The techniques employed by science fiction writers are meant to draw the reader into a world where extraordinary events can occur and unexpected scenarios draw a striking comparison to events which mirror our everyday real life experiences. So good science fictions needs to stay within the limits of what may one day happen, at the same time science fiction writers need to stay away from the genre of fantasy paint a scenario which will never occur. Readers of science fiction expect to be exposed to a world different from our own, but in which certain physical rules and laws still apply. In addition, any plot as part of a science fiction novel or story needs to mirror events which are familiar to many of us, IT may include the universal ideas of hope and loss. Association with real life events helps the author maintain the a without which a science fiction story becomes unrealistic and in fact an insult to the science fiction community."

The question is : According to the passage, readers of science fiction:

A) are liable to the same world as ours.

B) are subjected to local ideas of hope and loss.

C) experience a different world from our own.

D) always face applicable rules.

I was confused between C & D ,until I picked "D". Do readers of science fiction expect to be exposed to a different world from our own when they read science fiction stories or when they lead their own life? If it's the second condition then the answer would be D, I think.

  • And would you check your transcript--there are several errors, and there appears to be something missing after "helps the author maintain the". Jun 13, 2017 at 20:10
  • 1
    This is one of the standardized tests. Do we do those here??
    – Lambie
    Jun 13, 2017 at 20:11
  • 1
    @Lambie Only if the OP does some work to explain their thoughts on the question. We generally don't just give them the answer. We expect them to show some work on their part.
    – Catija
    Jun 13, 2017 at 21:00
  • @Catija - Right on. I think this is a pretty good example of how to write an exam-question question on ELL.
    – J.R.
    Jun 13, 2017 at 21:25
  • @StoneyB It was an Egyptian GSEC exam, so I don't have the original text of the passage, but I got the text from one of the websites which is not authenticated by our ministry of Education. Jun 14, 2017 at 18:24

2 Answers 2


The answer is C because:

  • it is true that readers of science fiction expect to experience a different world than our own; although some physical rules and laws will likely still apply and although there will likely be some familiar plot themes, the science fiction world itself is fundamentally different.
  • although science fiction readers may expect that some physical rules and laws will appear in the story, they also expect that some of the physical rules and laws can be different, and the physical rules and laws in that are the same as Earth's in one science fiction story are not exactly the same physical rules and laws that may be the same as Earth's in another science fiction story. Therefore it is not true that science fiction readers always face applicable rules because there is no single physical rule or law which may not be different in a given science fiction story.

To give examples from the science fiction TV series The Twilight Zone

  • In Episode 2 death is an actual physical being and a person has the ability to negotiate with death whether he is to die or not
  • In Episode 4 an aging movie star is able to transform herself into a person on a film who is a version of her younger self, so that she can be eternally young and surrounded by the young stars of her years of stardom.
  • In Episode 5 a man is able to go back in time and visit himself when he was twelve as well as his family and people in the town he grew up in; his actions change the present once he returns to it
  • In Episode 7 a man is living on a distant asteroid and his only companion is a female robot who he falls in love with
  • In Episode 10 after a German u-boat cruelly sinks an unarmed British passenger liner the German crew are condemned to relive that day eternally but as passengers on the British ship with no memory of who they are or how they got there
  • In Episode 11 after a trip to space three astronauts and their spacecraft first return to Earth but then they one by one vanish from existence with no record of them in history
  • In Episode 13 a man can change is face to look like anyone he chooses
  • In Episode 28 a man dies and goes to a world where his every whim is instantly satisfied (he wins every bet at the casino, commits a crime but the policeman is shrunk and can do nothing to him, etc.), but only one other person (his angel he believes) is real so he can't have any deep friendships/connections with anyone except that other person, who he actually discovers is a devil and he is in hell
  • In Episode 36 a person can create anything (living or otherwise) into his world simply by describing it into his dictation machine and, if he destroys the tape of that part of his dictation, that thing fades out of the world.

So you see in each case the world is different from our own and some rules are the same and others not the same - there are no rules that are necessarily always the same.


Look, the question is not well explained here because science fiction readers are humans too and live their own lives that share the same reality as ours so the question should elaborate if the world they face is the world readers experience in their everyday lives or the one they face when they read science fiction works.

"General rules not physics rules?" :

As for whether they face applicable rules or not, it does not state that those rules are the rules of physics which the comprehension mentioned.So "applicable rules" can mean that general rules are common between science fiction and everyday world and that is not very true as science fiction readers do experience an odd reality while reading which can include no gravity, spreading diseases, man-made monsters, aliens, great wars and those aren't likely to happen in our world or by our rules.

Plus, if we ignore my general rules theory and stick to the norm that they are physics rules and if then the world that readers face is the one they face while reading science fiction, then that world would have both applicable rules and would be different from ours as you said and thus the two answers (c) and (d) would be legit but if it were their everyday world then, it would be better to pick the choice (a)

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