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What's the Difference Between Sci Fi and Fantasy?

 
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Mary Lou Jensen



Joined: 27 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:14 am    Post subject: What's the Difference Between Sci Fi and Fantasy? Reply with quote

This is a serious question. I had a lady critiquing my work once saying that there is a difference between Sci Fi and Fantasy and the two show never be confused. I personally think that the line between Sci Fi and Fantasy is so blurred these days that you can't help but confuse them.

What do you thnk the difference is?
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Steve Rogerson



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In theory, anything that is science fiction has to be scientifically possible, so no ghosts, spirits, dragons, magic, vampires and so on.

However, many say that faster than light travel is scientifically impossible, so does that make everything with faster than light travel fantasy? I think not?

I also read a very good vampire book once in which vampirism was explained scientifically, so did that make it SF rather than fantasy?

And what about Star Wars. Many science fiction elements, of course, but The Force? Surely that falls in the fantasy bracket.

In other words, a lot of grey areas.
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Mary Lou Jensen



Joined: 27 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exactly! Most of my book has scientific basis but the person that read it considered that telepathy etc was fantasy ( "fantasy nonsense") - so would you class telepathy and all those types of mental abilities scientifically based or pure fantasy?
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RichardWho



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hard to say. It's one of those things people have been researching for a long time. Which reminds me of 'The Omega Factor', an early 1980's series about a government unit investigating the paranormal. A sort of proto X-files.
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Steve Rogerson



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mary Lou Jensen wrote:
Exactly! Most of my book has scientific basis but the person that read it considered that telepathy etc was fantasy ( "fantasy nonsense") - so would you class telepathy and all those types of mental abilities scientifically based or pure fantasy?


It's a tricky one. I guess purists would say fantasy as there is no scientific evidence of telepathy, but then again how do you resolve that with Blake's 7 and Babylon 5, both shows of which had telepaths?
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In B7 there was some exposition(?) of telepathy in "Shadow", where Cally said that Orac can drive a beam through the same dimension that allows telepathy, but that unlike Cally, Orac has no consciousness in that dimension...

There's also the "course interceptor" in "Voice From the Past", an Auron-developed telepathic machine which can influence people's minds or at least send them telepathic sounds and words.

So I guess those things make telepathy appear to be scientific or technological in the B7 universe... maybe

But I agree that the sci-fi/fantasy line generally does seem to be very blurred, the more I think about it...

Indeed, Arthur C. Clarke said that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" and apparently Larry Niven countered with "any sufficiently rigorously defined magic is indistinguishable from technology".

Those quotes make me think of the Babylon 5 technomages, or some of Ian MacDonald's books where advanced technology gives some characters mystical or godlike powers, and they are described in magical terms and yet explained technologically at the same time.
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Mary Lou Jensen



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You even have a kind of telepathy way back in the original Star Trek, the vulcan mindmeld etc etc so its not a new thing.
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