Writing Wins and Woes: Science Fiction Vs. Fantasy

358Okay, I’m going to write about something today I know absolutely nothing about. I recently was thinking about submitting to a science fiction anthology and I thought, “Hmm, what is the difference between science fiction and fantasy?”  My writing tastes tend to more fantasy, at least that’s what I thought, than science fiction.  So, I did what any good writer does, I looked it up. It seems the differences are more subtle than I even thought.

Here are some things I came up with in my research:

Science Fiction:                                              VS                                Fantasy

Possible                                                                                              Impossible

Future                                                                                                  Past

science and reality                                                                               Invents things

does happen                                                                                        never happens

technology                                                                                            magic

In case, my contrasts are confusing basically fantasy deals with things more impossible, not likely to happen often in the past, but not always, and contains magic where science fiction concerns the future, uses technology to invent things that really could possibly happen. Of course, there is some overlap.

There are many categories for science fiction and fantasy. Over both groups is the term: speculative fiction. In the category of science fiction there is alternate universe, space opera (campy adventure in space), cyberpunk (man and machine)hard science fiction(lots of science) and military science fiction. With fantasy you have quest fantasy, historical fantasy, contemporary fantasy,  and urban fantasy. If that’s not confusing enough, there is science fantasy which contains elements of both fantasy and science fiction.

Basically, if you want to write about dragons, hobbits, werewolves, vampires, etc., that would be fantasy. If you want to write about space travel, time travel, cyborgs or robots, well, that would be science fiction unless maybe there is some magic involved then that might be fantasy or science fantasy.

For myself, I just love writing about stuff and I don’t like to get too bogged down in the details.


5 thoughts on “Writing Wins and Woes: Science Fiction Vs. Fantasy”

  1. I agree. We can easily get bogged down in the details of what makes a genre or subgenre. In the end, write what you love!

  2. I don’t know that I could ever write sci-fi, but I have this feeling it’s going to be the next big thing in speculative fiction, especially in YA where we don’t see it much. Just a thought. I think the research for sci-fi would be huge….

    1. Hard Sci-fi does require a lot of research but some of the other categories are not so bad. You can make up a lot of information. In general, though, you’re right. That’s why I like to stick to fantasy.

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