A Conversation for Science Fiction and Fantasy


Post 1

Zathras (Unofficial Custodian of H2G2 Room 101. ACE and holder of the BBC Pens)

OK this is one of my standard complaints in other places (not yet on H2G2) so I'll be brief.

The term 'sci-fi' is not the same as 'science fiction'. Sci-fi is typically used to indicate low quality, derivative science fiction.

As I said this is one of my pet rants so please feel free to tell me why I'm wrong.


Post 2

Morally Challenged Banana

I quite agree with you on that point but since people seem to associate with the term sci-fi linking it to all forms of good or bad science fiction I think you, me and every other science fiction enthusiast out there will just have to deal with it. smiley - winkeye


Post 3


Wrong or not I do not know. It is either a guess or your opinion, simply put.

But as an avid and devoted science fiction reader all my life the one thing that strikes me is this:

1) The word combination 'Science Fiction' is difficult to write. It is easy to spell wrongly and takes time to write.
This makes it tempting to shorten down the whole thing. Sci-fi is shorter and quicker. Sweden, where I'm from the language even
allow an even shorter version: 'SF' which is very easy to use.

So there simply is no value connected to the diffrent forms of the term. They all mean the same thing. It is pure a language thing.


Post 4

Zathras (Unofficial Custodian of H2G2 Room 101. ACE and holder of the BBC Pens)

The term SF is also used here (UK). Actually I'm rather fond of SF as it is sufficiently unclear in meaning and can also stand for such terms as "speculative fiction" or "structuralist fabulation" and neatly circumvents the whole Science Fiction/Fantasy dividing line argument.



Post 5


Nice one smiley - smiley

I agree totally!


Post 6

Still Incognitas, Still Chairthingy, Still lurking, Still invisible, unnoticeable, missable, unseen, just haunting h2g2

I read and watch all SF,scifi and science fiction,good or bad and then I decide if I like it.That old saying that you can't judge a book by it's cover also applies to judging by definition.Some SF readers seem to think that some science fiction is more respectable than other forms.I reflect however that the SF,scifi,science fiction books we judge to be good or classic were at one point judged to be very poor literature just because they were of this genre.I still have to fight that battle with some at this point in time.These same people also tend to believe that if something is popular it must be poor in quality.


Post 7

Zathras (Unofficial Custodian of H2G2 Room 101. ACE and holder of the BBC Pens)

>you can't judge a book by its cover<

However, just suppose that there are (irrational, stupid) people out there who do just that. Since books are published in order to make money a sensible publisher will use the cover to signal to these people about the books contents (everyone else will of course not be judging the book by its cover so the cover is irrelevant to their purchase decision). Hence, the cover will be informative about the contents. Now suppose you (who since you are reading H2G2 are neither irrational nor stupid) want to buy a book. As the cover tells you something about the book, it is entirely sensible to judge the book by its cover.



Post 8


This is one of those things that sets my head spinning...

I am an avid reader of - ok, being careful here - genre fiction.

Now, if I call it science fiction, or SF, or sci-fi, or scifi, or "my favorite rabbit stew recipe", does it matter, as long as the listener knows what I'm talking about?
Also, does it actually *offend* someone if I use sci-fi instead of, say, SF?

The problem I have is this: most of the readers of said fiction that I have met are *generally* open-minded. Nobody is 100% open-minded, unless you've had a full lobotomy, in which case, your brain has ventilation issues. Still, besides pet obsessions(like pet rocks), willing to accept a lot of things. Why would you read that kind of book, if you weren't willing to take the plunge?

So it really twinges my beard when people are upset about which phrase they use. Come on! Some of them are just abbreviations... you'd be just as unreasonable not liking "auto" as an abbreviation of "automobile"(perhaps "car" as derived from "autocar" might be more topical)! Irrationality is fine in small doses, just don't try to sell me your brand.

Have a pleasant moment.


Post 9


Ok..I give in. On one hand you CAN judge a book by it's cover. I actually got a book in a book store because of the colour of it (ok call it intuition about the writer or what - it was the book Hanibal).

But on on the other hand you can screw your self real bad it you do not use any other parameters judging a 'thing'. When it comes to books, music, movies and people it all comes down to memory, first impression and intution (probably misspelled).

And books are NOT published to make money. They are published because a person(s) want to write then and that others will read them. BUT in order to do this (in present economy) you must make some money on it.

smiley - smiley


Post 10

R. Daneel Olivaw -- (User 201118) (Member FFFF, ARS, and DOS) ( -O- )

My, perhaps a bit abnormal, definition of sci-fi refers to any of the following:

Attempts at science fiction by mainstream authors who break laws of physics and astronomy on every other page.

Stories, like Star Wars that use a SF-like backdrop except that
a) The plot does not focus around technology, the story could be told jsut as well in another setting.
b) The technology is used basicly as a replacement for magic, it is not limited by known laws of physics.

I wrote a articlee that touches on the subject at http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A1011213


Post 11


Hi Actually if I don't know the author I will quite frequently judge a book by its cover, I learned long ago to ignore the "comparable to Tolkein at his best" type blurb, so it is they only means open to me.

And as for definitions, well one mans meat is another mans pet. Why do we have to define anything? If it your bag then fine, but if someone likes to read or watch something and says "that was really good SF/SciFi/Science fiction/egg and chips" then who is anyone to say "NO you are WRONG!!" In the scheme of things is it that important?
On one Yahoo group I used to belong to someone said that "Good Science Fiction is about things that matter!" Well no it isn't! It may be to him but what is good is like beauty, in the eye of the beholder!!

So why not just enjoy reading/watching what is a wonderful genre of entertainment. And as for books NOT being written for money, well you may be right on that point(apart from Robert Jordan whose writings are only good for leveling wobbly tables, but that is Fantasy so will be discounted here) however IMHO they are only published to make money, the publishing houses are only out to make a buck and not to give Joe public what it wants to read, they FORCE books upon us and we have to make do, in a lot of cases, with the best of a bad lot. e.g. why is there a preponderance of Fantasy books in the shops now and few SciFi? Mine own opinion obviously smiley - smiley



Post 12

Still Incognitas, Still Chairthingy, Still lurking, Still invisible, unnoticeable, missable, unseen, just haunting h2g2

No you are right.There is also a very heavy tendency towards franchised TV cr*p that fills the SF/Fantasy shelves that I resent because some really good authors are being squeezed out to make way for it.

Incog.smiley - ale


Post 13


Have to agree with Almostadutchman about the "comparable to Tolkein..." blurbs. This invariably means "derivative, half-witted drivel". Any publisher who needs to use Tolkein's name has an author incapable of writing an original novel.

Key: Complain about this post