The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 029): An Interview with Tobias Buckell + Are Fantasy Stories More Accessible Than Science Fiction Stories?

In episode 29 of the SF Signal Podcast, Fred Kiesche, Lisa Paitz Spindler, John DeNardo and Patrick Hester answer this question:

Why do fantasy novels & stories seem to appeal to a broader audience versus science fiction stories?

Later, John DeNardo and Patrick Hester interview Tobias Buckell.


Tobias Buckell is the author of:

Links:

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16 thoughts on “The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 029): An Interview with Tobias Buckell + Are Fantasy Stories More Accessible Than Science Fiction Stories?”

  1. Hello Patrick or anyone who handle this podcast,

           There are Deaf science fiction, fantasy, and horror readers/fans in this fandom and we would like to see those podcasts to be transcribed or captioned. Or you can make a separate but transcribed interview for us to read. Also, there are many others who are not culturally Deaf but late deafened who can’t hear well.  I would like to see that happen because I enjoy this blog as it is the best one and of course, the most frequent visited one for me.

    Ashley Watson

  2. Patrick should give Star Trek novels a second chance. Ever since Enterprise was canceled and Nemesis flopped, the novel writers have been given carte blanche and have shaken things up. The crews have been shifted around — Riker and Dax are both captains, Worf is Picard’s first officer and the Enterprise has a mostly new crew, and Voyager is part of a task force to return to the Delta Quadrant. We see more of how the Federation government and Starfleet functions — the President and her cabinet play major roles in several novels. The Federation had a major war with the Borg that left 70 billion people dead, several major planets in ruins and Starfleet crippled, and now minor powers like the Tholians and Gorn are allying themselves as a counterweight to the Federation-Klingon alliance. It’s like DS9 on a bigger scale.

  3. Dear Ashley,

    Wow, I don’t know how to make this happen.  If there were someone out there willing to take on the task of transcribing that would be awesome.  I did a little research trying to find a tool, maybe an audio to text converter, but didn’t have much luck.  There were lots of tools to go the opposite way – text to audio, but not audio to text. 

    I will keep looking.

    ~P
    @atfmb

  4. Patrick,

          Many thanks and I think you can check with some podcast technicians to see how that work and you may hit a jackpot there. Good luck. I will look for it  too with the limited time I have as a graduate student now.

     

    Ashley Watson

  5. In most cases for me, good Bagels>Donuts

    Bagels:

    Real NY Bagels (e.g. H&H) are better than *any* donut.  Brueggers Bagels are acceptable.

    Donuts?

    Bavarian cream donut from Dunkin Donuts rule. I crave them still, living hundreds of miles away from the nearest Dunkin Donuts.

     

     

  6. On the whole basic question of “Is fantasy more accessible than SF”.

     

    I’d say emphatically yes, but for reasons that weren’t really brought up in the ‘cast.  The biggest reason, for me, would be political.  SF writers are frequently very, very political and have no problems casting their stories as political commentary.  Whether you’re talking about Vonnegut or Cory Doctorow, there’s no escaping that there is a great deal of SF that is overtly political.  Even Star Trek made no real bones about which side of the fence they sat on.

    Fantasy, OTOH, is frequently apolitical.  While there are exceptions (Phillip Pullman comes to mind), a lot of fantasy has little to nothing to do with making political statements.  I don’t think anyone reads Conan looking for a discussion on the effects of medieval feudalism on society after all.  Harry Potter did include a number of political statements, but, again, these were very much secondary to the story and tended to be pretty basic stuff anyway –  class based discrimination sucks, that sort of thing.

    Nothing anywhere near the league you see with writers like Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross, P. K. Dick and others.

    That, right there, is going to have a very strong limiting effect on your audience.

  7. I’ve gotta respectfully disagree with Paul. Donuts>Bagels. Always.

    I nearly cried years ago during the Simpsons Hallowe’en episode when Homer fled from the universe where it rained donuts. The best of all possible worlds.

    The highest form of donut life comes from the Cumberland Bakery on Vancouver Island. It’s pretty rural, but I make a point of making a pilgrimage there every couple of years.

    Bagel fans in Canada have to go to Montreal to get the real deal.

     

  8. The biggest reason, for me, would be political.  SF writers are frequently very, very political and have no problems casting their stories as political commentary.  Whether you’re talking about Vonnegut or Cory Doctorow, there’s no escaping that there is a great deal of SF that is overtly political.

     

    Yeah, It sucks when you realize part way through a book that if you were in the narrative you would be the “bad guy” …

     

    TW

    ps- Anyone that thinks bagels are better is a dirty communist!!!  All Hail Our Krispy Kreme Overlords!!! ;)

  9. Hi, I have a question… recently I have enjoyed books which I describe as “smells like fantasy, tastes like science fiction” – that is, they may begin in the style of a fantasy novel and have a lot of fantasy elements, such as swords, dragons, or what appears to be magic, but we soon find that we are in a science fiction universe. Examples are Dust (Elizabeth Bear), Bitterwood (James Maxey), The Steerswoman (Rosemary Kirstein), and of course, Gene Wolfe’s Severian novels.

    I’m finding I like these a lot more than classic secondary world fantasies, and a propos of the podcast discussion, I think the fantasy feel does help to make them more accessible; it seems to be easier to let apparent anomalies slide while you wait to get your bearings in the new world – although I do that with SF too, as I’m not very scientifically minded. At the same time, they are more satisfying than fantasy, because you feel the writer is not going to pull random magic out of his posterior to get the hero out of a jam.

    But to get back to my question(s) – is this in-between genre a sub-genre? Has it got a name? Is it something which is appearing more often these days? And what do you guys think of it?   

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