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Fantasy or not?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Steerpike, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. glutton

    glutton Inkling

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    You had to go there lol.

    What about women who have a lot of muscle, but don't look really muscular because they have a decent layer of fat over it, and look more like non-short fantasy dwarves (super solid tanks)? For example 6' 240-250 lbs but not really fat looking (on the slightly chubby side facially but more built like a brick wall) :D
     
  2. Aurora

    Aurora Sage

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    Interesting topic. I also like the sound of your children's story on a distant star. It reminds me of The Little Prince. Have you read it?

    My books carry strong elements of magic and wonder. They're high fantasy (elves mostly). The cool thing about fantasy is the variety and how much can be done with it. I've read fantasy books that were set in 1800s Missouri with just as much fantastical wonder as any high fantasy story with magic and dragons. To me, it's what the author does with low fantasy settings that's the most important.
     
  3. Confusing. And the b word (not the one that refers to female dogs either. You know the word.
     
    glutton likes this.
  4. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    High fantasy - Idealized reality.

    Low fantasy - Flight from idealized reality.

    Hard sci-fi - Flight from idealized reality.

    Soft sci-fi - Idealized reality.

    –with the distinctions between different works resting on who (author) is doing the idealizations, heh.

    But I don't know, there's a really weird unspoken agreement between Low-F and Hard-SF, and between High-F and Soft-SF.

    High-F, Soft-SF: "Anything goes! Just believe, and it will be so!"

    Low-F, Hard-SF: "The world forces my hand!" or "I must draw within the lines!"

    Now, all of this is just spur-of-the-moment silliness, perhaps, heh.
     
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  5. glutton

    glutton Inkling

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    It's kind of a matter of opinion that high fantasy is more idealized than low fantasy, especially since you can have a more idealistic low fantasy story versus a more cynical high fantasy one.
     
  6. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Probably, how we define ideal makes a difference. I mean, I could conceive of the ideal cynical world, heh. But my picture might not be like another's picture of the ideal cynical world.

    I do think that the verb form, idealize, tends to carry the kind of weight you've given it. And the adjectival form of that is the word I used. Hmmmm.

    The adjective ideal may be something like

    • existing as an archetypal idea
    • existing as a mental image or in fancy or imagination only
    • lacking practicality
    • relating to or constituting mental images, ideas, or conceptions

    These are from the online Merriam-Webster.

    So high fantasy and soft sci-fi seem to have that freedom to approach some ideal image, let's say something that works in the fancy of our minds only, whereas hard sci-fi (especially) and low fantasy are a bit of running away from that, or of trying to found the reality on real-world laws as much as possible.

    Anyway, this was behind my thinking.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  7. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

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    While this is the funniest set of definitions yet, I find it one of the most insightful too. When a story is published and claims to belong to a particular genre, everyone out there with any knowledge of that genre will have some built-in expectations of the story. It's possible, perhaps likely, that someone out there will have expectations not met by the story. This may help to redefine the genre for some readers. Other readers may decide the story was incorrectly categorized and dismiss it. These latter readers may also be predisposed then to dismiss other stories by that author. Genre classification is a marketing tool. Use it or abuse it, and reap the benefits or suffer the consequences. Any self-publishing author can classify a story under any desired genre.

    So the question for me is not one of what kinds of stories constitute a genre, but for any given story, what are the best genres/subgenres to classify it under for marketing purposes? More and more stories are being written these days that break boundaries or span genres, to the point that no established genre/subgenre fully applies to them. But book sellers always need to know the genres/subgenres under which to market a story. As sales happen, the proper classification for a book may become more clear, based on who the buyers are and what other books they buy. I've read reports from self-published authors who initially classified a book one way, saw weak sales, changed the genre classification, and saw stronger sales. This only shows that authors do not always know the best genre for their own work.

    Maybe some day the book selling industry will come up with a better classification system.
     
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  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    High Fantasy is where the halflings hang around the dispensaries all day.

    Low Fantasy is when the elves all wear apple bottom jeans.
     
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  9. I'm honestly surprised at how accurate this is
     
  10. All spec fic is on some kind of spectrum, I'm thinking. The boundary between fantasy and sci-fi seems to be *how* you you hold suspension of disbelief for your fantastical elements; is it "it's magic," or "it's science?" Of course, it's possible to have a world with fantastical elements that aren't explained, and could be either...so...all methods of classifying stories fail on some level, lol.

    Is it not possible to write a story in a world other than Earth that's low-tech (so, all the technology therein has already been invented, plows and wagons and stuff) that has different animals and creatures than Earth, but doesn't actually contain any magic? Would this be just generic spec-fic?

    Or, a story that does include some degree of "magic" or the spiritual and unexplained, like witch doctors or spirits/ghosts, that are things people have actually believed in...A lot of historical fantasy-type novels walk this edge.
     
    Malik likes this.
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I agree regarding a continuum. I don't think that I'd be comfortable calling something SF if there are seemingly magical or inexplicable things going on and the author doesn't have some scientific foundation for it. Even a fairly out there extrapolation from what we know of science would be fine with me, but if it doesn't have at least some of that then what does the word "science" in the name refer to?
     
    Michael K. Eidson likes this.
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