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 consider Science Fiction a subset of Fantasy, honestly. It's still fantasy, but in the future! I think. In any case, my opinion is that they are both equally diverse, because they are essentially the same thing. There's all kinds of fantasy, like alternate history, magical fantasy, supernatural fantasy (aka werewolves, vampires, ect), space fantasy, technological fantasy, and a bunch of others I haven't mentioned. It's all fantasy.

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

Except Star Trek turns that on its head because they came up with a ton of bullshit technobabble throughout the series.
While some of it was grounded in reality, a lot of the time it was made up for one time uses on episodes.
That said I do see your point; magic doesn't need an explanation to be accepted while Sci-fi does.

OT: At this point, I don't think one is more diverse than the other, because they both borrow elements from each other, not to mention, there are not many original ideas nowadays, so it depends on who can write either in such a way as to make it interesting, despite the commonplace tropes and clichés.
Mass Effect is a good example of this. It shares quite a few things with its contemporaries, while still being interesting to experience.
I'll catch flak for this, but in my opinion, Dragon Age: Origins is an example of this done poorly, because there is no deviation from the norm, so the story was trite and clichéd from start to finish.

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

Most sci fi isn't rational, it's space magic.

I like sci fi much more, so I'm probably biased.

There is so much content out there I haven't come into contact with, I don't think I can really make an educated choice. Not all fantasy is Tolkien and not all Sci-Fi is Star Wars, and chances are, the more strange and unique it is the less likely I am to have heard of it. But I have read and watched enough to know they're both ridiculously broad.

Smiley Face:

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.

As an aside, that was the Eragon movie. It was Star Wars, just set in generic fantasyland, and utterly, utterly crap.

Having said that, Forbidden Planet was "The Tempest" except turned into fairly hard science fiction. Works both ways.

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

Actually they aren't all that different. They are just different sides of the same coin: Speculative fiction. Where fantasy uses magic, sci-fi uses science. Heck take the silent rise of the retro-Pulp Fiction intellectual properties (the ones that emulate the properties that predate the coming of the Superman in the 1930's), or the Steampunk fiction, which literally straddles both genres... Is it scinece fiction or fantasy... After all both take place in the past, both use magic & science sop advanced that appears to be magic. Is it science fiction or is it fantasy... Its neither & both: Its speculative fiction.

I love how every time a question like this pops up, people just pick apart the terminology and/or answer a completely different question that nobody asked.

I voted Sci-fi, because the archetypes are mostly restricted to the stories/characters, rather than the universe/mythos.

I consider them to be very similar. One is more detail oriented than the other but they're similar enough that I just categorize them under the same sub-heading of "stuff I like".

Incidentally, why are there so few Metal-Men in fantasy who aren't knights? Furthermore, how come there aren't bio-engineered Dragons in Sci-fi (or better yet: robotic dragons)

image

I would very much like more of this please

In theory, fantasy, but in practice, science fiction.

WARNING: WALL OF TEXT INCOMING

TL DR: Fantasy makes no fucking sense, but nobody gives a shit because it's cool, and sci-fi is really anal retentive about facts and stuff, so that it can tell us not only that we suck, but prove that we do, in fact, suck.

But people don't know this because sci-fi and fantasy are always getting mixed up because they do some of the same shit but only shit that doesn't matter.

TL DR again: Star Wars is fantasy, and because some people don't know shit like this, I need to make it clear what I mean by fantasy.

If people used fantasy properly it would be all over the fucking place, but because nobody really does (Except Japanese people, sometimes), people think it's samey and boring and that sci-fi is all over the place (Which it has no business being)

Abandon4093:

Most sci fi isn't rational, it's space magic.

I like sci fi much more, so I'm probably biased.

If it doesn't even try to rationalize its concepts, it's science-fantasy.
Quite literally.

King of Asgaard:

Except Star Trek turns that on its head because they came up with a ton of bullshit technobabble throughout the series.
While some of it was grounded in reality, a lot of the time it was made up for one time uses on episodes.
That said I do see your point; magic doesn't need an explanation to be accepted while Sci-fi does.

