Is fantasy more popular than science fiction? If so why?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Gotham Central, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. Crystalline Entity

    Crystalline Entity Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Interestingly, the biggest fantasy film franchises since 2000 - Harry Potter, Twilight, Narnia and Lord of the Rings - have all ended, are going to end this year, or will end soon (3 Hobbit movies? :lol:)

    Clearly the spaceship/alien subgenres of sci-fi are less prevalent these days, Avatar and Prometheus notwithstanding - although these are still ongoing series. But I would argue that superhero movies are much closer to sci-fi than fantasy, and they've been going strong for a long time now, and appear likely to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

    I'm not that familiar with fantasy, so can people make a list of the current fantasy franchises on film and TV that are big now?
     
  2. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Your use of the word "fantasy" above is as phony as your indignation. The way you've misused/obfuscated "plausibility" and "realism," all literature is a branch of fantasy! The vast majority of adventure stories, the vast majority of mysteries, all operas and musicals are just as implausible in the same way as you claim SF is.
    By your moronic standard, there's not just science fantasy and magic fantasy, there are also kid finds pirate map fantasy; there's murder in a locked room fantasy; there's people burst into impromptu song with an invisible orchestra fantasy. Enough already!:lol:

    The implausibilities of an Alcubierre drive simply are not the same kind as orcs who are supposed to live by the horde where there's no food! Have you honestly confused implausibility with outright impossibility?

    On a personal note, don't you know that petty spite is as good a sign of surrender as a white flag?:lol:

    The literary geniuses have ignored the mention of this before, but no, as a matter of fact, they don't serve the same purposes at all. In fantasy, the deliberate invocation of impossibility is there precisely as a rejection of the real. And in SF, the invocation of possiblity is there to invite us to think that this is a real possibility. Where you are just flat out wrong is the assertion that the invitation is merely another trick to help willing suspension of disbelief. Sometimes it is, but it frequently is not. H.G. Wells did not slay his Martians with a microbe because he thought it was easier for the readers to accept their defeat! If your notion SF=fantasy steers you so badly wrong about such a classic SF novel, then you should abandon a bad idea.


    I've hesitated to comment because it has to start with contradicting you: You can't be partly rational and partly irrational, therefore you are rejecting the Enlightenment. Nor are you really standing for our spirits or whatever. The world has wonders and horrors enough for any spirit. The light in the Enlightenment comes from its awe at the sublime, a fire in the mind that comes from understanding. This is the primary motive in the end for science (and an esthetic in SF that is not the same order or kind as that in fantasy, for that matter.)

    On a purely practical level, I don't really think you can make a case that people have been cursed by an excess of reason. They love their technological toys but science, science the ignorantia curse as "technobabble." The Enlightenment above all is about people, not machinery, not even the body as machine or the universe as machine. The Enlightenment is about human equality. The Enlightenment is about sexual freedom. The Enlightenment is about social justice. The Enlightenment is the hope and belief that we can be better. The notion that we are diminished by these things seems to me to be utter nonsense.

    I hope maybe you have been taken in by those who claim that science has conveniently proven true every old idea exploded by the Enlightenment. Free market economists and evolutionary psychologists are infamous for this. Though not infamous enough. If you are really interested in the Enlightenment, I strongly recommend the trilogy by Jonathan Israel. They are long, but his Revolution in the Mind might serve as a sampler.
     
  3. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Science fantasy is basically Star Wars, and Star Wars has always been one of the few franchises of SF that transcended a geeky, nerdy ghetto.

    But then if aping Star Wars was enough to win sci-fi would be fine by now.
    Yep.

    Thing is, we all know exactly what we mean here, however one wishes to redefine the words.

    To be altogether trite: Technology is playing an increasingly large role in our lives, a lot of it seemigly ripped from science fiction tales of yesteryear - I type now in cyberspace, once a fiction in William Gibson's head, and people use devices that resemble the PADDs of Star Trek, and so on.

    In other words, these elements are no longer fantasies we can escape into. They're the world we live.

