Fantasy vs Science Fiction: A Poll

Which do you prefer?


  • Total voters
    376

SilentRoamer

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This is a difficult choice for me - mainly because there are some Fantasy and SF writers who separately hold a collective fondness from me. So I would, in making a choice, have to send much loved authors and stories to be relegated into the dangerous and desolate unloved places of my mind.

As everyone here who knows me knows I hardly ever eschew a dissenting view, so forgive me for my continuance or contrarianism but I feel it is an unfortunate necessity. (Internet sarcasm can be so hard to parse).

So my vote goes to Science Fantasy and I am sat so firmly on the fence it's starting to get sore.
 

Caliban

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I can’t choose. I honestly just file Sci Fi, Fantasy and Horror under one category of my brain and I know I like those genres but it don’t think about separating them really because it’s ridiculous as many authors mix genres.

Clive Barker is Fantasy/Horror
Alastair Reynolds is often Sci Fi/Horrror

Epic Fantasy is something I enjoy slightly less than other speculative fiction genres but I’ll even read that if I get a recommendation.

Part of this is my interest in reading almost anything I mostly don’t care what. I’ll happily read Emma by Austen then some new Sci Fi by Chris Beckett for example and then the latest Zadie Smith Novel. Maybe I’d throw some old Greek philosopher and a Stephen King book in as well.

I’m aware that lots of people stick to one genre and won’t read Sci Fi for example unless it’s rigorously hard sci Fi and I just don’t understand the mentality. There are brilliant and sh*t books in every genre.
 

psikeyhackr

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Fantasy or SF.
I don't mind which as long as they are well written.
Good writing makes SF better better but good SF is about more than writing. Ursula leGuin is a better writer than Asimov ever was, but he was a better SF story creator.

Writing is not two separate functions like playing versus composing music. Asimov could compose but leGuin played better. Lathe of Heaven is really fantasy not SF. How much science is in the Dispossessed?

This is why I wrote the computer program that counts science and fantasy words. It provides objective though limited data that reviewers do not.

psik
 

Serendipity

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I find it fascinating that whilst the vote for the preference between science fiction and fantasy is evenly split here, about six times as many new novels are published in fantasy than in science fiction..... my brain hurtz...
 

Ihe

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If I had to guess, SF fans might be more vocal, but Fantasy is more mainstream? Anyway, the vote is pretty even, so we might not be that much more vocal than Fantasists at all :confused:.
 

psikeyhackr

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I find it fascinating that whilst the vote for the preference between science fiction and fantasy is evenly split here, about six times as many new novels are published in fantasy than in science fiction..... my brain hurtz...
That is what is disturbing about this poll. I encountered a high school teacher with lots of pristine Harry Potter books on top of a cabinet. She was disappointed that she could not get her students to read them. But this teacher later demonstrated that she did not know meters from kilometers.

How are we supposed to deal with the Global Warming problem with a world of scitech-illiterates? Part of our problem is that we turn education into boring work and lots of so called SF is scientifically illiterate.
 

Onyx

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How are we supposed to deal with the Global Warming problem with a world of scitech-illiterates? Part of our problem is that we turn education into boring work and lots of so called SF is scientifically illiterate.
Reading Foundation isn't going to make anyone science literate. Science class will, though.


I think the poll reads like it does because it asks that everyone takes a position for one or the other, and plenty of people might only feel 51% stronger about SF over fantasy, and are happy to read 6 fantasy books to every one SF book. But they're still going to give the nod to SF. I think an "either/or" would have made the poll interesting.

Personally, I don't feel like fantasy and SF are that similar. Reading Sherlock Holmes is an experience much closer to a good SF book than reading fantasy is for me. But most people don't see that line.
 

mosaix

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That is what is disturbing about this poll. I encountered a high school teacher with lots of pristine Harry Potter books on top of a cabinet. She was disappointed that she could not get her students to read them. But this teacher later demonstrated that she did not know meters from kilometers.

How are we supposed to deal with the Global Warming problem with a world of scitech-illiterates? Part of our problem is that we turn education into boring work and lots of so called SF is scientifically illiterate.
I'm a bit confused about your post Psi. I agree with the general gist of it but I'm not sure how that relates to the poll.
 

psikeyhackr

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Reading Foundation isn't going to make anyone science literate. Science class will, though.
That was part of the reason for my word counting program.

