Science Fiction vs. Fantasy

Although I regularly use the term “science fiction” or “fantasy” when I talk about what I like reading and writing, I think I may revise this. Take the story I’m working on now for example. My working title is ‘Shadows’ and the setting is a massive planet in another solar system at a time roughly 11 centuries in the future. There are humans, biologically engineered humans and alien organisms but the world hasn’t retained much technology. This particular planet has so few accessible metals that the humans there have regressed to a pre-industrialized state without the capability to get out of their intense gravity well (1.6 G’s) to their orbiting space station. All this happened less than 450 years after colonization and after ships from Earth mysteriously stopped coming.
And, historically, some humans have interesting abilities which could be described as magical.
So life and millenia go on and most tools are made of wood, bone and stone. The fact that it is a colony has been largely forgotten by most humans. The story focuses on an orphan farm hand who wants to become a story teller and a girl who longs to escape slavery. The target audience, not surprisingly, is teenage and pre-teen readers.
OK. So is this science fiction or fantasy? Let’s look at what Rod Serling had to say about the differences between the two genres:

science fiction is the literature of things that might someday be possible, and fantasy is the literature of things that are inherently impossible

Hmm… I don’t know that I entirely agree about the fantasy side.
My story has elements of both since it is in the far future and it required very advanced technology to get to another planet but there’s also those ‘magical’ abilities. Of course I might be able to offer a convenient though possibly paltry explanation of the magic… super nova radiation was what I was toying with…
Anyway, I like to read both genres although I particularly like the hard science fiction of authors like Arthur C. Clarke, Greg Bear, Robert J. Sawyer and Robert A. Heinlein.
Maybe I should compromise and say it’s just SF. That a nice acronym because it could mean science fiction and it could mean speculative fiction. The latter covers science fiction, fantasy and even horror. That’s a nice way to mush it all together for a lumper like me.


About tgrignon

I came I saw I rented the DVD
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