(in which I lament about genre classification and use Wikipedia as my quote-point extensively. If you don’t like Wikipedia, perhaps this post may not be the best to read.)
I am more and more convinced that to define my novel as ‘fantasy’ is incorrect. It is speculative fiction, but popping over to Wikipedia cements my opinion that it should be involved more with the science-fiction of genres. Sure, it’s not hard SF, and, logically, I can see why some people have said ‘there are no typical sci-fi elements in the first pages, therefore, it’s fantasy’, but, from simply reading the Wikipedia pages on both, I would still lean towards sci-fi. And let me explain why.
Let me first say that I am a fan of sci-fi having main sub-genres of sci-fi: Hard sci-fi (spaceships, aliens, distant planets), and soft or ‘social’ sci-fi, describing ‘works based on social sciences such as psychology, economics, political science, sociology, and anthropology.’ [wikipedia] I guess, as a social science student, I was bound to find myself in the midst of that category! After all, one of the reasons I intend to study Psychology is to delve into motivation, intention, and deceit behind what it is to be human (or…mostly human).
All the ‘-punk’ suffix genres also fall under sci-fi. Interestingly enough, I had steampunk on my query not four months ago. Query was cluttered, so I axed it, but still, there must be something behind that thought… *shrugs*
The first of its eight overview bullet points says ‘Science fiction elements include:
“A time setting in the future, in alternative timelines, or in a historical past that contradicts known facts of history or the archaeological record.”
*clears throat* I may have Descartes and Plato and Apollo and Artemis – but 2010 ends up in a world sans electricity, and it is highly that, although the world itself is not an Earth by name – just as technological objects are not named as we call them – it bears the qualities humanity has had: gods, races, a sun and continental land-mass shifts.
Later, Wiki says, about sub-genre sci-fi and feminist sci-fi:
“Some of the most notable feminist science fiction works have illustrated these themes using utopias to explore a society in which gender differences or gender power imbalances do not exist, or dystopias to explore worlds in which gender inequalities are intensified, thus asserting a need for feminist work to continue.”
Whilst my world is no dystopia (not specifically to my characters anyway), its themes of class and gender inequality are prominent and the main driving motivations behind some of the characters and their actions. This may well tie in with my interest in social sci-fi and psychology.
However, one feature stands out beyond the others:
“Scientific principles that are new or that contradict accepted laws of nature, for example time travel, wormholes, or faster-than-light travel or communication.”
One of the elements I secure for my novel is that it is relatively scientifically viable. As a former Physics student, the Newtonian and particulate worlds (isn’t ‘quarks’ just a gorgeous name for an elementary particle?) are of great importance to me. It has taken – in my opinion, obviously – a great deal of time for me to think the time-travel through. But that is not the glory in the science. Not really. That comes more in the sequel, in which the Main Character steps into a ‘time-manipulator’, which, whilst not intentionally being a time-machine, has the consequences thus.
But, in a world without electricity, I have to make do without the Marty McFly tricks. Changing steam and diesel into electricity to power a ‘jump’ through time is not a challenge but an experiment. And it may provide an explanation for electric-based cars.
However, I also provide a more natural look at science. Last week’s post about time-streams explains the quality of my time in detail.
In that way, one could argue that my novel has more of a ‘magic’ focus than a ‘science’ focus, and thus is better suited to fantasy.
But I’m not entirely convinced. Wikipedia (as biased as it is) shows immediately fantasy to be the type of mystical creatures and magical skills or powers, of which I have none. Whilst magic comes from nature, too, my incidents are due to nature alone.
Science-fiction differs from fantasy:
“… in that the former concerns things that might someday be possible or that at least embody the pretence of realism. Supernaturalism, usually absent in science fiction, is the distinctive characteristic of fantasy literature. A dictionary definition referring to fantasy literature is “fiction characterized by highly fanciful or supernatural elements.””
Ahem. I think this needs no additional comment. And supernaturalism? Okay, I have a couple of characters who are ‘psychic’, but this, again, is due to nature and genetics, rather than a mystical sense of ‘power’. In fact, the characters with the psychic gene are generally weaker in other genetic factors, such as sight and memory capacity, respectively, because the mutation, if dominant, takes the place of two DNA alleles as opposed to one.
I mean, empaths and telepaths do exist in this real world, even if their powers aren’t as dramatic as film has made appear. I struggled to deal with my empathy a lot in my teens, to the point that at any sort of verbal aggression, even not directed at me, I’d have to leave the room.
“Science fiction is largely based on writing rationally about alternative possible worlds or futures. It is similar to, but differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation).”
Thank you, Wikipedia.
See my problem? Opinions?
Oh, and, by the way, my Pitcharama Pitch got selected for the next round! That’s – to go all teenagery on you for a moment – UBER exciting! So, I’m going to be working on that for the next few days.