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Old 07-29-2012, 04:04 PM   #1
ebusinesstutor
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Science Fiction vs Fantasy

In other thread, I had mentioned how I disliked Science Fiction and Fantasy being lumped together.

But lately I have come across another problem. Fantasy seems to be winning out over Science Fiction.

Don't get me wrong, I love reading both genres. But, in the deepest recesses of my heart, if I could discover a new book, author or series, that would surpass my current favourite in either genre, I would hope that new, fantastic discover would be in Science Fiction.

My reason? Well, they are two-fold. Firstly, I was a Science Fiction fan before I was a Fantasy fan and I still have a slight preference for good Science Fiction.

My second reason is that it is simply easier to find good Fantasy nowadays than good Science Fiction.

Am I imagining this? It seems to me that I am always finding good new fantasies, but not scifi.

I read one articles that said that more women than men read and buy books, and more women read fantasy than science fiction.

Many of my favourite authors write both and I get concerned when a scifi author I love starts writing fantasy instead. Yes, I usually enjoy their fantasy as well, but there are few enough great scifi authors I follow and I hate to lose them to the "dark" side.

Elizabeth Moon's Serrano/Suiza and Vatta series were stunning and I would love to see more in these series. Unfortunately, her newest novels are in her fantasy series. This series is good, but didn't take my breath away like her science fiction series.

Of course, authors will follow influences. If their fantasy novels outsell their scifi, it makes sense they will shift their focus. Or perhaps their internal muse feels it has done all it wanted to do in scifi and is drawn towards fantasy.

Whatever, the reason, I am having to look harder for the science fiction I love so dear...
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Old 07-29-2012, 04:16 PM   #2
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You should lobby to have any science fiction books used in high school curricula replaced with fantasy. Then, after a while, there will be more graduates with a hatred for fantasy, and who will turn to science fiction for enjoyment without any of the emotional baggage caused by scholastic trauma.

I'm only half kidding.
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Old 07-29-2012, 05:00 PM   #3
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Too much science fiction these days is dystopian, so other than favored authors, i've pretty much stopped reading modern SF. An awful lot of fantasy is dystopian, too, and again, except for favored authors I've pretty much stopped reading fantasy. I don't revel in people having a miserable time.
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Old 07-29-2012, 06:19 PM   #4
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There is another problem here. Science fiction and fantasy is a spectrum with no distinct line between them. There is Hard sci-fi at one extreme and magic and spells fantasy at the other. Oddly those extremes can easily be joined together with future man having their brain downloaded into a virtual world where absolutely anything is possible and that would still be hard sci-fi curiously enough.
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Old 07-29-2012, 07:30 PM   #5
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I've seen it said by people who ought to know that fantasy sells about twice as much as SF. (And crime 5 times as much.)
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Old 07-29-2012, 07:50 PM   #6
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A fair amount of the fantasy these days is supernatural romance novels. That appears to have a big cross over following (both fantasy and romance) for these books. There are also a lot of SF novels that are part of the specific universes (Star Wars mostly, as far as I can tell). That's where the money is. There are still SF (and Fantasy) authors out there producing books. People like David Weber, Jack Campbell, Elizabeth Moon and the like. There are even new authors coming out, but really you have to be very good to make a living at it. The SF&F market has not been very big since the 80's.
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:00 PM   #7
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I'm afraid the era of Sci-Fi is over. It was popular once because it seemed that the stars were in reach. Not so much anymore. And our progress of technology has slowed down dramatically - unless it's a smartphone or computer related, we haven't really done much of anything in the last 40 years.
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:16 PM   #8
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SF has never been the most popular of genres.
As a rule, the best SF is more demanding of readers than the best of other genres.

More seriously:
At a time when the world is getting increasingly small-minded and reactionary it should be no surprise that the "literature of ideas" isn't growing with the world's population.
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:19 PM   #9
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Don't forget the actively increasing anti-science bias and all the precious little pressure groups that hate science and fight against any further progress... the literature of ideas is anathema to these "people."
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:36 PM   #10
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Like someone else mentioned earlier, way too much of the current crop of sci-fi and fantasy fall into the dystopian category, which holds no interest for me either.

These days probably 75% of my reading is audiobooks I listen to during my commute that I get from Audible.com and 25% is ebooks for the kindle. I looked through my history for the last couple of years and in the science fiction category I found almost nothing I would recommend. The only book I would give a marginal 'thumbs up' is "Red Moon" by David Michaels and Daniel Brenton. The main story is about the first return mission to the moon and is set 15-20 years in the future. A parallel story line tells the story of a secret Soviet manned lunar mission in 1969. The main story isn't that great, but the historical story more than makes up for it with what feels like a well-researched look into the internal politics of the Soviet space program in the 60s. I wish they had expanded that part to be the entire novel.

I think part of the problem is that I grew up in the 1960s & 1970s when the space program seemed like the pinnacle of human achievement and old-school stories about space travel seemed like a logical extension of where we were headed. But now that it has been 40 years since we have been to the moon, the space program has lost its luster, if not turned into a pathetic joke. So stories involving space travel now feel more like fantasy than sci-fi. With computers currently seeming to be the pinnacle of human achievement, the logical extension of humans merging with computers in some 'Matrix' style existence just doesn't seem to lend itself to the fun, uplifting stories people were writing 50 years ago.

Since it seems so hard to find good sci-fi, most of the books I actually read all the way to the end lately fall in the Young Adult category or other completely none sci-fi categories. Partly I think it is because light, fluffy material seems to work best when you are listening to 15-30 minute chunks in the car.

Anyway, if anyone has some suggestions for stories that have a good, fun old-school sci-fi feel while having a more contemporary writing style than the old stuff by Asimov, Clarke, etc., I would love to hear about them.

Duane
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:45 PM   #11
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I'm afraid the era of Sci-Fi is over. It was popular once because it seemed that the stars were in reach. Not so much anymore. And our progress of technology has slowed down dramatically - unless it's a smartphone or computer related, we haven't really done much of anything in the last 40 years.
There is more to SF than space. There have been books based upon electronics, bioengineering, and (I'm confident) many other realms of scientific and technological progress.
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:49 PM   #12
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There is more to SF than space. There have been books based upon electronics, bioengineering, and (I'm confident) many other realms of scientific and technological progress.
Exactly this. There are enough interesting things happening on Earth to keep SF readers busy without space travel.

SF has always gone through cycles of popularity as well. Presently it's in a lull, but that will change.

Last edited by Steven Lyle Jordan; 07-29-2012 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:06 PM   #13
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The last SF book I read and enjoyed was Redshirts by John Scalzi.
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebusinesstutor View Post
In other thread, I had mentioned how I disliked Science Fiction and Fantasy being lumped together.

But lately I have come across another problem. Fantasy seems to be winning out over Science Fiction.

Whatever, the reason, I am having to look harder for the science fiction I love so dear...
Science has caught up with the Fiction , That leaves only Magik
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Old 07-29-2012, 11:13 PM   #15
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Seems a lot of SF has moved to more independent, ebook self published authors these days. Ranges from truly bad to excellent.

I rarely look at the SF sections of the major bookshop chain here as it is mostly fantasy novels and multi-volume ones at that.
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