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Just as the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism determines the 'mood' of a series, this scale determines how much a particular series is unlike reality in relation to the natural laws, general conditions, and probabilities of Real Life. Stories also vary greatly in their realism concerning human behavior, but that trope has yet to be created.

There are cases where the writers believe in something which most of the audience consider unrealistic; these should be judged according to the audience' standards, for no one knows exactly what a writer believes. There are cases of Did Not Do the Research. If it's obviously deliberate laziness, the work deserves a place at the fantastic end, even if it's unintended.

There are also stories in which the precise cause of things is never delineated: both a naturalistic (positivist) and a supernatural explanation is possible.

Not to be confused with Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness - a time-travel story with rigorous rules can be fairly Hard but decidedly Fantastic, for example. Sliding Scale of Like Reality Unless Noted charts the degree to which a work of fiction set in what is ostensibly a "modern", Earthly environment departs from Real Life.

A story's way of dealing with Back From the Dead can be a good indicator:

  • Mundane: Death is final. No one comes back from the dead.
  • Unrealistic: If anyone comes back, it's from Not Quite Dead or from improbably surviving events that should have killed them (but, of course, they Never Found the Body).
  • Unusual: People can outright come Back From the Dead, but it's a rare occurrence.
  • Fantastic: It's difficult and has certain requirements.
  • Surreal: The afterlife has a revolving door.

Some series can rank one or two steps up or down this basic scale.

Please list examples in alphabetical order.


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