From our class discussion, I believe the most significant characteristic of science fiction is how it creates a model of a future or alternative world which is inherently meant to have unrealistic components. Unlike economic models and models of political thought whose successfulness is based on accurately predict outcomes, the point of science fiction’s unrealistic models are not necessarily based on an ability to forecast, but rather the intrigue of the possibility the author has highlighted. The model created in most sci-fi stories takes a possible outcome if a new factor was added (such as another life form, or a technological advancement). Most often, they are meant to explore a possibility through their thought experiment, and by introducing their characters it becomes an engaging world that we can see through the eyes of someone we could relate to so that no mater how different the world is, we often have these characters to relate to and through them see the world and its changes.
Another advantage of science fiction is that the stories (or the science) do not have to be possible. They can be incorrect on certain facts, as long as the story remains plausible. Unlike other generas where a large degree of possibility must be met, science fiction only needs plausibility. So if these one or two things were true, then the rest could very easily follow; we brought up this notion in class of internal consistency which allows us to accept what otherwise might otherwise be seen as simply wrong).