Lazy Sunday SciFi Question (With Bonus Links)

Lazy Sunday SciFi Question (With Bonus Links)

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10 Comments on Lazy Sunday SciFi Question (With Bonus Links)

  1. Anna
    January 24, 2010 at 3:55 PM (9 years ago)

    Hm, interesting question. I write mostly dystopian MG, and very often I hear people refer to it as fantasy. It seems like most people think of scifi as being about spaceships and robots. Otherwise, they don’t seem to know where to put it. So maybe dystopian is its own animal. I like the term “speculative fiction” because it’s a nice umbrella term that works for pretty much any kind of fiction that isn’t strict realism. But as for saying that scifi isn’t a big part of YA right now – that doesn’t sound right to me at all.

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    Rebecca Reply:

    I’ve heard the term “speculative fiction” before but never paid much attention to it. So you’d consider that sort of a catch-all, umbrella term for non-realism? Because that sounds like a much better classification to me, then! I still tend to think most dystopias are part of science fiction or have scifi elements, but they don’t *have* to be, so having somewhere else to put them sounds good to my category-obsessed mind.

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  2. Jennifer
    January 24, 2010 at 6:52 PM (9 years ago)

    I’m glad I gave you plenty of thinky thoughts!

    Having read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire at this point, I see how they could be called Sci-Fi — the mockingjays, the hovercrafts, the force fields. But it seemed primarily to be a story about a world where all the natural laws as we know them still apply, a future that could be extrapolated from now. And most of the story was a survival story, more in the vein of “Hatchet” than Star Wars. I tend to think of sci-fin in terms of space and aliens, but also in terms of scientific and/or magical things that aren’t currently possible and don’t seem possible — like time travel, or superpowers. The Hunger Games isn’t set in our world, but it’s a world I can imagine our world becoming, so it seems more… reality-based?

    I like the previous commenter’s “speculative fiction” label as a catchall term; it seems to encompass more than “science fiction” does on its own.

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    Rebecca Reply:

    It doesn’t read at all to me like “Hatchet,” interestingly. Because I see *that* as primarily, like you said, a survival story — but it’s more man vs. elements than man vs. other man who is trying to kill him. (Though in this case “man” is “girl” and also, I might be confusing “Hatchet” with “My Side of the Mountain,” now that I think about it.)

    I certainly see your point, though, and like the spec fic label.

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  3. Seth Christenfeld
    January 24, 2010 at 9:49 PM (9 years ago)

    I’d like to note that I mock Twilight fans not because the books are “girly,” but because they are terrible. There’s nothing “girly” about the work of James Patterson or Dan Brown, but I mock fans of those authors, too (because, again, they are terrible).

    (And as regards the issue about the Twilight fans “ruining” Comicon, I take an alternate view–that these were people considered destructive not because they were teenage girls (and creepy middle-aged ladies) but because they were people unlikely to “give back” to the con community: present only to catch a glimpse of their beloved people, not likely to go the con floor, etc. Whether that is or isn’t true, I don’t know; that, however, was my personal interpretation.)

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    Rebecca Reply:

    Well, that’s fine for you, and as I know you, I would assume you mock based on terrible taste rather than based on sexism. But I don’t think that’s true for the culture at large. Among bookish people, there seems to be much more of a general feeling that Dan Brown and James Patterson are also quite ridiculous — but there wasn’t the same sort of cultural mockery of people who were super-psyched for the new Dan Brown novel, or who were buzzing about their love of the Da Vinci Code when it was at its peak.

    Re Comiccon, that’s not my scene either so I can only respond on that same general-impressions level but, I just don’t see a way where having new people, especially people who are probably new to the overall genre and quite possibly looking for more like what they’ve seen, is a bad thing. They probably wouldn’t all “give back,” as you say, but given how many there were, I can’t imagine a sizable number *didn’t* end up elsewhere. I think closing the community off from potential new blood instead of welcoming it is probably not a good idea, regardless, but when you consider who was being not-welcomed it still smacks to me of people fearing icky teenage girl cooties.

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  4. Kristen L-M
    January 25, 2010 at 11:18 AM (9 years ago)

    Just discovered your fab blog through the VK BB…I, too, find that I am leaning more and more toward using the “speculative fiction” label with my sci-fi. Somehow its generic-ness seems more appropriate, and it’s also a way of getting ’round the undeniable bias toward sci-fi as a category when dealing with agents. Many is the time that agents specifically say “no sci-fi” because they probably fear all manner of geekiosity will rain down on them. It’s sad but true: even in this day and age, we nerds must fight for acceptance.

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    Rebecca Reply:

    You know, I’m glad I posted this question because it’s the first time I’ve had a clear idea of what people mean when they say speculative fiction — rather than catch-all, I’ve always percieved it as a term people use to try and avoid admitting being fans or writers within the sf/f genres — in other words, wanting to duck that associating with nerdidity. I’ve always been pretty resistant to that because I’m pretty big on nerd pride. But I can certainly see now that it has its uses. 🙂

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  5. Mike Jung
    January 25, 2010 at 11:32 PM (9 years ago)

    Re: dystopian/post-apocalyptic, I really think it depends on the book. THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, for example – definitely dystopian. Definitely post-apocalyptic. But we’re talking zombie apocalypse, which makes it more of a horror novel (or just a “zombie” novel, I suppose, if I might lapse into lazy, trend-driven talk, which I sure as hell might). Then there’s the CHAOS WALKING books, which have spaceships and interstellar travel and alien races and so on, but also a lot of mind-reading, talking animals, etc. I think you could legitimately describe that one as sci-fi (although not hard sci-fi, not enough effort to truly ground it in real scientific theory). The Moon Crash Trilogy is similar – could be considered sci-fi, sure, although it doesn’t bury you in physics in the same way as, say, LUCIFER’S HAMMER does. So “dystopian” does seem more like a genre in its own right. At least it does to me, right now, on a relatively lazy Monday night…

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    Rebecca Reply:

    Horror is another of those genres that gets smushed into other things a lot — I generally refer to scifi/fantasy, but in a lot of places it’s scifi/fantasy/horror, which seems to point once again to the usefulness of speculative fiction as a catch-all.

    I can also definitely see dystopian as its own genre, but I think most of the titles named in the io9 article, like some of the ones you listed above, as *also* being sf/f(/h). (Unrelated side thought: this is why tags are such a better system than folders…)

    Also, oooh, titles of things I’ve never heard of. I will have to look at these. *grabby hands*

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