A Conversation for Science Fiction and Fantasy

Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 1

Researcher 33337

A bizzare conversation I had with my friends sparked this up. Basically two of tehm were in dissagreement over wheather SF was a subgenre of Fantasy or Vice Versa. Now, I always called them seperate genres which cross over a hell of alot (like Fantasy and Horror do frequently) but that is a fairly uninformed viewpoint and I incourage ignoring it. So what do people think?


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 2

Hopelessly Paranoid

Well... I personally believe that there are three different types of genre (if it can get any more complicated smiley - winkeye ). One refers to setting (eg. sci fi and fantasy); one refers to plot (eg. murder mystery); and one refers to atmosphere (eg. horror). Any of these can be mixed... A Sci-fi thriller... a fantasy romance...etc.

So technically, Sci fi can't be a subgenre of fantasy or vice versa. I think they're muddled together because of the overlap thats happened in the past thirty or so years..

[HP}=~~


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 3

Researcher 33337

That sounds more plausable. I don't like the sub-genre thing at all. However, what would you call a film like scream which seems to be a simply pure horror? Or Murder on the orient express?


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 4

Hopelessly Paranoid

I would call scream a teen pulp thriller...(more bull...I know).. I wouldn't classify it as horror. But under its umbrella come all the other films: I know WHat You Did Last Summer, The Faculty, Final Destination... All those films that star teenagers who get picked off one by one by whatever it is. Some of them are more horrifying, some are just plain weird... Scream seems to have revived this genre and all the others followed suit (not that they were bad, Final D in particular I found enjoyable and shockingly frightening)

Murder on th Orient express I'm not sure of... was it a Poirot story... I forget...

[HP}=~~


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 5

Researcher 33337

Fair enough. Scream revived teh genre by being post modern. Everything else is generally the old '80s slasher again but it doesn't hold up as well.

And Murder on teh orient express could be classed and a period piece with a murder-mystery plot.


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 6

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

This is an old discussion really. (Or at least as old as anything can be in a yound genre). Various definitions that I have heard.

'Science fiction is something which could happen (although you often wish it wouldn't); Fantasy is something which cannot happen (although you often wish it would)' - Arthur C Clarke

'Science fiction is what I point to and say "That is Science Fiction"' - (not sure although I think it was Silverberg).

For myself I tend not to wory to much about definitions (perhaps venturing so far as to use the term sf with its pleasing speculative fiction/science fiction/structuralist fabulation ambiguity) and just read what I like to read. (Which admittedly would by many be counted as Science Fiction/ Fantasy.)

Zathras


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 7

Researcher 33337

I agree with this, I too liek what I like to read, and watch, and listen to. Part of my problem is taht I know peopel who seem to think taht this is improtant.


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 8

Polyphrase Avatron

I like science fiction and fantasy that is a continuation of the mythological story telling - stories set on the boundaries and beyond of the possible and fantastic. Originally, they would merely have to be set on the other side of the forest. As we explored more, in a far away land. Now we have to set them on other worlds, in the future, or find clever ways of fitting it in with the world as we know it.

On another note, I don't like the slightly arrogant attitude of some science fiction that everything in the future will be understandable within our frames of reference. Both deal with those things currently impossible/implausible, but science fiction presumes to be able to understand them.

Caleb W.


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 9

Researcher 33337

Actually, a friend who was trying to argue that SF derived from fantasy got me into a definition which kinda works. They are seperate. For background, one friend said taht SF was just fantasy in space/the future/with robots/computers etc, the otehr said what we call fantasy was olden days SF. I actually say they are both wrong. It came from my esteemed friends comment "All in all, tehy're both about people who can do amazing things" For example, Gandalf can do amazing stuff in LOTR, The Jedi can do amazing stuff in Star Wars. And thats when it clicked, Fantasy is about people who can do amazing, ne, Fantastic things, but SF is about how non amazing humas cope with amazing things, read Heinlein and most of his characters are normal humans, but tehy live in a world where advanced technologys/genetic engineering/odd giovernments, operate. We see how humanity is altered through these things. Aliens are ultimately facets of humanity (Star treks vulcans are like saying, "This is what we're liek without empotions, here's teh advantages but here's teh shortcomings)

The two marege in Space opera, but ultimately thsi means that, as an acid test with teh most commercial examples available, Star Wars is Fantasy, Star TRek is SF. Or to your example, Fantasy is what lurks at teh otehr side of teh forest, SF is how we cope with it.

As for the everything si understandable thing, Well, not always, what you'll find is taht everything we find incomprehencable is now understandable in SF, but tahst just opened a whole lot more we don't understand.

Hope I made sense.


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 10

Hopelessly Paranoid

Wow... its been a year and a half since I last posted on this discussion. Things have changed so much. I think I most agree with Arthur C. Clarke's definition, when it comes to splitting SF and Fantasy.

