Friday, January 04, 2013

Sci-Fi vs. Fantasy

Sometime in my youth, I got it into my head that sci-fi fans and fantasy fans were two rival gangs in the same spiral-towered, neon-lit city.  I'm not sure where this impression of the two fan-bases came from, but I never really saw a genuine rivalry between them.

I have a friend who, for a long time, absolutely loved everything sci-fi.  As a fan of both genres, I assumed he'd read The Lord of the Rings, and I wanted to talk with him about it.  He admitted he'd never read fantasy before.  When pressed, he did say that he'd tried once and couldn't get into the book he'd read.  But then the LOTR movies came out, and he sat down to read the books.  And he liked them.  I don't remember if he loved them, but he did enjoy them a little bit.  But then he said that was it for him.  Nothing else really grabbed his attention: he was a sci-fi fan.  And aside from Harry Potter (which doesn't fit snugly into classic, high fantasy), that's pretty much all he's read.

It's been pretty much the same with my D&D game-master.  And he grew up playing D&D, Magic the Gathering, and Warhammer!  But as far classic fantasy went, he couldn't get into it.  Until he started reading George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss.  He's not a ravenous fantasy fanatic, but he's found some authors he enjoys.

Then there's me.  I've read a few sci-fi novels over the years, and I enjoyed them quite a lot.  But for most of my life, I've gravitated toward fantasy.  It's not that I dislike sci-fi, in fact I love it a lot!  I get excited over Star Trek, Star Wars, Firefly, and Battlestar Galactica!  I'm just very picky about writing style, story, and the details of the setting.  But I'm the same way with the fantasy novels I read.  And just like my friends, when exposed to something well-written and enjoyable, I don't have anything negative to say about either genre.

So I really don't know where my impression of this rivalry between fans came from.  I think both genres have a lot to offer readers.  And I absolutely LOVE both genres!  I know this is very rambling, confusing, and maybe a little lacking in a point, but I guess I have some questions: do you have a preference?  Do you love or hate one?  Do you care?  Have you ever read either genre?  If not do you want any recommendations?

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