Monday, April 14, 2008

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Here's another thought on the science fiction and fantasy discussion, primarily from my perspective as a writer rather than a reader. One of the reasons that I write much more fantasy than science fiction is that as a reader I find that fantasy wears significantly better than science fiction. If I pick up a stack of 30 year old sf and fantasy I find that the fantasy is usually much more current and quite a bit less likely to have been rendered moot or obsolete by the passage of time. For me this is true even with sf and fantasy titles that I loved when I first read them in the 80s when I was reading about even amounts of both genres. As a writer it's certainly my hope that people will still find at least some of what I write worth reading a hundred years from now and I feel that writing more fantasy than science fiction increases my odds dramatically.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions?

5 comments:

Sean M. Murphy said...

I'll agree, tentatively. SF tends to have a tone to it, and that tone has shifted with time. Also, the divergent speculations as to the technological development we are supposed to have experienced--as well as the presence or lack of certain technologies that we have developed--does tend to "date" that brand of story a bit. Good SF is worth reading despite those divergences, but I think you're right in saying that fantasy ends up feeling more "timeless", because in general it doesn't have that issue.

Ann Wilkes said...

Kelly,
Yes, but a good story is a good story. Granted if it's an idea driven story, it won't fare so well. But I still like the Golden Age stuff. If it's character driven, it won't matter.

I've resisted reading fantasy primarily because I thought of fantasy as swords, sorcery and dragons. That seems to be changing, or perhaps I'm looking harder and finding more themes.

I think I have Jasper Fforde and Terry Pratchett to thank for my better introduction to the genre. But now I'm rambling off topic...

Kelly Swails said...

Interesting take on the debate, Y. Timely v. Timeless.

My take is that science fiction is based, on, well, science and fantasy is based on myth and legend. A theory which, now that I've typed it out in front of me, I realize is another way of saying "timely v. timeless."

Shauna Roberts said...

I've bought several of the books in the Science Fiction Book Club's best novels of the past 50 years series. Some of the older ones do seem very dated. The 1950s mindset lasted so briefly, yet it was so distinct from the decades on either side of it, that science fiction written then seems to shout "1955."

Eleanor said...
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