Fantasy and Sci-Fi, the Peanut Butter and Jelly of Books

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Fantasy and science-fiction always seem to be joined at the hip, lumped together like some kind of science-experiment-gone-wrong with-wizarding powers. I’ve even done it here, shame on me, under “categories” even though the two genres are, often, utterly distinct.

But the thing is, they aren’t always. It’s those blurry cases, those non-bright line cases, that have them nestled together in every bookshop. I’m currently working on a young adult novel, one I’d planned to keep pretty solidly over the fantasy line. But the thing is that, no matter what I do, it feels as though the science wants to keep creeping in.

Maybe it’s because it’s my aesthetic. Maybe it’s because it’s where the story wants to go, needs to go. And maybe it’s because that line is really difficult to draw firmly.

Though the elements of science-fiction and fantasy have different origins–magical versus concrete–they both like to go into the same impossible places. They’re like really good friends who get each other. And like good friends, sometimes they visit one another’s homes.

In this mushy, genre-busting world, maybe bright lines are another thing likely to go. Maybe they’ve never really been there at all. Or maybe it doesn’t really matter, and we can sit back and enjoy the ride, whether we’re traveling by spaceship or dragon or a little of both.

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10 thoughts on “Fantasy and Sci-Fi, the Peanut Butter and Jelly of Books

  1. Stacy Claflin

    I’ve always seen them as distinct (but I’ve always been a little unique!) and when I first started writing paranormal romance and my husband would tell people I was writing SciFi, I’d get all bent out of shape! 🙂

  2. Speculative fiction; thank you to mr google for the explanation to simple old me. No, I’m not a fan of fantasy…oh, wait; it seems I am! Would I be completely off the mark in guessing you’re a practical sort of person? That would be my assumption regarding your remark ‘science keeps creeping in’?

    • Hmm, I hadn’t thought of it that way, but you might be right. I am pretty practical in a lot of ways. I think it comes down to the likelihood of it, and when I write, I tend to like things to be somewhat plausible but off somehow. With the fantasy, it takes the plausible out of it. I also really love science, and often stop to marvel at how we really do live in the future. It’s fun to take what exists or what people are working on and extrapolate. And then make it absurd and hilarious.

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