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Old 11-17-2012, 01:42 AM   #101
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Well, yes, of course. Speculative fiction contains things that cannot happen in reality (as we know it) so anything that I consider speculative fiction will contain a certain level of unreality.

Its like stating that I'll consider hot milk to be hot coco if it has some amount of chocolate in it. Yes, indeed, I think hot coco should have some amount of chocolate in it.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:49 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by amergina View Post
Well, yes, of course. Speculative fiction contains things that cannot happen in reality (as we know it) so anything that I consider speculative fiction will contain a certain level of unreality.

Its like stating that I'll consider hot milk to be hot coco if it has some amount of chocolate in it. Yes, indeed, I think hot coco should have some amount of chocolate in it.
Yes, but you also seem to be saying that a certain amount of unreality in a work, while the amount required may vary from work to work, will make you consider it speculative fiction.

Which is what I was basically asking in the first place, 'will a certain amount of unreality, regardless of the explanation (or lack thereof), make you think something is speculation fiction?' It's not like I'm asking 'how much unreality is needed', just if there is a limit in people's minds.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:59 AM   #103
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'will a certain amount of unreality, regardless of the explanation (or lack thereof), make you think something is speculation fiction?'
Ah, but this is a different from:

Quote:
at some point in a given piece, a certain level of unreality will make you consider it spec fic.
All speculative fiction contains some amount of unreality.

Not all stories with some amount of unreality are speculative fiction. (See also, Blues Brothers. Or Inglorious Bastards, for that matter.)
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:59 AM   #104
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Yes, but you also seem to be saying that a certain amount of unreality in a work, while the amount required may vary from work to work, will make you consider it speculative fiction.

Which is what I was basically asking in the first place, 'will a certain amount of unreality, regardless of the explanation (or lack thereof), make you think something is speculation fiction?' It's not like I'm asking 'how much unreality is needed', just if there is a limit in people's minds.
You're talking as if unreality is a single quantity. There are an arbitrary number of ways in which something can be unreal. Some combinations of these presented in some ways are seen as fantasy. Some others presented in other ways are seen as comedy or horror. Some of them are seen as completely mainstream. It's not amount of unreality. It's kind and presentation that matters.

You can create a fantasy with one single change (a person wakes up and finds that no one can see him anymore), or a mainstream with millions of changes (add a fake Balkan nation developing nukes and threatening the world). The latter has far more change than the former, but the former is more fantastic.
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:59 AM   #105
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The EU's precise cocoa content to warrant calling something chocolate might be a guideline here.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:04 AM   #106
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Not all stories with some amount of unreality are speculative fiction. (See also, Blues Brothers. Or Inglorious Bastards, for that matter.)
Yes, but if the level of unreality was raised in those stories, would they at some point become speculative fiction IYO?

Ie. in any given story, could the level of unreality without an explicit typically spec fic explanation (this is crucial to the premise) be raised enough to make you consider them speculative fiction?
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:05 AM   #107
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I already acknowledged the presentation part and that it wouldn't necessarily be part of the fantasy genre per say... but if something unrealistic to the point of being completely impossible is happening in a story, would you intuitively think it likely to be some kind of spec fic (whether fantasy, sci-fi, superhero, etc. and regardless of how bad)?

This really should have been a poll but too late I guess... if you had to vote and you would get a $10,000,000 book contract regardless of the answer you gave, yes or no?
I'll try again, since it doesn't seem to have made it through.

It depends.

I read fantasy, I read sci-fi, I read action-adventure and historical and just about anything that isn't explicitly chick lit or literary. I'll even read mysteries when I'm really strapped for reading material.

I treat everything I read as a spec fic of some sort, because everything has an element of speculation. The historical speculates on what people actually thought then (at the very least, and the further you go back the more spec the fic is). The action-adventure tends to speculate about things like special forces and crime syndicates and extremists and special weapons and someone being a tough enough dude to save the President. The mystery tends to speculate on someone being dead and someone else working out who done it, and the (small amount of) romance I've read speculates on what makes and breaks a relationship.

One notable thing I remember was being presented with something completely unlikely to the point of impossibility at the end of an action-adventure book, as part of the climax, and I didn't assume it was spec fic - I just assumed it was written by some clown who'd temporarily forgotten the laws of physics because he didn't realise that a man-made aircraft hovering isn't hovering relative to its immediate surroundings, but relative to the world in general. I didn't assume it was spec fic, I assumed it was idiocy, because by everything presented to that point, the standard laws of physics applied.

