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zompist bboard • View topic - Fantasy and Conworlding Part II

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:44 pm 
Lebom
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How I tell the two genres apart:

Science fiction does not contradict natural or scientific laws but does speculate about possibilities in science and the use of technology that could concievably happen. We just don't know how it happens (yet).

Fantasy can be pretty much whatever you want. It can transcend scientific contradictions through the use of magic or other paranormal phenomena. It explains speculations that way too. I.e. "if you can't explain it, then it's magic."

In short, science fiction is restricted by rules that help to shape what you come up with. Fantasy is completely up to your imagination. Chances are the distinction I mentioned isn't written in stone and other people may very well disagree with me. So find your own distinction. Or let your readers decide for you.

But yah, I agree with what the other members are saying. You really should read more if you want to know about these things.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:52 am 
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:05 pm 
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Actually, I don't know how well the concepts of 'scifi' and 'fantasy' can be applied to a setting: aren't those supposed to describe stories?

After all, earth [the macdaddy of all conworlds, AFAIK... at least it's the most detailed one] is the home of stories of all genres so... why shouldn't any other constructed setting be?

Isn't starwars a scifi-like setting? yet I see it as mostly fantasy; conversely, you could write the story of a sentient Von Newman's proble that fell into an obscure D&D-like world from it's perspective and it would still be sci-fi.

just my two cents.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:17 pm 
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Torco is on to something... a fantasy setting may look very different from a fantasy story, even one that uses that setting. Look at LOTR: would the experience of most hobbits, or even most men of Gondor, include frequent contact with orcs, dragons, elves, and wizards? Not at all, many probably went their lives without encountering any. But the story is describing an extraordinary time and extraordinary events.

Beyond this, Almea is more naturalistic as a reflection of my tastes. Still, when it comes to writing stories, they're more likely to include wonders (e.g. wizards, malignant goddesses) or at least things not seen on Earth (e.g. the politics of an artist state), because why tell a story on Almea that could equally well have been set in Des Moines?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:47 pm 
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:22 pm 
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I don't think fantasy and scifi are polar opposites; they're two genres, just like many other genres: you have your cosmic horror, you have your thriller, you have you detective stories, you have your romance novels, you have your erotica, and millions of other genres. Those two are just a couple more fish in the pond, which is why they can overlap in so many different way just as cosmic horror and science fiction could overlap faster than you can say 'Mulder finally gets his truth that's out there after a short trip to R'lyeh... he, of course, eventually becomes crazy... or at least everyone thinks he's crazy, what with all the conspiracy theories and babbling about ancient gods and all that'.

Now get this: I don't know if I'm right but it ocurred to me: scifi are stories about plausible, rational, grounded-in-science, and yet imaginative scientific speculation, while fantasy is about telling a tall, awesome, emotionally resonating tale and invoking for suspension of doubt, so as to be able to focus on the human stuff [like a moral, a few values, or nothing else than a very emotionally resonating story fully loaded with archetypical stuff for extra awesomeness]: in that sense they indeed are kind of opposites, but from a methodological POV.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:34 pm 
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:34 am 
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So then, Eddy, please characterise:
- The Book of the New Sun
- Pern
- The Left Hand of Darkness
- The Prestige
- The Cthulhu Mythos
- Shadowrun

Are these fantasy, or are they science fiction?


[I know you've never read any fantasy or science fiction books, so it's only a rhetorical question]

Although to be honest, talking about genre distinctions with a man who's never read a book feels like discussing the difference between red and blue with a man who's never opened his eyes.


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Torco: I don't think you really need Mulder in that setting. Lovecraft's stories ALREADY have spaceships, genetic engineering, robot rebellions, interstellar travel, time travel... they're as much sci-fi as the X Files is.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:53 pm 
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there's hardly any proper scifi on TV, if you think of scifi as being the exploration of what could be grounded on viable scientific speculation [which is, IIRC, Asimov's version of the definition of the genre]. But yeah, save for such stuff as short stories which basically posit an interesting scientific question, there's hardly any genre you can call scifi.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:24 pm 
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That might be right, actually... maybe that's why most 'fantasy-scifi hybrids' end up not being a smooth blend of those two, if it makes sense.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 10:31 pm 
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:55 pm 
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is not a clearly segmented super-genre in any way shape or form. It isn't Sci Fi, Fantasy, Magical Realism, and Horror, it's a whole range of subgenres that blend together and with non SpecFic genres.
I had a story I was convinced was fantasy, but maybe , so I posed in the "is it sci fi" thread on the NaNoWriMo forums, and was told it was not at all fantasy and it was clearly sci fi. If I had asked specifically in the Fantasy forum (I asked what subgenre it was not whether it was fantasy), they would have said "yeah, it's fantasy, specifically science fantasy."
Science Fantasy isn't magic in a modern world, that's actually a better definition of Magical Realism than Science Fantasy. Science Fantasy is basically a fantasy world with magic or inexplicable things someone tried to explain rationally. Star Wars is Science Fantasy (or by some accounts).

Knowing what genre you are as you write is mainly to find out whether a writing group will accept you (and most genre fiction groups do it as "sci fi/fantasy" like a bookstore). The only real purpose of the genres outside of literary analysis is so publishers know if there should be a tree and sparkly magic or a spaceship and a robot on the cover.

If you must have a definition, I read once the following (paraphrased, I forget the author): Sci Fi is what could be but isn't, Fantasy is what couldn't be. Orson Scott Card described the difference as of . Another thing I remember reading once, possibly also by OSC, was that Sci Fi tends to obey the laws of physics or some variation based on them (such as if you fall off a cliff you will go splat against the ground unless some other force slows your descent). Fantasy makes its own rules (of magic for example, or a world where everyone can fly).

More late i have to go.

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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 8:37 am 
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What do you call a genre that features a (nearly) scientifically plausible world without any fantasy elements like magic or gods, that doesn't doesn't contradict itself or break any natural laws that we know of, but that doesn't have any advanced technology either? I had thought of the term but that seems to include all of conworlding in general.

My conworld is essentially a historical drama but it takes place on a fictitious planet that was created through speculation. Practically all of the technology on it is perfectly achievable so the only speculation in the genre is in the place itself which, as I have typed, has tried to remain as faithful to what we know today.

For that matter, what do you call Mark's Almea? Or any of the other dozens of conworlds on this board? I know they are all conworlds but is there a certain genre they fall into?


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