Which of these genres is most diverse?
Science Fiction
73.8% (138)
73.8% (138)
Fantasy
26.2% (49)
26.2% (49)
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Poll: Which is more diverse: Fantasy or Science Fiction?

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I want to make it clear right now that this is not about which of the two is better, but rather which of the two has more variety in terms of tools, creatures, themes, settings, etc. I would also like to apologize in advance if this has already been done before.

Right now I'm still not sure which one is more diverse. On the Fantasy front we have stuff like Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Dungeons & Dragons, and Legend of Zelda. Meanwhile with Science Fiction we have Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Mass Effect, The Twilight Zone, Blade Runner, 1984, and Alien. Sure, all of these have plenty of similarities (some more so than others), but all of them, as well as many others that I haven't named, still maintain a certain degree of uniqueness that make them almost instantly recognizable. I'm also aware that both genres have lots and lots of copycats, but I'm hoping that we'll only be focusing on the most popular IPs.

Well personally I'd have to go with Fantasy as my preference, I find that scifi can sometimes get lost up it's own ass trying to explain how things work instead of focusing on the characters, which fantasy does well because you can usually just say "MAGIC" and explain away things. But I do think that Scifi has a lot more potential for diversity since the universe is vast and all that

I voted Sci-fi. Although both genres have a set of common tropes, science fiction seems to have a greater variety of them. Everyone can tell Terminator and Star Wars apart, but most fantasy just looks like a reboot of Lord of the Rings.

Well you could call science fiction as sub-genre fantasy. But I am assuming we are not going by that logic. Anyway Sci-fi if you ask me.

Impossible to answer. Either could be as diverse as you wanted it to be.

Having said that, there is a really embarrassing trend in fantasy for people either to try to be Tolkien, or to try to be the "anti-Tolkien" in the same way as all the other anti-Tolkiens. Either it's what people think England was and full of boring blather about elves and dwarfs doing boring elf and dwarf stuff (not based on what Tolkien based his stuff on, just ripping him off), or it's "dark" and "edgy", lots of rape and bigotry for its own sake.

Now, not to say that fantasy authors have to do that, or that a lot of sci-fi isn't much the same, but the formula seems more set in stone for the people writing the same fantasy over and over.

Fantasy has a much wider range of possibilities, but very few authors use that greater range, instead defaulting to a number of preset concepts that people are familiar with. This does not necessarily detract from the quality of the work, but it is somewhat disappointing.

I suppose if you look at it in the way that Sci fi generally has to be seen to conform to the laws of science, whereas fantasy can have literally anything without having to justify it's existence by science, Fantasy is technically the more diverse since it can just add anything without proper explanation.

But sci fi and fantasy are incredibly broad and overlap quite a bit, so it's not set in stone.

The poll has two wrong answers in it. Can't pick any. The correct one is "both".

As far as I can tell with my limited experience of both genres, fantasy seems to be reusing old tropes more than sf, so I'll say that in practice, sf is more diverse.

Put it this way: Can you think of a standard sci-fi universe? Many people jump straight to Star Trek, but that kind of universe is rare outside of TV. Hell, even in TV its hard to make valid comparisons. Star Wars could be considered somewhat similar, but only superficially. The closest thing to a 'standard' sci-f setting I can think of would be the near-future rocketpunk stories of the 40s and 50s, where handsome American crewmembers bravely pilot atomic spaceships through the voids of our solar system, sometimes exploring the misty jungles of Venus and at others meeting and occasionally fighting Martians, on their land or ours. And even this is a setting that hasn't really been used for decades.

On the other hand, standard fantasy setting? Easy. YOu have humans, elves and dwarf/ves. The elves live in the forests and the dwarfs live underground. The humans are the most widespread, but tend to be more the default setting. The elves are into mysticism, while dwarfs are more technological. There will usually be an evil race of some kind, along the path of orcs or goblins. This setting works or roughly describes a worryingly high percentage of fantasy universes.

