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Where has the science fantasy genre gone?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Netardapope, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. Netardapope

    Netardapope Sage

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    Hi Everyone! I was wondering if the "science fantasy" genre is dead? I haven't seen anything in the genre recently and I was wondering if anyone knew if there were any current authors.

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  2. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    THe new Star Wars is coming out soon, in case you've forgotten. :)
     
  3. Mark

    Mark Scribe

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    I write in that genre –*more or less.
     
  4. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    I was going to say "give it another 11 days", but someone beat me to it. XD
    Star Wars is a major cultural Force (snicker). I suspect its resurgence will have an impact on the literary world as well as cinema.
     
    Caged Maiden likes this.
  5. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Well, I think the problem is: what is science fantasy? I mean, people argue all the time over what the definitions of fantasy and science fiction are, but "science fantasy" is even more confusing. It's a term that mostly gets used when a well known author writes a book that doesn't quite fit into sci fi or fantasy but definitely has some aspects of both so they call it "science fantasy", sometimes only in hindsight like "I'm not sure how to describe it, I was just throwing things together when I wrote this, I guess I'd call it science fantasy". When unknown authors write something like that they usually call it "I'm sorry, but we don't know how to market this". ;)

    It's not a subgenre that anyone can agree on what it should include, so how do you try to write into such a subgenre intentionally?
     
  6. ScipioSmith

    ScipioSmith Sage

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    I think part of the problem is that we know much more about science than we did then. At the time when Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote the Barsoom stories, the quintessential science fantasy, it was possible that there had been life on Mars even if there wasn't now. Now that possibility seems increasingly unlikely, to the extent that you might as well create a secondary world as go through all the handwaving needed to write a planetary romance.
     
  7. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Are the Barsoom stories called science fantasy now? That's another example of applying labels in hindsight then, because when A Princess of Mars was published it was simply considered pulp fiction or adventure. Later on, when its success had spawned a lot more stories like it, it was called planetary romance.

    Sometimes, I think subgenres are more limiting than they are helpful.
     
  8. It was killed by publishers.
     
  9. Netardapope

    Netardapope Sage

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    Thanks to all those whom cited star wars as an example but I was hoping for anything other than that to be honest. Star wars may be a huge deal but I doubt it could revive the entire genre. I actually do see the reasoning behind us knowing too much about science but even so, why shouldn't we have fun with the idea regardless? I mean we are all writers.

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  10. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    Dune is still going.
    How about the Dark Tower?
    The Golden Compass series.
    China Miéville's Bas-Lag novels.
    Dragon Riders of Pern series is still going no?
     
  11. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Sorry. Backs been giving me crap. I've only put out one space opera thisyear. But will try harder!

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  12. Mark

    Mark Scribe

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    A good a definition as any. I see it as a sub-genre which is basically fantasy with some science fiction elements. So a mix of high technology with magic.
     
  13. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Seems like it's fantasy, but since it is set in space people feel the need to tack the word "science" onto the front of it.
     
  14. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I don't think that covers it. It's just as likely for it to be science fiction, but with fantasy tropes included. Or an equal measure of elements that people would associate with fantasy and sci fi. Or any combination that makes it uncertain whether genre die hards will accept it.
     
  15. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    There is a reason I learned to love the term "Spec Fic."
     
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  16. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Guardians of the Galaxy is fantasy sci-fi. A lot of what comes from Marvel fits the genre, in my opinion, given the very loose use of science as a basis for how the superheroes received their powers.
     
  17. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Some people might view it that way, but I don't consider that stuff science fiction. There's nothing science fiction about Star Wars, to use one of the most popular examples. It's fantasy that happens to be set in space instead of medieval times.
     
  18. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    I tend to have a very strict definition of science fiction, leaning toward the hard sci-fi side of the continuum. Hollywood seems to disagree with me, however; or, perhaps hard sci-fi is just...hard to do well. I haven't tried, and will not try, to do a conscientious survey of the history of cinema to come up with a count of what I would call authentic science fiction. But I'm guessing I'd find maybe ten movies. (I admit, there could be more, but I haven't watched every movie ever made.)
     
  19. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    You don't consider a novel that is mostly science fiction but has some fantasy tropes as well science fantasy? And you're basing that opinion off Star Wars? How can you possibly tell without more detail? There are plenty of fantasy tropes that wouldn't transform a book into a fantasy automatically. For instance, a book set in the far future where there are aliens and space ships and technologically advanced weapons but where the main character carries a sword and is able to perform acts that seem impossible when you don't know the explanation? Would that have to be a fantasy then?
     
  20. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I know there are a lot of die hard sci fi readers who will only accept that "hard sci fi" which is at least 99% scientifically accurate be considered sci fi, but unfortunately for you I don't think that you're in the majority.
     
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