The Real Difference Between Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Much excitement for us at the office: we recently added to our library some great titles in the science fiction and fantasy genres. I’m a huge fan of both, and I’m very pleased to announce that we are now offering, for your listening delight, some highly anticipated books from each. There’s the final book in fantasy giant Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and sci-fi favorite Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game series.

A Memory of Light -- Robert Jordan  

Any new batch of incoming books requires some careful consideration, and this one prompted us to ask:

What is really the difference between sci-fi and fantasy?

On the surface, the answer is obvious. Sci-Fi covers your time travel, your aliens, your space ships and laser beams, right? And fantasy covers your elves and your unicorns and your schools of witchcraft and wizardry. Easy breezey.

Nailed it! Self-high five.

Nailed it!

Alas, it’s just not that simple. One of the most invigorating things about speculative fiction genres is that they’re always changing and impossible to pin down, merging and overlapping like a Venn diagram on steroids. Just because something is set in space, doesn’t make it sci-fi. And just because something involves magic or magical creatures doesn’t necessarily make it fantasy. So, what do you call it when your spaceships and your unicorns collide?

Open Road Media created this spot-on video, giving authors of both genres a chance to explain what they feel the real difference is. These esteemed writers offer this insightful explanation: that sci-fi stories are stories that explore the possible, while fantasy stories explore the impossible.

Happy listening!

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