Sci-fi tends to lead to much more diversity, with things varying from The Fly to Ringworld, while fantasy has an odd tendency to 70% of the time be KNIGHTS AND DRAGONS.
But then it stands on where you want to stick science-fantasy movies/novels, like Star Wars.

In theory: Fantasy
Reason: There are infinitely more irrational concepts (fantasy, magic) than rational concepts (science).

In practice: Tough to say. I rather like both, and the breadth of concepts from both.

Well. There's the theory and the practice.

Fantasy has almost no boundaries to what goes and what doesn't; sci-fi is (mostly) grounded in some logic or with some sort of boundaries (such as, people can fly because the gravity is lower, they can shoot lasers because nanoquantumradiationfluxparticles and not because MAGIC BITCHES). In that way, you would think that fantasy has more diversity.

However, they fall in tropes. Authors of both genres don't want to travel too far out of what the readers want or, more importantly, what they are comfortable writing. Thinking of entirely new races, technology, cultures, and settings can lead to two different outcomes. Correctly paced by a good author, it can be a huge success; incorrectly implemented by the daunted or unprepared author, it can be a jumbled mess that isn't fun to read.

Rehashing a commonplace trope like dragons or space pirates doesn't dimish too much on the story, because it is always established that both the author and the reader - well - they know what that is. If I say dragons, you immediately think of flying, huge, reptilian, ornate, fire-breathing lizards with a treasure hoarding instinct, while space pirates brings forth, you know, the junker ships and the diverse crew of laser-toting anti-heroes. You know that, the author knows that, and both of you are comfortable with it. However, throw in something new: say, a giant bluish ball race. You aren't used to seeing that, and you start to question why the author would put that in, and the author can't quite pull a good reason why he did that.

In a way, each movement toward originality can be replaced by tropes. Well, yes, you could have a race of rock-like people, or you could just call them dwarves and better give the reader (and yourself) a better mental image that doesn't need explaining because everyone knows what a dwarf looks like.

It's really interesting how that works, too. You get two divisions of each genre. Fantasy has the Tolkien knockoff and the Tolkien defector; Sci-fi has the same imitator-defector thing but maybe with Star Trek. The real reason is, the author didn't want to be too fresh, because the author (like you) grew up liking Tolkien-Star Trek, and only knows the great success that they had. Dwarves and elves or spacesuits and hoverbikes are common because the author doesn't know (or want) to write anything more complex, because that can confuse the reader, or the author just doesn't think it necessary for their book to be that different than the status quo.

So. All that long stuff means: They have potential, but there's a pretty obvious reason why they never go much further than the basis of Tolkien or Star Trek. It's not a judgement on the genre, it's a judgement on the writing ability of the author.

Which boils down to, it depends.

TL;DR: Both are pretty unimaginative. But, personally, I think sci-fi has more diversity.

I really can't say. Even after only a little exposure I'm sure most people can constantly see connections among stories in both the sci-fi and fantasy genres. However, both are also good at taking old ideas and giving us new concepts with them. For instance, you can complain all you want about the proliferation of elves in fantasy stories like The Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age, but they're hardly presented in the exact same way in those stories as they are in Lord of the Rings. Some ideas, by necessity, are just going to be standard--we always think of trolls and orcs as evil and we always expect some incredibly powerful AI to go rogue. However, I find both to work within those standards and their similar ideas very well and they give quite a bit of diversity even among similar lore.

If I had to choose, though, I'd probably go with sci-fi, but that's more due to the fact that sci-fi/fantasy crossovers tend to fall more on the sci-fi side of things.

What weighs more a ton of feathers or a ton of bricks?

Atmos Duality:
In theory: Fantasy
Reason: There are infinitely more irrational concepts (fantasy, magic) than rational concepts (science).

In practice: Tough to say. I rather like both, and the breadth of concepts from both.

I'll do you one better. Science fiction, taken from scientific romance, is already a KIND of fantasy.

