Science Fiction 451

Sep 06

I was thinking today what I would write for my first blog post. Frankenstein has been exceedingly interesting, but I couldn’t help think about our discussion between the differences in Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I sat and talked to my friends about what really made the two distinct. At first they mentioned things, such as the excessive use of technology in sci-fi and how most Sci-Fi books are extremely serious. They tended to take the view that Fantasy tended to focus a lot more on the story-line and that most magic and other unusual concepts was generally already accepted by the people in the book, whereas in Sci-Fi the authors spent a lot of time explaining how all the technology works. We came to a conclusion that fantasy writers seemed to wan’t to explain social issues in a way that seemed fake and could not possibly happen in our world yet somehow familiar to the reader, while Sci-Fi  writer tried to explain the same issues set in a recognizable world, but from a strange perspective or reality that could happen or could have happened in the past.

This got me to search the web for others takes on the issues, and after several articles and clicks ( as so often happens when I use the internet) I was led one of my favorite websites www.cracked.com. This website has humorous explanations of science and history as well as pop-culture. The article I came across was discussing flaws in technologies used in famous Sci-Fi films. This article got me to think that the main difference between fantasy and Sci-Fi, is that people to this day will discuss the inner workings of a time machine or how robots could become sentient; but hardly ever do you hear people arguing about why magic exists, or a mouse could talk or how likely it is that common languages in most fantasy books seem to be the same as english.

Science Fiction allows people to access a different world in which they at this moment could see themselves living. Fantasy is a place so fictionally that they wish they lived there.

Sci-Fi allows our world to be stretched into the future or into a dystopian setting, and while Fantasy is capable of doing the same, it will never be close to reality because it always carries an idea, such as magic or races that don’t exist, that can never exist.

8 comments so far

  1. Josh Ambrose
    9:07 pm - 9-7-2011

    I think your discussion about expectations (aka in re. to talking mice vs. killer robots) is definitely true. I’m always fascinated by what allows for the suspension of disbelief–or what destroys it.

    How have you seen Shelley play with our expectations thus far (if at all)?

    BTW, does fantasy always require us to “wish” we lived there?

  2. Jessica
    1:17 am - 9-8-2011

    I think nuclear technology could’ve ended the movie Avatar in 5 minutes. Atom bomb. Tree goes bye bye. Humans collect the precious “unobtanium” they have been seeking. (I read that Cracked article and love it too!)

    I have to disagree with the idea that science fiction is serious. Some of my favorite Science Fiction series are actually quite humorous: Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, and Red Dwarf chiefly. Also, I have to disagree that Fantasy represents social issues in a fake way. There are many fantasy novels that alude to a real social problem that humans experience, but just use magic in the process.

    I like your last definition of science fiction though, that it is a tangible place we could possibly get to – while fantasy represents something that we could never attain.

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