Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Labels (again)

Despite a previous post taking a somewhat positive view of labels I am now going to take a somewhat negative view. Just to prove that I can't make my mind up about anything. Though really the two posts have very little to do with each other at all.

As I think I have mentioned, this year I am attempting to write at least one short story a month. This has brought to mind a short story I briefly toyed with but ultimately abandoned because it strayed into Science Fiction territory and I have been a strictly Fantasy writer.

Despite the fact that in both libraries and book stores SciFi and Fantasy are combined into one section there are many hard core fans who will tell you, in no uncertain terms, that they are two distinct genres. Of course there are others who will tell you that's all a bunch of crap. Indeed, the recent film, Avatar has brought this debate into the fore once more. The majority of my acquaintance are of the opinion that it is Fantasy, with aliens.
This has made me rethink my story. It deals, at least a bit, with space travel (which I know nothing about) but it will probably have nothing to do with aliens. I feel that I know far too little about the technical/scientific aspect of space and space travel to write Science Fiction.

But what if I were writing Fantasy, with space travel?



drea moore said...

I would argue that Avatar is Science Fiction. There was no magic present. Yes, there was a spiritualized understanding of a scientific reality, but the electro-chemical connection of all life in the movie was scientific in nature. It meets Asimov's requirements for hard SF. The only reason people think it's fantasy is because of the spiritual/religious element that "appeared" animistic. Moreover--we viewed the movie through human eyes, which were aware of the science. The story was rooted in scientific concepts and research. The Navi do convey the "magical realism" POV, however--which is why I say most westerners can't write it. we don't see the world the way the Navi do, finding magic in the details of the day, we view the world materialistically. Scientifically. The fact that the Navi see the world mystically means that we label the entire story "Fantasy?" where magic is perception and not reality? Science as magic is certainly the argument of a technological society, wouldn't you say?

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