speculative visionscience fiction and fantasy

Fantasy and Reality

The place to talk about the craft of writing.

Moderators: Bmat, Qray

    Bookmark and Share
 

Fantasy and Reality

Postby nightlock » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:50 am

How much do reality and fantasy mix? Do you try to make your fantasy stories/worlds as different as ours as you can, or do you want to make your readers feel like they could actually inhabit the world you are crafting. Do you go the old Narnia road by transposing characters from our world to yours, or do you prefer Tolkien's separate world?

Do you invent your own system of Nobility or carefully research an Earth variant and use that? What about military formations and tactics? What about science.

I am currently writing "New Awakenings" (link below), which happens in a world in which the boundaries between magic and science are somewhat blurry. For instance, I am trying to describe the geography as though it can be explained both by natural tectonic plate physics and by Divine creation. Right now, one of the characters is interested in the stars and describes something akin to our own milky way, suggesting the existance of galaxies, and planets in it's own solar system. In character it is described as the Road of Heaven though, and the planets that travel along it are the Gods.

Do you prefer such hyper realism in Fantasy or do you want to have trouble suspending your disbelief as much as possible?
Image

Read New Awakenings

"This is here." :smt104
User avatar
nightlock
Site Regular
Site Regular
 
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:28 pm
Location: Netherlands
Blog: View Blog (3)
 

 

Re: Fantasy and Reality

Postby The Master » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:16 pm

I personally have no problem with suspension of disbelief, but it is the author's job to make that as easy as possible. In your example, do the inhabitants merely BELIEVE that the stars they see are Gods because their science has not yet given them the ability to grasp the truth? Or is it an alternative universe where the stars really are Gods? Either one can be a very effective approach, but the reader has to know which it is.

That can be something that evolves over time. I'm going to use an example from Anne McCaffrey's Pern books, but in a spoiler tag for those that haven't read them.
The original Pern trilogy seems like Fantasy, complete with a typical Medieval technology level and fire breathing dragons. As the series goes on you learn that it is Science Fiction, and this planet is an Earth colony hundreds of years after its founding. When this becomes clear to the reader they get an "ah ha" moment that makes them look at the world and its societal structures in a new light. This changing understanding of the world is one of my favorite things about the series.
User avatar
The Master
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1988
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2005 4:55 pm
Location: California
Blog: View Blog (2)
Art: View My Art Gallery
 

 

Re: Fantasy and Reality

Postby nightlock » Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:12 am

I want the answer to be somewhat dubious, at least for the time being. If I can get it to work (which remains to be seen) I want to be able to explain everything in both a fantasy and a science fact kind of way. Or in other words, I want it to feel like fantasy but in such a way that you might think that once we have interstellar flight we might actually come across this particular world.
Image

Read New Awakenings

"This is here." :smt104
User avatar
nightlock
Site Regular
Site Regular
 
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:28 pm
Location: Netherlands
Blog: View Blog (3)
 

 

Re: Fantasy and Reality

Postby Asp Zelazny » Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:41 pm

It sounds like you have answered the question for yourself already, and in a way that would also match my particular preferences.

Arthur C Clarke's famous maxim applies here: "Any technology, sufficiently advanced, would appear indistinguishable from magic." For a culture that knew their planets as wandering gods, that technology bar would (at least in the physical sciences) be set pretty low.
User avatar
Asp Zelazny
True Visionary
True Visionary
 
Posts: 1919
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:17 pm
Location: Arizona
 

 

Re: Fantasy and Reality

Postby nightlock » Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:31 am

It''s not just a question. I know what I want in my stories ( the vague-er the better) but I want to know how other people feel and whether they have different opinions etc. Trying to get a discussion going! :P
Image

Read New Awakenings

"This is here." :smt104
User avatar
nightlock
Site Regular
Site Regular
 
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:28 pm
Location: Netherlands
Blog: View Blog (3)
 

 

Re: Fantasy and Reality

Postby The Master » Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:28 pm

I think the danger is that you may leave your reader with an "I don't understand what's going on" feeling if you are too obscure. Of course, it should advance the story in some way so you need to very self critical along the way about why you include it.
User avatar
The Master
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1988
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2005 4:55 pm
Location: California
Blog: View Blog (2)
Art: View My Art Gallery
 

 

Re: Fantasy and Reality

Postby Tiri3l » Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:08 pm

It's an interesting question, and I don't want to seem to critical here, because fantasy usually flies in the face of science fiction. It is as if they are two opposing forces! Though--is science the lack of magic? OR is it, etymologically; signs?
User avatar
Tiri3l
Just Registered
Just Registered
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:18 pm
 

 

Re: Fantasy and Reality

Postby The Master » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:26 pm

Typically Science Fiction relies on science as key element of the plot. In Fantasy, the presence of magic is a key element. What qualifies as magic or science may vary, which is part of why there are lots of subgenres.
User avatar
The Master
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 1988
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2005 4:55 pm
Location: California
Blog: View Blog (2)
Art: View My Art Gallery
 

 

Re: Fantasy and Reality

Postby nightlock » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:43 am

And of course, as Clarke said, any technology sufficiently advanced would seems like magic. I like the idea of writing a series of Fantasy novels and a series of Sci Fi novels, only to reveal they are in the same universe. Much like Pern, you''d think it''s Fantasy untill it turns out to be SF.
Image

Read New Awakenings

"This is here." :smt104
User avatar
nightlock
Site Regular
Site Regular
 
Posts: 460
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 1:28 pm
Location: Netherlands
Blog: View Blog (3)
 


Return to General Writing Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest