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    Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

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    litera9

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    Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

    Post  litera9 on November 22nd 2010, 6:30 pm

    What are the pros and cons of the use of one genre over the other? I ask this because of the nature of mediums(The method by which information is shared). Marshall Mcluhan, a famous literary critic, once said that the "Medium is the message" Mcluhan is saying that the way one expresses information affects the way we process that information. If this is true, then we must consider what we use to express our story ideas, and their points.

    Idea That said, what do the the genres of Science Fiction and Fantasy bring to the table? Does one allow us to explore the physical truths better than the other? Does one genre express human character well? Can you use both for effective thinking about Spiritual Truths? What are the merits of each? There are a number of questions that one should ask.
    So, let's start the conversation with this: What do you think is the best medium for world-building?


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    Re: Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

    Post  hvymtlcowboy on November 22nd 2010, 6:49 pm

    I am partial to the Science Fiction genre. Not for any particularly astounding reason. It's just that in the future mankind has developed their methods of thinking more. Things that were presented in the fantasy (sword and sorcery type genre) tend to lump things into undescribed groups. Things that happen to the characters are that can't be explained are usually referred to as Magic (be it Divine,Natural or Demonic in origin) not because the author doesn't know the difference, but because the characters are not educated far enough to be able to describe it better from their point of view. I'm not saying the difference can't be displayed, I'm just saying it is more difficult. Most people on this forum believe in God and believe the Bible holds the word of God. God condemns magic in his teachings. I don't want to confuse my readers into thinking my protagonist is using magic when in fact they are utilizing God granted Spiritual Gifts. This is the main reason I prefer Sci-Fi. As far as one genre having more to bring to the table than the other, I think they both bring equal amounts.

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    Re: Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

    Post  mindspike on November 23rd 2010, 10:16 am

    As the hangman said, "It's all about the execution."

    I've found that genre considerations have little to do with the spiritual or emotional relevance of stories, mostly affecting the framework within which a story is told. Beyond that, it's all just trappings. The lines between genres can be hopelessly blurred.

    For example, I've recently been enjoying a story series (again), in which the protagonists, by virtue of their genetic makeup, belong to an elite group of oligarchs which not only secretly controls society, but has built an exclusive ethnic identity for the purpose of supporting the lifestyle of the ruling class. Only members with the correct genetic potential are allowed access to this subculture, often excluding parents and children from interacting together. The ruling class uses their transhuman potential to exercise psychic powers and build amazing devices solely for the use of the ruling class. They even go so far as to keep the masses educationally ignorant of basic facets of physical law and the natural world.

    I am of course speaking of the Harry Potter series.


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    litera9

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    Re: Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

    Post  litera9 on November 23rd 2010, 4:55 pm

    Personally, I lean towards Sci-Fi as well, though I do think that fantasy is more likely to lean towards the spiritual side. It's easier in a Fantasy story to have a moment where "God" influences events, and where his plan moves forward. Why do you think there's so much Christian Fantasy?!?!? Also, fantasy brings out a more allegorical side to the story, allowing for a more supernatural side to appear.
    Science fiction , often concentrates on the more naturalistic side of reality, including how societies develop, ethical choices, and the existence of unnatural phenomena. Now, both could explore spiritual elements. Look at the work of Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey, Childhood's End). His stories often have New Age endings with characters "Ascending" into whatever the spiritual reality of the story is. The stories reek of a New Age vibe ,and make me want to never read his stuff ever again. But this only worked within the New Age perspective.
    Most Sci-fi sticks to a naturalistic worldview, which sees the physical world as all there is. They don't attempt to seek out the nature of reality. That can be problematic. But I've found many a science fiction book to engage subjects of lasting importance fairly well.

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    Re: Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

    Post  Rickster on November 29th 2010, 5:48 am

    Just a side question here
    What does Star wars fall under Sci fi or fantasy?
    Natually the idea of space ships Droids and lazer gun/swords would fall under Sci Fi but then theres the Force elements which makes the story some what of a fantasy
    So what would u call it Sci fi, fantasy, or maybe something inbetween may Sci-Fan

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    Re: Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

    Post  Hackmodford on November 29th 2010, 10:27 am

    Star Wars is that long forgotten section of the library that "real readers" don't bother looking at that has sci-fi and fantasy both mushed together. Laughing

    But yeah... star wars is both.

    I'm more partial to sci-fi

    I try to steer away from fantasy because of the "magic" element... causes fewer bad feelings among the brethren.


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    litera9

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    Re: Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

    Post  litera9 on November 29th 2010, 4:32 pm

    That's a great question. I don't know. The Force doesn't feel like magic, though it has a more "mystical angle" than most science fiction series. I lean towards Sci-fi because of the large amount of technology. I mean, they have blasters, hyperspace, lightsabers, shields, ships, and holograms. how much more Sci-fi can you get?

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    Re: Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

    Post  mindspike on November 29th 2010, 5:15 pm

    What about fantasy novels without elements of magic, such as Mary Stewart's Arthurian books? Or how about the Apprentice Adept series by Piers Anthony, where magic and science not only co-exist, but are treated as facets of each other?

    Genre is popularly used to define expectation and easily categorize media, both aspects being defined by pop culture. If you really want to get technical, the four recognized genres are (using the Indiana Jones films as a handy reference):
    Tragic (superior-dialog): Last Crusade
    Epic (superior-mixed dialog/rhetorical): Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Comedy (inferior-dialog): Temple of Doom
    Parody (inferior-mixed dialog/rhetorical): Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

    Where inferior/superior and dialog/rhetorical are technical terms describing the delivery of the content.

    But I digress, I don't think any of that applies to pop culture classifications, which is what we're actually talking about. Right?


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    Re: Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

    Post  Rickster on December 1st 2010, 6:13 am

    I don't really lean towards one or the other but this subject reminds me of a TV show.
    Now I don't know if anyone here watches phineas and ferb but there was an episode where they go to a comic con type event and there ends up a war between those who like Sci-Fi and those who likes fantasy

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    Re: Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

    Post  mindspike on December 1st 2010, 10:29 am

    Speccies vs Finkies!!!
    Phineas and Ferb is the best show on TV!!
    "Make every minute count/Jump up, jump in/And seize the day..."
    Shows what can happen when the Family Guy team uses their powers for good.


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    Re: Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

    Post  ProfessorAlan on December 2nd 2010, 12:33 pm

    I am not a big fan of the hard division between fantasy & SF, it's all "speculative" or "imaginary" to me. I guess if there is an element of magic or the mystical, it fits fantasy, and if it is technology or futuristic, it is SF, but there are lots of works that blur the lines.

    litera9

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    Re: Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

    Post  litera9 on December 2nd 2010, 4:25 pm

    @Professor Alan,
    I know that many books mix genres. My point in this discussion is to ask, what do the aspects of each genre allow the author to express. You listed a few things that define Sci-fi vs. fantasy. I think that there are far more defining characteristics. Science fiction is fiction that is based in "futuristic" science. There is some element of truth in its technological reality. The Idea of Warp Drive and Hyperspace are both based in interpretations of how to travel faster than light, a concept explained by physicists and the like.

    On the other hand, Fantasy is as the Professor stated, "magic or mystical". It's something so fantastic, that it doesn't need to be based in any sense of science or reality. The explanation for these things are often more fantastic/supernatural than natural/scientific

    That is my take on them. So, how do you define the two genres, and what do you think each genre allows you to do with a story?



    Last edited by litera9 on December 2nd 2010, 4:29 pm; edited 1 time in total

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    Re: Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

    Post  Hackmodford on December 2nd 2010, 4:27 pm

    I don't think scifi is limited to the future...


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