Science Fantasy - How to get the perfect balance?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Writer’s_Magic, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. Writer’s_Magic

    Writer’s_Magic Mystagogue

    214
    20
    18
    Have you ever heard of science fantasy? No? No wonder! It’s a very difficult genre. And yah. You guess right. It’s a mix of science fiction and fantasy. But there is always the danger of being more science fiction or more fantasy.

    So, how do I get the perfect balance between both things? Do you have any tip?
     
  2. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Mystagogue

    363
    224
    43
    Who says there has to be a balance at all? At the softest end of sci-fi it's pretty much high tech fantasy. Between that, the aliens and all those habitable planets, it is a pretty big fantasy too. The hard sci-fi end, not so much, but since you're speaking of Science Fantasy, you'll generally be at the soft boiled end of it anyways. There may never be any true balance and if you're not a tech sort who can convincingly pull off the technobabble for the science part of it, best to stick to the fantasy end and vague magic running engines that break reality to get through space.

    And it also comes down to the story and the setting around it how much of it even get's shown. The average trooper likely doesn't know what keeps the ships in space, but the ships engineseers are busy doing rites and prayers and properly lubing the tubes to keep it in space, but to show it, it'd have to be from the latter's P.O.V. instead of the troopers. If you got a character that doesn't deal with those sort of things, they can be glossed over, even if you know how they work.
     
  3. Yora

    Yora Mystagogue

    214
    76
    28
    I still call it Planetary Romance. Though I guess Warhammer 40k is also a sci-fi and fantasy hybrid and is definitly something else.

    I am with Orc Knight on this. You probably can have anything from mostly fantasy with a little bit of science fiction, to almost pure science fiction with just a little bit of fantasy (like Babylon 5). Whether the whole thing ends up being good or not should not affected by the balance between these two aspects in any meaningful way.
     
  4. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

    1,519
    856
    113
    Star Wars is sci-fantasy... with some western kicked in, heh heh.

    Pefect is whatever the story needs. Searching for a universal perfection is seeking out a delusional state. Lick some toads, eat random mushrooms, or perhaps don’t reheat that 3-day-old chicken... any of these might make you believe you found perfection for a little while.
     
    CupofJoe likes this.
  5. Tom

    Tom Istari

    2,574
    1,017
    163
    Not to be that guy, but Star Wars is technically a space opera... :LOL:
     
    Demesnedenoir likes this.
  6. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    4,836
    1,933
    163
    You're totally that guy. :p
     
    Yora and Tom like this.
  7. Tom

    Tom Istari

    2,574
    1,017
    163
    And proud!
     
  8. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Mystagogue

    363
    224
    43
    I always expect more singing in opera's. And horned helmets.
     
  9. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

    4,836
    1,933
    163
    In space, no one can hear you sing.
     
  10. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Dark Lord

    1,519
    856
    113
    Well, it does have a fat Hutt... which is a bit like like a really fat lady with a masculine singing voice... and no legs... All right! It's a stretch! But I understand almost nothing he says, much like opera singers... yup yup.

    Without declaring Space Opera a sub-genre of Fantasy, I'll go ahead and point out one of my favorite "sci-fantasies" from yon olden days of reading...

    Black Sun Rising by CS Friedman.
     
    kyrrimar and Tom like this.
  11. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Mystagogue

    363
    224
    43
    I'll throw in the Deathstalker Series by Simon R. Green for a really insane one. And as Yora noted, Warhammer 40k is all sorts of it, plus more. And a favorite of mine too. To no one's surprise, likely.
     
    Gurkhal likes this.
  12. Malik

    Malik Scribal Lord

    785
    779
    93
    I write fantasy technothrillers. Spy thrillers set in a fantasy world, with the plots hinging on technical/scientific elements.
     
    DragonOfTheAerie and Gabriella like this.
  13. Writer’s_Magic

    Writer’s_Magic Mystagogue

    214
    20
    18
    MalikMalik Wow, that’s new. Do you can write a name for your book (if you published one). Maybe, if I like the story, I will buy it.
     
  14. Malik

    Malik Scribal Lord

    785
    779
    93
    It's in my sig. The first book is called Dragon's Trail. It's at all major retailers. Amazon: bit.ly/dragonstrail. Cheers.
     
  15. pmmg

    pmmg Dark Lord

    1,020
    495
    83
    One word, Star Wars!
    No wait...

