Scifi and Fantasy Forum: Sci-Fi Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: Definitions: The Difference between SF & Fantasy
Definitions: The Difference between SF & Fantasy
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|Posted By: Emily Dec 13, 1999 - 08:10 am || |
A few discrepencies there.
1) "S.F. deals with an unlimited unreality which is inherently undefinable, like the universe itself."
This IS a definition. Even by saying something cannot be defined, one is defining it in some capacity. Definition does not equal strict definition. Definition equals stating what one knows about something. Thus a loose definition, such as yours above, is still a definition.
Whether I agree with your definition is something else. Indeed, the universe, as far as we know, is infinite. However, we can still point to this and say that it is definitively a planet, as differentiated from that which is definitively a star. I think you will agree that planets and stars are defined within sf as well.
2) If something is not at least partially defined, how can we know anything about it well enough to use it?
You said, (sic) "[Finding a definition for sf/f] would really be a shame, becaus it would seriously limit the fantasy of SF authors."
To this I would ask, does "limiting" an artist to the colour spectrum, in fact, limit him? Or does it rather not aid him in knowing that this is red and this is yellow? If he does not know red from yellow, then how can he ever hope to create the infinite shades of orange?
But I leave this to your discretion and further ruminitions.
|Posted By: Emily Jan 27, 2000 - 12:54 pm || |
For anyone interested: I've put up my beginning thesis that deals with this subject. The address is: http://members.tripod.com/Snyder_AMDG/Political1.html
Enjoy and God bless!
|Posted By: Doris Feb 02, 2000 - 04:57 am || |
i took a look at your thesis (but i havent read it completely yet, i'll do it later) and generaly, it looks fine. but there was one thing i noticed. Somewhere in your thesis you write: "Science Fiction is another form of Fantastic Fiction in which the majority of the action takes place in a technologically
advanced age, usually in the future of this world." You are wrong there. SF does not neccesary take place in an advanced age. If you see the movie '2001 a space oddysey' , you'll see that it are primates discoverring an alien object. And the story of 'Fatherland' (i dont know the author anymore), which is set in an alternate Earth where Nazi Germans won world war 2, is not an 'advanced age' at all, despite the fact that it is basicly Science Fiction, dealing with alternate universes. Mostly SF deals indeed with 'advanced ages', but it is not a general rule: there exceptions, and there are many of them.
|Posted By: Emily Feb 04, 2000 - 07:23 am || |
Thank you - you are quite correct. I shall put in that qualifier of "often" before "advanced age."
|Posted By: DblUgly Dec 29, 2001 - 07:58 pm || |
The Spartan Fantasy SIFI Differentional Model
Fantasy has trees SIFI does not.
From The New Guy
|Posted By: Hyperion May 15, 2002 - 12:23 pm || |
My definition of scifi and fantasy.
Scifi = fun, gripping, exciting and inspring.
Fantasy = boring.
|Posted By: D3n15 Oct 11, 2002 - 11:07 pm || |
Science Fiction = A thought experiment that reveals a different world from what we know, typically a future and more advanced world, and uses technology much like fantasy uses magic (Indeed, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic).
Fantasy = Primarily concerned with revealing facts about human nature (ex: heroism, love, betrayal, etc.), generally steers clear of technology and advanced civilizations, and uses whatever physical laws of nature seem most convenient and interesting (ex: magic).
Although some books mix up Science Fiction and Fantasy together and come up with very interesting results. Piers Anthony does this with the Blue Adept series and the Incarnations Of Imortality series as well (I remember a car with spells to prevent collisions, way better than air-bags). Anne McCaffrey's Dragon Riders of Pern kind of rides the edge as well, because while the dragons are a product of genetic engineering, and in many of the books the colonists no longer even remember what that word means (ex: we have a primitive society). I can think of only one more example... Rick Cook's The Wizardry Cursed, but that book is a total flop. Magic creating unlimited robots and atom bombs is just too silly.
|Posted By: Cyrus Jan 28, 2003 - 02:37 pm || |
Science fiction is the fiction of science, typically deals with what's possible, but maybe not so probable as we currently understand the universe.
Fantasy is anything else, particularly when it deals with those things that we either think or know to be impossible given our current understanding of the universe.
|Posted By: Odrade Jan 28, 2003 - 03:13 pm || |
anything else? i am not so sure about that
I agree with Cyrus. Sci-Fi is fantasy, really, which tells a story from a scientific perspective. And as for the "scientifically advanced age" line, I agree with the original wording. "Advanced", meaning scientifically (in some ways, not nessesarily in all ways.) And it doen't have to mean "advanced" in any social, artistic or ecinomical level. Refering to science, all sci-fi novels deal with advanced technology (and the world or colleny who has it.)
|Posted By: Talon Apr 17, 2003 - 06:40 am || |
At art college I studied the film 'Metropolis' by Fritz lang, made in the 1930's.
For me this was the cross over, the point where sci-fi and fantasy split into two separate genres.
The scientist 'Rotwang' was the character who created the Iconic robot woman, but his persona was also that of a wizard. His dark castle like house, and occult symbols.
So Science Fiction seemed to take over from fantasy. Mankind didn't need the idea of magic to imagine other worlds and strange creatures so-much anymore, technology could provide this now, and infact because of its progressive nature technology is the surer bet, anything IS actually possible!
Hope this is relevant.
Only just picked up on this topic, which seems to have been running for quite a while, and I noticed this quote:-
"S.F. deals with an unlimited unreality which is inherently undefinable, like the universe itself."
