Craig White's Literature Courses

Terms / Themes

Possible synonyms: thought experiment, storyboard, sequence, outline, features, dimensions, aspects, possibilities, options.

Oxford English Dictionary Scenario

1.a. A sketch or outline of the plot of a play, ballet, novel, opera, story, etc., giving particulars of the scenes, situations, etc.

b. Cinematography. A film script with all the details of scenes, appearances of characters, stage-directions, etc., necessary for shooting the film.

2. A sketch, outline, or description of an imagined situation or sequence of events; esp.  
a synopsis of the development of a hypothetical future world war, and hence an outline of any possible sequence of future events;
an outline of an intended course of action;
a scientific model or description intended to account for observable facts.
Hence, in weakened senses . . . a circumstance, situation, scene, sequence of events, etc.

For Literature of the Future, "scenario" describes a familiar subject or sub-genre of science fiction such as Alien Contact, High Tech, Low Tech, Utopia / Dystopia, and Ecotopia.


Kim Stanley Robinson, Introduction. Future Primitive: The New Ecotopias. (NY: Tor, 1994): "Science fiction is a collection of thought experiments that propose scenarios of the future."


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