Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

We had our writer’s group meeting last night. I had submitted a piece of flash fiction for critique. One of the consistent things that was mentioned was that the story had issues with the science fiction part of it – new technology mixed with old technology. I must admit, that was kind of Greek to me. I had intended the piece to be fantasy, not sci-fi.

That got my brain working… how do I make it fantasy? What is the difference between sci-fi and fantasy, anyway? Get ready, Google, here I come!

First stop: Barnes & Noble’s Book Community where a discussion started over some of the questions I mentioned. One contributor, Nelsmom wrote, “Science Fiction to me means that the books are based on the Hard science that we know like physics, astronomy, and such.” She continues, “Fantasy to me is more speculative and has things or elements that are not based in pure science.”

Another user, lazrat commented, “The real difference between science fiction and fantasy is whether there is a technological base involved or a mystical base.” Hmm, that’s something to think about!!

I liked Rebma55’s description, “In my opinion Science Fiction novels are more modern than Fantasy. It’s based more or less on things that we know, or things that can come to be such as space travel at light speed, aliens, lasers, sort of like Star Trek with space ships and such things that involve scientific elements. Fantasy has more of a medieval flavor to it, with the swords and the dragons, magic and such things.”

Second stop: Wikipedia (I know, not a reliable source!) They did, after some digging, have some decent information. “In general, science fiction differs from fantasy in that the former concerns things that might someday be possible or that at least embody the pretense of realism. Supernaturalism, usually absent in science fiction, is the distinctive characteristic of fantasy literature.”

After reading the above, I think my story is confused! It is set in the future – space travel is common place, and there is life on other planets. However, I used a magic charm as well. Sounds like I’m mixing my genres – oops!

I really enjoyed Sherrilyn Kenyon’s The League series (Born of Night is the first book). I wanted to write something in that vein. I headed to Goodreads to see how those books were shelved. Very interesting… Romance, Fantasy – Romance, Romance – Science Fiction Romance (there is such a thing?!), and Science Fiction Fantasy.

My story is scheduled for some romance so maybe I need to lean it toward urban fantasy or just make sure hardcore sci-fi readers know it isn’t Star Trek-ish. It will be interesting. I need to see where my muse takes me.

Please share your thoughts on the matter. I think the more I understand, the better my story will be.


2 thoughts on “Sci-Fi versus Fantasy

  1. I can’t believe I’ve been quoted!!! 🙂

    I read a book before that had Sci-fi elements but was mostly fantasy. I think the subjects are closely enough related that they can have elements of both in them. It’s just like a thriller can have romantic elements within it but it’s still classified as a thriller because the overriding plot line is dramatic and thrilling.


    1. Thanks for helping me out! I like the futuristic aspect without the hardcore sci-fi. I’m not really into dragons and such, but I do like charms and magic.

      Maybe we need a new genre?? LOL

      Thanks for your comment, Amber 🙂


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