I seems to me, that there are two words which can be replaced here, and which ultimately define scifi and Fantasy as being virtually the same thing. The sentence now goes:-
"Fantasy deals with an unlimited unreality which is inherently undefinable, like the mind itself."
very interesting that, I thought.
|Posted By: Aldan Mar 09, 2004 - 07:23 am || |
This is true, although it tends to be less true with regards to modern fantasy, since MF is almost all "swords 'n' sorcery". Other genres tend to take other portions of classic fantasy and make those their own, while still OTHER portions have been left for a later time... as often happens in art - cop shows are big, then not, then big, then not (for example).
|Posted By: Hal Mar 24, 2004 - 03:40 am || |
Karl Kroeber has written a book (also) about this. "Romantic Fantasy and Science Fiction" Here are some of my notes from reading it:
SF and F are reactions against a dehumanizing society. Dehumanization is a problem for them both. They share the same origin.
F understands its reality as being impossible whereas SF extrapolates on possible reality.
Science fiction is biased towards the repeatable whereas Fantasy is biased towards the unique.
It's a highly recommendable read.
|Posted By: Evo Mar 25, 2004 - 02:50 pm || |
So having read all of that, do you all feel that Ray Bradbury was a writer of science fiction or fantasy? You might be interested in what he has to say on the matter...
The Dragon Page Radio Talk Show
|Posted By: Tobias Mar 29, 2004 - 12:19 pm || |
To me, fantasy and science fiction are not that much different. Technology and magic do seem to be almost exactly the same thing, with slightly different appearences. (For example, a ray gun is replaced with a spell, while the effects of both look almost exactly the same and do the same thing.) Robots, also, can be replaced with mythical creatures, imps, or demons of some sort. Many times they say the same things in different ways. There are exceptions, of course, in which fantasy or science fiction could not possibly state the same values, such as in Ray Bradbury's Farheinheit 451.
I won't offer any definitions at this point, but I'll offer some thoughts.
I'd say that fantasy is modern mythtelling. It is a highly psychological and inwardly directed form of literature in that it deals with our need to explore symbolism and archetypes. The "world" of fantasy is really one's own mind, even if it is presented as a "real" world.
Science fiction is more intellectual and outwardly directed. It speculates on what might be possible in the external world as it is (including our minds, but only from an external, scientific perspective). While science fiction may contain symbolism, the symbolism is nevertheless not as deeply buried into the metaphysics of the fictional world.
So, when I try to distinguish between science fiction and fantasy fiction, I don't ask "is there magic?" I ask instead what perspective is taken.
|Posted By: MrD Oct 16, 2004 - 06:16 am || |
i have read many genres and settled easily into sci-fi. fantasy to me seemed a closed box, no real new ideas about the worlds or the magic, just different characters and monsters, relationships between them.
sci-fi is changing with time and new technologies. each time we turn sci-fi into reality and gain a new mathematics or scientific principal learnt from solving the previous question, we are expanding the boundaries.
so, i personally think the scope for sci-fi is greater and more interesting.
Fantasy: Fantasy set in the past.
Science Fiction: Fantasy set in the future.
Drama: Fantasy set in the modern era.
|Posted By: Magus Oct 16, 2004 - 10:29 am || |
I can see where you might be coming from, MrD. But I do disagree with what you said.
There is as much room for growth in Fantasy as there is in Science Fiction. The problem is that many fantasy authors don't branch out or differenciate. They stick with what works and what everyone has seen before. This is why the ones that do branch out or put on a new or fresh spin get so much attention for it.
And, Neurolanis, I do agree with your definitions. It's a good base guide. I think it might be a little overly simple but it gets the basic message across quite well.
I agree Magus there is much room for growth in fantasy, and there are authors that have done different things with magic and there worlds....
And what of the cross-over stories where magic is use in a future setting.....(not use much I know)
And I think fantasy is more interesting.....I buy and read more fantasy......on the other hand I have a major sci-fi idea in the works....strange.....
Neurolanis I don't agree, I think it is best to just call it all fantasy.....
Fantasy set in the modern era is called Drama?, how did you come up with that?
I would call Harry Potter fantasy....
And what of Star Wars isn't it set "a long time ago"......
|Posted By: Magus Oct 18, 2004 - 04:57 am || |
If you want fantasy then I have a few doosies for you. And if you already read The Lord of the Rings then the next best thing would be Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. It's a seven volume western post apacolyptic scifi epic fantasy series. It's very good, I'm just 150 pages away from the sixth book. I recommend it very highly. Here are the titles:
The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger
The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three
The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands
The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass
The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla
The Dark Tower VI: The Song of Sussanah
The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower
I hope you decide to read this, and further hope that you enjoy it. It's very good. It's a work that's been written over... pretty near to thirty years now. Stephen King himself even said that the first sentence of The Gunslinger was the single greatest sentence he had ever written.
|Posted By: Magus Oct 18, 2004 - 05:00 am || |
"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."
He said he thought origionally that it was worth maybe a book on, never imagining it to take up seven.
|Posted By: Aldan Oct 19, 2004 - 06:59 pm || |
BTW, Star Wars isn't Science Fiction or Fantasy. It's Space Opera. There is no science that supports any of the story to speak of, and while there is a lot of Fantasy in it, the story strongly revolves around philosophy rather than a "magic", since the Jedi powers, while "magic", are more like ESP than anything unexplainable...