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  1. #1
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    what makes sf unique

    just throwing out this question. How does science fiction differ from other forms of literature, like mystery, romance, etc.?

  2. #2
    A servant of Lord Arioch FitzChivalry's Avatar
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    Laser guns

  3. #3
    High Priest of Cainism Shehzad's Avatar
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    Aliens

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    Giant spaceships and huge interplanetary wars.

  5. #5
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    ok, science fiction is not just Star Wars. I didn't read of any aliens, laser guns or interplanetary wars in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Try to go a little deeper.

  6. #6
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Essentially, I think Speculative Fiction authors tackle the REALLY Big questions:

    "Why are we here?"
    "What is our purpose for being here?"

    That and magic and spaceships.

  7. #7
    High Priest of Cainism Shehzad's Avatar
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    Well, as I wrote somewhere on the SF forum, the best SF looks at trends in current society and presents a future or parallel society based on an exageeration of certain trends. Others deal with the impact of technology on society. But the basic fact is that no good SF writer totally loses track of the fact that it is society he is trying to depict.

  8. #8
    Push the button Frank Cygnus's Avatar
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    This may be a silly question, but I'm new to the SF genre (been a long time fantasy fan though). What is the difference between the terms science fiction and speculative fiction? I've seen a lot more use of the latter recently. Just curious.

  9. #9
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    Okay, Cignus, prepare to be ostracized!! Ha ha, just kidding! I think that the difference between sci-fi and speculative sci-fi is that in speculative sci-fi, the author writes what he believes or thinks most likely to happen in the future,such as VR systems becoming a way of life, androids and clones rivalring the population in humans, genetic mutants and freaks being created by mad scientists, possibly battles between earth and alien forces,etc.
    In regular sci-fi, the author deviates from what is most likely to happen to a more fantastic and uncanny scale of telling a sci-fi story, such as massive interplanetary wars, destruction of planets by giant superweapons,interplanetary orders of light and dark knights that channel the power of a supernatural force, genocides of entire alien races, etc. At least that's how I see it. Hope that helps!!

  10. #10
    High Priest of Cainism Shehzad's Avatar
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    Actually, Zsinj I disagree- I believe that speculative fiction is a wide-ranging term inclusive of both science-fiction and fantasy as well as the cross-over genres. It tends to deal more with "What-if" scenarios, which can be as fantastic and improbable as the writer wants to make them. On the other hand, strictly speaking, Science fiction has to have a certain amount of scientific basis to it. Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, and Greg Bear are SF. Robert Silverberg straddles the genres. Sheri S. Tepper is speculative.

  11. #11
    A servant of Lord Arioch FitzChivalry's Avatar
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    I agree with Shehzad, speculative fiction is just a name recently invented for all the science fiction/fantasy/horror and between genre.

  12. #12
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    Oh, I see what you mean Shezad. I don't really like sc-fi to be divided into so many sub-genres. It kind of takes the fun out of wondering what the sci-fi book is about. Cygnus, Shehzad provided a good explaination, there, but like I said, I, myself don't really like sci-fi books to be picked apart so much and divided into so many subgenres. The way I look at it is sci-fi is sci-fi, fantasy is fantasy, and horror is horror.

  13. #13
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    I like the term speculative fiction. But all the other stuff, horror, dark fantasy, fantasy, swords and sorcery, science fiction, hard science fiction, space opera, etc. etc it's all pretty much a marketing thing from publishers.

    Speculative fiction works for me because all the sub-genres fit in that they all lead you, the reader, to wonder/think (i.e. speculate) about what is and what isn't.

  14. #14
    A servant of Lord Arioch FitzChivalry's Avatar
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    I don't see anything wrong with those definitions. Maybe it's a publishing thing, but it does give you some indication about the style of the book, it just makes it easier to choose.

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