Science fiction movies are one of the most profitable genres in cinema history. These stories tap into the audience’s curiosity of what the future holds for them.
It walks the line between the imaginary (fantasy) and plausibility. There are often technological elements in the not too distant future, so the events could veritably occur in the audience’s lifetime.
To make science fiction work, you need a touch of strangeness, realism and social commentary. What is man capable of, yet why are we so scared of letting the future unfold as it may? Why do we long to control our destinies?
There are a few key roles in writing these stories:
Set your parameters early and stick to them. The audience needs to know the rules before the story begins.
Make it uniquely familiar. As in all genres, you don’t want to alienate the audience. Add a new spin on an existing concept.
What is the zeitgeist? What are the concerns of the current world? Lack of privacy? Corporatization? Toxins in our environment? The widening gap between the rich and poor? Our desire for immortality? These are typical themes of the science fiction genre.
Remember that a good science fiction relies on both a high concept idea and the emotions of a human story to make it enduring.