Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Difference Between SciFi and Fantasy

From Unabashed via SFSignals, Matt Mitchell takes on a subject that has fueled many an argument. What exactly is the difference between Fantasy and Science Fiction? Matt posits that science fiction differentiates itself from fantasy by being believable. He writes:

We believe it because we want to believe fantastic things are possible, and this is especially the case with readers of SciFi. One advantage SciFi has over fantasy, however, is that SciFi generally resounds with possibility. Even though its ideas may be impossible now, one who has the foresight to dream of tomorrow can see the inherent potential in virtually any work of SciFic.

There are two basic ways to write fantasy, and neither of them have to be believable in the least:

  1. Real world, whether it be historical or modern-day.
  2. Other world, in which another universe is created specifically for the story.

The rest of his short article is equally interesting and thought provoking. click here to read more


Robert M. Blevins said...

I think it was Isaac Asimov who once said:

'Fantasy is the impossible made probable and science fiction is the improbable made possible...'

Paul said...

Excellent Bob, I cut my teeth so to speak on Isaac's fiction. He was staunchly in the science fiction camp. He was never as caustic as some of his contemporaries when it came to differentiating between the two fields. But even in his most "accepting" moments, it was clear that he didn't tolerate fantasy posing as science. Thanks for the quote.