Oil and Water?

Posted: April 14, 2010 in Opinion Piece
Tags: , , , , , ,

I recently read a debate on a writing forum over whether science fiction and fantasy should be stuck together under a shared tag. You know, the dreaded science fiction/fantasy label. There was a lot of “Ew, cooties!” from each camp that I just didn’t (and still don’t) understand. Maybe it’s because I love to read and write in both genres (although, truly, I started out with the intent of writing fantasy and somehow wandered into science fiction territory), but the heated reactions puzzled me.

The way I see it, the two have much more in common with each other than any other two genres you could slap together. Both are setting genres by their very definitions, depending heavily upon worldbuilding. And unlike, say, westerns, both deal with fantastic elements — that which doesn’t yet or may never at all exist in this world. I’ve read too much unusual fantasy and enough science fiction to offer any narrower definitions. Fantasy doesn’t automatically mean vampires and dragons, just as science fiction doesn’t automatically mean spaceships and evil lab assistants. Just my two cents, anyway.

I welcome any other thoughts on this, because I am very interested in learning how other people view this. The forum I mentioned didn’t go much further than, “Vampires, gag me!” and “Aliens, ugh!”

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Comments
  1. Merrilee says:

    A difficult issue, and one that I honestly don’t think will ever be resolved. I , personally, love hard SF, but can’t stand vampires. I love magical realism, but hate space opera. I think the genres are too diverse overall to consider lumping, and in fact, there has been a lot more splitting lately than grouping.

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