What do you think of the sub-genre Science Fantasy?

tachyon

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I like all sorts of different books on the SFF spectrum, and tend not to worry too much about classification.

A lot of nominally SF stuff has fantastical elements (psi powers, implausible technology, implausible aliens), and even hard SF has to handwave some details, so it's a spectrum rather than rigid classifications with bright lines.

That said I do think fantastical SF with explicit magic and other weirdness is a valid category and I do like it.

The setting matters a great deal. If the story is based in the far future, outer space, or on alien planets we tend to view it as SF, even with a large degree of magical involvement.
 

dask

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I like all sorts of different books on the SFF spectrum, and tend not to worry too much about classification.

A lot of nominally SF stuff has fantastical elements (psi powers, implausible technology, implausible aliens), and even hard SF has to handwave some details, so it's a spectrum rather than rigid classifications with bright lines.

That said I do think fantastical SF with explicit magic and other weirdness is a valid category and I do like it.

The setting matters a great deal. If the story is based in the far future, outer space, or on alien planets we tend to view it as SF, even with a large degree of magical involvement.
The more knives in the blender the better.
 

Vince W

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I think dictionary definitions are difficult. Put simply I think we can agree the following:

Fantasy - made up stuff we know not to be ‘true’
SF - made up stuff that could possibly be, or become, true, given technological advances or due to imagined changes in our history
Science fantasy - containing elements of both of the above

But those aren’t dictionary definitions, they are Bick definitions thought up on the fly
A Bicktionary?

I nominate this for the Hugo Award for something.
Certainly an early contender for post of the year.
 

Laura R Hepworth

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I love science fantasy! I enjoy the juxtaposition of tech and magic/magical creatures. I also like how there is so much more variety to science fantasy to hard core science fiction. Personally, I actually prefer it most of the time over traditional science fiction.
 

Bick

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I love science fantasy! I enjoy the juxtaposition of tech and magic/magical creatures. I also like how there is so much more variety to science fantasy to hard core science fiction. Personally, I actually prefer it most of the time over traditional science fiction.
I think my tolerance of science fantasy is getting broader, as I appreciate unexplained things that add richness to SF tales. But that said, I don’t really like it when the extremes of either genre get together in some sort of mash-up (such as dragons on space stations, or witches casting spells on FTL spaceships - yes, James Schmitz I’m looking at you). That just discombobulates me a touch too much. Lightsabers and The Force* now, they’re okay.

* Cause, you know, midichlorians.
 

BAYLOR

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I think my tolerance of science fantasy is getting broader, as I appreciate unexplained things that add richness to SF tales. But that said, I don’t really like it when the extremes of either genre get together in some sort of mash-up (such as dragons on space stations, or witches casting spells on FTL spaceships - yes, James Schmitz I’m looking at you). That just discombobulates me a touch too much. Lightsabers and The Force* now, they’re okay.

* Cause, you know, midichlorians.
I wish Lucas had skipped the whole midichlorian silliness.
 

Laura R Hepworth

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I think my tolerance of science fantasy is getting broader, as I appreciate unexplained things that add richness to SF tales. But that said, I don’t really like it when the extremes of either genre get together in some sort of mash-up (such as dragons on space stations, or witches casting spells on FTL spaceships - yes, James Schmitz I’m looking at you). That just discombobulates me a touch too much. Lightsabers and The Force* now, they’re okay.

* Cause, you know, midichlorians.
Oh, absolutely. Some take mixed genre too far and into the ridiculous. The only way I can see enjoying some of those extremes you mentioned is if it's being written as a spoof/parody.
 

Bick

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I wish Lucas had skipped the whole midichlorian silliness.
So do most people I think, I was agitating a bit perhaps :)
The fact that most folk prefer not to have the Force explained suggests most people like the science fantasy elements in Star Wars over any hard SF aspects (of which there are precious few).
 

tinkerdan

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A lot of my favorite authors have done good things in this genre.
I wouldn't call it messy...more like Scotch Whiskey.
I don't know too many people who loved their first drink of Scotch Whisky, yet somehow they acquired a taste for it--but only for the best.
 

BAYLOR

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I think my tolerance of science fantasy is getting broader, as I appreciate unexplained things that add richness to SF tales. But that said, I don’t really like it when the extremes of either genre get together in some sort of mash-up (such as dragons on space stations, or witches casting spells on FTL spaceships - yes, James Schmitz I’m looking at you). That just discombobulates me a touch too much. Lightsabers and The Force* now, they’re okay.

* Cause, you know, midichlorians.
I didn't mind the mysticism idea of the force concept. To me , that one the things that made Star Wars interesting , entertaining and fun. :)
 

Finch

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A lot of my favorite authors have done good things in this genre.
I wouldn't call it messy...more like Scotch Whiskey.
I don't know too many people who loved their first drink of Scotch Whisky, yet somehow they acquired a taste for it--but only for the best.

Sorry, I'm not picking out you post to be critical. But it somehow relates to the argument of classification. As an Irish man, whisky is an Irish drink. There are some imitators, such as Scotch. But there is no such thing as Scotch Whisky. It is an imitator riding on the tail of the real thing.
 

Robert Zwilling

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The classification is very big. People are using stories as examples of what science fantasy is, which only serves to cloud the issue. Maybe it would be better to post examples of what is not science fantasy.

I absolutely believe there is a lot of life scattered throughout the universe, and not all of it is carbon based. I would even go so far as to say the there are body types which we would absolutely not recognize as life as we know it. But FTL on demand is another issue. That could just as easily be fantasy as it could be true. Which could make every science fiction story that uses it labeled as science fantasy. For me, wormholes powered by the universe are more likely than FTL generated inside a space ship, which puts FTL back on the table.
 

Guttersnipe

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I think that it can be done well in literature, but I'm not a fan of the "fantasy world vs. science fiction world" idea.
 

tinkerdan

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Won't bother me; however, it might bother all my Scottish friends.
Sorry, I'm not picking out you post to be critical. But it somehow relates to the argument of classification. As an Irish man, whisky is an Irish drink. There are some imitators, such as Scotch. But there is no such thing as Scotch Whisky. It is an imitator riding on the tail of the real thing.
You better run.
You better hide.:ROFLMAO:
 

Guttersnipe

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:unsure: Really... How come? I am genuinely curious.
It just seems to me that it's an overly obvious response to what one thinks when they hear "science fantasy." I think that there are more adroit ways of writing a story that is between genres. I'd prefer a sci-fantasy story to be seamless in its combination of high technology and magic, for instance. Maybe I'm nitpicking. I think something interesting would be a story about androids being given souls, or an alien planet running on qi.
 
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dicktophercolumbus

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I love the possibility of not being 100% committed to something either way - a little bit of science, a little bit of fantasy. I like when there's something new and surprising in a story that would have been excluded if an author was super committed to the rules of the genre.
 
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