In theory, fantasy. Because magic is a be-all, end-all cure for plot holes.

In practice, neither.

I think this question is kind of irrelevant unless you were to compare a particular scifi series versus a fantasy one.

The level of diversity is really based on the 'universe' in which the writter has set himself in.

Look at for fantasy a comparison between Game of Thrones and say, Raymond E Fiest's Magician series. GoT is set in a single world with it's interworkings of magic and fantasy, REF's works consists of a Universe with thousands of worlds and several dimensions.

The comparison can be given for scifi as well with the Starcraft Universe vs the Starwars. SC has 3 primary races, SW has thousands, tech is different for each universe and both have their own form of "magic". For SC it is 'scionic powers' or how ever you spell it, while is SW it is 'the force'.

In short I think it is really just limited to the writters setting. Neither are limited when it comes to diversity, because while fantasy has 'magic' as others have said, there are various scifi series that use technology to create 'magic' abilities in people.

It just comes down to how diverse the writter wants his universe to be.

SciFi has more potential I would say... But a good fantasy writer could come up with as endless an array of subject matter as SciFi, but most seem to want to conform to the Tolkein model which leads to the D&D model...
But then I see SciFi as a form of fantasy in certain lights because of the fantastic nature of some scifi stories. Some are just beyond the realm of possible which is fantasy to me.
But I get the idea that Fantasy stories are usually based in magic, and scifi is more scientific.

DoPo:
The poll has two wrong answers in it. Can't pick any. The correct one is "both".


Op:It depends entirely on the skill of the creator-both can be just as diverse as the other.
However the best result is when you combine to two to create ROBOT DRAGONS

FalloutJack:

Atmos Duality:
In theory: Fantasy
Reason: There are infinitely more irrational concepts (fantasy, magic) than rational concepts (science).

In practice: Tough to say. I rather like both, and the breadth of concepts from both.

I'll do you one better. Science fiction, taken from scientific romance, is already a KIND of fantasy.

Oh ho ho!
Loopholes.

Neither. Since science fiction & fantasy are just different aspects of the same genre: Speculative fiction.

nether.

one is only as diverse as the person writing it wants it to be.

Scifi might only 'seem' more so since it doesn't have a LotRs of its own for to draw from (read:rip off) whole sale like fantasy does, but is some one is willing to actually think for them selves and NOT 'barrow from' tolken, they can come up with stuff just as diverse as any scifi book/movie/game you'll see

What on earth..? How are so many people voting for science fiction? Science fiction is limited in that it is set in the real world, in the future, and has as an integral part the influences caused by advancements in the future. Fantasy, on the other hand, is free of these constraints. It need not exist in the real world. It need not follow our common laws of physics. It can take place in any time, be about anything, in any place. And there is nothing prohibiting a work of fantasy from having some of the elements common to science fiction - after all, Star Wars is, in the end, with its force and faraway worlds and politics, more a work of fantasy than science fiction.

IGetNoSlack:
In theory, fantasy. Because magic is a be-all, end-all cure for plot holes.

In practice, neither.

But surely mass effect / the force / time portals / space portals / lightspeed / warpspeed / science / space magic /aliens / William Shatner / alernate universes / shit-that-sounds-like-physics-but-actually-the-author-just-made-up-while-drunk is a cure-all for plot holes in sci-fi? They get away with some pretty crazy shit.

Smiley Face:
What on earth..? How are so many people voting for science fiction? Science fiction is limited in that it is set in the real world, in the future, and has as an integral part the influences caused by advancements in the future. Fantasy, on the other hand, is free of these constraints. It need not exist in the real world. It need not follow our common laws of physics. It can take place in any time, be about anything, in any place. And there is nothing prohibiting a work of fantasy from having some of the elements common to science fiction - after all, Star Wars is, in the end, with its force and faraway worlds and politics, more a work of fantasy than science fiction.

And that is why I love LotR as a story, but hate it for it's success. It has narrowed western fantasy for decades now and I don't see any change soon.

