In episode 179 of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester assembles a panel to discuss something that came up in a recent critique group meeting.

A month ago, I attended a critique group meeting. One of the submissions was a scifi piece that elicited a 25 minute debate on how kinetic energy and the concussive blasts from exploding rockets would ‘really’ impact a telekinetic sphere and whether or not people inside that telekinetic sphere would be turned to mush as a result.

Which caused me to quip, “This is why most of my stuff is fantasy. Tell the reader your characters traveled from the Earth to Mars in the blink of an eye and they will demand you give them every little detail of the science behind how your FTL works or else they won’t believe it. Or you can say, ‘the Wizard raised his hands, a fireball formed and he threw it at the enemy’ and the reader will go, ‘Cool!’ and accept it.”

(this got some laughs)

The gist was that a fantasy reader is more willing to accept the impossible versus the science fiction reader – because of the ‘science’.

I asked our panelists what they thing. Do science fiction readers expect more logic and for the science to ‘make sense’ versus the fantasy readers? Are fantasy readers more ready to accept magic over science fiction? Yes, magic in fantasy has to have rules and the author cannot break those rules, but are the rules less important in fantasy versus science fiction?

This week’s panel:

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