Mytery/Noir arena.

Ones where the expectation isn’t the blow up a school bus in a movie’s intro.

As flippant as that sounds.

Hollywood tech thrillers that is. Literary tech thriller seem at least to have a more professional approach.


No, not in my view. I don’t think space virus invasions and dinosaur epics amount to just tech thrillers. All or most SF is based on runaway technology or science in general. Superman things are clearly fantasy/hero epics, Perhaps COMA might fit the bill as a Tech thriller. The IMF movies are Tech/Spy thrillers. Black Hat epics are often thrillers… The two types are close though, Alternately, invasion of the Pod People, and IT are likely catagorize-able as urban SF, albeit poor examples. There are also urban fantasies like Sleepwalkers, so on that use relatively present day settings. The tech for Urban SF is apocryphal - projected future tech, just closer to what is possible. As far as films go, it’s a mix. producers are not writers and don’t generally give a fig about what goes into their movies as long as it is thrilling.


Ah ok so it’s not like you’re saying Urban SF is undoable then. I may have misread then.

I don’t find Urban SF accurate for me, sort of like how magical realism writers don’t really find Urban Fantasy accurate.


I think @FAHyatt has the right idea. Crichton definitely had a handle on urban sci-fi which steered clear of cyberpunk. Probably the closest he ever came to cyberpunk, in my opinion, was Disclosure. If you want a good urban sci-fi story, try tracking down “The Tale of The Brahmin’s Wife.” Might help set a boundary marker between urban sci-fi and cyberpunk for you.


The finer you try to dice SF into sub-categories,the more “This is very similar to” you are going to find. Meh. Its Science fiction. Weird stuff happening due to new revelations about how the universe works, and what we can now expect to do with all that, and somehow live with its arrival and persevere.