Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
New User
NOITALL
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎07-16-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction

SciFi = "could happen"
Fantasy = could never happen
End of story
Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction

NOITALL

Oh, go do better research on parallel universes, and come back and say that!
New User
NOITALL
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎07-16-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction

you must live on a swiftly tilting planet tigg. Fantasy vs Science is like evolution vs creation. No, but seriously, what do you think the difference is...or is there?
Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction

Tisk. (smile)

Do your science research. H*ll, go watch a NOVA program. Parallel universes is old physics theories and they have the math to prove it.

Both fantasy and scifi deal with imaginings outside the realm of average human experience.

But, so as not to be redundant read my earlier posts on this thread.
New User
NOITALL
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎07-16-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction

I actually just begun browsing your earlier posts and have come to the conclusion that you should have my username. I actually grew up watching NOVA with my folks....boooooring. But it definitely influenced my tastes in reading. I'm of the same mind with a few other "posters" on this thread. Fairies, pixy dust and trolls need not be shelved with Androids, Life sabers or spaceships. I don't even believe imagination has much to do with it. Fantasy borders the realm of the supernatural...and for the record I am not bashing fantasy at all (I'm a fan of it).

Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction

(shrug) A Jedi is just a wizard with a laser sword.
New User
MedMan
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎08-04-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction

I've been a sci-fi fan all of my life since I first read Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series, Arthur C. Clarke's,

2001: A Space Odessey, etc.

 

To me SCI-FI means a fictional plot based on scientific conjectures, whereas FANTASY entails a plot with magical or fantasic conjectures.

 

Thus, you can separate the two genre much easily:

 

Foundation, 2001: ASO, O.S. Card's recent novel Invasive Procedures, would be listed as SCI-FI , whereas

 

 Lord of the Rings, Wizards, vampiric series, would be classified under Fantasy.

 

 

 

Wordsmith
Capuchin
Posts: 250
Registered: ‎05-17-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction


MedMan wrote:

To me SCI-FI means a fictional plot based on scientific conjectures, whereas FANTASY entails a plot with magical or fantasic conjectures.

 


How do you determine whether something is scientific or magical?

 

If a character has a 'familiar' -- that is, a small beastie who can supply information -- is that magical (because animals can't talk) or is it scientific (because it would be easy to build a web-capable PDA with a voice interface into a robotic pet)?

 

A character wraps a sheet around themselves and disappears -- is that magical (the classic 'invisibility cloak') or scientific (google 'metamaterials' and 'invisibility' and you'll see how close it is to real-world applications)?

 

And, of course, there's my favorite example -- a character says some words to cause a city to go up in flames: is that magical (because words supposedly have no power) or scientific (because a forward air controller can call up an airstrike)?

 

At best, the decision whether something is fantasy or science fiction has to be on a sliding scale, determined by what was seen as scientifically possible at the time it was written.

 

That's complicated by the fact that some writers, like me, choose to make the science look like magic. 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards." -- Robert Heinlein
Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction


MedMan wrote:

I've been a sci-fi fan all of my life since I first read Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series, Arthur C. Clarke's,

2001: A Space Odessey, etc.

 

To me SCI-FI means a fictional plot based on scientific conjectures, whereas FANTASY entails a plot with magical or fantasic conjectures.

 

Thus, you can separate the two genre much easily:

 

Foundation, 2001: ASO, O.S. Card's recent novel Invasive Procedures, would be listed as SCI-FI , whereas

 

 Lord of the Rings, Wizards, vampiric series, would be classified under Fantasy.

 

 

 


(chuckle) And where would you place Star Wars?

New User
LadyVivamus
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎09-05-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction


NOITALL wrote:

I actually just begun browsing your earlier posts and have come to the conclusion that you should have my username. I actually grew up watching NOVA with my folks....boooooring. But it definitely influenced my tastes in reading. I'm of the same mind with a few other "posters" on this thread. Fairies, pixy dust and trolls need not be shelved with Androids, Life sabers or spaceships. I don't even believe imagination has much to do with it. Fantasy borders the realm of the supernatural...and for the record I am not bashing fantasy at all (I'm a fan of it).


... you do realize you've just proved yourself a moron, right? Light sabers. Sabres made of light. Not that hard. 

