Science Fiction is not Fantasy

There seems to be a confusion at bookstores, online, on Netflix and every conceivable place that categorizes entertainment. We have all seen it, many have grown used to it, and some may have accepted it as fact. However, I find it to be a travesty as a fantasy author. Science Fiction and Fantasy are lumped together and are often seen as the same genre. Okay, I exaggerated. I don’t necessarily find it offensive, but these are two very distinct genres that are usually confused for the same thing.

These two genres are a part of the parent genre of Speculative Fiction, so they do share similarities. In fact Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror often have intersecting elements that can be transferred from one to the other. Horror and Fantasy may both use ghosts as plot devices. However, saying Horror and Fantasy are the same would be incredibly ignorant. Most would not say Lord of the Rings is in the same genre as Dracula.

Each story is different, and there may be a plethora of blends between Science Fiction, Horror, and Fantasy. However, Science Fiction tends to be more grounded in reality and the planets or galaxies we all know and love. It takes elements of real science and asks what if questions. Fantasy, on the other hand, often deals with a completely different world or alternate Earth with races and creatures that do not exist. In Science Fiction such creatures may be aliens, but in Fantasy they are natives to an exotic land. Fantasy, with the exception of Urban Fantasy, utilizes Medieval technology and weapons.

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One thought on “Science Fiction is not Fantasy”

  1. I absolutely agree. I think and often believe that at the root of the problem of genre blending is an unhealthy relationship between corporate production and a readership that essentially ignores adherence to any set of basic guidelines such as you’ve outlined above. The corporate world, the world that mass produces paper texts, e-texts, and movies–based on those texts, is a world that eschews difference and embraces sameness. After a while there will be a single genre sign for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror– WEIRD. Another possibility though is that genres will be erased forever and books will be labeled according to the time it takes to read them. So we’ll have the extremely popular Fifteen Minute section and ending up with the totally unreadable Twenty Hour section of books.
    Thanks for the great post.

    Liked by 1 person

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