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Enough with this pairing of SF and fantasy.


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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 19, 2012 12:33:26 AM PST
einexile says:
This new four-part daily deal is a nice addition, but it depresses me to see "Science Fiction & Fantasy," which is a common name for the SF section in most bookstores, and have to wonder if today's deal will be V.C. Andrews.

Traditionally the "F&SF" category has included various forms of high fantasy, and justifiably so because SF writers have a long history of writing fantasy. But what we're seeing here so far is vampires, werewolves, zombies, more werewolves, oh yeah and John Scalzi.

I hate to sound like an ingrate, but now is the time to divorce these two genres, even if it means the SF deal is often self-published or a copyrighted edition of something in the public domain. There's a howling wolf on the cover of today's deal, in silhouette. I hate to see you like this, Amazon. You've got to do something.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2012 1:04:56 AM PST
Ronald Craig says:
I completely understand where you're coming from... but like most bookstores, Amazon is first and foremost a commercial website, and is simply catering to a clientele that obviously doesn't appreciate the distinction.

This is the world we live in.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 2:19:11 AM PST
Stay away from Jack Vance, your head will explode.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 7:07:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 19, 2012 7:07:56 AM PST
Read all the Jack Vance you can, your head will explode.

Actually all SF is fantasy, the general distinction being that SF is fantasy that substitutes technology for magic. This is particularly obvious in a work like Dune, which is a literate high fantasy style in a science-fiction setting.

Then there are straighforward crossover books like Zelazny's Madwand/Changeling or Daley's Doomfarers of Coramonde.

But to address your intent, I agree that most readers view them as distinct genres and they need to be divided that way. In fact, the more sub-genres there are, the happier everyone will be - just like cable channels, the more I can control and choose the content I consume, the happier I will be as a consumer and the content producers can target their stuff better.

Posted on Dec 19, 2012 7:38:44 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 19, 2012 7:40:58 AM PST
I agree that zombie, vampire and werewolf stories must be considered as fantasy but are sub-genres far removed from the sort of traditional fantasy which appeals to me. Even worse are the paranormal romance books. I wish there was some way to filter these books out of my search results.

PS. Hooray for exploding heads. Jack Vance rules!

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 3:38:55 AM PST
Jed Fisher says:
I think the most overlooked distinctions are narrative tone and style. As for werewolves and vampires and such, there is a marked difference between Twilight and Teen Wolf and Lost Boys. That, and Back to the Future is sci-fi while Star Wars is cleverly disguised fantasy.
There is plenty of sci-fi not set in space, and it's a bit bold to relegate zombies to fantasy. Clearly, the idea of diseases transforming people into monsters has a science fiction base to it. As does vampirism, and werewolves. All spread by a bite. Biotech fiction.
(Although, calculating the nutritional vale of blood and the amount of calories a vampire would burn while moving at super speed, using superhuman strength, flying, telepathy and what-not, they'd have to drink about eighty five gallons of blood a day.)
It's all in the presentation, I suppose.
F-SF as a combined genre certainly is not a good idea.

Posted on Dec 27, 2012 7:28:52 AM PST
W.T. says:
I just wish Sfyfy would be honest enough to change their name to "Bad Reality, Cheap Horror and Westling".

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 7:34:01 AM PST
W.T. says:
Really, much of the things that define genre are just window dressing. The basic stories remain the same. Insert aliens and spaceships, and you have sci-fi. Insert demons and crucifixes to make it horror. Insert wizards and spells to make it fantasy. Insert cowboys and six-shooters to make it a western. Insert elements from any chosen past period to make it historical fiction.

The pulps used to use this to maximum effect, and that's why they remain my favorite literature.

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 2:31:39 PM PST
D. Atkinson says:
Every time I hear this complaint, I think "Anyone who doesn't like fantasy and SF being lumped together isn't going to be happy with the way they get separated, either." There is no hard and fast line between the two, and some purists insist on subcategories such as space opera to keep SF pure. There are also books that include both genres. Where do you put the Star Wars books? Pern? The Apprentice Adept series? Shadowrun? Wherever you draw the line, someone's going to be unhappy; lumping them together is the lesser of two evils, and less work besides.
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This discussion

Discussion in:  Science Fiction forum
Participants:  8
Total posts:  9
Initial post:  Dec 19, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 28, 2012

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