 

If the genre were neatly divided between pixies and spaceships, I might agree with you. Maybe. But it's not. Because we have Pern, a science fiction tale with Dragons. And we have Star Wars, which until the prequel trilogy was made didn't even have a pseudo-science explanation for its magic-- excuse me, the force. A book that look likes fantasy but acts like science fiction, and a movie that looks like science fiction but acts like fantasy... because if anyone can look me in the eye and tell me that the "science" in Star Wars is viable, I will happily buy them lunch, if only for their ability to lie with a straight face. 

 

(Just two examples out of many I could name.)

 

The genres are not as seperate as the more... avid fans would of each would like to think. Just because the cliches of each are easy to pick apart does not mean that the pieces of actual substance in the genres will allow themselves to fall into such simple categorization. I dare those of you who swear they're easy to seperate to go to a bookstore's Fantasy/SF section and do your best to sort them... and to do so without relying on the publisher's categorization. Publishers pick the genre where they think the book will sell, not necessarily where it belongs. I promise you, it's much easier to leave them mingled, no matter how much you whine about how they're obviously different. Just like everything else in the world, there are a lot of shades of grey. 

Distinguished Bibliophile
Nadine
Posts: 2,456
Registered: ‎10-30-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction

[ Edited ]
From what I've seen here Fantasy and Science Fiction are very different yet they are usually classified together. There is sometimes a bit of overlap but there is also sometimes some overlap with Mysteries and other types of books as well. I noticed on this board that Mystery and Crime are two different boards yet I'm not too sure what the basic difference is there. And I see a lot of overlap between Paranormal and Fantasy. Should Fantasy and Science Fiction be classified as separate genres? Do the people who like one also like the other as well?
Message Edited by Nadine on 09-11-2008 10:45 AM
New User
the_county_Ljosalfar
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎03-20-2013
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction

well, magic and "things that could never happen" are just things we - as humans - don't completley understand yet. what is today's fantasy can be tomorrow's science fiction

Frequent Contributor
WONK
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎09-06-2012
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction

<<Should Fantasy and Science Fiction be classified as separate genres? Do the people who like one also like the other as well?>>

 

Fantasy and SF should be different genres.  Decades ago they were.  What I think happened is that when the Fantasy and SF market niches contracted mid last century the publishers decided to help push the two together for economic reasons--one larger niche easier to market books in than two smaller niches.  The overlap between Fantasy and SF made this easier to do.  Many readers don't like either one or the other genre but with them being lumped together it is harder to find your preference. 

 

An example here might help with the problem a reader might have.  'Annals fo the Omega Project' a book by Thomas Cahill, physicist UC Davis, National Science Foundation, etc., is a book about mind reading and other paranormal abilities but it is a science fiction story first.  Why?  Cahill uses what is known about the brain and physics to build a plausible theory on how these paranormal abilities might work.  In fact, part of the book is the story about linking these abilities with the appropriate science.  Now if you actually had the Fantasy and SF genres separated, the book would be listed in the Science Fiction genre and the reader would know that although it is about paranormal abilities the story has a strong scientific background.  It could still be marketed as Fantasy but with the associated SF genre label the reader would know that the book doesn't just claim that paranormal abilities happen but gives some scientific reasoning that, instead of just wishing the fantasy could happen, it possibly could be something real.  This link to possible reality is what many SF readers enjoy.

Runo singer and curmudgeon
Sirvio's Keep
www.paulbunyan.net/users/gsirvio
Keep's Books and Tales
www.paulbunyan.net/users/gsirvio/content.html
Book reviews
www.paulbunyan.net/users/gsirvio/reviews.html
Gorden's bookshelf
www.midwestbookreview.com
Taconite Runes
http://TaconiteRunes.com
Pulp Writing
http://forums.delphiforums.com/pulpwriting/messages
Distinguished Scribe
Omnigeek
Posts: 893
Registered: ‎01-25-2011
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction

WONK -- I remember a short story from 25 or 30 years ago based around a scientific explanation for lycanthropy.  Essentially there was a combination of a blood-born pathogen which created actual physical effects (increased body hair growth, bone growth and distortions, etc.) combined with typical human hallucination and exaggeration.  How would you have classified that story given your assertion fantasy & SF should be different genres?

 

In my mind, science fiction may have fantastical features and vice-versa but SF requires an essence of rationality that fantasy does not.  If the universe described works in an orderly, rational fashion then it's more SF than fantasy whereas if things "just happen" then it's more fantasy.  By this yardstick, Star Wars can be seen as more fantasy than science fiction despite the appearance of spaceships, robots and blasters but The Dragonriders of Pern is SF despite the appearance of dragons and talking animals.  A story featuring "wizards" might still be SF-ish if all the "magic" followed rational rules of alchemy as opposed to "he raised his wand and blew lightning farts out of his rear" ...

