||[May. 21st, 2007|11:55 pm]
So, on the subject of speculative fiction, we've got our two big divisions, sci-fi and fantasy, right?|
Sci-fi is often called the "fiction of ideas", and is all about exploring what the world would be like if X were true, and it has a particular set of tropes (starships, aliens, new technologies, etc.) that go along with that.
Whereas fantasy is about telling mythic tales about archetypes -- the trickster, the hero, the journey through the underworld, etc. -- and it has another set of tropes (dragons, magic, swords, etc.) that resonate with that kind of story.
Now, we have some stories (Star Wars being perhaps the best example) where the author uses the tropes of sci-fi to tell a mythic tale in the fantasy mode. The story doesn't explore the implications of space travel, it uses the spaceship as a substitute for the hero's trusty steed. These kinds of stories get called "science fantasy".
My question for you, dear reader, is what would you call the inverse of science fantasy? That is, a story that explores the implications of various speculative statements made involving fantasy tropes? A story that doesn't use the dragon as a symbol of greed and power, but inquires what are the consequences of dragons being top predators in a primarily thaumivorous ecology?
Because I think that's a lot of what I'm interested in writing.
While many science fiction stories are about space ships and distant worlds, I don't think we should mistake the prototype for the real thing. One could consider a possible global warming scenario in Earth Science Fiction. The whole nub of that matter is that we don't have space ships and distant worlds to escape to.
Since fantasy is often rooted in a historical period and location (with medieval Europe a favorite), I suppose it might be Alternate History Science Fiction.
A book postulating that people behave differently than they do could be Social Science Fiction.
Perhaps Science Mythction...
Isn't it just science fiction that happens to look and feel like fantasy? I was always under the impression that sci-fi is essentially just fantasy that's tried to at least bear some resemblance to the way the real world works. Maybe that's too simplistic, but... yeah.