But when you look into japanese anime/manga/games then you'll quickly realize that science fiction basically is a sub-genre of fantasy without outright magic, although "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" (can't remember who said, sorry).

Science Fiction obviously. It is much more varied. From Dune, to Astropolis, to Star Wars.

What are the fallbacks of damn near every fantasy? Dorfs, Elves, Humans, Orcs, ect... And people say "but...but magic!" Well, Dune and Star Wars had magic (Dune had human Psionics while Star Wars had the force) but they are both Sci Fi.

Granted a couple of Star Wars fictions fall into both categories, but you take away the force and you still have a starwars story (As many novels comics ect demonstrate), you take away all their technology, not so much.

All sci-fi is fantasy but not all fantasy is sci-fi... ergo fantasy has the higher amount of diversity.

Rush Syks:

But when you look into japanese anime/manga/games then you'll quickly realize that science fiction basically is a sub-genre of fantasy without outright magic, although "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" (can't remember who said, sorry).

Arthur C Clarke is the one who said that.

It came from his three laws

1) When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2) The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3) Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarke's_three_laws

Abomination:
All sci-fi is fantasy but not all fantasy is sci-fi... ergo fantasy has the higher amount of diversity.

Not true. the genre's are very differently defined. Sci fi =/= Fantasy. just google the definitions of Sci Fi Genre and Fantasy Genre

Smiley Face:
Snip

I call shenanigans

Last I checked Klingons, Daleks and Crystal Singers do not exit in the real world.
Know what the GNDN conduits in Star Trek do? Goes nowhere does nothing.
Scifi is not limited to the mundane and you can us technology to the same extent as magic.

Well how the hell did we just move this planet? Well first we interfaced with the quantum foam using our inter-spacial plank magnifier blah blah blah. Grounding the stories in real science gives them a pretty good feel but you can have a quartet of planets traveling through space relying on the massive amounts of heat that their society generates to survive. Or an inter dimensional god like being that likes to mess with mortals for the amusement factor.

Just like fantasy, scifi is only limited by your imagination.

Serinanth:

Smiley Face:
Snip

I call shenanigans

Last I checked Klingons, Daleks and Crystal Singers do not exit in the real world.
Know what the GNDN conduits in Star Trek do? Goes nowhere does nothing.
Scifi is not limited to the mundane and you can us technology to the same extent as magic.

Well how the hell did we just move this planet? Well first we interfaced with the quantum foam using our inter-spacial plank magnifier blah blah blah. Grounding the stories in real science gives them a pretty good feel but you can have a quartet of planets traveling through space relying on the massive amounts of heat that their society generates to survive. Or an inter dimensional god like being that likes to mess with mortals for the amusement factor.

Just like fantasy, scifi is only limited by your imagination.

True, while most science fiction is a logical extension of reality, sometimes it manifests as an illogical extension of reality. The fact, however, remains, that you could have Klingons, Daleks and Crystal Singers (what're Crystal Singers from?) in a sciency fantasy work. And yes, a good deal of sciency handwaving can happen - but then again, we're all familiar with fantasy doing magicky handwaving, and they're also more than capable of doing sciency handwaving.

Science Fiction and Fantasy both have infinite possibilities. However, the difference between them is that science fiction will always be tethered to being an extension of the real world - much like while there are techinically infinite numbers between 1 and 2, they all start with 1.something - whereas with fiction, you also have those infinite variations, except now those variations are any number at all, unburdened by limitations -except, I suppose, that it can't be any number between 1 and 10 - after all, it's not exactly fantasy if it's taking place in the real world? Nevertheless, greater diversity.

Limitations are often good, mind you. The fact that science fiction is grounded in reality gives it more oomph, more potential for commentary on human nature and society, while still being immensely free to do its work. But, the question was what is more diverse, and that HAS to be fantasy - it's just doesn't have those same restrictions.