Reading A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke would explain a lot about infrared. It uses the word 17 times and the phenomenon is integral to solving the problem of the plot.

There is:
SCIENCE Fiction
Science Fiction
and
science FICTION

But SF can supply words and concepts and stimulate curiosity to be researched elsewhere. I would read an SF book with 3 encyclopedia open on my bed to learn what the author was talking about. The nitwit nuns I had for teachers never taught science. We can never tell how bad any kids education might be. Now with a tablet they can access GKW.

Books: science fiction (sorted by release date)
 

Onyx

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But SF can supply words and concepts and stimulate curiosity to be researched elsewhere.
It can, and I love that about SF. I'm just not certain that science that is integral to a story makes people previously uninterested in science more interested, or if the science makes them uninterested in SF.

And that's assuming that we aren't talking about Star Trek or some other SF else with zero science in it, or stuff that sounds like science but is actually more likely to give people the wrong idea about how things really work.
 

psikeyhackr

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Reading Foundation isn't going to make anyone science literate. Science class will, though.

And that's assuming that we aren't talking about Star Trek or some other SF else with zero science in it, or stuff that sounds like science but is actually more likely to give people the wrong idea about how things really work.
There is HUGE variation in what we call SF. I have rather liked the Flinx and Pip series by Alan Dean Foster over the years but I readily admit it is scientifically meaningless, but it goes into the SF genre anyway and is not regarded as fantasy.

The interesting thing about the Foundation series is that it started before WWII and one wonders what the conceptions and misconceptions about atomic power were at the time even among relatively educated people like the young Isaac Asimov. I need a floating throne, I am getting old. LOL

But I have seen someone refer to the science in Star Trek as "rubbery". There is a TNG episode that mentions "Soliton Waves". I had never heard the term. This is embarrassing since it relates to electrical engineering. When an electrical signal is sent down a long transmission line like ten miles of coaxial cable the transmission line can change the shape of the wave largely because of its capacitance. But this can be analyzed and the starting wave can be deliberately distorted in the revers manner probably with digital signal processing. That way the transmission line removes the distortion and the received wave is as it was originally intended.

I learned that because of Star Trek. Admittedly I have not actually needed it but I did not need Shakespeare either. Oh yeah, that is is Next Generation too. :D
 

Onyx

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But I have seen someone refer to the science in Star Trek as "rubbery". There is a TNG episode that mentions "Soliton Waves". I had never heard the term.
Star Trek is "rubbery" because they take a basic concept like a soliton - which is found in many kinds of waves, not just in electrical systems - and repurpose it into something that most people are going to assume is fiction due to the presentation. It is almost worse than not mentioning it at all because of the mistaken ideas it can impart to viewers.

"Stardate 6.6.6: Doctor Funkyboots is testing his "molecule" technology, which promises to revolutionize stuff."


I've been reading SF for nearly 40 years, and I think the only authors that actually imparted any real world science or history to me have been Stephenson, Gibson, Watts, Clarke and Pohl. I love the speculative ideas of Vinge, Herbert, Reynolds, etc - but what I'm enjoying is the pleasure of logical extrapolation, not actual scientific theory playing out. That kind of SF is fantastic for encouraging critical thinking and speculation - which are probably more important in creating scientifically minded people than exposure to the metric system.
 

Lew Rockwell Fan

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I encountered a high school teacher with lots of pristine Harry Potter books on top of a cabinet. She was disappointed that she could not get her students to read them. But this teacher later demonstrated that she did not know meters from kilometers.
And she probably calls those half-gallonish pop bottles "liters". I had a high school teacher who bragged, not admitted, BRAGGED, that she took a course in astrology for her single required science credit. And yes, she did understand the difference. I quizzed her on that. She figured that proved how clever she was and was proud of it. Needless to say, we didn't get along. One of 2 teachers in HS I called BS on frequently, for which I have no remorse. Sometimes incivility is a duty. These people shouldn't be allowed to teach. Frankly they shouldn't be allowed to vote either. And from everything I read, it's only gotten worse.
 

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