So. IT DEPENDS.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:10 AM   #108
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I'll try again, since it doesn't seem to have made it through.

It depends.

I read fantasy, I read sci-fi, I read action-adventure and historical and just about anything that isn't explicitly chick lit or literary. I'll even read mysteries when I'm really strapped for reading material.

I treat everything I read as a spec fic of some sort, because everything has an element of speculation. The historical speculates on what people actually thought then (at the very least, and the further you go back the more spec the fic is). The action-adventure tends to speculate about things like special forces and crime syndicates and extremists and special weapons and someone being a tough enough dude to save the President. The mystery tends to speculate on someone being dead and someone else working out who done it, and the (small amount of) romance I've read speculates on what makes and breaks a relationship.

One notable thing I remember was being presented with something completely unlikely to the point of impossibility at the end of an action-adventure book, as part of the climax, and I didn't assume it was spec fic - I just assumed it was written by some clown who'd temporarily forgotten the laws of physics because he didn't realise that a man-made aircraft hovering isn't hovering relative to its immediate surroundings, but relative to the world in general. I didn't assume it was spec fic, I assumed it was idiocy, because by everything presented to that point, the standard laws of physics applied.

Meanwhile, a different story can get away with magic spells, genre-savvy characters and dragons that disappear when you stop believing in them.

So. IT DEPENDS.
It's like you're deliberately trying to be evasive... I even included the word likely and still. Okay let's narrow it down a bit. If the story is consistently unrealistic to the point of impossibility in our world and it looks like it's intentional... would it likely be speculative fiction?
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:13 AM   #109
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Yes, but if the level of unreality was raised in those stories, would they at some point become speculative fiction IYO?

Ie. in any given story, could the level of unreality without an explicit typically spec fic explanation (this is crucial to the premise) be raised enough to make you consider them speculative fiction?
I can't tell you. I really can't. I'd have to see/read it and decide.

Dragons in Napoleonic Europe without any explanation? Fantasy.

The mini Ice Age never happening? Have no clue. Probably not fantasy. Unless that's the reason for having dragons.

A book with a culture like ancient China, but set on an almost earth-like world with two moons and ghosts? Fantasy.

A book set in ancient China with ghosts? I don't know. I'd have to read it.

I have no quantifiable answer for you. It's like asking when orange shades to red. I can point to the colors and say "This is orange" and "this is red." But you know, not everyone sees color the same way, so what is orange for me may well be red for someone else. And yet, they both can contain hints of yellow.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:16 AM   #110
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Maybe my mistake was posting this on a forum of writers, since I'm guessing if I posted on a forum of non-writers 'is a pre-modern story with superhuman warriors but no magic fantasy?' there would at least be some yes or no answers.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:19 AM   #111
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Actually wait a minute.

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I can't tell you. I really can't. I'd have to see/read it and decide.

Dragons in Napoleonic Europe without any explanation? Fantasy.

The mini Ice Age never happening? Have no clue. Probably not fantasy. Unless that's the reason for having dragons.

A book with a culture like ancient China, but set on an almost earth-like world with two moons and ghosts? Fantasy.

A book set in ancient China with ghosts? I don't know. I'd have to read it.

I have no quantifiable answer for you. It's like asking when orange shades to red. I can point to the colors and say "This is orange" and "this is red." But you know, not everyone sees color the same way, so what is orange for me may well be red for someone else. And yet, they both can contain hints of yellow.
Here you talk about whether they are or aren't fantasy... but are they all speculative fiction? Since I didn't ask specifically about fantasy in the post this was a response to.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:19 AM   #112
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It'd be fiction.

Fiction is inherently speculative.

Speculative fiction is deliberate 'what if' and 'what then'.

I cannot break it down further. There are examples that fit your definition and are not considered speculative fiction. There are examples that do not fit your definition and yet are.

It depends.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:22 AM   #113
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So even when I use the word 'likely' so answers don't have to be universally inclusive, there is still not even a lean towards 'yes' or 'no'...
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:22 AM   #114
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Maybe my mistake was posting this on a forum of writers, since I'm guessing if I posted on a forum of non-writers 'is a pre-modern story with superhuman warriors but no magic fantasy?' there would at least be some yes or no answers.
You know what, I'm out. Because you've just changed the goalposts again.

