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Thread: Sci-Fi vs Fantasy Forum

  1. #1
    Hopeless Romantic fedorable1's Avatar
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    Sci-Fi vs Fantasy Forum

    Greetings, everyone.

    I would like to extend an invitation for all to join in on the Science Fiction vs. Fantasy Forum. This is an opportunity to exhibit your unbridled bias and discuss why you think Sci-Fi or Fantasy is the greater of the genres. Think Legolas would have made mince-meat of Robocop? Think the Eldar Mages are mere pions to a true master of the Force? Let everyone know here.

    This is intended to be a fun, open community to discuss classic SF vs. F match-ups and debates. Vulgarity and rudeness will not be tolerated.

    So what are you waiting for? Come on in and let the debates begin.

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  2. #2
    House Dragon Anya Smith's Avatar
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    Smile Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

    I write science fiction but that doesn't stop me from reading some Fantasy. Like the "Lord of the Rings" Terry Goodkind's "Wizard's First Rule" series, Piers Anthony's "Apprentice Adept" series, and some others I've read throughout the years.

    I prefer science fiction simply because my background is in science and I tend to think in those terms when ideas strike. But if ever an idea should come that would fit in the Fantasy genre, I would certainly go for it. Though I'd have to do a lot more research before I tackled that.

    I started a story this summer, and it's going to be some kind of crossover. It's only about 20,000 words in progress, so I have time to figure out where it belongs. Somewhere between mainstream and supernatural. It explores the connection between reincarnation and split personality. If anyone has suggestions what genre it would fit, please let me know.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by fedorable1
    Think Legolas would have made mince-meat of Robocop? Think the Eldar Mages are mere pions to a true master of the Force? Let everyone know here.
    Amusing images. Having always been strictly a fantasy reader, my burning questions have always run along the lines of: If Richard Rahl met Thomas Covenant, would they "get" each other? (I'm not sure they would).
    The Sword of Truth against a lightsaber? huh. Oh, well, I think Star Wars is fantasy anyway, not sci-fi. There just happen to be space ships.

    I've always thought of science fiction and fantasy as part of the same thing--doing the same thing in different ways. Yet they can be so different-- the voice of science fiction in particular. I used to think I had to be smart to understand and enjoy science fiction and I am not. The writing style of the sf stories I tried out was not engaging, either. I also believed that people who read and wrote science fiction were, or thought they were, somehow "above" those who were into fantasy. I found it intimidating. Is this true of anyone else, or am I just weird? Wait, don't answer that.

    Well, somehow I discovered Orson Scott Card this year. It breaks my heart to say it and with some trepidation I will anyway. Personally, I haven't read any fantasy work that reaches the level of genius his represents for me ... AND I find his prose beautiful ... sorry to all my lifetime favorites!

    (Oh thank God I just thought of a possible exception: Patricia A. McKillip)

    What this says about my opinion of science fiction vs fantasy has to be nothing, right? . . . I STILL LOVE FANTASY! only, my favorite writer at the moment is a science fiction writer. !
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  4. #4
    The Brunette She-Ra MDavis's Avatar
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    I think I was tricked into loving fantasy best.

    When I was really little I loved Star Trek and Star Wars (Nowadays, I happen to agree that Star Wars is more like a space fantasy than sci-fi), so it seemed natural that I might grow up to be a science fiction person.

    However, when I was twelve, I found my dad's collection of Anne McCaffery's Dragonriders of Pern books. I adored them, devoured them, whatever. It must have been the presence of dragons and the look of the original covers that gave me the impression that they were fantasy novels. I was hooked, and practically abandoned sci-fi from that point on (I still enjoy sci-fi TV shows).

    I have too many ties to history than to science, I think, and while fantasy is not historically based, I think there's a lot of room there to explore the history of our world from a different angle.

    And I like old stuff

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    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Smile

    the two are certainly not exclusive of each other. There have been masters who have blended the two together, like Poul Anderson. I write SF, but only because I envision the future, not because I want to ignore the past. The two genres are "world building" palates, where we can become God-like and create everything from the ground up. That is the appeal. I've never looked down upon fantasy writers, because they use the tools of action/adventure that is so desperately needed in SF. When SF becomes too highbrow and clinical, it loses its magic. Star Wars was a perfect blend of the two, if you stop and think about it. What distresses me about SF is not wanting to appear as a nerd-type, thus scaring my audience away. In 1990 when I was a SFWA member, we were fighting to keep fantasy writers out of the organization. I have regretted those thoughts ever since, and am very glad that the two genres merged and are finally recognized together with great pride and acomplishment. We belong together as surely as horror and thriller do. I'm very elated to see more women writing SF, and believe the new SF romance books are great, and opening up new vistas.

    Tri

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW alaskamatt17's Avatar
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    I write both, and read both. I think I'm better at writing fantasy, but I have a harder time finding fantasy books to read that are truly as moving and deeply satisfying as the science fiction books I've read. Orson Scott Card (mentioned above by trebuchet) is really one of the best writers whose works I've ever had the pleasure of reading. I've never connected with any character the way I connected with Ender Wiggin from Ender's Game. Another really great science fiction writer is Robert J. Sawyer. His books all seem to share the same themes, but that doesn't make them any less moving. As far as fantasy goes, I would have to say that George R. R. Martin is the best currently writing in the genre, although that opinion may be biased by having read his works more recently than the works of some other fantasy authors (Tad Williams being another of my favorites). Martin's characters are so well developed that if there's any difference between their vividness and Card's, I can't tell. And some of the moments in his Song of Ice and Fire series are just gutwrenching.