[HP}=~~


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 11

Wargamer (The Wanderer)

I think Warhammer 40,000 is a good example of 'Dark' Sci-fi. It shows mankind in the future, battling aliens, blah blah blah, but also there are darker sides to it. Mankind has lost much of its knowledge. Techpriests worship a 'Machine God', and perform complicated rituals of construction, which seem to mainly consist of burning insence and reciting prayers. The idea of robes figures burning insence doesn't really sit on the sci-fi table very often (how many times does reliion crop up in sci-fi?), but it makes an interesting alternative; Knowledge without understanding. Now /that/ is tough to categorise...


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 12

Researcher 33337

That sounds interesting, the idea cropped up a little in Classic trek, Advanced civilisation brought down to primative levels worship old computer that runs planet. Simialr idea.

I like taht warhammer idea, where no one really understands teh tech, but while it works who cares.

Religion and Sci-fi, well tehy don't often get on that well, alot of good SF authors are humanists, and tend to express those opinions, however battlefield earth is apparently very heavilly Scientology laden, so sometimes it works.

Just random thoughts


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 13

Researcher 33337

How about this, As proof of SF and Fantasy being seperate,

Fantasy is, about people who do fantastic things (Anthing from Frodo to Luke skywalker via superman)

Sci-Fi is What if: (Nicely includes, alternate history) What If, we could all travel isn space/be telepathic/were prisoners under teh boot of some alien/the confederacy had wone the civil war/The brittish empire hadn't fallen. How would people live.


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 14

Hypatia

I guess that whether or not you think they're separate or one genre depends on whether you think that magic is scientific. I've heard it said that science fiction is about machines while fantasy is about magic. All I know is that some books clearly seem to fit into one category or the other while others are hard to classify. And the science fiction books seem to offer more room for speculation and offer a wider variety of ideas. How many different ways can you describe a swordfight? On the other hand the fantasy novels do a better job of exploring human nature, culture and spirituality. Guess I'll have to keep reading both.


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 15

Cartoonacy

In the old commercials for "Twilight Zone," Rod Serling used to say "Fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science fiction is the improbable made possible." In other words, SF is based on known technology and laws of physics carried to an extreme. Fantasy is based on the premise that the laws of physics can be ignored or overruled. (There's always been an implicit assumption, though, that faster-than-light space travel is acceptable in science fiction, even though Einstein and his successors proved it impossible.)

And yes, this does mean that Star Wars and Superman are fantasy, and Star Trek (well, maybe nine out of ten episodes) is science fiction.


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 16

Wargamer (The Wanderer)

I'm not sure about "Star Wars = Fantasy". For one thing, it relies heavily on technology (Death Star, Vader's Life Support System, Lightsabers, etc.). The "Force" could be psychic ability or something... I guess Star Wars is somewhere in the middle.


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 17

Cartoonacy

"Technology" isn't the point. "Possible technology" is. Darth Vader's life support... OK. The Death Star... maybe. Lightsabers... I'm pretty sure that there's nothing in physics that allows for the possibility of an energy beam that projects at full force for a short distance, then suddenly comes to a stop. The Force, by any definition, is still magic and not physics. The ideas of a "life force" (otherwise known as "vitalism") and "psychic abilites" have been pretty thoroughly debunked by physicists over the past century, though some people still cling to them hopefully. Thus, fantasy... or, at best, "science fantasy" (a term that I'm not too crazy about, but a lot of people seem to like).


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 18

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

Science fictiuon doesn't presume that everything in the furure will be understandable. Rather, it only deals with those potential futures that are understandable. After all, how can one write about a future that cannot be understood? Its the same reason that most SF aliens are unrealistic. As Haldane ut it, "THe univers is not only queerer than we imagine, it is queerer than we can imagine"


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 19

Researcher 33337

I think Wargamer may be confusing Setting with genre. Its a fine line but I'll try to draw it. In star wars, teh setting is SF, big spaceships, laser guns etc. but teh story is much more of an epic about a war against evil. Vaguely similar to LOTR, Conversely 2001 is an introspective look at humans, their development influenced by aliens and a computer going bonkers and trying to kill people. SF will take much more time viewing human nature and how it is effected by amazing circumstances, Fantasy will be more story based. Compare Star Wars to something like one of Ian M Banks Culture novels and it kinda shows through.
Of course this doesn't mean the two are inseperable, Babylon 5 had elements of both in it, all bundled in an SF setting.


Science Fiction vs Fantasy

Post 20

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

I'd say their both subgenre of a larger genra I'd call creative fiction. I also includ speculative fiction and sci-fi in creative fiction. You might want to see my article at http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A1011213


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