Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Definition Wars (aka How defcon was right!)

Definitions can be tricky, everyone seems to have their own, and of course, they think their definition is correct. And of course, I must disagree with them. There was a bit of a discussion about SF (science fiction) on AW, whether a story set in the future is automatically SF or not. I'm going to refer back to a previous post, which I talked about how it's SF when it feels like it. Star Wars feels like SF because you have laser beams, space ships, and aliens. Granted, it's the softest of SF, but you can imagine the Star Wars universe was built up thanks to engineers and scientists. It certainly wasn't the Force.

However, I don't believe all stories set in the future are SF. To say all stories set in the future are SF is to bar fantasy from being set in the future. But that's not true. Emma Bull's Bone Dance is clearly fantasy despite it being set in post-apocalyptic America since it has gods intervening and a surreal, other worldly atmosphere. Then there's Ralph Bakshi's Wizards which is another post-apoc story, but it features elves and fairies as the main characters. Oh, and magic! I'm all for magic and technology mixing blood, however, if the technology is barely there, how can you continue to call it a SF? But - but it's set in the future! So what? Doesn't mean it's a SF, certainly doesn't feel like it's a SF.

So this is how it works (via venn diagram inspired by Buftysquirrel):

And thus I rest my case. However, I always keep my dukes up. Challenge me at your own risk.

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