    Anyway, I'm currently feeling a kind of buzz from reading through the rough draft of a story I wrote and really feeling like I wrote something worth reading. It has dinosaurs, patricide, and lots of frost, and it's just so utterly tragic ... I've never written anything more beautiful in my life. I'm half tempted just to hang the revision process and submit it without editing, but I know it'll be even better after I make the few changes it needs.

    It's good to be back on this site ...


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    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Cool

    Good to see you back Alaskamatt. Sounds like that novella has about and proved to be something you're proud of. Good going.

    Tri

  8. #8
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    Or you write Science Fantasy and use the best from both genres.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW alaskamatt17's Avatar
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    Yeah, Science Fantasy is great. I don't know if it uses the best of both genres, but it is really fun to read (and write).

    And thanks, Triceratops. Also, I found out something really great yesterday: one of the paleontologists whose work I based my story on might be a professor at my school next year. The geology department is hiring somebody, and he's one of the three candidates they've narrowed it down to.
    Last edited by alaskamatt17; 03-23-2006 at 12:39 AM.


    Working on:

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  10. #10
    Arcaina
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    I love both, read both, write both. Just depends on my mood, may be in the mood for dragons/elves for awhile, then be on a robot, laser, space, whatever kick.

  11. #11
    Unpredictable preacher Minister's Avatar
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    And Orson Scott Card, though best known for Ender's Game, has written an awful lot of fantasy too. For what it's worth, he considers his science fiction to be science fantasy -- little explanation or actual science behind his devices, so they become much the same as devices in a fantasy setting.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW alaskamatt17's Avatar
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    Ender's Game may not have much as far as applied science goes, but there is a pretty hefty amount of social science in there. It's not thrown right out in the open, but I'd say there's enough of it to call the work true SF.


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  13. #13
    Chaos Warrior Nexusman's Avatar
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    It's all pretty subjective, in my opinion. Setting and environment sometimes has quite a bit to do with it: we can all agree Harry Potter is fantasy, but (bear with me on this) if he attended classes on wand programming and server transfiguration, would it not be perceived as more sci-fi?

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  14. #14
    Hurls Adverbs
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskamatt17
    Ender's Game may not have much as far as applied science goes, but there is a pretty hefty amount of social science in there.
    See also The Worthing Saga!
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskamatt17

    Anyway, I'm currently feeling a kind of buzz from reading through the rough draft of a story I wrote and really feeling like I wrote something worth reading. It has dinosaurs, patricide, and lots of frost, and it's just so utterly tragic ... I've never written anything more beautiful in my life. I'm half tempted just to hang the revision process and submit it without editing, but I know it'll be even better after I make the few changes it needs.
    I'm so happy for you, that is such a wonderful feeling. I hope you are still feeling that now, days later.
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  16. #16
    figuring it all out
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    books and genres

    I hope you don't mind if I join in (hello to everyone! I'm just getting started on the AW boards).

    I haven't read much Orson Scott Card besides "Enchantment", which a friend pointed out to me. It's historical fantasy, retelling Sleeping Beauty and the Baba Yaga folktales (among other things), set in 9thc. Ukraine. I have to say it was pointed out to me for both the writing and because the main character is a medievalist studying folklore and Old Church Slavonic (both of us are medievalists as well, though in our cases its Latin and Old English/Norse studies). I liked it very much, though I was disappointed in the ending--he left the final resolution to the future, whereas I'd been looking forward to how he dealt with the problem of a romance across time via a magical bridge. But I agree that his characterisation is good.

    Personally, my favourite science fiction writer is Connie Willis (most particularly "To Say Nothing of the Dog", but also "Bellwether"), whereas one of my favourite fantasy books is Robin McKinley's "The Blue Sword".

    I've been revolving certain thoughts about the differences between fantasy and science fiction in my head for a while now, and I'm curious to know what others think. In my opinion, the fundamental difference is that science fiction deals with other planets and times--that is, with places that could conceivably be arrived it, if one travelled far enough in space or time or both--whereas fantasy deals with other worlds, which can only be reached through magic or some other mechanism breaking down the usual divisions between the probable and the impossible. This idea goes along with those that others have put forth (for example CS Lewis and Debra Doyle) that fantasy is really a kind of romance (in the medieval sense). I'm not sure where science fiction fits into that scheme.

    Any thoughts?

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW alaskamatt17's Avatar
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    @Trebuchet: Yes, I still feel great about this story. I see now that it does need a little more resolution, but it still shocks me that I managed to write the story. I can't wait to finish the final draft and send it off.

    @victoria.goddard: I've only read one thing by Connie Willis, but I loved it. I picked up Doomsday Book because I was planning to write a book about an infectious disease, and it was about the Black Plague. I really loved the characterization in this book.

    I just finished reading a great short story by Robert J. Sawyer, one of my favorite SF authors. It's called "Just Like Old Times," and is about a serial killer sentenced to death by chronotransference into the mind of a tyrannosaurus. It uses a few lines from The Mikado to great effect:

    My object all sublime
    I shall achieve in time--
    To let the punishment fit the crime--
    The punishment fit the crime ...


    Working on:

    "Seance" - outlining/worldbuilding

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