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Question of the Week: Sci-Fi or Fantasy?

February 11, 2013

Happy Monday!  So I just finished one fantasy novel and am about to move on to another fantasy story.  I’m going to make this post short and sweet so I can get back to my reading (mwahaha).  Science fiction and fantasy often get lumped in together in bookstores and online shelves, and I find this a tad bit annoying.  To me, they are two separate genres.  Science fiction deals with more technology and things that could potentially happen in a far-off (or not-so-far-off) future, while fantasy deals more with magic or antimagic and with realms and worlds that can never be, at least not in this reality.  I mostly prefer fantasy as a reader, though I do on occasion venture into sci-fi if the story looks really good.

This week’s question:

Which do you prefer, sci-fi or fantasy?  Why?

Share your response in the comments section below!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2013 3:52 PM

    Hi Kira, just my thoughts: this is a very good definition of both genres, and in my opinion works better than most. I also prefer fantasy, but sci-fi has its moments.

    I write books that are on the threshold of several interconnected genres and I find it difficult to categorize them according to the narrow genres that exist. I find this a bit problematic and constricting, as in my opinion, life (imagined or real) cannot be pinned into a narrow corridor, it wants to break free, to expand – at least life in my books does. If your characters and story are larger than life, how do you squeeze them into a narrow closet?

    My new release: THE EARTH SHIFTER is categorized as historical fantasy, contemporary fantasy, visionary/metaphysical, geopolitical thriller, and quest. But it also has a sci-fi element, as far as I’m concerned, what with the Comet of Karma hitting the Earth.

    And how do you like this! My Comet of Karma theme is currently playing out in real time in the Urals, Russia. Sooo much like in The Earth Shifter, it’s spooky.
    See my post about that, with eyewitness vids: http://ladaray.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/the-earth-shifter-plot-playing-out-in-real-time-meteor-shower-hits-russia/

    More about THE EARTH SHIFTER: http://ladaray.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/the-earth-shifter-epic-journey-begins-on-123112/

    Interesting post! I’m inspired to create my own post based on this one, and I’ll pingback to you. My main question right now is: what categories are most appropriate for The Earth Shifter? I’m torn. help!

    Also, I followed ya!

    BTW, Kira, would you be interested in reviewing The Earth Shifter? I have lots of reviewers currently reading it, and would love to have your take. Fantasy here is intertwined with real history and current events, very deep characters, and a spy/geopolitical element, too.

    More in the above links, including retailer/GR links with present reviews.

    Please let me know. I’ll also contact you via your contact page.

    Cheers,
    Lada Ray 🙂

  2. February 12, 2013 12:21 AM

    SO glad you posted this because one of my biggest pet peeves is when people lump these two genres together. THEY’RE NOT THE SAME! Every time I go into a library or bookstore and fantasy books are shelved under “sci-fi” I just cringe. Science fiction=technology, science, experiments, etc. Fantasy=magic, creatures, other worlds, etc. Obviously some books do overlap genres, but yes, totally agree with you that they should be separated.

    My preference between the two has changed. When I was younger, I craved fantasy and wouldn’t go near the sci-fi with a ten foot pole(which sparked my outrage at the two genres being shelved together, and the main reason I stopped going to the library around 12/13 years old). I still like fantasy, but lately I’ve been reading more YA science fiction. Still definitely sci-fi, but character-focused, so not overtly sciency as some other books I’ve come across.

  3. subtilian permalink
    February 11, 2013 9:23 PM

    Sci-fantasy. The two genres are sides of the same coin. Both imagine worlds unlike our own. Science Fiction portrays such a world through a lens of understanding. The differences from our own can be explained rationally. Fantasy portrays its worlds through magic. The differences from our own are inexplicable. A Sci-Fi world seen by an outsider would seem magical and a Fantasy world seen by an inhabitant would be rational. Somewhere in between is this beautiful genre where aliens are gods and laser pistols are legendary relics.

    • Kira permalink*
      February 11, 2013 9:45 PM

      I love your descriptions of the genres! I’d never heard them described like that before.

      • subtilian permalink
        February 11, 2013 10:24 PM

        It’s something I learned from reading Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun. It’s definitely got a lot of fantasy tropes – a special sword, a magical gem, talking beasts – but it’s set in Earth’s distant future, long after the peak of civilization. You find yourself wondering, are those voices in the top of the tower really ghosts, or long forgotten AI?

    • February 16, 2013 3:27 PM

      I agree!

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