'The Twilight Zone's' Rod Serling on the Difference Between Science Fiction and Fantasy

"It is said that science fiction and fantasy are two different things. Science fiction is the improbable made possible, and fantasy is the impossible made probable."

Today's #WordsofWisdom come from Rod Serling (1924-1975), American screenwriter, producer, and creator of The Twilight Zone. Serling was active in politics, both on and off the screen, and helped form television industry standards. He was also known for clashing with television executives and sponsors over a wide range of issues including censorship, racism, and war. Like Star Trek's Gene Roddenberry, Serling incorporated his own progressive views on racial relations into his science fiction. Today he is best known for his appearances on the classic TV program as its mysterious, cigarette-smoking narrator.


As one of the masters of his craft, and a well-regarded Hollywood pro, Serling knew form and structure as well as anyone. For today's Words of Wisdom, here's how we described sci-fi in relation to fantasy:

"It is said that science fiction and fantasy are two different things. Science fiction is the improbable made possible, and fantasy is the impossible made probable."

Below, Big Think expert Kabir Sehgal explains how science fiction acts as a surprisingly robust predictor of future technology and innovation. If you want to know what money will look like 500 years from now, turn to Einstein and sci-fi:

(Parts of Serling's biography were pulled from his Wikipedia page here.)

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