If you could break down science fiction and fantasy into 116 distinct “elements” (doesn’t have to be 116 btw, just picked it because that is how many on the periodic table, IIRC), that represent themes, settings, characteristics of the various sub-genres of both areas of speculative fiction, what would they be?
For example, I have thought of:
First person (narrative)
It is possible, without too much redudancy, to reach 116? How close can we get? Or, if possible, can we achieve even more?
Any book can contain any number of the elements, many genres have elements that cross over, and some may revolve around a single element. Trying to avoid redudencies, but if there is a general term (like Psionics), and you want to add, say ESP, that is allowable, but Mind powers isn’t. (if it seems unfair it can be revised)
45 Speculative worlds of realities that play by other rules than the familiar
46 Transformations of society with heretofore untried alternatives
47 More varied gender configurations & speculation on the society that would result
When I saw this thread I immediately took it a different direction and started writing it out as actual, you know, atomic symbols and various molecule chains (for instance, the molecule Ac[sub]3[/sub]Fe used in “Foundation’s Edge” where the ancient civilization (Ac) is actually from Earth (Fe). That story also contains the molecule O[sub]4[/sub]Te, the Hari Seldon techno-oracle who can predict the future but fails to do so in any way that is useful to the characters in the story.
I hesitate to interrupt your thread with my own variant now that your thread is well under way. Should I start a new thread on it, or do you wish to see it here?
I’d like to see these elements divided neatly between the two genres, fantasy and speculative fiction, so that bookstores could make two sections and I wouldn’t have to wade through shelves and shelves of fantasy to try to find some decent sf to read.