Or, I'm Sick and Tired of All These Motherf'ing Dragons on This Motherf'ing Spaceship!
(picture by Daniela Elisabeth Kaminski)
Since the Dawn of Geeks there has been a vast debate: Where is the line between Fantasy and Science Fiction?
The arguments have been heated and numerous, but recently the old stand by argument "Star Wars is totally Fantasy because Jedi are WIZARDS" came up again on the Internets, making me think... what really does separate these two genres?
I've heard Science Fiction defined as anything including advanced technology or science that can be logically postulated upon or explained using the known laws of Nature. Fantasy is defined as involving sparkly magic or magical creatures that can't be explained by current laws of Nature.
This poses a problem, though. What happens if you take into account Arther C. Clark's Three Laws?:
1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
At what point does technology become so advanced in your novels that it seems like magic? And at what point is magic explainable as simply being preternatural--something we can't yet understand but will as we evolve?
Also, what about DRAGONS IN SPACE?
There is a lot of blending and cross polinating that goes on between Fantasy and Science Fiction, and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.
Where do you think the lines are?
When does science give way to magic, or magic to science?
Does it change whether or not you want to read a book, depending on magic vs. science?
And once in for all, is Star Wars just really badly done Sci Fi, or is it Fantasy because it has Super Magic Force Wizards?
More on this debate over at John Scalzi's blog: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2009/08/20/re-the-science-fiction-failure-mode/.
Have a great weekend!