EDIT: Actually, I think I can think of examples of fantasy that take place in the real world - would the Dresden Files count? I mean, it's dealing with trolls and vampires and whatnot, fantastical creatures, while grounding itself in modern-day Chicago - I'm pretty sure it falls under the umbrella of fantasy, in which case, yay, even less limitations on fantasy than I thought.

Desert Punk:
Granted a couple of Star Wars fictions fall into both categories, but you take away the force and you still have a starwars story (As many novels comics ect demonstrate), you take away all their technology, not so much.

I beg to differ. Star Wars doesn't care about its technology. It's part of the setting, but not part of the plot. You could transplant Star Wars' basic plot into another setting without technology - let's say, for this example, a stereotypical medieval fantasy setting. The evil magician Vader and his evil empire have created a great, floating Death Ship, with enough siege weapons on it to lay any of the island states in the world to waste, and a young boy and his wise mentor get entangled in the resistance effort to stop it. I mean, it's entirely possible to hit all the salient points and dynamics and relationships - the technology isn't important.

Then try the converse. How does Star Wars work, without the force? Major subplots, particularly in the prequels, deal with these people who have these supernatural abilities, shaping the world around them. Luke goes to Cloud City because he gets a vision of the future and sees his friends in danger. Anakin joins Sidious because he promises to save Padme's life - a life that Anakin knows is in danger because of, yup, a premonition. The corrupting influence of the dark side of the force is a major theme throughout the entire series. Then there's the FORCE GHOSTS, for crying out loud - Obi-Wan guiding Luke, and, apparently, Qui-Gon guiding Obi-Wan, kind of. The Force is WAY more important to Star Wars than the presence of space-age tech.

That said, it's not impossible for the force to elements to be translated into science-fiction terms, but it's FAR more of a stretch than removing the tech levels, and even if you do, it creates plot holes and logical inconsistencies that you wouldn't get by shifting it away from sciencyness.

Also, again, just because something is a fantasy, doesn't mean it can't have space age tech - so technically, you don't even have to remove the technological setting of Star Wars to get it to conform to fantasy - it already does. It's just that, unfortunately, people don't tend to venture outside your standard 'western-medieval-fantasy' archetype for people to start thinking of fantasy in different ways.

I agree Marvin, err Smiley Face, about limitations that is. I think that's why I like scifi a tad more. Hypothetically they both have the same potential for diversity but fantasy writers as said seem to fall into the same tenants. Dresden files would be fantasy imo, I enjoy the throwing of fantasy into the real world, again that grounding.

Crystal Singers are from Anne McCaffery's old series of the same name, its a scifi romancy kinda feel. Pretty neat premise, crystal found on only one dangerous planet allow for enhanced space travel and communication. Hah, writing that out I realized something, Spice anyone?

Edit: Negated myself there, Dresden files grounded with real world setting, I guess I can not say which I prefer, I just like a good story =).

Edit again: I think my favorite stories are the ones that blend the mystical and the technological, perhaps that's why Star Wars, or The Fifth Element as examples are so well received?

I'll have to say science fiction.
It encompasses everything from Michael Chricton's books such as Prey and The Andromeda Strain, to space operas such as SW, Star Treck or Mass Effect. With so many different styles in between, from the realistic hard sci-fi such as the Red/Blue/Green Mars series, Rendezvous With Rana, The Sparrow and softer sci-fi such as Dune and the HH series.
Fantasy has this unfortunate habit of repeating the D&D and LOTR tropes.
That said, I do love GoT.

I say Science Fiction is more diverse.
Seriosuly how many fantasy stories that used elf, orc, dragon, dwarf and other sterotype fantasy creature? Yes I know there are other fantasy element that don't used them but the fantasy stories I've seen keep using the same frictional creatures or its likeness.
The thing is science fiction is that isn't using the same old basework like some fantasy stories used. Also science friction tend to be set in outer space meaning the possiblity set in space is endless compared to a fantasy planet.

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