Well, Star-Trek did go off the rails for the sake of convenience on more than a few occasions.
And to be fair to the writers, coming up with new shit like that on a weekly basis would be tough.

However, some of that changed because our understanding of the science it was based on changed.

The thing is, Science-Fiction guesstimates what science would be capable of based on current understanding; at the time of Star Trek (original series, and TNG) we still thought FTL travel was technically possible. Now we're pretty sure it isn't.

Atmos Duality:

Abandon4093:

Most sci fi isn't rational, it's space magic.

I like sci fi much more, so I'm probably biased.

If it doesn't even try to rationalize its concepts, it's science-fantasy.
Quite literally.

Even when it attempts to rationalise it's still nonesense. I've seen very few truly plausible sci fi stories.

There's a difference between 'sounds sciency' and 'is scientifically viable.'

I voted Sci Fi because I think it has more variety than fantasy.

The medieval Tolkein'esque fantasy tends to get repetitive although it's my favorite genre of the two.

I chose sci-fi, at least they have the decent to come up with new races for every single iteration. With fantasy it's elves elves elves elves.

Abandon4093:

Even when it attempts to rationalise it's still nonesense. I've seen very few truly plausible sci fi stories.

There's a difference between 'sounds sciency' and 'is scientifically viable.'

I know. I already alluded to that.
But if I must reiterate: All science fiction is based on guesses; many of them wrong, some of them right.

Science fantasy might blurt out some technobabble on occasion, but it really doesn't give a shit if its scientifically plausible or not. Cybernetics is one such topic; it's slowly becoming a real thing. So is power-armor exoskeletons.
So are cloaking suits.

When any of those concepts were new in fiction, they were nowhere near plausible in real life at the time.
They were literally, nonsense.

DarkhoIlow:
I voted Sci Fi because I think it has more variety than fantasy.

The medieval Tolkein'esque fantasy tends to get repetitive although it's my favorite genre of the two.

And that is not the only fantasy setting; it's just the most overused.

Personally I would say Sci-Fi becasue origin of the most of the conflict in fantasy can be traced back to the phrase "A wizard did it" from what I have seen.

Also aliens.

Smiley Face:
What on earth..? How are so many people voting for science fiction?

I'm about to blow your mind, so hold onto your head for a second:

Science Fiction is more diverse because Fantasy has to be The Matrix.

"But SciMal," you're thinking, "The Matrix was a Sci-Fi action flick!" Yes, it is, but why? I'll give you a hint: Because it used technology-as-magic, but did it so well that all you saw was the technology. I'm not talking about the shitty Messiah trope crap in the 2nd and 3rd movies - this is explicitly about the first, although it's explained quite well by the Architect in the 2nd (amongst his ramblings).

See, Science Fiction is written to make people think. It's written to present perspectives on modern culture, morals, technology, and overall acts as a critique on the experience of being human as the writer has experienced it. Science Fiction is a sandbox that must flow directly from reality itself because a critique is invalid if the connection cannot be made between the critique itself and the material it's based on. Although SF doesn't necessarily have to follow all of the known laws of reality (FTL drives), the further it ignores the rules the closer it gets to Fantasy.

Fantasy authors make up their own rules. They have to in order to avoid logical conflict in their readers. "Solve it with magic" is an omnipresent option for the authors of fantasy works, and the readers know that. Fantasy readers don't read LotR or Harry Potter to understand how the world works or gain hope for the future; they read LotR and HP because it provides escapism. It offers a glimpse into a world where the everyday tediousness of being human is taken away, and that's what the readers desire.

