What is the difference between science fiction and fantasy?
Seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? Fantasy is magic, science fiction is science. Sure, they both speculate about alternate worlds and realities, hence some people grouping them under the phrase ‘speculative fiction’, but they’re still very different. Never gonna confuse Lord of the Rings with Star Wars, right?
There’s a famous quote from science fiction god Arthur C Clarke - Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Consider the point of view of someone who died a hundred years ago, coming to our world now. Just think of all the stuff that we take for granted that they’d have no concept of. Wouldn’t things like microwaves, mobile phones, eftpos, seem like magic to them?
So yes, at the extremities of the field, I think that science fiction and fantasy are easily distinguished from each other. But there’s a place that they meet in the middle, a place that is often called science fantasy.
Star Wars can be considered an example of that. There’s spaceships and lasers and aliens, so it’s CLEARLY science fiction. Except them you consider the Force, the mystical power that binds the universe together, and that’s absolutely a fantasy concept.
Sometimes, when you’re writing, it can be hard to figure out what you’re writing. I found that to be the case with my latest publication, ‘The Right Connection’. Ever since I wrote it in 2002, I’ve had it in my head that it was science fiction. It wasn’t until I was getting it beta-read in April and someone said to me, “Um, you do realise that apart from a couple of sliding doors and a floating platform, this is fantasy?”
My confusion came because the basis of the relationship that my world revolves around is telepathy. In my experience, the places I’ve most seen/read telepathy has been in science fiction. Star Trek. Doctor Who. Star Wars. So I’ve always associated it with science fiction.
But there’s also an element of the fantastical in the idea of telepathy, and it’s not a proven scientific fact, so therefore doesn’t it really fit more in the realm of magic and is therefore a trope of fantasy?
In the end, I’ve chosen to ditch the sliding doors and other science fictional things and make this a world in which most technology has been lost and the main weapon they have is telepathy and I’m calling it fantasy. Although in my mind, I’m wondering…
Science fantasy, perhaps?
Because I’m feeling generous and I love all my Darksiders and the readers, I’m going to give EVERY person who comments a free copy of ‘The Right Connection’. So spread the word.
Time after time, the missions to retrieve the stolen children have failed. This time, rules will be broken in a last-ditch attempt.
Taylor Wilson is a respected soldier in the Land Corps with a terrible past that has scarred her. When she’s offered the opportunity to work on the mission to save the children taken by the socolapede,
Taylor’s ready to jump at
the chance until she finds it means she has to connect with a man.
At first, Roden is everything she feared—brash, overbearing, uncompromising. But as she comes to learn of his honour and strength,
Taylor not only loses the
fight against connection, she loses her heart too.
Can she form a connection with Roden strong enough to save the children? And if they succeed, do the two of them have a future together?