    Its not often the two go together, usually the appearance of magic to make impossible things happen precludes the need for science, and vice versa, but I've seen it happen. Though...a long list of names is kind of escaping me... I think most comic worlds kind of include both. I can think of video games where this comes together was well, though usually along the lines of this race is magic and this race is technological. Maybe Dwarves and Elves fit into this category.

    Truth is, I think it would be cool, if it does not get me asking too many questions. Such as, why invent a lightning gun when one can just have a lightning wand and such.

    I think the best way to achieve the perfect balance is just not to have one greatly out-power the other. You fire off some fireballs, I fire off some frag grenades, and the body counts are about the same. I suppose I would say, as with much of this, its really the limitations that make it interesting. Imagine a sorcerous safe behind her magic shield as storm troopers approach blasting off an endless stream of machine gun fire, and she is struggling to keep the shield up as her power wanes. Its her limitation that makes it tense.

    Anyway.... as a general topic, I think I would like to see technology as a way of countering magic. If Wizards are all that and get great spells, well, the non-wizards ought to look at how they can overcome that, and invent their weapons and tactics to do it. And then it goes back and forth.

    The question magic and technology raises is why? Why invent that when you can already do? Necessity being the mother of invention becomes moot if magic can already solve problems. So...don't have it solve all the problems.
     
  16. Gurkhal

    Gurkhal Scribal Lord

    775
    175
    43
    Other examples from Star Wars f Science Fantasy are of course "Warhammer 40k" (I just love that shit :D) and I believe that Tékumel also falls into this category.

    But I wouldn't really worry to much about the balance at the start but what your story needs and keep focused without spinning out into the sidelines and get world bloat instead of a smart world building. As you story takes form you should more clearly see what kind of balance you need for you story. Or at least that's what I think.
     
    kyrrimar likes this.
  17. Yora

    Yora Mystagogue

    214
    76
    28
    The thing with Star Wars is that it has zero science in it. Machines simply work and do whatever the writers want them to do with no underlying mechanics.
     
  18. FifthView

    FifthView Istari

    2,198
    1,410
    163
    I'm not sure science fiction and fantasy "balance."

    Both are speculative fiction, and the main things to do when using either one or both are 1) don't break the reader's sense of a whole, believable, unified world and 2) use the speculative elements to entice, intrigue, entertain, and awe the reader.

    So if you've satisfied both #1 and #2, then the ratio of science v fantasy/magic doesn't matter. Perhaps this is what you'd call a balance; but I don't think that's the right word. As long as the focus on one (science fiction or fantasy) doesn't destroy #1 and #2 with respect to the other, you're good to go.

    Star Wars is often mentioned in threads about science fantasy, with good reason. But I think an argument can be made that any putative science fiction tale that isn't a hard-sf tale will have speculative elements that are, at core, fantasy. FTL, time travel to the past, non-science-based telepathy, unexplained and hard-to-believe biology (like acid for blood, ahem-Alien-ahem), etc., continue to reappear in stories labeled as science fiction, but these are fantastic elements.

    So much depends on how we define science fiction and fantasy, heh, and since both are speculative fiction, the line between speculation and pure fantasy may become very thin indeed for science fiction.
     
    kyrrimar and Gabriella like this.
  19. Gabriella

    Gabriella Apprentice

    13
    8
    3
    I've always defined fantasy, for myself, as having elements that are admittedly supernatural; inexplicable by the science of the world setting. If you don't call it fantasy, then the reader expects you not to cross that particular line.
    It's why I will neither call my work fantasy nor a blend of spec fic and fantasy, EVEN THOUGH I write in a fictional, (European) medieval world mostly familiar to readers from fantasy settings. No dragons, no magic, no prophecy = no fantasy.
    But I maintain that my distinction works for space and futuristic settings as well.
     
    kyrrimar likes this.
  20. kyrrimar

    kyrrimar Acolyte

    9
    9
    3
    [QUOTE="
    Without declaring Space Opera a sub-genre of Fantasy, I'll go ahead and point out one of my favorite "sci-fantasies" from yon olden days of reading...

    Black Sun Rising by CS Friedman.[/QUOTE]

    I was visiting this site today after following a link to an article that was of interest. Followed on Twitter. Liked on FB. I've been looking for an active writing community. Mention of Black Sun Rising cinched the deal. :)
     
    Gabriella likes this.
Loading...

Share This Page