Thoughts on Science Fiction and Fantasy

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic


Musings on the apparent distance between fantasy and science fiction.

Submitted: June 08, 2018

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Submitted: June 08, 2018

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First, two definitions:


Fantasy is a form of literary genre in which a plot cannot occur in the real world.
(The above definition is from https://literarydevices.net/fantasy/ )


Continuum:  A continuous extent, succession, or whole, no part of which can be distinguished from neighboring parts except by arbitrary division.
(The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition)

Thesis:  The idea that "science fiction" and "fantasy" are separate entities is problematic.  


If you look back at some of the most popular authors of the past (Andre Norton, James Schmitz, and Gordon Dickson as three examples) you'll see that all of them wrote novels that were a blend of science fact, science fantasy, and mystical/mythic fantasy.)  


Norton and Dickson in particular freely wrote books that were published as both science fiction and fantasy, as well as the aforementioned incorporation of both "genres" in the same book.


One of the most beautiful examples of the blending of science fantasy and mythic fantasy was Clifford Simak's 1968 classic: The Goblin Reservation.


That trend continues today in series such as Ilona Andrews' Innkeeper Chronicles, which blends magic and technological fantasy.  You can also find it in  so-called "hard" science fiction, such as Star Trek and Star Wars (which are full of classical fantasy themes, such as gods and psychic powers, in addition to their scientific fantasies such as transporters, light sabers, warp drives, and phasers).


It is, without a doubt, true that having specific labels helps one choose what to read.  However, it seems less stressful to just relax and consider all literature with plot elements that don't actually exist as part of a continuum rather than as distinct entities.  (Trying something that isn't in your regular "zone" might lead you to a new series that you'll enjoy.)

 


© Copyright 2018 Charlotte Braun. All rights reserved.

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