ETA: For me, fantasy is a subset of speculative fiction, which is an umbrella term that encompasses fantasy, science fiction, and horror.

All fiction is unreal. That's why it's fiction.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:24 AM   #115
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You know what, I'm out. Because you've just changed the goalposts again.
What? That superhuman warriors thing was the second example I used at the beginning. And how did I change the question, I was just using that as an example to narrow down what I meant by 'level of unreality without an explicit typically spec fic explanation'.

Unless you're saying my whining about the inability to give a yes or no answer is 'changing the goalposts'... but dang, the level of washiness in this thread is making me faint. Even with disclaimers like 'most likely'... still no one dares lean one way or another.

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Old 11-17-2012, 02:40 AM   #116
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Dang the level of washiness in this thread is making me faint.
The reluctance of posters to be pinned down is normal. Several posters pointed out that you're facing them with an ill defined problem. Sure, if you ask anyone in the street, you might get a clear yes or no answer. What would it be worth in relation to solving your problem?

You're on a writers website. People are pretty expert on the terms you are using and they have been very straightforward with you. They are not dodging a question.

Science is about asking the right questions.

If you believe the issue is well defined or not too broad to explore, then put in some time to dig up the answer and put it up for discussion. Trying to collect what is in people's minds and then filter it down to a measure of when the threshold is reached is an unsound way to approach a problem.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:46 AM   #117
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The thing is, I'm not actually trying to solve a problem. I made this thread out of curiosity and with a pretty clear view of how I personally stand on the issue... if others had simply disagreed with me and said 'no' that would perfectly fine and valid. But the response I've gotten seems to me to be making the discussion way too complicated when in fact, although I can't speak for those who have posted in this thread, I think most other people would be able to intuitively lean towards a yes or no... even with the odd exception, but a general yes or no.
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Old 11-17-2012, 02:55 AM   #118
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So your expectations are out of line with the feedback received. Tough Time to revise your expectations that most "other" people would actually give an answer. No?
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:00 AM   #119
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Yup, that's it. No more feeding the troll for me.

Glutton, good luck getting any help out of me in future.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:00 AM   #120
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Time to revise your expectations that most "other" people would actually give an answer. No?
Well I highly doubt 'most' people would give an answer similar to the ones I've gotten in this thread. Way too deep for me... what can I say, I'm a modern day Barbarian.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:02 AM   #121
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Yup, that's it. No more feeding the troll for me.
Why is having an unpopular opinion, and viewing things from a different perspective considered 'trolling'?

I feel so simple and innocent now.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:03 AM   #122
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I have no quantifiable answer for you. It's like asking when orange shades to red. I can point to the colors and say "This is orange" and "this is red." But you know, not everyone sees color the same way, so what is orange for me may well be red for someone else. And yet, they both can contain hints of yellow.
Orange's lowest range is bounded at 480 THz. 480.00001 THz is orange. 419.99999 THz is red. If you wanted to be absolute.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:04 AM   #123
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This 'specific character from my book' doesn't exist. I've never written a US soldier tossing jeeps at jets. I don't know how many times I have to restate that it's an example.
Except I wasn't talking about that character. I was talking about Miss Rips-Bear-Jaws.

No one is getting angry in this thread; we're just trying to pin down what the discussion is actually about.

If the discussion is what genre something defaults to when story events are impossible, I also gave my answer a while ago: It depends on the explanation given for those impossible events.

And if the discussion is what genre something defaults to when story events are impossible, and there is no explanation given for those events, then I think the correct classification for such a story is "bad writing".

With an exemption for intentionally absurdist or surreal pieces.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:07 AM   #124
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Well I highly doubt 'most' people would give an answer similar to the ones I've gotten in this thread. Way too deep for me... what can I say, I'm a modern day Barbarian.
Who is to say that the answers would have been different from those already given? Maybe it's time to check your own expectations and see if you can reconcile the discrepancy yourself.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:10 AM   #125
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And if the discussion is what genre something defaults to when story events are impossible, and there is no explanation given for those events, then I think the correct classification for such a story is "bad writing".
So if the explanation is simply not given in the story which is told from a first or third person POV due to the POV characters having no reason to bring it up, being as familiar with their world's quirks as we are with having feet, that is bad writing? It seems logical to me... the actual explanation would likely be them having slightly different biology than our own, as you suggested, but then how would they know this to explain it? Other than the potential for greater physical ability shown, it would make zero sense for there to be an explicit explanation in the story.

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