Fantasy works are ways of living out dreams - quite literally stated by the name of the genre itself. But all WE know - everybody who exists and ever existed and ever will exist - knows, is reality. Mundane, banal, sometimes brutal reality. So, in order to facilitate the act of escapism, fantasy works are given doses of reality that often manifest in the form of rules to the extent of what's possible. As the Architect said - humans will simply reject a perfect world. So the rules must be made by the other, and unlike the omnipresent rules of physics, can end up not making logical sense - or are exceedingly transparent rules put in place to prevent the protagonists from seeming like giant douche-canoes. That's why magic in Harry Potter can't create food and solve world hunger; then the Wizards/Witches would be the most giant dicks in all of human history, and nobody will want to identify with them. The more rules an author makes up, the closer the illusion is to actual physics - although authors often risk contradicting themselves because the only litmus test for their rules interacting against each other is "Is there an excuse in my head that makes this reasonable?" So no matter what Fantasy is *capable* of, it will always have to restrain itself back to the point that it becomes relatable to its audience.

Then there's the often unnoticed issue: The dreams that fantasy stories live out are pretty fucking common from person to person because reality is a shared experience. Solving basic sustenance? Yup. Solving body-image issues? Yup again. Solving the problem of bad things happening to good people? Damn skippy. Heck, many even solve the problem of death. Never want to have your heart broken? Love potions! Tired of the same old house day-in, day-out? Say a few words, wave a wand, and the drapes are completely different.

Then you have Sci-Fi. I'm not going to pretend that Sci-Fi doesn't have its problems; about 5 minutes at a Barnes and Noble will show you that the subgenres in Sci-Fi are pretty slim. You have your Space Operas, you have your War Stories - IN SPACE!, and you have 'the rest.' It's in 'the rest' that you find a lot of the gems, because they're the ones that experiment with new ideas. The authors have often done the hard work of delineating how reality turned into the world they created - they *have* to do the work, because that's what Sci-Fi as a genre *is*. Connecting reality as-we-know-it to 'the Future' and making us swallow it. Sci-Fi authors know their audience has gotten progressively more aware of and savvy with technology, biology, physics, and basically the STEM subjects, so they're forced to get more creative.

More than that, though, Sci-Fi *encourages* exploration of unfamiliarity - unlike Fantasy, which must restrain itself with familiarity. As long as the author can adequately describe how the concept is plausible, or so completely implausible that it shouldn't exist, Sci-Fi readers are content. More than that, they get curious. Dyson Spheres? It would take a shitton of resources... but they're plausible. Suspension tubes that freeze aging in its footsteps so astronauts can visit far away systems? Hell, we can't do it now, but there are examples in nature... sure, plausible. A giant crystalline entity that travels faster than the speed of light and destroys entire civilizations indiscriminately for no apparent reason? WTF? I guess we just haven't discovered the rules of the Universe that allow us to understand it yet!

Those are more modern-day examples. If you go back to older Sci-Fi you'll see the same exploration not so much with technology and the ever-broadening horizon of human understanding, but more philosophical issues. "What would an alien who doesn't understand human morals act like?".... "What if THIS THING or EVERYTHING we know is completely wrong? How could that be, and how would humans react?".... "How insignificant, or significant, are we in the grand scheme of things?"

Finally, there's the problem of popularity. Things get made to make money. Fantasy has been absolutely DOMINATED by LotR for decades, and then you have thousands of years of fairy tales common to most people (of European/American descent) that are rearranged in different ways - like Harry Potter, which has elves, wands, legendary items, and bluntly connects itself to old fairy tales via Merlin and such. So between mash-ups of very familiar elements (sort of like Mexican cuisine) and LotR, you've got 90% of your Fantasy genre covered. That's what's popular. That's what people want. If you want to make money or have people read your work on a large scale, put some dragons in that shit and call it a day.

Science Fiction has never reached the same level of popularity because it's escapism that forces people to think, and thinking isn't what people want to do when they want to forget about the world. So Sci-Fi often degrades in quality as it becomes more popular, more escapist, and thus losing the ability to explore the limits of human conception.

That's why Sci-Fi is more diverse, IMHO. You can do more with it because you're showing people something new - introducing them to experiences and concepts they are expecting to be unfamiliar. With Fantasy you have to play it safe because going too far means losing an audience. You must constrain yourself to many of the expectations of your audience because your audience isn't looking for new and exciting (and possibly disconcerting), they're looking for comfort and brief moments throughout the day when they really do believe that the problems of being human and living in this reality can go away without impossible amounts of hard work.