 

I think it was Damon Knight who called some of the art "speculative fiction" rather than "science fiction" in order to get around the idea that all SF had to be grounded in hard science?

Currently reading: Destiny of the Republic, Angel Fire East, Batman Year One, Appleseed
Frequent Contributor
WONK
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎09-06-2012

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction

If you look up any book's genre classification you will find a listing of multiple genres.  If you publish a book, either your distributor will require you to have or the retail store will create a BISAC listing of title.  It is the responsibility for the good author or good publisher to create the multiple genre listing of the book so it will tell the correct story niche for the reader.  A correct listing that is easily viewable for the reader is how this market tool should be done.  The blending of SF and fantasy hides these real listings from the reader by putting the genre listings behind a layer of covering that has to be searched through.

 

People forget that there is really no such thing as a book that fits in only one genre.  Every book blends.  I write mysteries, SF and so on but not romance.  But a few of my publishers have told me that I am possibly one of the most romantic writers they had.  Why?  Because if I had a relationship in my story I made sure the story reflected the correct emotions and just didn't say they are together.  I would have no problem with someone reviewing one of my mysteries or SF stories and saying it was romantic.  But I wouldn't list romance in the genre because the key feature to the story is the mystery or action/adventure or SF.

 

A book has a focus--science fiction or fantasy.  That key focus needs to be listed first and marketed first but the secondary focus (fantasy or science) should be associated with the story.  So there shouldn't be a SF fantasy genre but there can be and should be such a thing as a SF, fantasy, adventure blended story where the author first focused on the science, touched the science up with fantasy to make the story read the way the author wanted it to and added a hint of adventure to keep the adrenalin of the reader up.  SF fantasy hides too much information but listing an ordered blend tells the reader what they need to know.

 

Damon Knight didn't coin the 'speculative fiction' subgenre.  It has been a niche for a number of decades.  It has been around for so many years I don't know where it came from.  But I have seen it used the most in the short story genre publication circles.  If you can find any contempory writers who were published in Jackhammer you will find an author very familiar with the subgenre.  It was a badge of honor for many writers to appear in Jackhammer.  Unfortunately Jackhammer closed a few years ago so I am not real sure which new short story outlets focus on the subgenre.  Jackhammer would have a subgenre theme for their monthly publication with speculative being a frequent focus.

Runo singer and curmudgeon
Sirvio's Keep
www.paulbunyan.net/users/gsirvio
Keep's Books and Tales
www.paulbunyan.net/users/gsirvio/content.html
Book reviews
www.paulbunyan.net/users/gsirvio/reviews.html
Gorden's bookshelf
www.midwestbookreview.com
Taconite Runes
http://TaconiteRunes.com
Pulp Writing
http://forums.delphiforums.com/pulpwriting/messages
Distinguished Scribe
Omnigeek
Posts: 893
Registered: ‎01-25-2011
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction

Well, if I recall correctly, Damon Knight was using the term "speculative fiction" many decades ago -- at least since the 60s, possibly the 50s.  I'm afraid I'm not as familiar with a lot of contemporary SF writers -- recent anthologies I've picked up have had beautiful -- in some cases, lyrical -- literary prose but many of the stories only had a passing relationship with science.  Excellent reading (as I expected, given the editors) but ... I suspect they were stuck in F/SF simply because people knew they weren't contemporary, weren't romances, weren't Westerns, etc.

Currently reading: Destiny of the Republic, Angel Fire East, Batman Year One, Appleseed
Frequent Contributor
WONK
Posts: 45
Registered: ‎09-06-2012
0 Kudos

Re: Fantasy vs Science Fiction

If you are interested in an anthology that has hard science mixed with the occasional fantasy check out Alan Dean Foster.  I consider him one of the best contemporary writers who follows the classical  pulp style SF and Fantasy genres.  He is one of the few contemporary authors with enough clout to produce his own short story anthologies.

Runo singer and curmudgeon
Sirvio's Keep
www.paulbunyan.net/users/gsirvio
Keep's Books and Tales
www.paulbunyan.net/users/gsirvio/content.html
Book reviews
www.paulbunyan.net/users/gsirvio/reviews.html
Gorden's bookshelf
www.midwestbookreview.com
Taconite Runes
http://TaconiteRunes.com
Pulp Writing
http://forums.delphiforums.com/pulpwriting/messages