Sunday, April 15, 2012

A rose by any other name...

Sci-Fi vs Science Fiction:  Potato potato Tomato tomato.

I was going to ramble on about Science Fiction vs Fantasy but I found out quickly that there's a whole bit of controversy just within the smaller community itself.  Perhaps I have been isolated from reality too long but I honestly did not put much stock in the trouble with Sci-Fi.  I also tend not to listen to the wise words of Mr. E...

I'll post here something I posted on a forum under one of my few screen names.
   Funny thing;
I've only been reading SF for 55 years now. And never really ran into this prejudice until recently. It's a rather ironic prejudice.

Back in the early 50 most Science Fiction as it was called would today apparently be considered Sci-Fi by some of the definitions I have heard.

Somewhere in the 60's and 70's there were attempts to make it Speculative Fiction that would most likely be the true SF definition.

Now there seems to be some push to differentiate between SF and Sci-Fi which in most cases devolves to Science Fiction vs Sci-Fi which is just silly because SF is Speculative Fiction and not Science Fiction at all.

But truth be told they are all the bastard children of what was happening in the 50s which was then Science Fiction and now seems to come to mind as Sci-Fi so that might make them all the children of Sci-Fi who have all forgotten their roots.

But hey, I've only been watching this for 50 some years so what do I know?

Now for those who know me I'll confess to the stretch here.  Unless we can count Dr. Suess it is a slight bit less than 55 years.  Though if we use SF liberally to include today's definition of speculative fiction that seems to be an umbrella of a multitude of genre I'm sure we can fit it in.

As it is it may have been two more years before the teacher and librarian expressed concerns for my reading level if I continued in my present direction.

That's when they pointed me to the Mushroom Planet Series by Eleanor Frances Butler Cameron.

Please don't say those are not Science Fiction or you will break the heart of a seven year old.

Since 1992, Golden has presented the Eleanor Cameron Award for Excellence in Children's Science Fiction to the author of an English Language novel written for middle-grade readers.

From there I discovered Philip Francis Nolan's Buck Rogers and Edgar Rice Burroughs' Mars and Venus series and Otis Adelbert Kline's Venus series just to name a few.  And when dad brought home several boxes of books from auctions I discovered Pohl Anderson's  After Doomsday.  That and the Science Fiction Book Club pretty much caused me to hit the ground running with reading.

Suffice it to say several teachers were still a bit concerned about my reading level.

Now to get back to a point I was going to lead into.

 Will I be offended if someone calls my writing Sci-Fi instead of  Science Fiction?  The answer is no.  So if someone means to offend me they will have to pick a more universally understood term like perhaps crap.  Now that would get my attention.

This brings us to the next big question.  What about fantasy?

I do think there are elements in my work that contain what some people might find they need to relegate to fantasy.

I have no cure for their ills.  This book is meant to be Science Fiction in much the same terms Robert Heinlein would have preferred to have seen the definition of  Speculative Fiction go.

That worked out so well for him that perhaps I should just go on with calling mine Sci-Fi and that should make everyone happy.

J.L. Dobias Author of Cripple-Mode: Hot Electric

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