It doesn't make one BETTER than the other, but it certainly allows Sci-Fi to explore stranger and more 'alien' ideas.

CAPTCHA: i know nothing!

Well played.

SciMal:
See, Science Fiction is written to make people think. It's written to present perspectives on modern culture, morals, technology, and overall acts as a critique on the experience of being human as the writer has experienced it. Science Fiction is a sandbox that must flow directly from reality itself because a critique is invalid if the connection cannot be made between the critique itself and the material it's based on. Although SF doesn't necessarily have to follow all of the known laws of reality (FTL drives), the further it ignores the rules the closer it gets to Fantasy.

Except when it isn't. There's no reason why this must be the case.

"Outland" comes to mind. The science in there was generally very good. Ok, people wouldn't really explode in a vacuum, but that wasn't much of a plot point, you can just imagine them suffocating or being frozen as the gasses around them expand into vapour, story is exactly the same.

But the story wasn't about exploring the human condition, or getting people to think deep thoughts or anything, it was a very ordinary story about a sheriff protecting a mining town from criminal elements. It's just that the town happened to be on a moon of Jupiter. It all made perfect sense, it was handled well, but you could just as easily have set it in the Wild West.

Sci-fi tends to be more varied in setting and characters, because it isn't all just white medieval Europe. Sci-fi still tends to be like AMERICANS IN SPACE, but there are far more inventive alien races/cultures (not dwarves/elves), and it isn't all just swords and sorcery.

That said, Fantasy wins out in actual story types. Sci-fi has spaceship wars and we3ird alien horror, but not much else. Fantasy, probably because it's base pieces are so standardized and generic, is forced to do actual things with its plots other than just display the world. I've seen incredible character studies in fantasy, real actual good romance novels, mysteries, horror, adventure, political, the list goes on. Sci-fi does have these things too, but in far fewer numbers, because it has to spend so much time just explaining the world that a good story comes secondary.

Plus fantasy tends to have a greater progression over time, with worlds changing as stories are told. Sci-fi seems stuck, because where can you go after you go to space? More Space?

As much as I want to say fantasy I really do want to say fantasy. It all kinda boils down to the same history and races etc. In Sci-Fi people let their minds go wild coming up with new races (rather than recycling old ones with different look same name) and the past is always different (although usually preceded by some war) And in Sci-Fi there's multiple planets rather than multiple kingdoms allowing for a much larger scale.

Let the record show that I like both, but I've always leaned sci-fi myself because I like technology and was so sick of Fantasy being "You're a Human, Elf, Dwarf, Gnome/Halfling/Hobbit/Midget; and there's dragons".

SF, mainly because it can cross over into a myriad of different other genres; look at things like Doctor Who, the size and breadth of the Star Wars and Trek EU and the different ways of using SF, from the original Jules Verne/John Carter kind of stuff to things like Firefly or Starship Troopers.

That's not to say that Fantasy lacks diversity, it just that it seems to be a bit harder to sell a universe that diverges too greatly from the traditional precedents of Tolkien and the like.

I have the funniest feeling that the overwhelming majority of votes for science fiction, are because of tv, rather then all mediums. Sci-Fi on TV is much more diverse then Tolkien knock-offs on TV (hello Game of Thrones, i see you there).

Its not taking in to account, novels, radio plays, comics, etc.

thaluikhain:
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.

Nailed it there. I sometimes find it hard to find a good fantasy book for these reasons, they tend to try too hard to be different than Tolkien and end up writing something equally generic to the Tolkien inspired fantasy.

Now fantasy is my favourite genre and I got some great examples of well written series, but I have seen a little more diversity in the sci-fi setting.
Star Wars, Star Trek, Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, (does Dr. Who count?), Battlestar etc.

That said Fantasy can be just as diverse and there really isn't a one or the other kind of thing.

It's unfortunate but I'd tend to say fantasy just because there -are- just a few more flavors of fantasy then there are sci-fi. As it all tends to run together. The same distyopia, corporate overwatch, basic human rights ignored ect

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