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VIDEO: ‘Science Fiction’ vs. ‘SciFi’

[Calling Jason Sanford…]

Digital Science Fiction has applied a popular meme to the in-fighting circles of the sf community. Hey, if we can’t laught at ourselves….

Another version after the break…

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

7 Comments on VIDEO: ‘Science Fiction’ vs. ‘SciFi’

  1. In all honesty, what happened to just plain entertaining? There’s something that approaches the sickening to once again see people argue over a popular culture artform behaving as if anything that comes whole-cloth from someone’s head can conform to some arbitrary purity.

    The problem is that there rather than merely create and let the audience decide, everyone overthinks everything, dissecting the artform into pieces so small that one loses the big picture. It reminds me of the problem with music whenever anyone gets it into their head that there is some definitive process for creating a finished product, all the while so overly consicious of every step that the fact that the final product is completely contrived is missed. Yes, I’m sure there were many composers sitting around in 1946 putting their noses in the air about Romanticism or lyricism in music. What they neglected to see was that their obsession with purity of form was alienating their potential audience. People were listening to something else while they were busy composing pieces for each other. How academic of them.

    I want writers to write. Just write. If I like it, I’ll read it. If not, I won’t. The end. I don’t give a damn if something is going to win an award or not nor care whether someone reviews something favorably or not. Their taste is one thing and mine is another. You might like Neal Stephenson and think he’s the best thing since whoever and I can’t get through three pages without giving up. Academics will think the former is the epitome of SF and I’ll just see it as wanking in place of a good story that gets me from cover to cover.

  2. The two videos use a bit of a strawman, as only a very small subset of written Science Fiction actually adheres to the very rigid definition of what is actually hard SF. The term SciFi mostly comes from the media crowd and very few of the soft SF writers would call their stuff SciFi, they still call it Science Fiction.

  3. This year I’ve been trying to break down my own resistance to Fantasy, and I’ve come to realize that there’s a lot of fantasy in science fiction. I don’t have much interest in swords and sorcerers, but is my interest in time travel and robots really so much less of a fantasy? Hard SF would be the one exception, but even that often plays with fantastical tropes. I’m reading Greg Egan’s “Clockwork Rocket,” which takes place in another Universe with different physics. It’s a very hard SF book, with lots of mathematical diagrams explaining the science, but when it comes down to it, it also blurs the line between fantasy and science fiction.

  4. This is sort of “I’m a Mac/I’m a PC” combined with the SNL skit version of Point/Counterpoint. I half expected the guy to say “Sci-Fi, you ignorant slut!”

    These are the two extremes– most of us are in the middle– but I have certainly met both of them.  I even apperciate both, in some circumstances. 

    I agree trying to force labels onto everything can be a wasted effort.  Something like Ken Scholes Lamentation or Martha Wells’ The Cloud Roads is oging to be difficult to out into a single bucket. 




  5. erg! What happened to my spell checker? “going to be difficult to put into a single bucket.”

  6. I think the resolution is pretty clear:


    Absolutely ANYTHING BUT SyFy

  7. There’s a reason why people still listen to The Beatles. They were a pop band that was pretty smart, and they grew into a really smart band with pretty good pop sensibilities. They combined the two, which is why anyone still cares about them today.

    I guess there’s SF and Sci-Fi, but the good stuff is both. There’s a good measure of science, without forgetting that there’s a requirement to write engaging fiction. There’s the energy and pacing of well-written fiction, without ignoring the scientific underpinnings that give a measure of realism to the whole thing. 


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