SF more cool than Fantasy?

Jeff Edelstein wades into a debate about SF and Fantasy without much thought. He say, in brackets: "(Note to all: Fantasy is for geeks, whereas science fiction is cool. Just so you know where I stand on the issue.)"

In the midst of this ramble, I love the way he mentions the "rise of fantasy" as if it's up there with the H5N1 virus.

You know, fantasy has produced some of THE most coolest fiction around, from your magic realists such as Jonathan Carroll and Jeff Ford, to the intensely original epic Viriconium sequence. Even past that, you've got your China MiƩvilles, your Steven Eriksons... I could go on. You've got some damn slick dark fantasy out there, too. Thoughtful, engaging, and really, really cool.

But really... SF more cool than Fantasy? What rubbish. Besides, if I remember my heady days in bookstores, there were more girls buying the fantasy books... As a young geek, I knew where the cool stuff was.

—Mark N

1 comment:

James Maxey said...

"Fantasy is for geeks, whereas science fiction is cool."

I would argue that anyone who is willing to take a stand on this issue is a geek, and what of it? Geeks are good people.

But I think that trying to blame the linkage of SF and fantasy to a single chance publication of one book is crazy. SF and Fantasy are linked by the fact that both genres are set in magical worlds where the rules are different than our own. The only difference is that SF at least tries to pay homage to known scientific laws while Fantasy is free to just wave away those laws and replace them with magic. Still, SF uses magic all the time, just under the heading of "newly discovered physics," making possible current impossibilities (or improbablities) such as backwards time travel, faster than light travel, humanoid aliens, "artificial" gravity, cloning to a degree that even memories are copied, etc. Science fiction is mostly magical fiction. If anything, bookstores should go ahead and call the SF section the Fantasy section and store both genres there.