    Alternately, a lot of fantasy deals with wish fufilment based on stuff that will always be impossible (magic) and a sizeable amount also leans towards worlds which operate either on magical principles or pre-industrial principles, or places otherwise alien to our humdrum existence. Fantasy's escapism then isn't something the next technological development can catch up with.

    I'm sure there's more to it than that, but if I had to guess I'd assume that's part of the reason. Hell, look at the biggest science fiction hits of the last decade, Avatar - it embraces a pre-industrial society of hunter-gatherers overseen by a benevolent godlike creature as opposed to the high-tech wizardry of future science.
     
  4. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    How do you get away with saying things like that? I mean how can you expect anyone to take you seriously when you say things like that?

    You are, like everyone else here, perfectly entitled to a robust rebuttal of someone else's point but you go way beyond what's acceptable.
     
  5. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    I guess his posts are such a pain in the ass to read that not even the mods do that.

    Can't say I blame them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  6. Ian Keldon

    Ian Keldon Fleet Captain

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    Not so humongous anymore. Refinements to the shape of the toroid have decreased the reaction mass to generate a warp field to that ~ the size of the Pioneer spacecraft (down from a Jupiter-sized planet).

    The Alcubierre drive math checks out. What we lack are metallurgy and energy production technology (at present).
     
  7. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Looking at recent box office figures over the past 5-10 years it seems as though you're generally correct. Avatar tops the list making nearly $800 million, Is Avatar pure sf or a mix of fantasy and sci-fi?
     
  8. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Hint: There are humanoid aliens.
     
  9. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    You made me snigger CC.
     
  10. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    There are a lot of elements of fantasy IMO in Avatar that fall outstide of the scope of ST type sci-fi. e.g. flying dragons.
     
  11. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed. ;)
     
  12. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek the animated - er cartoons. That's sure reaching at the bottom of the barrel of the Trek canon. ;)
     
  13. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    I think the general thrust of this gentle exchange is that Trek is fantasy more than science fiction. Like Avatar.
     
  14. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Right. There are many completely fantastic elements in the premise of Star Trek that must be accepted without reason to believe in them, in order to suspend disbelief. The spells are artfully cast using the vocabulary of science to create the illusion of things scientific.

    If you want "real" fantasy tropes in Star Trek, how about referring to The Cage, in particular the castle on Rigel VII, for just one example. That was a typical fairy tail setting, with Pike even defending a princess. It was part fantasy within the story-line, but it was also based on events which Pike had just lived.
     
  15. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Meh - that's subjective. Many Trek fans want to
    extrapolate science from the series and forget about the fantasy elements. But if you're referring to TOS, I agree it has more fantasy elements than say TNG or DS9
     
  16. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    They were all based firmly in fantasy. Just because they were set in space doesn't change that. The science elements, remember, were fantasy too.
     
  17. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Come, now. Don't you think that Q is a fantasy element? The Traveler? What about Wesley Sue?
     
  18. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    So, still pretty implausible. Like orcs.
     
  19. DarthTom

    DarthTom Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think you're splitting hairs. But my definition of Fantasy would be more akin to Potter or Lord of the Rings whereas Trek is sci-fi

    In other words, fantasy employs zero or very little scientific conjecture or reality to the plot where as Trek [or other sci-fi] attempts to make make their 'science,' plausible at some point in the future.

    Nonetheless I agree Trek has some fantasy elements - the magical crystals that power the ships being one. And some of the omnipotent beings they come accross through the series.
     
  20. Gotham Central

    Gotham Central Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just to be clear, Dilithium crystals do not "power" the starship, they help regulate and control that matter/anti-matter reaction within the engines.

    Here's the thing about stuff like that, I view that as more of a crutch, than a decent into pure fantasy. We don't know with any certainty how to control such a reaction, so they invent something that might do just that. The same is true of the transporters, the Heisenberg Conpensators are technically fantasy, in that they don't exist. But it is more of an acknowledgement that they don't know how to fix the problem, but say this is what you'd have to have in order to make the technology work. Science Fiction is not science fact. It speculates about the technology without always having the answers.